Whether you have small dreams or lofty expectations, setting goals allows you to plan how you want to move through life. Some achievements can take a lifetime to attain, while others can be completed in the course of a day. Whether you're setting broad overarching goals or planning specific manageable goals, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Getting started can seem daunting, but you can build up to even the loftiest dream.
^ Creek, Jennifer; Lougher, Lesley (2008). "Goal setting". Occupational therapy and mental health (4th ed.). Edinburgh; New York: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. pp. 111–113 (112). ISBN 9780443100277. OCLC 191890638. Client goals are usually set on two or three levels. Long-term goals are the overall goals of the intervention, the reasons why the client is being offered help and the expected outcome of intervention... Intermediate goals may be clusters of skills to be developed, attitudes to be changed or barriers to be overcome on the way to achieving the main goals... Short-term goals are the small steps on the way to achieving major goals.
Give yourself a pat on the back for all those little wins -- they add up. And when you reach a major milestone, take time to acknowledge it. This reinforces that what you’re doing is exciting and important, and gives you a chance to recognize those who have helped you along the way. Plus, celebrating your accomplishments will help keep you motivated and focused so you can keep going.
If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.
Break the big picture down into smaller and more specific goals. Consider areas of your life that you either want to change or that you feel you would like to develop with time. Areas might include: career, finances, family, education, or health. Begin to ask yourself questions about what you'd like to achieve in each area and how you would like to approach it within a five year time frame.
Get some fake money, photocopied money (for personal use only) or stock images of money and place it in an area that is in your visual awareness quite often. It could be the fridge, the bathroom mirror, your vision board, your bedroom ceiling – pretty much anywhere that you can imprint your subconscious mind. Surround yourself in imagery of prosperity and see what happens.
Goal-setting theory was formulated based on empirical research and has been called one of the most important theories in organizational psychology. Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, the fathers of goal-setting theory, provided a comprehensive review of the core findings of the theory in 2002. In summary, Locke and Latham found that specific, difficult goals lead to higher performance than either easy goals or instructions to "do your best", as long as feedback about progress is provided, the person is committed to the goal, and the person has the ability and knowledge to perform the task.