Why is it Important to Set Goals?

Goal setting is important for one specific reason: How can you achieve something if you dont know what it is you want to achieve?

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A goal is a starting point – a compass that helps direct you in just about any area of your life, including your career, finances and even your personal life.

Smart Goals

Goals are important, but it is just as important that you set them wisely. You might have heard that a good goal is SMART


When you set a goal, be specific. Don’t say “I want to be rich”, but rather “I’d like to have R100 000 in savings within five years.”


When you’ve achieved your goal, it should be easy to see. Instead of saying “I want more freedom”, you might want to set a goal like “I want a job that I can work at four days a week, rather than five days.”


Your goal needs to be realistic. “I want to be president in four years” might not be realistic, but “I want to hold a political position within my local government within the next two years” might be.


If your goal isn’t relevant to you, your life or your skill set, it’s likely that it is not going to happen. If you can’t sing, aiming to win a Grammy might not be possible!


Goals must be time-based. If you set a goal, it must come with a certain time limit that you can work within. This will help to keep you motivated, as well as ensuring that if you’re not meeting these deadlines, you can readjust your goals or expectations.

Short, Medium- And Long-Term Goals

When goal setting, make sure that you set short, medium- and long-term goals. The short-term goals are those that are easier to achieve in a shorter time frame, but will help you to achieve the medium- and then long-term goals.

Think of the short- and medium-term goals as building blocks for the long-term goals – if you’ve set them correctly, you’ll find that it’s easier to build a foundation that will help you to fulfil your dreams.


 Not only do the short- and medium-term goals help you to build towards the long-term goals, but they also help to motivate you along the way. If you are consistently achieving your short- and medium-term goals, you’ll be motivated to continue pursuing them.

Whether you’re career planning, trying to get your finances back on track, or looking to learn a new language, goals will help you to achieve all of this and more.


Making Goals That Will Work For You

1. Reflect On Where You Are And Where You Want To Be

It’s not always easy to know what you want, especially when it comes to a career, but having a vision is very important if you’re going to set attainable goals. If you don’t know what type of job you want, take some time to focus on the type of lifestyle you want. It could also be a good idea to take a career aptitude test because this could point you in the right direction with regards to the field that will suit your specific skills best.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Goal setting doesn’t have to be an individual task – let the people around you help to motivate and keep you on track. If you’re aiming to earn a qualification, for example, why not make friends with some of the people in your class? That way, you can motivate each other to keep going when you lose steam.

3. Don’t Overdo It

Time is a precious resource, so, when you set goals, make sure that you’re prioritising. When you’re feeling motivated, it can be easy to overdo it – remember to keep your goals SMART.

4. Stay Flexible

You can’t predict the future, so there are going to be times when you’ll need to adjust the goals you’ve set, whether this is around the timelines or even the entire goal itself. Make sure you stay open to the possibility of change, or you could find that you set yourself up for failure.

5. Reward Yourself

When you reach a goal, don’t forget to reward yourself. This will motivate you to continue reaching for the stars.

How To Set Your Goals

  1. Start with your long-term goals. This will help you to guide your short- and medium-term goals. Think of the long-term goal as a destination on a map – the short- and medium-term goals are going to be the steps that lead you to the end of your journey.
  1. Then set your medium-term goals. If your long-term goal is to have R100 000 in savings in five years, you need to make sure that your medium-term goal is building towards that. This might mean, for example, setting a goal of having R50 000 in savings in three years’ time (considering that your salary will increase over the next five years and you’ll be able to save more in the last two years).

    3. Lastly, set your short-term goals. Remember, they need to be SMART. If you want to be able to save R50 000 in the next three years, you’ll need to be putting away about R1 389 per month. You need to ask yourself:

    • Is this specific? The answer to this is “Yes” – you’re setting a specific amount over a specific time frame.
    • Is this measurable? Once again, the answer is “Yes” because you’ll know once you’ve put R1 389 into your savings each month.
    • Is this achievable? Only you will be able to answer this. The question is, can you afford to put this much into savings every month without falling behind on bills? Can you do this for three years?
    • Is this relevant? Savings are relevant to just about everyone because everyone could do with something to fall back on – or something to put towards retirement.
    • Is this timely? The answer is “Yes,” because you’ve set a very specific timeframe for your goal. If you miss one month of saving, you’ll need to adjust your timeframe to five years and one month.

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