What Are Your #Goals?

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

#Goals. You have likely seen it all over social media, attached to celebratory posts of graduating seniors, over sandy toes relaxing on the beach and used when longing for something currently unattainable. While it’s true that hash tags are a genius way to make a particular topic discoverable by other users, do you know what is even more brilliant? SETTING GOALS!

Without aspirations, we have no purpose in life. No dreams to pursue. No direction. A life without goals leads to chaos and aimless wandering. So today, we challenge you to set goals. Thinking about short-term and long-term hopes and dreams helps create a roadmap for life’s journey and who couldn’t use one of those? So, declare those goals, dream big and never give up.

Ten benefits of setting #goals:

There’s so much to do in a day (and a lifetime). Goal setting can help you prioritize your to-do list to ensure that the most beneficial tasks are completed first.

Keeping goals in mind can help you make effective and productive use of precious time.

Decision-making can be tough, but when we do it with an end result in mind (a goal) the pros and cons become clear.

Goalsetting can shine a light on the important factors that will help our dreams come true, while allowing us to eliminate the things that are holding us back.

Setting and achieving short-term goals offers a sense of personal satisfaction and a boost of encouragement to continue striving for the bigger dreams.

Thinking about the future can be incredibly overwhelming, especially without goals. Declaring where you’d like to be in 5, 10, even 20 years can help you take control of your future.

It’s easy to get discouraged when a task seems too difficult – running a 5K, acing the test, landing the job – but thinking about goals can be a motivational tool that encourages you to reach deep and never give up.

We’ve all been tempted to procrastinate when big projects are looming. But much like setting deadlines, keeping the anticipated finish line in mind can eliminate our natural tendency to stall on the tough stuff.

Not knowing what the future holds can create a great deal of stress. But getting organized with clear goals in mind can eliminate the anxiety. Bonus: achieving even small successes can stimulate the release of good chemicals that make us happier and healthier.

When we know what we want, we know how to better communicate our needs with others. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself with counselors, peers, parents and mentors by taking ownership of your path.