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Understanding the benefits of goal setting

Don't dream, set goals for 2014
Don't dream, set goals for 2014

Here’s a harsh reality you need to face: if you don’t take charge of your future, starting right now, you won’t have one (or at least not one you’ll want to be living). It all starts with figuring out exactly where you want to go so you can draw the road map to get there.

The benefits of thinking about your future and setting goals go far beyond the nice feeling of knowing where you want to go. Having written goals will benefit you by helping you to:

  • Focus: when you have something specific to concentrate on, life gets easier simply by knowing where you’re headed;
  • Be confident: when you know precisely where you’re headed, you can stand tall and confident in that knowledge, especially when you realize that few of your peers are in the same boat with you;
  • Reduce stress: there’s no worse stress than not having a clue where you’re going, how you can improve your situation, or how you can get to where you want to be—having written goals is like having a road map for your future that you just need to follow;
  • Make easier decisions: when faced with a career, financial, or other decision, re-visit your written goals—make the decision that will move you closer to one of your goals, not one that will prevent you from reaching them;
  • Plan and prioritize more easily: without goals that you can look to for guidance, it can be easy to get distracted with urgent matters or tempting options, but with goals laid out ahead of time, you can schedule and prioritize your time in the most effective way possible;
  • Enjoy increased happiness: when you have a clear-cut vision of what your future will be like, you’ve eliminated the nightmares of not knowing, so how can you help but be happier?
  • Gain higher success, both professionally and personally: many studies confirm that people who write down their goals have exponentially more success in their careers and their lives than those who skip this step.

Excerpted from the book, GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College! (available through


About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.

Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.

Follow her other Examiner columns: College to Career and Job Search. And even more articles on

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