In life, we always strive to become the best possible person we can be. Whether it be getting an A on the next test, becoming more fit during the summer, or simply reaching a certain quota for the day, goals drive us along the process. The textbook definition of “goal” is an object of a person’s ambition; however, goals also strengthen mental fortitude. Setting proper goals helps our mental health through providing motivation, reinforcing focus, and developing confidence.
Goal setting and motivation are two intertwined terms. In the grand scheme of things, goals allow for a more motivated attempt in accomplishing something because one is able to see the end product. The goal is the motivating factor that increases our “inner drive to succeed,” according to Scott T. Rabideau in his article “Effects of Motivation on Behavior”. As a result, it is always encouraged for individuals to set high goals for themselves. Even though it may seem unrealistic at first, there is greater motivation for a person to actually fulfill high goals.
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An individual’s ability to focus directly stems from the goals they set as well. Focus is the ability to zone in on a task for a period of time. Meaningful goals that we set throughout the course of life reinforce our focus because we remind ourselves that we complete these tasks for an ultimate vision at the end. For example, people who aspire to become professional athletes set that as their long term goal, and consequently, they will have a heightened focus on training to make their dream a reality.
Goals also help us develop our self-confidence and sense of responsibility during childhood. Gail Gross describes two different types of people in her article: those with low self confidence, and those with high self confidence. For those who have low self confidence, if one goal does not pan out, the person will simply give up. However, those with high self confidence have greater control over the goals they set, and are responsible for both the successes and failures they face along the way. By instilling the concept of goal setting at an early age, children associate goals with greater self-confidence and take responsibility for their behavior.
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Where we are today is directly correlated to the goals we set in our past. Rather than thinking about goals as simply superficially driving our behavior, it is important to look at how goals promote our mental health. Our motivation, focus, and confidence all stem from the goals we set for ourselves on a daily basis, and these traits continue to grow as we strive for what we desire.
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