Most of us are familiar with setting goals to improve our fitness and health. However, setting goals can be detrimental to your overall progression and actually do more harm than good. In this article, we look at why setting objectives can be better than goals, especially for your ongoing health and wellness.
Goals are precise yet broad measurable objectives with an exact time frame. Usually, people set goals to achieve better performance. However, setting goals with such a definitive end result can cause distress when it is not achieved. A failed goal often causes people to question their value and worth, even if they have achieved something they wouldn’t have before. For example, setting a goal to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. But, then ending up running the half marathon at 2 hours, 2 minutes is a failed goal, even though you have never run a half marathon before.
Objectives are small steps or systems that help you to achieve an overall goal. However, they do not focus on an end or on a specific time frame. Instead, each objective is fluid, moveable, and leads you in a specific direction. Each objective you set should help you to create long-lasting habits and processes to benefit you and your life. Furthermore, as objectives are fluid, there is no failure, which helps with ongoing motivation. As there is no deadline or end, objectivities continue to change and grow as you do. For example, you may set an objective to move your body more each week. After a few weeks, you can change this objective to include a length of time to work out each week or more specific workouts. Each objective you set should be small and achievable while building your confidence.
Setting goals also creates a comparative environment. This means that those setting goals will often compare their progress or ability to others within the same environment. Comparative environments can cause embarrassment, and a feeling of failure when it is the main focus. However, by having objectives, a comparative environment can instead offer motivation and can help boost your confidence. This is because you no longer have a strict deadline of when you must complete something, or even a set end to your objective. Thus, seeing others achieve what you want to become inspiring rather than competitive.
By setting objectives you allow yourself to be on a continuous journey of growth. However, when you set a goal there is a very definitive success or failure at the end. In the best-case scenario, you achieve your goal and are happy for a time. But, where do you go from there? Objectives allow you to continue to move the goalpost and challenge yourself without a set success/failure rate. Instead, you are continuing to progress and improve yourself and your performance bit by bit.
Setting objectives can be better than goals for both your mental health and your overall progress. Objectives remove the definitive ceiling and allow for growth over success or failure. This in turn can help you to achieve even more in less time, as the focus is now on what you are doing rather than pressuring yourself to hit certain milestones in a specific time frame.