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Goals can be short-term or long-term, but both are necessary to succeed. Long-term goals allow you to make a plan for your future, while short-term goals can help you get there. 

In high school, I was told by many teachers about the importance of goal setting, but until I got to college, I never truly realized how beneficial it could be. 

There have been numerous studies and research done to show that setting goals lead to success. In the mid-1960s, Edwin Locke developed the goal-setting theory, according to Positive Psychology

In his theory, Locke discussed the four core components of a goal that make it useful. One of these core components being difficulty because more difficult goals can be beneficial because they’re more motivating, energizing and satisfying. 

Much of the research done on goal-setting shows how it can lead to more success, so why wouldn’t someone try it out to see what it can do for them? 

An important part of setting goals is brainstorming action steps to achieve said goal. When I set goals for myself, I think about what specifically I can do to reach them. 

A case study was performed by psychologist Emily VanSonnenberg, who specializes in positive psychology and is a happiness coach. She presented her case study to undergraduate students to explain the importance of setting goals, especially as young adults. This case study revealed that students who set specific and more difficult goals were more likely to succeed compared to those that make easy or unspecific goals. 

On top of the psychological evidence proving the benefits of goal-setting, there is neurological evidence as well. Studies have shown that goal-setting has been proven to boost systolic blood pressure, which encourages someone to act on those goals, according to Forbes.

When a goal is slightly more difficult but still achievable, it leads to an enhanced spike in systolic blood pressure leading to more excitement toward achieving the goal. This, along with the enhanced neural connections and brain activity, provides more motivation to set and achieve goals. 

On a more simple level, goal-setting is beneficial as it allows a plan to be made for the future, allowing someone to focus on what they want to accomplish and what is most important to them. 

Goals also can help someone take control of their life by deciding what they want rather than just floating through school or work with no purpose. By setting goals, someone can decide what they want and make it happen. 

When setting a goal, it can be broken up into smaller tasks that lead to a long-term goal. In recent years, entrepreneurs have begun to take long-term goals to the next level in this way by focusing on the philosophy of longtermism. 

Longtermism is the idea that we should prioritize positively influencing the future for thousands of years to come. The idea formed from effective altruism, a broader social movement focused on helping as many people as possible. 

Even when you don’t reach a goal, by shooting higher and setting the bar higher for yourself, you are pushing to be a better version of yourself. Goal setting is important for young adults as they forge their path through life and discover themselves. 

If more people implement goal setting into their professional and scholarly lives, as shown, they will reach higher levels of success.

Kate Beske is a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Destrehan, LA.

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