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Goal setting is an incredibly important skill for success in all facets of life. When done effectively, it becomes the pillar beneath your ambitions and one of the essential vehicles driving your prosperity forward. It serves as a measurement of your progress, your motivation to continue (whatever it maybe that you’re trying to achieve), orients you towards one direct focus, contributes to the longevity of your efforts, optimizes your strategy, and much more.

It’s a core concept that I teach to all SEAL candidates and within my own personal development program, The Unbeatable Mind. It is that one prolific skill that sets the pace for all your ongoing aspirations. If you have a grasp on the difference between your short-term and long-term targets, then your goals within those targets—yet you keep a flexible agenda for the overall goal and allow for some synchronicity to help you forward, then you’re on the right track.

But one of the great benefits of efficient goal setting is that it’s an effective stress reliever. If you’re wondering how setting goals helps with something like stress, well then just know it’s one of us SEAL’s primary ways of dealing with everyday pressure. By keeping your eye on the prize and setting waypoints for your way there, you help drown out all the unwanted noise and doubt.

Types of Goals

Let me explain further. I like to break goals into two categories; ‘being’ goals and ‘doing’ goals. A Being Goal is directly related to an individual you want to become. Since I teach SEALFIT, let’s just say this could mean that your Being Goal is to become a Navy SEAL. Now your Doing Goal is often subsequent of your Being Goal. So from this same example, one of your Doing Goals could be to start improving your physical condition before applying for whichever program.

Within my program, I have created a couple different models on how to set your goals with accuracy, realistic expectations, and with the simple expansiveness that they deserve. While I don’t have the time to explain their paradigm, I can shed light on what it’s like to set goals as a Navy SEAL or someone who has attempted to improve within the art. I’ll tell you right now that it’s a stress-killer.

What are Goals Like When Using the Navy SEALS Discipline?

They’re specific and detailed. By using effective-goal setting techniques, you reduce the vagueness often bogging down otherwise specific goals. Due to this specification, they’re also measurable, which means you can pass certain milestones which help to motivate and excite you moving forward.

They’re fully assessed. I love dreamers and those that can visualize massive success for themselves. But part of being successful is being practical—and that often boils down to self awareness. In this case, however, it’s goal-awareness. This means you’ve identified your goal, and then paired it with your resources and skillset to determine whether or not it’s achievable. Because of this evaluation, you can set realistic expectations for the future.

They have a timeframe. Goals are often useless if not for the ticking clock atop them. There is a reason that deadlines at work are such a useful tool. Within our program, we ensure that a realistic and sensible timeframe is allotted for you to achieve your target goal. This helps you manage your time but also forces you to put one foot in front of the other.

Micro goals are acceptable. Often in life we’re challenged with new obstacles that veer us off the path of that One Thing (our purpose or chief goal) and steer us into a new direction. In these turbulent time, we often have to complete micro goals to survive and reroute towards our original aspiration. Efficient goal-setting allows you to recognize these spontaneous micro goals and teaches you how to deal with them.

But What Does This Have to do With Stress?

Stress is a negative force that affects the clarity and thought-process of the mind. It induces anxiety, moodiness, and hamstrings positive development. In my life, a huge part of the warrior process has been about taming and ultimately conquering my stress and negative thoughts. While there are many techniques I use, the goal setting discipline is an integral one. I’ll explain:

  • Because my goals are specific and detailed, I have no questions as to what I’m trying to achieve. The anxiety of being lost or stagnant in life is replaced with the clear path in front of me. Just as well I can track my progress, so I constantly feel that I’m moving forward or working towards something, even if my days are jarringly similar.
  • Because I’ve assessed my goals and how to achieve them, I know what to expect. If my overt target requires a couple years of a severely demanding schedule, then I know what I’m in for and I know what this door leads to. This helps mitigate the stress of everyday life as you can visualize the bigger picture because you’ve assessed it.
  • My timeframe drives me forward and keeps me on task, but removes my stress and doubt as I know when I’m to achieve my goal. It serves as both a motivator and a calming beacon shining for me across the horizon.
  • Dealing with my micro goals has a purpose: to get through them so I can reroute to my original path. When life throws me a twist, instead of buckling beneath the stress, I know that it’s okay to shift my goals and deal with the immediate one at hand. Survival is first—then I can focus on my vision once I can breathe again.

As you can see, goal-setting creates a structure that allows you to visualize your success and mitigate stress. By laying out the blueprints for your future, you allow yourself tighter control and thus eliminate stress throughout your conquest. Your actions and obstacles no longer become singular or isolated, but part of the entire journey of your success. This knowledge makes your mind a bit more unbeatable. 

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Neal Woodruff says:

    Are you the author a Navy Seal? If so, what graduating class, and to what unit(s)? Authors that don’t walk their talk, shouldn’t be talking at all.

    • Rachel Semansin says:

      Retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine graduated as Honor Man of BUD/S class 170. He served on SEAL Team 3 with deployments in the Far East and Middle East, NSW Group 1 in Iraq and Northern Africa, and SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 in Korea.

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