I've seen a lot of articles online lately basically stating that goals are pointless and you shouldn't bother making them, it's routines that are important.
The thinking goes: don't set yourself the goal of building a wall, just focus on laying each brick as perfectly as possible. Another one is: don't focus on running a marathon, instead set yourself a daily running routine.
This logic is faulty, and here's why:
I agree routines are very important, and you won't reach your goals without them. But you must have goals, because they give your routines purpose.
To use the two examples above: yes lay each brick as well as you can. But you have to know if you are building a wall, or a house, or a pyramid.
And yes you should set an exercise routine to incorporate those actions into your day. But you will train differently if you are running a marathon than if you are striving for a personal best in a 10k. And anyway you shouldn't run the same amount of time and the same path every day because your body will quickly adapt and the benefits will decrease.You have to create an exercise routine that mixes it up to continue to benefit your body.
However, there are times when setting goals is not appropriate. For example, I don't make a 5 year plan. Life is not linear, and unless your goal for example is to finish university or something similarly clear-cut, it's often not possible to predict what your life will be like 5 years down the road. In these cases, it's better to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
For example I had wanted for a long time to publish my ideal planner. I even had it all written up and knew exactly what it would be. But I moved so often I wasn't in one place long enough (or in locations where it was possible) to find a publisher. Then when my publisher approached me about making the Plannerisms planner, I was ready and prepared to jump on that opportunity.
So the answer is, you have to have both: routines to work the actions into your daily life, and goals to give the actions purpose.
This is how I designed my Plannerisms planners. There are goals pages that give you space to map out what you would like to happen and how, and the weekly pages give you the space and structure to incorporate these actions into your daily life and track your progress.
I wrote a similar article a year ago discussing the difference between Goals, Resolutions, Projects and Tasks which you can click here to read. That article is in my page of Goal Setting Tips where there are links to other articles, research I've read and more ideas for goal setting and tracking (which is the important part).
So as you can see, I'm a big fan of goals and flexibility, which doesn't have to be contradictory.
What about you? Do you set goals? Why or why not?