Goal Setting, Achieving Goals
What Is Goal Setting?
Setting goals is very popular in business now, but it is also a useful technique for personal achievements and realising your life-long dreams.
To set a goal, you are giving yourself a specific challenge normally with a measurable outcome, rather than a vague idea of something you want to do. For example:
- A vague idea would be: I want to have more money
- A set goal would be: I want to create £50,000 extra income over the next year.
This goal is easily measured by seeing how much money you make in a set time, whereas the vague idea has nothing to work towards.
Locke Goal Setting
In the 1960s Dr Edwin Locke did pioneering research on goal setting and the effects this had on motivation and achieving goals. He developed a theory that in order to have maximum effect you must follow five steps for goal setting and achievement:
- Clarity. Be as specific as you can, so that your goal and progress can be clearly measured. it is more motivating knowing that you are getting closer to your goal than just having a vague idea. We have often achieved more than we realise, but haven't had any way to chart just how far we've progressed.
- Challenge. A mistake most people make is actually making goals too easy or too difficult. If your task is too easy, it doesn't feel important, it doesn't feel like you've done anything and the rewards are lower. Too hard a goal and the rewards are much higher but you may lose motivation before reaching the end. Find a balance where you're stretching your comfort zone, but are also being realistic.
- Commitment. Choosing to commit to your goal will help motivate you. You must choose to stay focused on the end result and put your best into making it a reality. A half-hearted attempt will not get you where you want.
- Feedback. The type of feedback you get depends if you are working alone or for someone else. But either way getting feedback is essential for reaching your goals. It will give you an idea of your progress and so spur you on to stick with it. Feedback will also give you the chance to make adjustments to your goal and work to get the best results possible.
- Complexity. You must adjust the time frame and allow for the amount of learning required, depending on the complexity of your goals. Be realistic, but not too lenient. Too much time can lead to procrastination and as Parkinson's Law states
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
Do You Set Goals?
How To Achieve Goals
How you approach achieving you goals will depend partly on what they are. But there are a few simple techniques that will make them easier to keep track of, keep you more focused and make success more likely~
- Write them down. Getting your goals in print will make them more real and serve as a reminder for when your motivation wanders~ it happens to us all!
- Be specific. As mentioned before, a specific goal will give you something more measurable. Go into as much detail as possible~ including when writing them down~ and this will also make your goals more real, as you imagine the outcome and attach positive emotions to them.
- Make some changes. Align your life to allow for the goal to be completed. If your goal is to move house for example, is your current place in a state where you are ready to move? De-clutter your life and start making room for your success now~ it will put you in the right frame of mind and make success a smoother ride.
- Break them down. To prevent your goals from becoming overwhelming, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks and tick them off as you complete them. This will give constant motivational boosts and help you keep track of your progress.
- Make it a habit. Break your tasks down into daily, weekly and monthly 'to-do' lists and take 1-3 actions each day towards goal success. After 21 days it should become a habit and make taking daily goal actions more effortless.
- Take time out. Give yourself regular time out to relax and reflect on what you have done so far. Rest will give you fresh eyes and more energy. Make time to actually look at how much you have ticked off your list~ this will again boost motivation and give you a chance to make changes where necessary.