What is a goal? The object or aim of an action. A goal has to have a specific time limit as well, else it is just a wish. Goal setting is the important process by which we achieve these goals.
Why is goal setting important? Goal setting involves planning for the future. It is important to explore your goals, start to create your starting criteria for an action plan, and begin organizing for success. Setting goals and reflecting upon them improves success! Goals are great motivation and visa versa.
5 Key Principles of Goal Setting:
- Commitment – What is your time limit to achieve your goal?
- Clarity – Is your goal clear and specific?
- Challenge – Is your goal too difficult or too easy?
- Complexity – How demanding is your goal and how complex it is?
- Feedback – How are you going to track your progress?
Breaking Down Your Goals In 5 Steps:
- Identify your goal
- Breakdown your goal into smaller steps
- Identify potential obstacles
- Build a schedule with adequate time to pursue your goal (organize for success!)
- Do it!
So, Where Do I Start?
Start With 3
It may be tempting to write a bunch of goals, but it is important to not rush into too much too soon! Start with setting 3 goals and as you begin to achieve your objectives, try setting more challenging, longer term goals to push your abilities more. Once you set your 3 goals, remember to review them regularly (organize for success!)
Focus on Short-term goals
It is better to set short-term goals and more realistic goals first. For example, “I will learn how to make carrot cake by next week”. This enables more frequent opportunities to review and acknowledge the achievement of goals. The more frequent experiences of success results in greater positive emotions and helps to increase motivation to set additional goals or combination of short, medium, and long-term goals.
Refrain from negative goals such as “I want to stop eating junk food” and turn it into a positive goal like “I want to feel healthier and will change my diet in order to do so”. With negative goals, your motivation usually comes from a place of negativity. For example, “I want to stop eating junk food because I feel unattractive”. This can lead to de-motivation and negative self-criticism.
MacLeod, A. K., Coates, E., & Hetherton, J. (2008). Increasing well-being through teaching goal-setting and planning skills: Results of a brief intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(2), 185-196.
Locke, E. (2019). Edwin Locke on are you setting effective goals? Podcast with Professor Edwin Locke. [Audio podcast] Retrieved from https://www.michellemcquaid.com/podcast/mppw44-edwin-locke/