Goal-Setting: Why You Should Set Goals

setting goals

Everyone has a goal they want to achieve within a certain amount of time. As a target to pursue, goals regulate one’s actions that need the devotion of mental and physical energy to achieve them.

However, achieving even a single goal is not always easy. A study from university students in the Netherlands revealed that only 38% of students achieve the goals they set for themselves. 

So, what makes achieving goals hard? The above study found that when achieving goals, the uncertainty of what people must do to achieve particular goals might be the reason. That is where goal-setting plays a vital role where it helps people to make a detailed plan of what they should do to achieve their goals, instead of only having a goal in their mind.

What is goal-setting? 

Imagine that someone has a goal that they want to achieve. The next thing that person has to do is to create a plan that encourages and directs their movement toward their goal — a process called goal-setting.

According to Eckhoff (2020), goal-setting is the action of a person with the confidence, commitment, motivation, and knowledge necessary to attain a specific, challenging, measurable, and relevant goal within a specified time. In other words, goal-setting is not just about having a goal. It is a process of detailed planning that answers the questions of where, when, how, or whom.

The unique part of goal-setting is that everyone can use it effectively in any aspect. For example, goal-setting also plays a significant role in the workplace. A study found that employees who had a precise goal to achieve each day improved far more than those who only received advice to try their best. The finding indicates that setting goals might be helpful in various situations. 

Importance of goal-setting

It is a well-known fact that goal-setting helps people to achieve their goals. However, there is more to that. 

Has positive effects

In general, goal-setting has some positive impacts on people’s lives. Positive behavior changes, a rise in self-esteem, satisfaction in oneself, a sense of pride, and a sensation of being energized are some of the benefits of goal-setting. 

Helps recovery from mental illnesses

Moreover, setting goals can also be a helpful step in recovering from a mental illness. Depression and anxiety are common disorders that can make it difficult to function at work or home or to relate to others. Goal-setting can be used as part of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to begin the process of recovery and rebuild a meaningful life.

Clarifies life’s purpose

Last but not least, to summarize why everyone should set goals is because goal-setting can provide meaning and purpose in life. Setting goals allows people to examine where they are now, where they want to go, and how far they have come. In conclusion, setting goals enables everyone to reflect on things beyond their careers.

Criteria of effective goal setting

Having many goals does not necessarily mean one knows how to set them, nor does it mean they are close to achieving their goals. In effective goal-setting exercises, some attributes must be present. These critical attributes of goal-setting can help you achieve your goals:

The goal is specific

When asked to achieve a specified goal, people perform better. Individuals should not be asked to improve, strive more, or do their best since such a goal does not provide them with a clear target. Instead, individuals can set specific goals to help them know what to aim for and track their progress. You can quickly check this attribute of your goals by asking yourself: “What exactly am I trying to achieve?” 

The goal is challenging but achievable

A goal that is effortless to achieve will not result in the anticipated outcomes. A crucial criterion is that a goal must be challenging enough to improve performance. Although people will work hard to achieve challenging goals, they will only do so if the goals are within their capabilities. Following the explanation, you can ask yourself: “Do I feel challenged? Is it possible to achieve this goal?”

The goal can be quantified

The influence of goals grows when individuals understand that their performance will be evaluated on how well they accomplish them. In other words, the goal should be measurable. For this attribute, you can ask yourself: “How can I track my progress?”

 The goal is relevant to the desired outcome

This attribute is focused on ensuring that your goal is important to you and that it also fits with other relevant goals. Your goals should be consistent with your broader long-term goals. You can ask yourself: “Why am I setting this goal? Will this goal contribute or align with my other goals?”

The goal has a finish point

Goals that include a deadline for accomplishment are more effective for most people. Deadlines help to keep track of time and boost the motivating impact of goals. To ensure you have this attribute in your goal, ask yourself: “Does my goal have a deadline or a reasonable time to achieve?”

In conclusion

Goal-setting is a powerful tool for everyone that wants to see a desirable outcome in their life. However, simply setting goals doesn’t mean you will consistently achieve your goals. Remember that even if you face failure in achieving goals, it should not stop you. You can learn from it, revisit your goals, and maybe, once again, try to set them more efficiently.

Setting goals effectively is one of the many areas in life that many struggle with. If this sounds like you, check out the Personal Productivity Science Labs. Using the research of the Institute for Life Management Science, the lab produces tools and learning resources aimed at boosting your productivity. Visit Personal Productivity Science Labs today.

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