Guidelines for Effective Goal Setting

Image result for goalsWhether we make formal New Year’s resolutions or not, most of us find the beginning of the new year to be a time of reflection about what has passed and what we want to achieve because that we have a “fresh start”.

We are all on a quest to find out our ultimate goals and purpose in life and ways to achieve these goals. While some of us find our life goals and objectives and even exceed our wildest dreams and expectations, others struggle to find their objective in life and end up feeling confused and frustrated.

Understanding your desires and being able to set goals to get you to said desires is the difference between successful people and others.

Successful people are often determined, focused and persistent in going after what they want. Studies have shown that goal setting and correct formulation of goals can significantly boost productivity and quality of life. Knowing goals also helps leaders to share them with their teams so everyone knows where they are heading.

When properly implemented, goal-setting can play a key role in helping an athlete achieve desired results. Here are ten guidelines to help you set goals more effectively.

1. SET LONG-TERM, INTERMEDIATE, AND SHORT-TERM GOALS.

Think of the goal setting process like climbing a mountain. Your ultimate goal may be the summit (long-term goal); but to reach the summit, you need to break the climb into segments (intermediate goals) and divide those segments into individual steps (short-term goals).

2. KEEP RECORDS AND EVALUATE PROGRESS.

Write down your goals and schedule dates for their evaluation.

Feedback, whether through self-reflection or from another source such as a coach or training buddy, is an essential component of the goal setting process.

The feedback you gain along the way will allow you to readjust your short-term and intermediate goals to stay on course for the long-term ones.

3. SET GOALS FOR EVERYTHING. GOALS ARE NOT JUST FOR RACES.

It is equally important to include goals in your practices as it is to have goals in your actual race of life.

Comparison with past performance can help you monitor your progress on a regular basis, and daily or weekly goals can help you stay focused on the objectives of the moment.

4. SET GOALS THAT ARE DIFFICULT YET REALISTIC.

Goals should be challenging. After all, if you can easily do something, there’s little need to make it a goal. Yet goals also need to be grounded in reality.

Goals too far removed from an honest assessment of one’s abilities can be discouraging in the long run. Goals should keep you motivated. They should challenge you to step up to that next level of performance.

You may not always reach a particular goal, but that’s part of the process. It’s better to reach high and progress than to aim low and never really test your capabilities. The most motivating goals challenge you without defeating you.

5. DEVISE GOALS THAT ARE SPECIFIC.

Specific goals, rather than vague ones, will provide precision to your planned activity and objectives. Instead of saying, “I want to improve my ability to make profit” (vague), specify, “I want to make of profit of N10m next year” (specific).

6. DEVISE GOALS THAT ARE MEASURABLE.

Devising goals that are specific goes hand in hand with devising goals that are measurable. If you want to qualify for a Marathon, for example, that type of goal can be measured. You can compare your race times to qualifying times. Measurable goals often involve time targets, e.g. “I want to run 1km in a time less than 2 minutes”

7. STATE GOALS IN THE POSITIVE.

Keep your eyes on where you want to go rather than where you don’t want to go.

Instead of saying, “I don’t want to run slower than 40 minutes in the Marathon” (negative), say, “I want to break 40 minutes in the Marathon” (positive).

8. KEEP GOALS UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

As much as possible, set goals that you have control over. This means focusing more on performance- and process-related goals than outcome-related goals.

Performance goals have to do with achieving a certain time (e.g., running 1km in 2 minutes).

Process goals have to do with how you compete (e.g., Never fall back to the 4th position in course of the race).

Outcome goals have to do with placement in a race (e.g., finishing within the top three).

While outcome goals provide long-term motivation and many long-term goals take this form, performance and process goals help us focus on what we need to do in the intermediate and short-term.

9. OWN YOUR GOALS.

Devise and write down goals that are agreeable to you, that you will commit to, and that you are willing to accept as your own. After all, these are your goals and should represent what you want to achieve, not what you think others want you to accomplish.

10. INVOLVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM.

Let supporters like Family, Friends and spouses/partners know what your goals are so that they can help you stay accountable to those goals and provide encouragement along the way.

Rt. Revd Dr. J.A.F. Olusola

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