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How to set goals?
Do you make the same New Year's resolutions every year? Do you set the same goal over and over again, promising yourself that you will finally achieve it?
If you answered yes, you are not alone. Many people get stuck in the same cycle: they set goals, forget about them or fail to achieve them, and then set the same goals again with a renewed (but temporary) resolution to achieve them.
But you can break this cycle. Read on to learn more about the process of goal setting and getting the most out of your business, your team, and yourself.
What is goal setting?
Some people have trouble setting goals because they can not distinguish their goals from everyday self-improvement efforts. Just because you decide to start running every day does not necessarily make it a conscious goal. So let us revisit what goal setting means.
Goal setting is a purposeful and explicit process that starts with you setting a new goal, skill, or project that you want to achieve. Then you make a plan for how to achieve that goal and work to make it happen.
Rather than just running without a specific goal in mind, a real goal would be to begin a training program to complete a specific race, such as a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day, which requires much more careful planning, motivation, and discipline.
Why is it important to set goals?
When you set goals, you take control of the direction of your life - or your work: goals give you direction. The decisions you make and the actions you take should bring you closer to achieving them.
When you set goals, you keep moving, you are happier, and you benefit from your business, too. When you set goals, you create a vision of what your life or business could look like. Then start pushing yourself and your team to achieve the best possible results.
What is the theory of goal setting?
Developed by industrialand organizational psychologist Edwin Locke, goal setting theory provides recommendations on how to set the most effective goals. Locke found that employees perform better and are more motivated to achieve goals when those goals are difficult.
In other words, you can not cheat. The easier the goal, the less effort you will put into achieving it. If you set difficult (but not impossible) goals, you will actually put in the most effort.
This article looks in detail at the other important aspects of Locke's theory, such as setting realistic goals and self-motivation. Read on to get the most out of your personal goals or to get your employees to set their own goals effectively.
How to set goals in 7 steps
If goals are so important, why do not we manage to achieve them? Because we do not plan the steps along the way.
A goal setting process forces you to think about how you are going to get there (in other words, how you are going to complete your tasks), not just the end goal. Take a look at the following steps to get started.
1. Think about the results you want to see.
Before you set a goal, take a closer look at what you want to accomplish and ask yourself the following questions:
Is this goal something you really want?
Is it important enough to spend hours of time and effort on?
If you are not willing to invest the time, it may not be worth pursuing.
If you create a long list of goals that you want to pursue all at the same time, you'll have a hard time achieving even one of them. Instead, use the questions above to figure out which goals are most important to you right now, and then focus on those few.
2. Create SMART goals
Once you have settled on what you really want, make sure your goal meets the SMART criteria:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time-bound
The most important thing when setting goals at SMART is to be specific about your goal so that you can clearly track your progress and know if you have achieved the goal. The more specific you can be with your goal, the better chance you have of achieving it.
For example, many people set a goal to lose weight, but they do not always specify how much weight they want to lose or when they want to achieve that goal. A specific goal would be, "I want to lose 25 pounds by the Fourth of July." This goal specifies an exact amount of weight you want to lose and an end date by which you want to achieve it.
3. Write down your goals
When you write down your goals, they become real and tangible instead of being a vague idea that only exists in your head. Once you have written down your goals, keep them in plain sight - post your personal goals on your mirrors or near your computer screen, post your team goals on the walls next to your employees' desks, and include company goals in internal presentations.
This tactic reminds you to work on your goals every day. When you write down your goals, keep a positive tone so you look forward to achieving them.
4. Create an action plan
Many people decide on a goal, but never create an action plan to determine how exactly they will achieve that goal. Your action plan should include the overall goal you want to achieve and all the steps you need to take to get there.
Do not be afraid to get creative with your action plan. Remember your elementary school days and get creative. For example, write down your goal using crayons, markers or colored pencils. According to Forbes, creating an action plan this way activates a different part of your brain and anchors the goals in your memory.
5 Create a timeline
As part of your action plan, use a timeline to visualize the roles, tasks, milestones, and deadlines for achieving your goal. Once you have established these deadlines, try to meet them as closely as possible. A schedule creates a sense of urgency, which in turn motivates you to stay on schedule and achieve your goal.
6. Take action
Now that you have everything planned out, it's time to take action. You did not put in all the work just to forget about your goal. Every step you take should lead to another until you reach your goal.
7. Reassess and evaluate your progress.
You need to keep up your motivation to reach your goal. Schedule a weekly assessment where you can measure your progress and review your schedule. When you see how close you are to the finish line, you'll feel more motivated to stick it out until the end. If you fall a little behind schedule, make the necessary adjustments and keep going.
Start setting goals for yourself
Setting goals will help you succeed faster and more efficiently. It can fuel your ambition and help you achieve tangible results. A goal setting process will help you set goals that are specific, timely, and realistic.