What are your goals and goal setting strategies? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to do with your life? What could make your life better? What would you like to do to make this a better world to live in?
All these questions have been asked by ourselves, parents, friends, relatives and others to help us focus on what we would like to achieve in our lives?
Simply put, a goal is some desired state that we would like to achieve in the future.
Often other terms are used for the word “goal.” Some of these are: objective, object, desire, intention, task, deadline, aim, end, mission, purpose, resolution, target, mark, aspiration, and even dream. Perhaps you can think of other terms.
Regardless of whether you use the term “goal” or one of the other synonyms, the setting of goals is a part of a vibrant life. Without them, we become dolts just subsisting from day to day. Setting–and achieving–goals sets us apart from the animals that operate strictly by instinct.
Many people think of goals and goal setting as a simplistic and perhaps outdated process. However, researchers have applied some very rigorous testing to the process to see if setting goals really works. Two of the most prolific researchers in goal setting examined the vast array of studies, including their own, to arrive at some conclusions. Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham have arrived at the following conclusions about goal setting (as chronicled in their book–A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance) that may help you in your quest to set and achieve goals in your life:
1. Rational, goal-directed action is essential for happiness and survival.
2. Hard goals, if committed to, lead to greater effort, persistence, and, ultimately, to achievement.
3. People can successfully pursue more than one goal at a time.
4. Confidence in achieving any specific goal is essential.
5. Specific, challenging goals lead to greater effort.
6. Commitment is essential to goal achievement.
7. Feedback is essential so that the individual may make adjustments in effort.
8. Unrealistic goals lead to less effort and, ultimately, less probability of achievement.
9. Persistent and effort over time leads to greater probability of achievement.
10. Specific, challenging goals directs a person’s knowledge and skills, rather than vague, general goals.
We’ve all tried “New Year’s Resolutions” and failed. Maybe, once in a while, we’ve even been serious enough to accomplish our resolutions. Check over the list of essential goal-achievement conditions above, and you will see that the times when you’ve achieved your resolutions–and other goals for that matter–these conditions normally applied.
When you’ve not been able to achieve a goal, the reason probably lies in not meeting some of the conditions laid out by Locke and Latham.
In fact, you could make a checklist of the items above to see if your goals are realistic and achievable.
Good luck in achieving your goals. With goals and goal setting you CAN have a good life!