Thursday, May 9, 2019

How to Set More Effective Goals



Setting goals is something that is often talked about in corporate settings. Most people who own a business and/or have experience working in a position of leadership recognize the importance of setting goals and the value it brings. While goals are often set and worked toward in the business world, few people make the effort to create and follow them on their own time. 

And when they do try to set goals, they don’t do so effectively because they don’t know how. This is a missed opportunity for many people who either don’t understand the value of setting goals or don’t know how to do it effectively and efficiently.

Why Is Goal-Setting Important?


At some point in our lives, we all have likely heard the theory that when someone is lost in the forest or in the desert, they tend to walk around in circles. While that common expression didn’t originate from any factual evidence, studies have been done to confirm that the theory is true: Without some sort of reference point, people who are lost in the forest or desert do have a tendency to walk in circles.





This is a great analogy demonstrating the importance of setting goals. Goals that are properly set serve as reference points in the future that we are hoping to attain. When we have a clearly-defined goal that we are working towards, it puts our path of life into perspective and gives us more direction than we otherwise would have. 


This is why successful companies integrate goal-setting into their business routines and why you should integrate it into your daily life.

How Can I Set More Effective Goals?


Not all goals are created equally. Some are much more appropriate, reasonable, and effective than others. In fact, some goals are just downright useless. Others, on the other hand, are extremely beneficial. The differences between the two are important. Here are some of the defining characteristics that all effective goals share:

  • They are specific. Instead of telling yourself, “I want to be in good shape,” a much more effective alternative is to narrow it down and be more specific. For example, “I want to be able to run a mile in 7 minutes.” The more specific the goal, the better, because it’s much easier to visualize and to know when you have attained it. While it can be difficult to know when you’re “in good shape,” it is extremely easy to know whether or not you can run a mile in 7 minutes.
  • They are measurable. As the previous example demonstrated, goals that are measurable are much more effective than ones that are not. If you set a goal to be more productive, at what point do you cross that goal off? How do you track your progress? If, on the other hand, you set a goal to make a to-do list every night and cross at least 4 things off of it the next day, you have a definitive goal to reach and you can measure your progress as you go.
  • They are achievable. If you set a goal that is too easy, you’ll accomplish it quickly without stretching yourself. If you set a goal that is too difficult, you’ll lose your motivation and give up on it. Every great goal is easy enough to achieve and difficult enough to stretch you. Always remember that!
  • They are relevant. This one’s a bit obvious, but it’s worth repeating that there’s no point in setting goals for things that won’t improve your life in some way. If you have a specific problem—let’s say you’re struggling with a substance abuse addiction—you’ll want to set goals that are recovery-specific. For example, setting a goal to go one month without abusing drugs or alcohol will be much more effective than setting a goal to learn to play the piano (a silly example, I know, but it demonstrates the point well).
  • They are time-sensitive. Every effective goal has a deadline. Referring back to our previous example, instead of simply saying, “I want to run a mile in 7 minutes,” it’s much better to say, “I want to run a mile in 7 minutes by January 4th, which is in 5 months.” That way, you have a set time frame and have given yourself a deadline to work toward.

Set SMART Goals


If you’re having trouble remembering the formula that every effective goal follows, remember the acronym SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive

If you keep those things in mind as you set goals, you’ll be on your way to living a more peaceful and productive life in no time!


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