Goals setting is important in all aspects of life. Goals are the primary step in planning for the future, and they are fundamental in the development of skills in a number of aspects of life, such as career, relationships and personal growth, to name a few.
If you envisage a certain life for yourself but you’re not setting goals, it can be easy to ‘miss the target’ with your proverbial arrow. Read on to find out how to set goals and why setting goals is so important to our day to day lives.
- Setting the right goals is paramount
- Small steps lead to big victories
- Working towards, and achieving, goals can benefit your wellbeing
Setting goals paves the way for success and higher achievement, however, you will not be able to achieve your goals just by setting them. One must adopt techniques for reaching what you want to achieve.
Defining a ‘Goal’
In 2002, Locke and Latham, defined a goal as “the objective aim of an action, for example, to attain a specific standard of proficiency, usually within a specified time limit.” Goal setting is based on the premise that if we consciously decide what we want from life, we can set objectives to achieve these things, in turn benefitting our wellbeing.
Set The Right Goals & Stick To Them
Setting the right goals for us is important, they can be ambitious but they should also be realistic. If you don’t set the right goals, then motivation can be hard to maintain. For goals that are too difficult, or outside the realm of possibility, it is easier to give up and lose sight of the big picture (Locke & Latham, 2002). Setting smaller, achievable goals and realistic planning steps in order to achieve a bigger goal, can be useful in achieving what you want for the future.
Interestingly, it has been shown that when people write goals down on a piece of paper they are 33% more likely to achieve the goal they wrote down compared to those that kept the goal in their head.
The Yin & Yang of Goal Setting
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting system designed by Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, and now popularised by Google’s CEO John Doerr. The system is an effective way to align a team’s objectives and show how productive daily contributions can affect the bigger picture. To put it simply, OKRs take large long-term goals and segment them into bitesize chunks (actionable Key Results).
Although this concept is better known as a management tool, it can be used to further personal goals, whether that be writing a book or starting a new exercise routine. In the words of John Doerr, “Objectives and key results are the yin and yang of goal setting.”
To implement the structure into your personal life you may follow a path like this:
- Decide on what you want to achieve
- Determine the steps you need to take to get there
- Draft out what goals you need to be hitting for each step to be successful
- Ask yourself why you want to achieve each result
- Find a partner to hold yourself accountable
- Check in with your partner every 2-4 weeks
Goals & Wellbeing
Goals give us something to look forward to and provide a sense of achievement when they are fulfilled. Actively working towards the goal is also essential – the journey itself is as important as the destination. Goals give a sense of meaning and purpose and can build confidence when steps are achieved. This can contribute to improved wellbeing and happiness in our lives.
Action For Happiness. “Have Goals For The Future.” https://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/have-goals-to-look-forward-to/details.
Doeer, John. “Why the secret to success is setting the right goals | John Doerr.” TED. (2018). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4N1q4RNi9I.
Less, John. ” How can setting goals help create wellbeing?” (2020). https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/how-can-setting-goals-help-create-wellbeing.
Locke, Edwin A., and Latham, Gary P. “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation: A 35Year Odyssey.” American Psychologist. 57.9 (2002): 705-717. Doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.57.9.705.
Price-Mitchell, Marilyn. “Goal-Setting Is Linked to Higher Achievement.” Motivation. (2018). https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-moment-youth/201803/goal-setting-is-linked-higher-achievement.
Niven, Paul R., and Lamorte, Ben. “Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs.” (John Whiley & Sons, 2016). Doi: 10.1002/9781119255543.