Why Goals Matter
Goals May Be Your Keys to Improvement in 2017
By David Cox, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | December 22, 2016
As we stand on the threshold of 2017, it’s probably worthwhile to remember that goals help us succeed in several ways:
- Goals give you direction. They provide you with a destination and a road map for getting there.
- Goals provide feedback. As you proceed with your goal in sight, you can see when to modify your course to reach your destination.
- Goals motivate. They give you a daily purpose, a challenge, and a reward when you reach them.
By setting goals, you can:
- Achieve more.
- Improve performance.
- Increase your motivation.
- Increase your pride and satisfaction in your achievements.
- Improve your self-confidence.
- Eliminate attitudes that hold you back.
Research shows that people who set goals:
- Suffer less from stress and anxiety.
- Concentrate better.
- Show more self-confidence.
- Perform better.
- Are happier and more satisfied.
On the other side of the coin, there can be a cost to not setting goals. Consider this exchange from Alice in Wonderland:
Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me which road to take?
Where are you going?
Oh, I don’t know where I am going, sir.
Well, if you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.
Effective goal-setting is a complex yet logical process. These 10 steps will help you set specific goals to broaden your background, develop your skills, and achieve your dreams.
- Identify long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals typically focus on months or years ahead, whereas short-term goals focus on the next few days, weeks, or months, serving as stepping-stones to long-term goals.
- Set outcome goals and task goals. Outcome goals aim at a result—for example, to increase your production rate by 5 percent. Task goals are tasks you need to do to achieve your outcome goals—for example, organize your work area to increase output.
- Identify what you need to achieve goals. Make a list of everything you need. Include training, resources, the cooperation of co-workers, etc.
- Recognize obstacles. Consider anything that might get in the way of achieving your goal—for example, poor time management, lack of skills, a negative attitude, fear of failure. Figure out how you can eliminate these obstacles.
- Write your goals and review them often. Until you commit goals to paper, they’re only thoughts, not facts. Review your list to remain focused.
- Create a plan of action. Formulate a step-by-step action plan for achieving your goals. An action plan is essential, especially if your goal is broad or if you have several obstacles to overcome.
- Set a date to achieve your goal. Mark it on your calendar and circle it in red. A target date will keep you moving steadily toward your goal, without backsliding.
- Take action. Follow your plan and deal with problems as they arise. Without action, goals remain dreams.
- Evaluate your goals. Set specific dates to monitor your progress and modify goals as needed.
- Set new goals. Once you achieve one goal, set a new one, and keep going.
If you determine to never give up setting and achieving goals, you will make achievement a lifelong process.