Why Setting Goals Matters


​How do you measure success? For many, the greatest sense of accomplishment comes from achieving a goal. Here’s the challenge – if you don’t establish goals, you won’t know when you reach them. Research shows that goal setting improves performance 20 to 25 percent. Here are five of many reasons why:

  • A goal gives “success” a name. When you have a goal – and especially when you write it down – you’re defining what success looks like for you.
  • A goal improves focus. The expression “Don’t take your eyes off the prize” applies to setting goals. When you know exactly what you’re working toward, it’s much easier to resist distractions that may take you off course.
  • A goal increases confidence. By creating a goal, you’re creating a belief in yourself that you’re capable of success. That confidence increases with every milestone you reach.
  • A goal clarifies priorities. To achieve anything, you need resources. These may include time, money, or technology. Setting goals guides your decision making about where to put your energy and how to spend your resources.
  • A goal reduces procrastination. There’s no time to waste when your goal has a deadline. To make timetables more manageable, and to avoid last-minute crunches, set short-term deadlines as well as a final one.

The ABCs of Setting Goals

In order to experience the benefits of setting goals, you need to set smart goals. Ask yourself these questions: Is your goal achievable? Is your goal believable? Are you committed to your goal? If you can’t answer all these questions with a resounding “yes,” you may need to redefine your goal, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s best to set mini-goals that incrementally lead you to your ultimate definition of success.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Another element of effective goal setting is to consider whether you – or your team if you’re setting a team goal – have the correct skills to achieve success. It may be that in order to achieve your final goal, one of your short-term goals needs to be to complete a specific training course or master a particular skill. Expect slight detours as you work toward your goal. Progress, not perfection, is what matters.

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