Goal Setting is widely accepted as being the single most important technique for planning & achieving almost anything in life. This acknowledgement and status is due to a number of factors:-
- Human nature – we all have the mental ability to visualise a future state of the thing we want to change.
- Goal Setting theory, first defined by Edwin Locke back in the 1960’s.
- A good definition of what a Goal is and how it is best defined
- It’s part of our vernacular. The word ‘goal’ has become part of our daily lives.
The process of Goal Setting involves :-
- Identifying what it is that needs to change
- Stating the goal in clear concise terms – SMART Goals
- Developing an Action Plan – a set of real-world, physical actions in a defined order.
The time before goals and goal setting
Goals and goal setting are not stand alone activities – they should not be the starting point of your action plan. With a goal being defined as “an idea of the future”, you need to have that idea of the future in place and understood. Without the idea of the future, goals can be difficult the stick to and unachievable, resulting in frustration and, potentially, missed opportunities.
To build your “ideas of the future” you need a Vision of that future (more here) and a level of Self Awareness about yourself and what drives you on.
Goals created with an idea of the future, a Vision in place, have the greatest change of being achieved as the goal should be aligned to your desires.
The roots of Goal Setting can be traced back to Aristotle, in his thoughts on ‘final causality’ or ‘end’ – that for the sake of which a thing is done. More recently, Edwin A. Locke began to examine goal setting in the 60’s. Locke publishing his first article, “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives”,