Last week I hosted a masterclass on behalf of a company I work closely with on Goal Setting. The title of the session was ‘How to make 2023 your year’ which was a rather ambitious title but we had a phenomenal turnout so it was clearly in the hearts and minds of our members.
I thought I would give you some of the key learnings from the masterclass in the hope that it will help you make 2023 your year!
Why is goal setting important?
So here are some interesting statistics for you:
- We are 60% more likely to achieve our desired outcome if we set that in a goal
- We are 30% more likely to achieve our goal if we make it specific and timebound
- We are 65% more likely to achieve our goal if we tell one or more people about it
There are a million reasons why goal setting is important and there is a lot of research around goal setting theory, but I believe goal setting is important for 4 reasons:
- To increase our motivation – you won’t achieve something you haven’t set your mind to
- To increase our performance – goals that are specific and challenging lead to higher performance 90% of the time (Locke, 1981)
- To increase our self-esteem – when we set a goal, we have a purpose. Consistently and repeatedly taking positive steps towards successfully achieving that goal increases how we view ourselves i.e., our self-esteem. Additionally, the more we achieve our goals, the more we trust and believe in ourselves i.e., our self-confidence.
- To increase our healthy habits – when we set strategies to achieve our goals, we need structure and routine to help us be successful. When we follow this structure and routine it goes from becoming a conscious act to a habit.
What stops us from achieving our goals?
I believe there are 2 reasons why. Firstly, the process we follow in order to set our goals isn’t robust enough. Our goals might not be specific enough, challenging enough or they may have a vague end date. We might not write them down to commit to them. Secondly, the environment we are in or the environment we create for ourselves doesn’t help us in achieving our goals.
I will be honest when I say most of the time my clients will argue that the reason they don’t meet their goals is because of a lack of time or that others outside of their control change the goalposts (in a work situation). Most of the time I push back on that because we often fail ourselves in the act of goal setting before we even get to an environmental issue. We need to set ourselves good goals.
What does a good goal look like?
Many of you will I am sure be familiar with one of the most commonly used frameworks for goal setting and that is SMART.
Realistic (or recorded depending on your POV)
SMART goals are a good place to start but I also like Edwin Locke and Gary Lathem’s goal setting model which suggests the following principles are important to think about when it comes to setting your goals:
CLARITY – goals should leave no room for misunderstanding. Goals should be very explicit regarding the outcome(s) desired and how it will be measured. It is at this point one can use SMART to help us make a goal clear.
CHALLENGING – we must set ourselves challenging goals and goals that spark our interest. We should be motivated enough to want to achieve them. I often ask my clients to imagine achieving their goal and then telling other people about it. It usually gives them an immediate idea as to whether or not they are motivated by the goal and the outcome desired.
COMMITMENT – to be truly motivating goals need to be accepted by the individual tasked with achieving them. If you are setting your own goals, then one hopes this is a given. If you are setting goals for others, it is important to seek their buy in and commitment and also their input into the goal. We are more likely to achieve a goal we have helped define.
FEEDBACK – in order for you to meet your goals you need to understand how you are doing in relation to them. Again, this is particularly important if you have set a goal for others. Regularly review your goals. Reflect on how well you are meeting them. Tweak them or adapt them if you need to. Celebrate meeting them and give yourself positive feedback.
TASK COMPEXITY – make your goals well thought through but as simple as you can. Don’t overcomplicate goals and don’t create too many for yourself or others. Break the goal down into bitesize and comprehensible pieces.
Good luck with your goal setting!