When I first started training to be a life coach, I did a lot of reading and attended endless workshops and courses. It was a bombardment of everything good about goals, some of which I may not agree with, but for the most part it opened my eyes wide open. I became a fast goal convert, and I’m going to tell you what I learned because I really think it could help.
Let’s start with the why. Why might you want to set goals? Goals keep you motivated, direct your focus and energy on your aim, and they help you keep perspective on what’s important to you. On top of this, effective goals set out everything in flexible but easy-to-accomplish steps, making big-ass achievements achievable.
Everyone has that thing they want to do, be it starting a business, winning a competition, starting a family, being more present, ditching their phones, getting a promotion, you name it! Goal setting is the first step you need to consciously commit to that goal and to truly understanding its significance for your life and happiness. Basically, if you want to do anything at all, goal setting is going to help you accomplish it – I promise.
Process, Performance, and Outcome Goals
So, now you’ve been persuaded that goal setting is the very best option for you, let’s talk a bit about what a good goal is (tongue twister!). Borrowing some sport coaching terminology, I’d suggest a good goal fits into one of three categories. That is, you can have process, performance, and outcome goals.
To summarise, a process goal deals with a technique or strategy needed to perform well, for example you may want to write your weekly newsletters with excellent grammar. They deal only with your individual actions and aren’t connected to the actions of others in any way. A performance goal identifies a particular standard to be achieved, for example decreasing your average call time from 5 minutes to 2. Like process goals, you have independent control over the achievement of these goals. Lastly, outcome goals focus on the desired result and often compare your performance with other people. A prime example of this would be winning a competition and as such, the outcome depends partially on how your competitors perform too. The majority of goals we set as humans are outcome orientated, such as wanting to be promoted.
Combining Goal Types
The key to effective goal setting is to combine all three goal types by asking yourself what outcome you want, and how you’ll need to improve/change your process and performance with regards to the overarching goal, to achieve it. To give an example, say my goal is to win the karate world cup (outcome goal), I would then look into what processes I could target such as increasing technique speed or lowering my stances (process), and identify the standard I need to reach to win a world cup such as increasing average scores to be over 8.5, and to consistently medal in all competitions leading up to the world cup (performance). This way I ensure my goal setting isn’t abstract but is a detailed plan of action to aid achievement. The more detailed the better.
On top of these three umbrella terms, you also need to make sure your goal is SMART (yes, it’s acronym time). To elaborate, your goal needs to be:
Write down all the details of what you want to achieve (this includes the outcome, performance, and process deliberation as suggested above).
How will you know when you achieve this goal?
You want to pick a goal that is challenging but possible. You can do whatever you want to in this world and I truly believe that, but starting small and working up with manageable goals is a much more effective way to get there.
Really be honest with yourself about what you can achieve in the time-frame you’ve set, especially if you’re goal is for a team. Unrealistic expectations will only set you up for disappointment.
Commit to a time frame and stick to it. A deadline will make your goal more focused, just make sure the time frame fits all the other criteria and vice versa.
This is probably the first tool you’ll find for goal setting if you google it because of it’s massive popularity and that’s because it works. You’re guaranteed to have a well-planned starting point and a comprehensive guide to help you through your goal attaining process if you use this as a baseline.
Share and Reflect
Remember, be rigid with your goals but flexible with your methods. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to drop it and try something else. Fresh perspectives can also help a hell of a lot when trying to achieve goals so reach out to friends, colleagues, and people who’ve done what you want to do before – you never know what insights they might be able to give that you don’t have the experience to come up with. Also schedule reflection time throughout the goal achievement process to evaluate your progress and methods – your experiences along the way are likely to deepen your approach and refine your idea of what you need to do to succeed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes goal setting, but I’m sure it’ll help you get going with some of those really important projects you’ve been keeping close to your heart and are keen to get started on! I’d love to know how you go about your goal setting and what goals you’re working on right now so please pop them in the comments below and share your wonderful journeys with my equally wonderful readers!
Happy goal setting lovelies!!