©2019 by Above the Standard

How do You Set Effective Goals? (Part 2)

September 5, 2019

How to set goals effectively

It is very important that you understand that the way in which you set goals strongly affects your effectiveness. The following guidelines apply to setting effective goals. 


Positive Statement: Express your goals positively: ‘Execute this technique well’ is a much better goal than ‘don’t make this stupid mistake’. 


Be Precise: If you set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that achievement can be measured, then you know the exact goal to be achieved, and can take complete satisfaction from having completely achieved it. 


Set Priorities: Where you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals and helps direct your attention to the most important ones. 


Write goals down to avoid confusion and give them more force.  Keep Operational Goals Small. Keep the goals you are working towards immediately (i.e. in this session) small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it.


Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Today’s goals should be derived from larger goals. 


Set Performance, not Outcome Goals

This is very important.  You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible - there is nothing as dispiriting as failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control. 


If you base your goals on personal performance or skills or knowledge to be acquired, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still be disqualified as a result of a poor-judging decision. If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat.


If you set a performance goal of achieving a time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.


Another flaw is where outcome goals are based on the rewards of achieving something, whether these are financial or are based on the recognition of colleagues.


In early stages these will be highly motivating factors; however, as they are achieved, the benefits of further achievement at the same level reduce. You will become progressively less motivated. 

Set Specific Goals

Set specific measurable goals. If you achieve all conditions of a measurable goal, then you can be confident and comfortable in its achievement. If you consistently fail to meet a measurable goal, then you can adjust it or analyze the reason for failure and take appropriate action to improve skills. 

Set Realistic Goals

Never set goals that are not attainable as setting goals to far out or too challenging can become discouraging.


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