Part One: Why We Should Set Goals

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Why We Should Set Goals

|[pic] |"Life’s a long, long journey" so we are told, and most of us would not set off on a journey, even a short one, without some |

| |idea of where we wanted to go. Yet many people travel on life’s journey with no sense of direction at all. |

| |They travel the by-ways and highways of life taking side roads, detours, even re-tracing their tracks from time-to-time, and |

| |while they may have exciting experiences on their journey, they may also be disappointed when they reach their final |

| |destination in life. |

| |Those people who do have a clear knowledge of where they want to go, who can point themselves in the right direction, and who |

| |know when they want to arrive, travel as the Romans did, in straight lines and with efficiency. |

| |Personally, I think there is a lot of merit in being a by-way traveler and going off the beaten track, but not many of us have |

| |the luxury of being able to take a meandering course. |

| |Most of us have careers to think of, futures to secure, people to provide for, and things to do. We need maps. We need |

| |direction. We need an itinerary. In other words, we need to set ourselves goals. |

|[pic] | |

| |What are goals? |

| | |

| |Goals are things we consciously want to attain, accomplish or achieve. |

| |Setting goals is a powerful thing to do because we give our energy a specific focus, and we enable ourselves to sort out what |

| |is important and what is irrelevant in our lives. |

| |Goals, however, are not monuments cast in bronze like War Memorial statues, visited once a year on Memorial Day. |

| |Goals are evolving and changing things that need to be revisited and revised constantly. |

| |[pic] |

|Why set goals? | |

|When you set yourself goals, you put yourself in control. | |

|You give yourself a sense of purpose and you provide yourself with a focus. By concentrating your energies and thoughts on your goals,| |

|you are better able to use time-management strategies and this in turn enables you to achieve more. | |

|Research has shown that goal-setting enhances performance in all areas of life. | |

|By setting goals, you are able to move beyond your self-doubts, you are able to overcome your fears and to think ‘successful’ which | |

|leads directly to being successful, and this in turn raises your self-esteem and confidence. | |

|By setting goals, you increase your level of motivation. | |

|By clarifying your expectations and by challenging yourself, you become more intrinsically motivated, which as you know, is the most | |

|powerful form of motivation there is. | |

| | |

Goals must be:

• Long term

To provide you with a long-term vision of what you want to do in your life time.

• Short term

To provide you with short-term motivation, to keep you going on a day-to-day basis.

• Realistic, achievable and challenging

You must be able to balance the need to provide yourself with challenges and the need for success.

You will be building on your past success to meet new challenges therefore it is very important that your goals are achievable and realistic.

• Flexible

You will revise your goals constantly as your life changes, your priorities change,

and new opportunities arise.

• Precise and measurable

You must set out precisely want you want to do, with amounts, and with deadlines.

• Your goals

Not your mother’s goals for you.

Your goals must reflect your learning style and the way you like to operate.

They must meet your needs.

• In writing

Goals are not goals until they are written down.

Do not be afraid to put your dreams and aspirations in writing.

• Performance orientated

 What are Performance Orientated Goals?

There are two kinds of goals: outcome goals and performance goals.

Examples of outcome goals:

• I am going to come in the top three places in the swimming championships.

• I am going to score more than 80% in my English test.

• I am going to earn $100,000 in my business this year.

When you state an outcome goal, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Many things outside your control may influence the outcome making it impossible

for you to achieve your goal.

• In the case of the swimming championships, ill health may impair your swimming performance on the day leaving you with a great sense of failure despite the fact that under normal circumstances you swim better times than the winner of the event.

• In the English test scenario, the teacher may have set an unusually difficult test, and consequently no-one scored over 80%. Your result may have been excellent in comparison to the other students, but you still did not achieve your goal.

• You may have had a very good business plan, good marketing strategies, and you may have worked very hard but still did not achieve your target of $100,000 because of the outbreak of Mad Cow disease and you were in the business of selling steak knives.

Performance goals, however, involve tasks.

Examples of performance goals:

• Swimming: I am going to improve my personal best times by 12% and I am going to perform at that level consistently.

• English: I am going to improve my English marks by improving my researching skills and my essay writing techniques. I am going to learn to organize my information clearly before I start writing.

• Business: I am going to devise ways of monitoring trends in the market place that may influence my business so that I can make appropriate changes quickly.

In each of these cases, the goal-setter is highly likely to achieve the outcome goals by successfully achieving the tasks set out in the performance goals.

Performance goals provide the wherewithal to achieve the outcome goals.

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