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Published on February 3, 2021

Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen

Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen

We all have goals, whether we realize it or not. Dreams, hopes, visions of the future—these are all, in some way, a goal. The thing to remember about goals is that to be able to focus on them for the future, you have to recognize that they are goals and that they are something that you should be working towards. This is where the idea of a goal-setting theory can help you.

But what is goal-setting theory and why is it important for you to try out for yourself?

What Is the Goal-Setting Theory?

The Goal-Setting Theory was created by Edwin Locke in 1968. The main aspect of the theory was that it helped employees to feel motivated to be as productive as possible both in work and outside of work.[1] It looks at the importance of having goals that were well-defined and set out as well as how feedback on these goals are given and received.

Locke knew that goals have to be not only realistic but also clear and defined. Many people set goals that are too vague in their nature. While this may make more sense to them at the time when it comes to achieving those goals, things are not going to be quite as easy as you may think.

There were five principles of the goal-setting theory created by Locke:

  • Clarity. A goal should be specific and clear
  • Challenge. While a goal should always be realistic in its nature, it should still challenge you.
  • Commitment. Your goal should have a positive outcome—a buy-in that is going to keep you looking towards it
  • Feedback. You should receive feedback throughout the process, helping you keep your goal on track (this will often mean that you need to involve someone else).
  • Complexity. If the goal is complicated and is going to take some time to complete, then it may be better to break it down into smaller goals along the way

Why Is It Worth Setting Goals Yourself?

The idea of the goal-setting theory is to help you achieve any goals that you may have. But to actually do this, first, you need to have goals in mind. You may be happy with how life is going at the moment and think that you don’t need to make any changes. But the truth is that we all have room for growth.

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Here are some of the main reasons why it is worthwhile taking the time to set goals and look to your future, whether that is at work or in your personal life.

1. It Allows You to Take Control of Your Life

Do you ever feel that you are simply sleepwalking through life? That you are not in control of what you want or what you need? This may simply be because you are not in control of your own life. By setting yourself goals, you are effectively taking control of your life and where it can take you.

Of course, there are going to be things that get in the way and that can get you off track, but you are still going to feel much more ready to take control of your own life and where it is going.

2. It Gives You Something to Improve on

By taking the time to set yourself goals, you are acknowledging that there is more that you can do in your life. Complacency is not always a good trait to have. particularly when it comes to your working life.

It is always a better idea to give yourself something to improve on—to identify ways that you can make changes and build on what you know and what you can do.

Goals are the targets for those changes. They are your aim and they are what you will look forward to, even when things are not going quite the way that you want them to.

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3. They Are Your Focus

We can all get distracted from time to time. Even when we know where we want to go, it can be hard to be laser-focused on whatever it is that you want to achieve.

When you have a set goal, you are giving yourself a light at the end of the tunnel. You have something that you can look at and think about for the future. This is less likely to result in you drifting off and ending up out of course.

4. They Motivate You

It can be hard to keep working towards something. Life can get in the way and put a roadblock on your plans. Motivation isn’t always something that comes naturally, and we all have times when we want to give up.

If you don’t have a goal that you are looking forward to in the future, then there is a much greater chance that you are going to give up when it gets hard.

A goal is a target, it is something that you know that you need to strive for. This means that you are definitely going to feel more motivated to keep trying and to keep pushing forward, even though it might be difficult at times.

5. They Can Impact Other Parts of Your Life

You may have set your goal for a very specific part of your life, such as your fitness or your career. However, the good news is that you can apply this to other parts of your life too. When you know how well a goal can work for you, then you will feel ready to set them for other things.

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Before you know it, you will be a goal-setting expert and you will be able to change a variety of parts of your life and make sure that you are the best that you can be.

The Goal-Setting Process

Now that you have a better understanding of the goal-setting theory and know that you want to set goals and understand how they can be valuable to you, you are going to want to know the actual goal-setting process.

1. Write Down Your Goals

The first thing to do is to write down your goals. You might have them in your mind, but by writing them down, you are making them real and giving them force. This will be the driving force behind you achieving them in the end.

2. Make Them SMART

Next, you need to make sure that you make them as SMART as possible. SMART stands for Measurable, Achievable, Specific, and Time-based, which is the way wherein you can take a vague and weak goal and make it something that you can actually do in the future.

It is great to set a SMART goal, but you need to be able to actually meet its requirements. You must know how you are going to measure them along the way. How will you know when you have achieved them? Or how will you know whether or not you are on the right track?

3. Have a Deadline

You need to also set a deadline for your goal. Having a time-frame in mind will help you to create a sense of urgency, which will drive you towards your end goal. It is important that the deadline that you set is realistic and something that you can achieve.

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Although, of course, it is worth remembering that if things are not quite working out how you hoped that they would, then you can make changes. You can also break down a bigger, longer-term goal into smaller chunks, which will help you to stay on track.

4. Know Your Obstacles

We all hope that we are going to be able to reach our goals with minimal issues, but there is always a chance that things are going to crop up along the way. By knowing what risks there may be and what challenges may come up, we can try to be more prepared for them.

There may be curveballs along the way, but for the most part, you should be able to identify the issues that could be there and look for ways that you can get through them.

Final Thoughts

Goals are something that can benefit us all. Sure, it is going to be hard to set them and then even harder to reach them. But it is always worthwhile trying for yourself.

While it is important to live in the here and now, it is still good to look to the future too. After all, without focusing on where you could be, how will you ever know what you can achieve?

More Tips on Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Ronnie Overgoor via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Fabio De Sio

LIfe Coach & Motivational Speaker

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Published on February 23, 2021

What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work

What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work

We hear people saying that vision boards are a fad, that they are not worth doing, and that they should be forgotten. However, this is simply not true. Vision boards can be very useful, and they are definitely worth taking the time to create. That is why so many celebrities and notable figures in the world are choosing to create and use them.

Beyonce has been known to use vision boards to help her with her future goals, as has Oprah Winfrey and if they work for these two incredibly powerful and talented women, then it makes sense that anyone can benefit from them.

But what are they? Rather than simply being a collection of images, vision boards are so much more than that.

To help you to learn more, I have put together our guide to what they are, how they can be made in four steps, and why you should make an effort to make a vision board for yourself.

What Is a Vision Board?

We all have visions and goals that we want to achieve. They may be in our personal lives, or they may be in our careers and businesses. While we may know what it is that we want to achieve, this doesn’t mean that it is always easy to focus on our goals.

The idea of a vision board is that it is a visual representation of what we want to achieve. We can use it to show our end goal and where we see ourselves being in the future. Not only this, but a vision board will also help you show the process of how you envisage getting to these end goals.

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A vision board can be made from a variety of images. What you choose will really depend on you. However, you need to make sure that it reminds you of what your goal is and what it means to you. They should be something that you want to display and that is as eye-catching as possible.

Colour and texture are key parts of any vision board. However, how you use them is entirely down to you and you alone.

How To Create a Vision Board?

Making a vision board may sound straightforward, however, it can be more complicated than you realize. There are plenty of things that you need to think about along the way.

While the way that you make your vision board will really depend on you, there are 4 steps that you should follow to make sure that it is clear and useful for you in the long run.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you define your goals. To do this, you need to list the areas of your life that you consider to be most important to you. We can’t tell you what these are since they are a personal choice. However, some of the most common examples of these areas include your family, relationship, hobbies, friends, fitness, well-being, and finances.

When you have identified what areas of your life are most important to you right now, then you can start to drill down even further into them and identify what goals you have within them.

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If you focus on sports and fitness, then maybe you want to teach yoga or train in a sport. If travel is important to you, then maybe plan a trip around the world. If you want to expand your mind, you could identify an instrument or language that you want to learn and if you are thinking about your career (and maybe your finances, too), then starting a business could be a key goal for you.

You shouldn’t spend too much time on this, else there is a chance that you may overthink things rather than letting them come to you. Only spend around 10 minutes on this step. Make sure that you write down anything that comes to mind as you can use these things later on.

Step 2: Gather Your Inspiration

Once you know what your goals are, then you need to start thinking about how you can create a visual representation of these goals. Think about words and images that match in with what you want to achieve.

Of course, the most obvious place to look for these images is in magazines, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only magazines. Other great places that you can use for inspiration for your vision board include:

  • Postcards
  • Stickers
  • Wrapper paper
  • Materials
  • Things from nature
  • Online searches

When you see something that works for you, then cut it out or even rip it out and place it on one side. You may be surprised by just where you can find your inspiration, and you shouldn’t discount something just because it doesn’t fit in with what you think should inspire you.

This step will take a little longer than the last. So, you might want to make sure that you have a nice cup of your favorite hot drink—ready to browse through and find your inspiration.

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Step 3: Map Out How You Want Your Board to Look

Now, we have got to the point where you can start thinking about what your vision board is going to look like. You will need to grab some things for this step. You will need some cardboard (the bigger the better), scissors, glue sticks, markers, fabric, decorate tape, stickers, gems, or sequins.

To start, you just want to lay your images out on your board. You don’t want to glue anything until you know how you want them to be arranged. The last thing that you want is to stick things down, commit to that setup, and then find out that you want to change them.

Once you are happy with how things look, then you can stick it all down. You may want to use some of the added decorative things that you have put together, such as decorative tape, sequins, stickers or simply use different pens or paints to add color.

The main thing to remember is that your vision board is all about you, so what you create should be appealing to you. You can look online for help on how to put things together and make up your board but, ultimately, you need to focus on it being a representation of you.

Step 4: Make It Happen

The last thing on the list is to make sure that you bring your vision board to life. First, you need to make sure that you display it in a place where you will be able to see it. After all, that is the main reason for taking the time to make your vision board in the first place.

Display it in a place that you go to every single day. This could be a home office, your bedroom, or perhaps in a hallway before you leave the house every day. Having it there will remind you that you need to follow those dreams and achieve those goals and will also show you how you can do it.

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Then, it is down to you. Do whatever you need to do to make it happen. Push yourself and focus on what you want to achieve. You may make excuses and you may sometimes think that you just can’t do it, but I promise you that you can—that you will one day get there. Of course, your vision board is just a part of the process, and really, it is down to you to make it happen. So, do it!

Why Do They Work?

We know that vision boards sound like they are a lot of work, but the truth is, they are as hard as you make them. Not only this, but they are well worth putting all that effort into to create them.

With a vision board, you will able to see what it is that you want in the future and identify how you can get there. When you can see it, there, in front of you, then you are going to want to get there, and you are going to feel much more motivated to work towards these goals. Not only this, but the process of making a vision board is more fun than you may realize. This means that you can look forward to doing it rather than ignoring those goals and stopping yourself from achieving what you want in the future.

More Tips on Creating Vision Boards

Featured photo credit: Andy Art via unsplash.com

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