We’ve all been conditioned throughout our lives to dream big, that anything is possible if you try hard enough. We all have goals, whether they’re work-related, lifestyle-related, school-related, we all have them.
So why is it that an alarmingly low number of people actually succeed at obtaining their goals? Studies show that only 8% of people end up meeting the goals they set for themselves. It’s nothing to do with capability, or even mindset sometimes, maybe they simply don’t know how to set goals properly.
Research has highlighted that there is a significant correlation between properly set goals and achieving success. When goals are appropriately set it helps to identify your priorities so you’re more likely to stick with the journey to those end results. They also help you to develop new habits and behaviours which are more likely to last if they’re practiced regularly. All in all, how you set your goals is just as important as sticking to them!
What’s a goal and what isn’t a goal?
Part of setting good goals is knowing what is and isn’t a goal. That sounds like a silly differentiation to make but it can make a huge difference in your mindset approaching daily tasks.
A goal is something you want to achieve, it’s the desired result that you plan and commit to achieving. They’re often long-term and require continuous and regular effort to reach. To make it simple, a goal is simply a dream with a deadline.
A goal is…
- Large. Don’t be afraid to set goals that seem like a reach or far off. Think outside the box and dream big! The purpose of setting weekly goals is to help that big house in the country and a six figure salary seem more attainable. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t be concerned if your goals scare you a little bit, the more you work toward them the closer they get.
- Time-sensitive. Your goals should be set in the distance, not next week. Breaking them up into smaller, short-term goals will stop you from running out of steam and keep you on the right track. Your goal should be something you take time working towards to achieve. Just remember to set deadlines, however far off they may be, to stop you from loosing motivation.
- Your vision of the future. Built on careful consideration of your dreams and aspirations, but also your personal strengths and characteristics. It should be your personal vision statement.
A goal is not…
- An objective. Goals describe what you want to achieve, an objective is how you’re going to do that. If your goal is to “learn another language”, your objective will be “practice Spanish 3 times a week”. Try not to get the two confused.
- A resolution. Resolutions are generally temporary decisions that provide us with short-term gratification. Whilst we have all made a New Year’s resolution in the past, these aren’t categorically goals. They’re more like objectives to do or not to do something.
Goal setting theory
Back in the 90’s, Locke and Latham devised a goal setting theory that clearly identified the five principles important for appropriate goal setting. Well set goals are clear and easy to understand, with an easy metric to measure whether or not the goal has been reached. Poorly set goals are hard to interpret and even harder to assess when the goal has been achieved.
The five principles are:
- Task complexity
A clear goal is one that is measurable and leaves no room to be misunderstood, whilst also being challenging enough to motivate us to work towards it. This, however, comes with balance, a goal that is too challenging will lead you to become frustrated and overwhelmed, therefore less likely to see it through. A goal should be something that you have agreed upon with yourself, regular practice and completion of tasks working towards your goal is the only way it will start to become more attainable- this is where the weekly goal setting comes into play. Keeping yourself grounded will help you to assess how far you’ve come and what is left to do. Practicing feedback with yourself, in the form of self-reflection or journaling, will keep you from burning out. The time it takes to complete a task should match its complexity. Unrealistic expectations on the longevity of the goal can overwhelm you and cause you to rush which in turn will delay your progress.
Following these principles, studies showed a 90% higher performance overall. How’s that for a statistic!
Why is weekly goal setting important?
Weekly goals, or like we suggested above- objectives, are like puzzle pieces. When you’ve finished putting all the pieces together you’re looking at a bigger picture… your goals are the same. When you first start out you’ve got a whole sea of little puzzle pieces and no idea where they fit in, but they all have their place, you just need to stick with it!
Setting weekly goals helps to break up the larger goal into smaller bitesize pieces. Achieving these short-term goals will help to keep you on track to achieving the larger end goal, by rewarding you each time you get one step further and reinstating the motivation to keep going.
There are 168 hours in a week, that’s a lot of time to make the most of! Think of how much you could achieve if you used some of these for intentional and purposeful action. In just a few weeks you’ll have already made significant progress toward your dreams. Make yourself a priority and prioritise personal growth by practicing self care and making sure you’re in the best condition possible to reach your goals.
Weekly goal setting tips for optimal productivity
Now that you’ve got your big dreams mapped out, here are a few of Morale’s top tips for weekly goal setting to help you stay on track and meet fulfil your goals in no time at all…
Set goals you can control
If you’ve set goals that are outside of your control, you can’t control how long or how easily it will be to get there. You’re more likely to face disappointment when you meet a roadblock or a setback that isn’t in your power to control. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment and make sure your goals are not reliant on other people or external factors that you can’t control. There will always be small elements to your goal journey that you can’t control or didn‘t foresee. Remember to be pragmatic when they crop up and don’t let it derail your efforts, it’s just a minor setback and you’ve already come so far.
Use SMART goals
What’s a SMART goal we hear you ask? Well, SMART goals are just that- smart!
Write your goals down
Putting pen to paper makes your goals seem more real and more tangible. Studies have shown that people who write their goals down have a higher likelihood of accomplishing more than those who don’t. When you write something down, you’re effectively letting your left brain (the logical side) know to get on and do something. Without writing your goals down, they are little more than a daydream, so get scribbling!
Make them visible
Grab a sticky note and write down your goals. Stick them up everywhere you visit regularly- put them on the bathroom mirror or on the fridge for example. That way, every time you go to the bathroom or grab a snack you’ll be reminded of the bigger picture and reinstate the motivation to make those small steps towards THAT life on the sticky note.
Use a goal tracking tool
One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to acknowledge how far you’ve come. Using a tracking tool to help you keep note of what you’ve achieved and what’s up next on your list of objectives will help you to stay focused and motivated.
Journaling is also a great way to make sure you’re keeping yourself grounded in the present. Writing down what you’re grateful for and what you’ve achieved, as well as continuing to visualise what life looks like when you get there. Journaling also helps to maintain your perspective, so you don’t lose sight of priorities or what matters. There is no point going smashing your targets and reaching your goals if you isolate yourself from everyone and everything around you, so keep in touch with the real world and make sure you’re staying grounded.
Identify potential obstacles
You’re going to face some challenges along the way, it’s a fact of life. So, rather than getting caught up on them, accept them for what they are, and step around them. Looking ahead at what’s to come can help you predict some roadblocks before they’re upon you and give you a chance to plan for them, so you don’t swerve off course. With careful planning and a resilient mindset, the obstacles will look a lot less scary so don’t be deterred, you’ve got this!
Make a start
There’s no time like the present to start working towards your goals, so grab yourself a cup of tea and get to work! Planning and reaching your goals is always easier with a little motivation, so why not download the Morale app? Send and receive daily affirmations from those closest around you, to remind each other they’re on the right track and you’ve got their back. A huge part of successfully reaching your goals is mindset, so make sure your mindset and mental health are in tip-top condition.
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