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Why set goals? How do we do it? What are the benefits?

Why set goals? Think about throwing a ball. Do you consider where your target is? Do you align your body (ideally) to best throw to your target? Every one of us may spend countless hours to think about our present life and future. Most of us wish to change our lives in one way or another. Whether it is family life, friendship, career or finances, there’s often something that we would change. The first step is to set goals. Figure out A (where you are) and Z (your goal) and then figure out B through Y and you have a roadmap to get what you want. What are some benefits of goal setting you ask?

1. You focus on the important things

Goals help us to define our priorities. You will be able to focus on what you want to achieve and spend precious time on them. If it’s not important enough to set a goal, you’ll be less likely to waste time on it.

2. You will be more self-confident and enthusiastic

When you set a goal and measure the achievement, you are able to see what you have accomplished and what you are capable of. This process of achieving goals provides you with the assurance and a belief in yourself necessary to improve both self-confidence and self-efficacy. This sense of accomplishment will create an excitement within yourself to take on another challenge!

3. You can finish the task efficiently

Goals will allow you to create a roadmap for future actions. This will prevent wasted effort and allow you to see both progress in what you have accomplished so far, and the next steps needed to get where you want. You will focus and concentrate your time and energy on the task and keep away distractions.

4. You will make progress

After you have achieved one goal, you will try to achieve higher goals. In the long turn, you will see big progress you have made when look back. You’ll grow more faith in the system and will begin to use it more and more in your daily life.

5. You take control of your life

Having a system of setting goals is like a GPS for life. It gives you direction and helps you choose where to go in life. It makes you see a vision regarding your ideal future and to turn it into reality.

Dr. Edwin Locke

Are the benefits listed above enough to turn you into a goal-setting machine? Or do you want to learn more? Dr. Edwin Locke and colleagues say goal setting is an objective, aim, or action to attain a specific standard of proficiency on a task, usually within a specific period of time. For more information regarding setting goals and specifically Dr. Locke’s goal setting theory, please go to the following website: 

How do We Apply This?

To change an individual’s behavior and reaction to both positive and negative experiences, there must be a good reason. Learning to set goals is a good reason.


• Short-term to Long-term goals – define success

• Realistic

• Challenging

• Specific

• Quantifiable

• Participation

There is no more effective learning strategy that I know of, supported more strongly by research, than goal-setting. Below is a sample goal-setting strategy.

Remember, short-term and specific leads to long-term and measurable.

• S = Specific

• M = Measurable

• A = Attainable

• R = Realistic

• T = Timely


Goals should be as objective as possible, clearly explaining what you want to happen… in detail… What, Why, When, Where, and How.


You must be able to precisely measure each goal, often this area is called quantifiable. You should establish benchmarks and create a “map” that leads you to a target. As an individual recognizes they accomplished a goal, motivation increases, and provides the fuel for this journey. Also, measuring goals provides valuable feedback for adjustments if some goals are not met.


When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financially capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a timeframe that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.


An individual must have the understanding and skill set necessary to accomplish, at least, the beginning short-term goals. Success breeds success and creates the willingness to set more challenging goals.


An effective goal-setting program must have a timeframe for learning. This “calendar” keeps the individual on track and provides key measurement information.

Goals can be further divided into types of goals.

Outcome Goals:

The focus here is on the end result, a win, the time in a race

Performance Goals:

Here athletes attempt to meet a standard of performance, improving free-throw shooting proficiency.

Process Goals:

Actions and/or components of a movement are the focus: such as improving balance in a golf swing.

Finally, make sure that you provide feedback on goal performance. You measure your progress and see how you are doing. If the goal is too hard, adjust the goal’s difficulty, but be realistic about it. If you’re not giving enough effort, reevaluate the goal and decide if it’s really worth it to you.

If you follow these simple rules, your goal setting process will be much more successful, and your overall performance will improve.

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