Goal Setting: A Tool to Help You Achieve Your 2019-2020 Goals!

Author: Sarah Swenson, M.S.

Do you ever set a goal for yourself, but you have no idea what the steps should be in order to achieve the goal? Or do you ever have a large list of things to do, but you just aren’t sure what to tackle first? With the start of a new school year for students, parents, teachers, and other performers, there is an opportunity to set goals for oneself and work through the challenges of a piling list of things you want to achieve. This is where goal setting can help! As Pablo Picasso once said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is a process by which one is striving towards a specific aim of action with a specific standard of proficiency. The nature of goal setting generally entails a certain time limit, a combination of long-term and short-term goals is most effective.

Why is Goal Setting Important?

There is an abundance of research on goal setting and how it is beneficial to individuals both in their personal and professional life.

·      Motivation- A large topic of interest is motivation. Goal setting has shown to increase one’s motivation and commitment to the intensity and effort of achieving one’s goal. When one achieves a difficult and valued goal, their self-confidence and belief in one’s ability (self-efficacy) increase.

·      Direct Attention– Goal setting can help an individual direct their attention to what is relevant and steer away from what is irrelevant or detrimental to their success in achieving the task.

·      Increase persistence and effort– Performers are better able to work through adversity as well as decrease the chance of boredom.

How Does One Goal Set in a Beneficial Way to Achieve Their Goals?

The first thing is to understand that there are different types of goals that one should set. The long-term goals, such as an end of season/work year/school year goal, is called an outcome goal. An outcome goal is a goal that focuses solely on accomplishing a task. Next, a performance goal is a goal that focuses on the steps of how to accomplish the outcome goal. These are typically something that measures the progress one is making to achieving the outcome goal. Lastly, is the process goal. A process goal focuses on the little details that one can do in a short amount of time that will help them achieve their performance goals, which will ultimately help them achieve their outcome goal.

In addition to setting these three types of goals for oneself, it is important to follow a set of guidelines that can help ensure you will be successful at achieving your goals. S.M.A.R.T. goal is a quick acronym to help ensure that one is setting appropriate goals.

S=SPECIFIC: State specifically how you will achieve your goal (who, what, when, where, and why)

M=MEASURABLE: Can you track your progress toward achieving your goal?

A=ATTAINABLE: Is your goal achievable with effort? It is important to assess where you are at now in order to ensure that the goal you are setting is not too challenging to be completed. 

R=RELEVANT: How relevant is your goal to your situation? Does it relate to other goals you have set? 

T=TIMELY: Give your goal a time limit with a month/day/year outline

Goal setting is a tool to help keep you on track to succeed. When you use goal setting, you are taking control of your life and the direction you want it to go. It is important to realize that your goals can change when needed. If you are committed to setting long and short-term goals for yourself, you can truly be successful and achieve your 2019-2020 goals in any domain of your life!