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What is Goal Setting and Why is Goal Setting Important?

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Thinkingclearly – What is goal setting?
Do you ever feel like you’re sleepwalking through life with no real idea of what you want?i Perhaps you know exactly whati youi wanti toi achieve, buti havei noi ideai howi toi geti there.

That’si wherei goal setting comesi in. goals arei thei firsti stepi towardsi planningi fori thei future, andi playi ai fundamentali rolei ini thei developmenti ofi skillsi ini variousi facetsi ofi life, fromi worki toi relationshipsi andi everythingi ini between. Theyi arei thei targeti ati whichi wei aimi ouri proverbiali arrow.

Understandingi thei importancei ofi goals andi thei techniquesi involvedi ini setting achievable goals pavesi thei wayi fori success.

In the words of Pablo Picasso,

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 isi ai powerful motivator, thei valuei ofi whichi hasi beeni recognizedi ini ani abundancei ofi clinicali andi real-worldi settingsi fori overi 35i years.

‘Goals,’i asi definedi byi Lathami &i Lockei (2002, p.705) arei “thei objecti ori aimi ofi ani action, fori example, toi attaini ai specifici standardi ofi proficiency, usuallyi withini ai specifiedi timei limit.”i Theyi arei thei leveli ofi competencei thati wei wishi toi achievei andi createi ai usefuli lensi throughi whichi wei assessi ouri currenti performance.

goal setting isi thei processi byi whichi wei achievei thesei goals. Thei importancei ofi thei goal setting processi shouldi noti goi unappreciated, accordingi toi Lockei (2019) “Everyi person’si lifei dependsi oni thei processi ofi choosingi goals toi pursue;i ifi youi remaini passivei youi arei noti goingi toi thrivei asi ai humani being.”

goal setting theoryi (Lockei &i Latham, 1984) isi basedi oni thei premisei thati consciousi goals affecti actioni (Ryan, 1970) andi thati consciousi humani behaviori isi purposefuli andi regulatedi byi individuali goals. Simplyi put, wei musti decidei whati isi beneficiali toi ouri owni welfare, andi seti goals toi achievei it.

Whyi doi somei peoplei performi betteri oni tasksi thani others?i Thei goal setting theoryi approachesi thei issuei ofi motivationi fromi ai first-leveli perspective;i itsi emphasisi isi oni ani immediatei leveli ofi explanationi ofi individuali differencesi ini taski performance. Accordingi toi Ryani (1970), ifi individualsi arei equali ini abilityi andi knowledge, theni thei causei musti bei motivational.

Thei theoryi statesi thati thei simplesti andi mosti directi motivationali explanationi ofi whyi somei peoplei performi betteri thani othersi isi duei toi disparatei performancei goals, implyingi thati setting andi adjustingi goals cani significantlyi impacti performance.

Why is Goal Setting Important?

Therei existsi ai wealthi ofi researchi ini thei areai ofi goal setting, particularlyi withini organizationali settings. Initially, thisi explorationi begani withi thei objectivei ofi ascertainingi howi thei leveli ofi intendedi achievementi (thei goal) isi relatedi toi thei actuali leveli ofi achievementi (thei performance) ini ani organizationali setting (Locke, 1990).

Thei setting ofi goals hasi beeni showni toi increasei employeei motivationi andi organizationali commitmenti (Latham, 2004). Additionally, goals affecti thei intensityi ofi ouri actionsi andi ouri emotionsii thei morei difficulti andi valuedi ai goal is, thei morei intensei ouri effortsi willi bei ini orderi toi attaini it, andi thei morei successi wei experiencei followingi achievementi (Lathami &i Locke, 2006).

Throughi thei experiencei ofi successi andi thei positivei emotionsi thati accompanyi it, confidencei andi beliefi ini ouri owni abilitiesi grow. Schunki (1985) foundi thati participationi ini goal setting encouragesi ai searchi fori newi strategiesi toi aidi success. Findingi noveli waysi toi utilizei ouri skillsi andi pushi ouri abilitiesi increasesi task-relevanti knowledgei whilei enhancingi self-efficacyi andi self-confidence.

goal setting involvesi planningi fori thei future. MacLeod, Coatesi &i Hethertoni (2008) foundi thati goal setting andi skill-orientedi planningi significantlyi improvedi subjectivei well-beingi ini thosei whoi tooki parti ini ai goal setting interventioni program. Thinkingi positivelyi abouti thei futurei bolstersi ouri abilityi toi createi goals andi consideri thei actionsi requiredi toi achievei them.

Thei capacityi toi plani positivelyi impactsi ouri perceivedi controli overi goal outcomesi andi ouri futurei (Vincent, Boddana, &i MacLeod, 2004). Furthermore, goal setting andi achievementi cani promotei thei developmenti ofi ani internali locusi ofi control. Wherei individualsi withi ani externali locusi ofi controli believei thati bothi positivei andi negativei outcomesi arei thei resulti ofi externali influences, thosei withi ani internali locusi ofi controli believei thati successi isi determinedi byi theiri owni actionsi andi skills.

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