Simply stated, goals are outcomes an individual wants to achieve in a stated period of time. Goals require prioritized steps for achievement and must align with an individual’s priorities. Misaligned goals lead to unfulfilled outcomes. Putting goals into writing and reviewing them daily allows the goal-setter to effectively visualize the goal’s accomplishment. Goals may be set in various areas of life, such as career, personal development, family, friends, finances, health and wellness, leisure time, physical environment, and spirituality. Goals may span a variety of time periods. Some may be long-term, from 3 to 5 years or more. Others are mid-term, from 1 to 3 years. Others are short-term, from 1 to 12 months.
Benefits of Goal Setting
Creating goals provides structure and purpose for personal, academic, and professional activities. Individuals, who use effective goal-setting strategies report that they experience less stress and anxiety, concentrate better, perform better, and are more satisfied in their lives.
Effective goals include action words that explicitly describe the desired outcome and SMART elements. The SMART elements of a goal are the following: Specific: Specify what is to be accomplished. Vague goals do not provide enough structure. In addition, it is difficult to determine when a generalized goal is accomplished. Measurable: Measurable goals indicate how much progress is made. If a goal is difficult to measure, it is difficult to achieve. Attainable: Goals must be attainable. Not everyone can play professional football, but there are achievable related goals. Set goals that challenge, because challenging goals are motivating. The goals should not, however, exceed available resources. Realistic: Similar to attainability, goals must be realistic. Realistic goals do not rely on unlikely events, such as winning the lottery. Although tied to other people, realistic goals do not rely on the...
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