Goal Setting Theory and Tips

Knowing how to set goals is one of the many things that you will need to learn if you are going to succeed at anything in life.

That’s right, setting goals is the key to reaching success, as success isn’t going to come about by accident.
Your life is a journey, but how much progress you make is entirely dependent on how far you want to go.
If you make plans to reach a goal, that is the only way that you will make any kind of progress.

But do you know how to set goals, goals that you will actually be able to achieve? Check out these goal setting tips below to help you in your setting and achieving goals in your life…

Know What You Want

All goals – personal goals and professional goals – can only be achieved if you actually set them. You have to know what you want in order to be able to set the goals, and everyone that will give you tips on setting goals will tell you to know what you want. But what do you want in life?

Think about what exactly it is that you want to achieve. Think about professional, personal, emotional, motivational, and every kind of desires that you can think of.

Once you have thought about these things, you will have come up with the things that are important to you – you will finally know what you want in life!

Go Small

So many people will tell you that the best goal setting theory involves going big, but the truth is that setting small goals is the best way to start yourself down the path to wherever you want to go.

If you can set small goals, you will be able to achieve them much more easily. Achieving that goal will encourage you, and you will continue to achieve more and more as you continue to set goals.

For this reason, start out with a small goal. It doesn’t matter if it means eating a smaller meal, taking another hour for exercise per week, spending a certain amount of time per week studying, or doing whatever it takes. Start out small, and plan a small goal that you can reach in the very near future.

Of all the goal setting strategies, this is one of the best due to the simple fact that human nature needs success in order to make progress.

Start – Come What May

So many people that study how to achieve goals spend all their time studying, and they never get started achieving goals.

The truth is that you have to start if you are serious about attaining goals or reaching goals. It doesn’t matter how big or how small your goal is – if you never get started, you will never reach anything.

Don’t go building up to it – start today! If you are serious about any kind of goals for personal development or professional improvement, start on them today!

You don’t need to draft goal setting worksheets or goal setting forms, but you just need to get working once you have completed the goal planning phase.

Stop worrying so much about everything being perfect, but just get started and get working towards reaching those goals.

Add New Goals

Why is goal setting important? Because it gives you something to do, something to strive towards.
If you don’t have anything to work towards, you will never make any progress. Personal goal setting involves reaching for something greater than yourself, than where you are now. Once you reach that goal, you will feel awesome!

However, don’t stop there, but keep setting goals as you make progress. The more goals you achieve, the more you should keep adding to and improving those goals.

As you go setting and achieving goals, you will find that your life will get better and better. Setting personal goals is good, but you need to keep expanding and improving as you go.

Stick With It!

If you are always switching goals, how are you ever going to make any kind of progress in your personal or professional life?
If you say, “Okay, well I am having a hard time with this goal, so let’s try over here…Nope, too hard, how about this goal?” You can’t constantly be switching goals, as you will never ever make any steady progress.

It’s just like mountain climbing: if you keep changing mountains, you will never reach the peak of any one of them. You have to start out on one mountain, work your way up towards the top, and only once you reach the top can you celebrate your success.
Reaching goals and achieving goals in your life involves exactly the same thing, and it’s important that you do whatever you need to do in order to reach that goal – no matter how hard it is!

Focus on the Positive

There are going to be so many occasions in your life when you make backwards progress, meaning that you will lose some of the ground that you have gained.

However, are you looking at it as lost ground or as backwards progress? No matter what direction you are going, you are making progress of some kind – it’s all about how you look at it.

Having a positive outlook on your changes and progress is essential.

No doubt you are going to make progress much more slowly than you might like, and that can get discouraging if you look at it as slow progress. Instead, focus on the fact that you actually are moving forward, and use that to help propel you to further steps of progress. Keep your eyes on the positive, and that will keep you going until you finally do reach your goals.

Make Your Goals Achievable

How many of us have set goals that we have hoped to achieve, but when it comes down to it, we really aren’t able to do it – for X number of reasons.

There are goals that you can achieve, goals that will take a lot of perseverance and persistence to realize, and then goals that will be nearly impossible. The truth is that you can’t really do ANYTHING if you set your mind to it, so you have to be realistic with your goals.

It’s funny how so many motivational posters will tell you, “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!” or some variation on the theme.
You can’t teach an elephant to juggle with their feet, you can’t teach a fish to swallow swords, and you can’t do everything just because you want to. That doesn’t mean you need to get discouraged and stop finding goals to achieve, but it is a reminder to be realistic in the goals that you are setting.

Write them Down

One of the keys to reaching your goals is remembering what they are, and you aren’t going to remember what they are if you don’t take the time to write them down.
You need to stop what you are doing, put your progress on hold, and spend a few minutes to elaborate your plan and make it something that you can check occasionally.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to make a comprehensive progress plan before you ever get started, but the idea is that you don’t get so focused on “making progress” that you don’t even remember what you are working towards. By writing down your goals, you are ensuring that you keep your progress in mind. If you can write things down, you will find that remembering what you are working towards is a whole lot easier.

Like It and Love It

So many of the goals that we set involve doing something that we REALLY, REALLY don’t want to do!

It could involve doing a bit more exercise, or it could mean spending some hours studying when you’d rather be watching TV. There are so many things that you will need to give up if you are serious about making progress, and those sacrifices can often seem like TOO MUCH when you are making them.

Stop thinking about these things as sacrifices, but focus on them being things that you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
You can’t view achieving goals as martyring yourself in order for some kind of self-betterment, but you need to view it more as an exercise in self-control and discipline. If you can give up these things, you will become a better person.

However, instead of looking at them as moments of suffering, enjoy the new life that you are living and love giving things up. These things will make you a better person, so they are a good thing that you should love!

Find the Passion

It’s interesting how a lot of the goals that we set involve doing things that we think we should do, but only a few of them involve doing things that we really want to do.

You no doubt have goals that you want to achieve, and trying to achieve these goals can be a great way to encourage yourself. If you set goals that you WANT to reach – not just NEED to reach – it will be a whole lot easier.

You will find that the things that you’re passionate about are always easier to continue on with, no matter how hard they get. This is why you have reached a black belt in martial arts, you have finally gotten that car running, or you built that treehouse for your kids – it was worth the effort!
If you can find passion in the things that you are trying to do, it will be a whole lot easier for you to achieve those goals!

Balance Out the Goals

There are six key areas in your life: financial, personal, professional, physical, relational, and communal.

You need to spread out your goals across all of these areas, as they all need to be developed equally. It’s like with the muscles in your body; you can’t just work out your chest to the exclusion of your arms or your shoulders to the exclusion of your legs. In order to have a strong body, you have to work out all the muscles over the entire body.

That is the same thing with your personal and professional goals. You have to ensure that you don’t just make goals in these two areas of your life, but you need to include goals that will cover all the other areas of your life. If you can set goals in every area of your life, you will make progress and become that well-rounded person that you ultimately want to become – that’s why you’re setting goals after all, isn’t it?

Evaluate and Improve

Remember that forward progress is only effective if you are going about it the right way.

Imagine if you had to empty a bucket of water. You can do it with a spoon, but you will take far longer to do it than you would if you were to use a cup or another bucket.

The secret to reaching goals is finding the most effective ways to reach those goals, and working as efficiently as possible.

In order to do this, you are going to have to regularly evaluate your progress, and make improvements wherever necessary. If you don’t take the time to evaluate, you’ll be like a near-sighted rhino that just runs blindly. The goal is to stop, see how you’re doing, and make sure that you are actually making the kind of progress that you want.

Goal Setting Theory in Action


• Goal setting theory
• How to set goals
• Goal setting checklist
• What to do when you fail
• Goal setting theory in action

Goal Setting Theory in a Nutshell

You read a lot and hear a lot about the importance of setting goals for a good reason. If you study the lives of successful people, you will find some things in common. One of those things is that they set goals for themselves. So the basic goal setting theory is if you set goals you are more likely to become a success.

Why does setting goals make you more successful?

Well, the goal setting theory goes something like this… Setting goals is similar to creating a map to your desired destination. You probably wouldn't head off on a trip without having some idea of your final destination, and perhaps also plotting your course. Because hey, if you don't know where you are going, how will you know how to get there, and when will you know you've arrived?

Goals act as road signs that lead to your ultimate goal. Goal setting helps you set your destination and your smaller goals help you reach your destination much quicker so you don't waste time wandering around aimlessly. When you set goals and mark them off as you achieve them, you know exactly where you are on your path to success.

Goal Setting Theory Applies to All Desires

When people talk about goals, it seems like the subject of money comes up quite a bit. It is easy to see why since most people want a better job, more money, and more possessions.

While goal setting is ideal for improving your financial state, goals are also important to other aspects of self improvement too such as weight loss.

It doesn't matter what your desire happens to be. Set goals and you will achieve it much quicker and with less drama.

Flexing Your Self Improvement Muscles

When you take up weight training or physical fitness of some sort, you don't just jump right in at the same level as someone who has been working at it for several months. You have to start with the basics and then work your way up. You build upon your successes as you get stronger.

Well, guess what? Achieving goals works exactly the same way. An interesting aspect of goal setting theory is that the more goals you set and achieve, the more likely you are to achieve future goals. Let's take a look at why that is.

When you set a goal for the first time, you may not have much confidence you can achieve it. Incidentally, that is why it is important to set small achievable goals in addition to your big end goal.

However, when you accomplish a goal, and scratch it off your list, it boosts your self confidence. It proves to yourself that you are certainly capable of achieving what you set your mind to.

By setting daily or weekly goals, and achieving them, you train your mind to believe you are a successful person who attains goals. Once your mind believes you can do it, you can accomplish anything you desire.

How to Get Results

To get the best results, you have to set smart goals.

For example, if you are new to goal setting, and don't have the systems in place to achieve a lot of money quickly, it would be counterproductive to set a goal that you'll earn one million dollars in 30 days. Chances are you will fail.

Even worse, you will be teaching yourself you fail at accomplishing goals.

Therefore, set small, achievable goals, especially when first starting out.

Since goal setting theory suggests the more goals you set, the better you get at achieving them, why not start with daily goals you know you can attain?

Goal Setting Theory and Personal Growth

Keep in mind, the purpose of making goals is to stimulate growth and achievement. So, while your goals need to be achievable, they shouldn't be ridiculously simple.
For example, don't set a daily goal to get out of bed (unless you are battling depression and rarely get out of bed) because that is something you do every day anyway. You can't trick your mind so easily. Deep down you'll know you are not achieving any type of meaningful goal.

Instead, choose a behavior or task you wouldn't normally do but is easy enough to do when you put your mind to it. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, a daily goal could be to give up snack foods for the entire day.

Attaining goals like that will make you feel proud and compel you to achieve a similar goal the next day. Day by day you will move closer to your end goal of losing 20 pounds or whatever it happens to be.

Checklist for How to Set Goals

• Set small short range goals
• Set a larger long range goal
• Make the short range goals just difficult enough to stimulate personal growth and progress toward the long range goal
• Make a habit of attaining goals
• Celebrate your successes
• Rework your failures

Failing to Achieve Your Goals

You're not perfect. Nobody is. No matter how hard you try, you will fail at meeting certain goals.

Use your failures to guide you into learning how to set goals you can achieve.

Occasional failures shouldn't be too much of a concern. If you repeatedly fail at attaining goals, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Remember, the last thing you want to do is impress upon your subconscious that you are a failure at achieving goals.

Perhaps your goals are too difficult. Make them easier for a while and see if your progress improves.
Maybe you are sabotaging yourself. One of the great things about the goal setting theory is that goal setting may bring hidden issues and feelings to the surface. It's a good thing because you can then deal with those issues so they stop interfering with your life.

Goal Setting Theory in Action

When you learn how to set goals, it is sort of like putting down stepping stones that lead to your ultimate desire.
Every goal you achieve is like a hop forward on the path to success.

The more goals you set, the more well defined your path will be. The more goals you attain, the farther along the path you will travel. Setting goals keeps your destination in sight and they also train your mind for success.

Goal setting leads you on an exciting journey of self discovery that will build your confidence and capabilities.
Learning how to set goals isn't difficult at all. You just need to get started. When you do, you can take pride in knowing you are following in the footsteps of some of the most successful men and women in history who set goals and then worked to achieve them.

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