Goals can help you achieve in all areas of your life on and off-the-court and setting goals is the key to accomplishing a wide range of ambitions, such as learning a new skill, completing your education or taking a new step in your life. No matter what the activity is, setting a clear and precise objective helps you to concentrate your efforts and gets you heading in the right direction.
Without having a process in place to keep you focused on achieving your goals, very often goals are forgotten, time runs out to achieve them or the goal becomes irrelevant. Research has shown that having a goal setting process can help raise productivity, clarify expectations, and increase individual performance.
Tips for effective goal-setting:
- 1. Defining your goals
Before determining how you are going to achieve your goals, you must start by defining the goals themselves. These goals can be linked to any aspect in your life – career, financial, family, education, etc. Keep them few in number: productivity studies show that you really can’t focus on more than 5–7 items at any one time.
If your goals include multiple long-term goals, it helps to break them down to smaller, short-term goals. This will help you to see the big picture but also to maintain motivation for each of the steps that you need to take to get there.
- 2. Make them SMART
For your goals to be effective, they should be designed to be SMART:
- Specific – goals must be well defined and identify exactly what you want to accomplish
- Measureable –assessable at each stage of the goal setting process, including when the goal has been achieved
- Achievable – a good goal should stretch you, but not be impossible to attain
- Relevant – goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take.
- Time-bound – goals should be set within a specific amount of time - enough time to achieve the goal, but not so much time that can affect or delay performance
- 3. Write them down
Writing down your goals is critical to achieving them, even if you never develop an action plan or do anything else. When you write something down, you are stating your intention and setting things in motion.
- 4. Review your goals
Every time you review your goals, ask yourself: what’s the next step I need to take to move toward this goal? You can review them daily, weekly, or monthly. The key is to let them inspire and populate your daily task list.
- 5. Share your goals
Telling selected people about your goals will give you a support system while you are working towards achieving your goals. Additionally, sharing your goals creates personal accountability. Others will know that you are working towards achieving your goal and will be invested in helping you to get there. However, make sure to only share your goals with people who are committed to helping you achieve them.
Setting goals is key to any form of success – professional, financial, personal, etc. With clear objectives in mind, you can map out your future and stay on course for success.