Goal setting can be positive. Whether you are setting goals, for your career, relationship, family, or day-to-day, it is important to recognise what your objectives are to determine achievable goals. However, you need to know how to set goals to achieve them.
Goal setting should begin with a lot of thought on what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can achieve.
Many of us have learned the importance of setting ourselves SMART objectives. “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
When your goals are clear and well defined, you know what you’re trying to accomplish. You can also correctly measure results, and you know which behaviours to reward. However, when a goal is vague or generalised it isn’t easy to measure, and it isn’t motivating.
While setting goals, include specific information, for example, amounts, dates, etc., so you can measure your achievement. For example, if your goal is simply “To reduce the number of cigarettes smoked” how will you know if you have achieved this? Setting a goal to reduce the number of cigarettes by 10, 20, or 50 percent, by a certain date, will give you a way to measure your achievement.
Make certain that your goals are achievable. In other words, if you have no hope of achieving a specific goal, you will only discourage yourself. Nevertheless, you must also avoid setting goals that are too simple. Achieving a simple goal that didn’t take much work can be anticlimactic at best, and can also cause anxiety for setting future goals that may not be as easy to achieve. Goals should be pragmatic yet challenging to bring the greatest satisfaction.
Goals should be appropriate and relatable to you and the direction you want your life to go. By associating your goals with this, you’ll create the motivation you need to achieve your goal. Setting non-associating goals, you’ll squander your time away.
Your goals must have a time limit. If you want to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke, when do you want to do this by? If you give yourself a specific date, “1st of February” you will set your mind into motion and give a sense of urgency.
Research has shown that goal setting can help support a happier and healthier life. The most important reward pathway in brain is the mesolimbic dopamine system. This controls your responses to natural rewards, such as food, sex, and social interactions. Dopamine is released into the part of your brain responsible for positive rewards, so is therefore a time limit factor for motivation to get you to repeat this.
Writing by Alannagh Kelly