The key principles to goal setting

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Setting goals is considered an essential practice for living a happy and fulfilling life. Goals provide you with purpose, direction and motivation. They give you a target to strive for, they may force you to change or move out of your comfort zone and improve yourself to achieve them. You’ll have the best chance of success if you set a goal that’s doable, and one that is meaningful too.

The act of setting goals isn’t always as simple as defining what you want and then going after it.

In 1990, Professors Edwin Locke and Gary Latham published A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance, where they identified these five principles of effective goal setting:

  1. Clarity
    Specific goals put you on a direct course. When a goal is vague, it has limited motivational value.

  2. Commitment
    Commitment refers to the degree to which an individual is attached to the goal and their determination to reach it, even when faced with obstacles.

  3. Challenge
    Goals must be challenging yet attainable. Challenging goals can improve performance through increased self-satisfaction, and the motivation to find suitable strategies to push our skills to the limit (Locke & Latham, 1990).

  4. Task complexity
    Overly complex tasks introduce demands that may mute goal setting effects. Overly complex goals that lie out of our skill level may become overwhelming and negatively impact morale, productivity and motivation.

  5. Feedback
    Goal setting is more effective in the presence of feedback, including internal feedback, and helps to determine the degree to which a goal is being met and how you are progressing.

Why not try using these five principles for 2020 and beyond, to harness the power of goal setting and achieve your goals.

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