Goal Setting Principles

Are you a goal setter? Do you understand the benefits of goal setting? Are you committed to your goals once you set them?

Edward Locke and Gary Latham are leaders in goal-setting theory. Their research shows that goals affect behavior and job performance, but they also help mobilize energy, leading to a higher effort overall. When you have a higher effort, this can lead to an increase in persistent effort.

Goals can motivate us to develop strategies to help us perform at a certain level to achieve our goal. When we accomplish our goal, this leads to a level of satisfaction and motivation to want to keep achieving higher results.

Locke and Latham (1990) published “A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance,” that showed how setting goals that were both specific and difficult were important. Throughout their article, they pointed to five goal-setting principles that help you improve your chance for success:

Clarity: One must have a clear and specific goal. This helps eliminate any confusion. When your goal is generic, there is cause for confusion.

Challenge: Creating challenging goals for yourself helps push you to think bigger and achieve bigger. With every goal you check off helps create a winning mindset.

Commitment: Above all else, you need to commit to your goal; without commitment on your end, you are less likely to achieve it.

Feedback: Allow room for feedback; this helps you understand what you are doing right and where you might need to make adjustments to keep moving forward.

Task Complexity: Once you set the goal, committed to it, and allow room for feedback, then what? You need to create tasks that align with your goal.

As you look at your career development, we encourage you to sit down and outline both your short-term and long-term goals incorporating these five goal-setting principles.