Goals, goal setting, goal striving and goal attainment are quintessential components for success and personal growth. Since change is often an extremely difficult process it is imperative that the proper goal setting strategies and methodologies be utilized prudently and effectively. Setting a goal produces an impression of urgency that results in the motivation of individuals to exert energy and make an effort to reduce unwanted behaviors and replace them with desired goals. Although individuals may yearn to attain a specific outcome yet unless they are committed wholeheartedly to their goals and devote affect, cognition and behavior they will not be able to attain it. The goals that individuals choose to attain convey their cognitive, behavioral, spiritual, emotional and social pursuits.
A comprehensive and methodical integration of goal setting strategy possesses a plethora of beneficial impacts on performance and functionality. Research postulates that 90% of the studies with goal setting had a powerful and continuous effect on behavior (Larsen and Engel, 2013). Goal setting is a cardinal advancer of behavior and encompasses essential components, such as intentions, tasks, expectations, deadlines, purposes, results, aims and objectives. Goals impact choices and decisions and direct attention to actions that are goal-oriented and goal-relevant while disregarding other actions or activities that are not goal-oriented or goal-relevant. Goal setting is effective because it directs attention, organizes efforts and improves diligence. Proper goal setting leads to new methodologies and multitudinous possibilities. Additionally, goal setting is perceived as a multifaceted and knowledge dependent tool that provides resolutions on a complex level that is appropriate for the diversity and the complexity of each individual’s need (Larsen and Engel, 2013).
Goals can be defined as mental depictions or illustrations of favorably desired results to which individuals are devoted or committed. Mann, Ridder and Fujita (2013) purport, “A goal relates to a discrepancy between a current state and a desired state, which is thought to motivate efforts to decrease the discrepancy” (p. 490). Goals direct the individuals’ focus and attention to the essential components of skills that are not typically attended to. Self-regulation is delineated as the different methodologies by which individuals pursue and achieve their desired goals. Goal setting is a quintessential tool for the improvement and the correction of any part of life. Goal setting is comprised of the determination to the desired goal and a criteria that governs its progress and success. Oftentimes goal setting is effortless, and does not require much time or resources to create. However, goal setting requires goal striving, which involves the execution of the actions necessary for goal attainment. Goal striving requires a plan to deter impediments and eliminate distractions or disruptions that prevent goal attainment.
Proper goal formulation is an extremely important requirement for goal attainment and successful execution of desired goals. Mann, Ridder and Fujita (2013) postulate, “Without the proper goal formulation many good intentions are doomed to fail” (p. 489). The formulation of goals without the cognizance of their processes and strategies results in diverse challenges and difficulties when presented by unforeseen impediments and hurdles throughout the road to goal attainment. Goal abandonment can be the result of faulty goal setting and the lack of adequate goal striving skills. Mann, Ridder and Fujita (2013) purport, “When difficulties in a goal pursuit are experienced, individuals are faced with the dilemma of either increasing their effort and staying committed to the goal or disengaging from the goal” (p. 490). Researchers endeavor to establish strategies and methodologies that strengthen goal commitment and serve as deterrents as roadblocks appear.
Collins (2009) provides a seven step goal setting process to help individuals attain their desired goals. The first step is to define and select an end result and a desired outcome. This step requires clarity and specificity. The second step is to write down the specific goals on paper. At this point these goals are provisional and can be altered later in the process. Larsen and Engell (2013) postulates, “Goal setting is a dynamic, ever changing, complex process, and the method itself has to be flexible” (p. 69). In the third step individuals can partner with pastors, coaches or mentors in order to brainstorm about additional potential goals. Step four requires individuals to decide which goals they choose to pursue and recast them as SMART goals. In the fifth step individuals order their goals based on priority. Individuals prioritize their goals from the most realistic goals to the end result. Step six requires goal setters to note their progress and write down indicators that will distinctly convey when the desired goal has been attained. Finally, the seventh step is to write the goal list on paper.
Retrieved from Liberty University by Fr. Mina Shaheid (2017)
Larsen, C. and Engell, C. (2013). The art of goal setting. Sports Science Review, 23(1-2):49-76.
Mann, T., Ridder, D. and Fujita, K. (2013). Self-regulation of health behavior: Social psychological approaches to goal setting and goal striving. Health Psychology Journal, 32(5):487-498