Goal Setting to Build Motivation

istock_000005763433xsmall.jpgGoal setting is a great way to increase motivation and improve your success. Developing goals is also an integral part of any time management program. Many people do not realize, though, that within the realm of goal setting that there are various types of goals. We can utilize these more specific types of goals in furtherance of our desire to accomplish a larger, overarching goal.

Generally, our goals tend to be “outcome goals,” such as having a certain amount of money in our retirement accounts. The steps we take to get there, such as transferring $100 each week into the retirement account, are classified as performance goals. Our best chances for success come when we blend both types of goals, giving us a larger desired outcome accomplished by taking smaller, measurable steps.

1. Outcome Goals

As we develop goals in our lives and strive to achieve them, we may feel an initial burst of excitement or motivation stemming from the creation of a plan that will greatly benefit us in the long run.

Outcome goals do not need to be viewed necessarily as long-term goals, either. You may have a goal of making a certain number of sales during the course of a week, or of losing a certain number of pounds in a month. Outcome goals can be achieved in a very short amount of time, or during the course of a lifetime.

The downfall of outcome goals is that they do not necessarily provide ongoing stimulation to keep us motivated to achieve the goal. Without regular feedback we lose emotional momentum, and the importance of the goal can seem diminished.

When we lose our enthusiasm for achievement, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain those actions that bring us closer to realization of our goals. This puts us in peril of giving up, in which case the goals are never met. This, in turn, leads to disappointment, a sense of failure, and low self esteem.

2. Performance Goals

We can use performance goals as a tool to keep our motivation high as we work towards the accomplishment of our outcome goals. Performance goals are the rungs on the ladder, smaller accomplishments to be met along the way. We can look at performance goals as the “how-to” steps to get to our larger, outcome goals.

If, for example, your outcome goal was to make 30 sales in a week, your performance goals might include making contact with at least 20 people each day over the course of your workweek. You may set a goal of handing out a certain number of pamphlets or brochures, or making a minimum number of sales calls.

Performance goals can serve another purpose as well. For instance, due to economic factors or other elements out of your control, you may not be able to meet your outcome goal within the period of time you desired. If you do reach all of your performance goals, though, it will be far easier to bear the disappointment of not reaching your overarching objective. You will still feel good about your accomplishments and your motivation will remain high.

3. Set Tangible Goals

When you decide upon your goals, whether large or small, they should be things that are tangible. You should be able to measure your success towards achieving your goals, rather than have lofty but undefined ambitions. It is the difference between saying, “I want to go for a walk,” and, “I want to walk four miles today.”

You need to establish measurable marks by which you can track your progress. The ability to see where you are in relation to your desired outcome is another important aspect of maintaining your motivation. Your continued success in attaining your smaller goals helps you maintain your focus, which in turn drives your motivation.

Setting goals is an excellent way to bring organization into your life and accomplish things you otherwise may never have realized. In order to use goals successfully, though, you must establish them in such a manner that you can easily see your progress towards completion. It is this progress that stokes the fires of motivation and compels you to succeed.

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