What to consider when setting goals

Since a few years, the concept of Goals has invaded the area of high performance. We have been told that if we want to achieve something we have to start with a goal in mind and think backwards to set the action steps. Which is probably true if we are able to have the goal visible in front of us. Now in my experience, goals have certain characteristics that we need to consider.

Goal: the end towards which effort is directed

  • Goal Setting
    • Short term: depending on the goal and on the individual you are, you have to have something to achieve on a short term. This will keep you motivated and on track. This are the milestones on the bigger picture.
    • Long term: this is going to be your long term vision. If it is strong enough, it will be a constant pull.
    • External: the tangible results, something that is measurable quantitatively and is out in the world to be seen.
    • Internal: we also have goals that change the person you are on a long term basis. Could be an emotion, a character trait? These goals are measured mostly on a qualitatively basis.
In my experience, not all goals are achieved. Sometimes we have unintended results or partial results. I think those are important to value as well and not to be seen as a failure if we don’t get a 100% of what we want. Partial incremental improvements can have a significant impact on a long term vision.
Once we have figured out the kind of goal we want to achieve, we can go more in detail in a model called SMART goals.
For me, the most important aspect of having goals as a tool, is that they can be motivators and direction givers if we keep on coming back to review them.

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