In this post I discuss 3 distinct goal setting tips related to (1) difficulty, (2) willpower and the (3) improvement of intelligence.
Goal setting in itself will not guarantee that you are successful. How you set goals, the circumstances as well as how you phrase those goals for maximum motivational effect all play a role. Here are some simple goal setting tips that will help you improve your chances of success.
Before I tackle the tips, remember that the first thing you should do is make sure that you goals are SMART. SMART stands for:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Relevent
- T – Time bound.
I discuss this in more detail in the article on smart goals.
(1) Difficult goals
The first of our goal setting tips focuses on the need to make sure that your goals are challenging or difficult enough. Too easy and you will find no satisfaction when you achieve them, too difficult and you won’t even try. I would also suggest that your goal ought to be meaningful. In this case I am talking about them being meaningful to you, consistent with your values, as well as helping you achieve your dreams and aspirations for yourself and those you love and care about. In this respect you can focus on both “why?” goals and on “what?” goals. Framing your goal in terms of “why?” will give you the reasons and serve as inner motivation to take action towards achieving a goal. Framing your goals in terms of “what?” to focus on how to achieve the goal – the specific tasks that needs to be done and how to do each one. This is especially useful if you want to achieve a goal that is difficult to do or where the tasks are still unfamiliar. Imagine having to walk a tightrope between two buildings. It is better to focus on the task at hand and make sure you make no mistakes, rather than on the accolades you will achieve from admiring friends, family or that special someone. On the other hand, imagine having to complete a book. If you are already a good writer and knows the subject focusing on the reason (why) may be better if you want to motivate yourself.
The second one of our goal setting tips considers the importance of willpower to achieve a goal, but more importantly how to develop your willpower. Yes, that is correct, develop it. Willpower is not some innate ability which we are born with. It can be developed. Furthermore when you develop willpower or discipline in one area it often transfers to other areas of your life. For example, you could force yourself to do something that is moderately difficult like going to the gym 3 times a week and exercising for 1 hour each time. By doing this you are strengthening your willpower muscle. Even simple task requiring willpower could accomplish this, for instance writing with your non-dominant hand (left rather than right of vice versa). Beware though, overdoing it will tire you out and you have no willpower for other important activities, similar to overusing your muscles and being too tired to do anything else
(3) Intelligence – can it be improved?
The last of the goals setting tips are related to whether you believe intelligence is changeable or not changeable. Can you become more clever or is this impossible? It is now known to confidently say that intelligence can be improved. How does this influence goal achievement? If you do not reach a goal and ascribe it to stupidity then you are likely to be quite demotivated and probably won’t try again. However, if you believe that you can improve then you are more likely to see failure as an indication that you need to learn more, improve, and try again.
To sum the goal setting tips up, set smart goals, make them challenging, define them as “why” to focus on the reasons or “what” to focus on how to do it, and develop a belief that you can improve your intelligence and other abilities. I hope you have found these goal setting tips helpful.