What is a clear Goal Setting?
Be specific and quantifiable: for example, the goal is “retirement” is not clear, the thing is you can just resign right now. You should be more specific such as “to save $xx amount of money before retirement”.
Be realistic: Set an achievable goal and achieve it. For example, living in Mars is impractical. Writing a goal like that is just a dream and a waste of time.
Be timeliness: Set out when to complete clearly, because we are very good at delaying.
Have a clear implementation plan: for example, “5 kg weight loss” is a goal, but it is not an implementation, but “daily running 5km” is a clear executable plan. You will stick into it only if you write down the execution plan.
In summary, first, set specific actions, do not just take the concept as a goal: No matter you want to develop new habits, or to change the old habits, we must start with “setting goals”. This is a very critical step. If you don’t set your goals, you can almost foresee that your habit-forming plan will fail.
But is it so hard to set a goal? For example, I set the goal of “going to bed early every day” and setting “go to bed before 12”, or I set “weight loss” as my goal, and I set the goal of “walking home from work every day”. What kind of plan do you think is really going to last?
When we set a habit as a goal, we must “avoid conceptualization”. We must set the goal into a very specific, very straightforward and a limited set of “behavior”, “action” so that we will stick into it, and we will really know what to do and how to do.
If you set the goal to “sleep early every day” because it is not specific, you may be still busy at 11pm and end up you still sleep when you finish all you work. But if the goal is to “go to bed before 12”, then you start to know in time planning that you have to finish your work before 11pm and then get ready to go to bed.
Form habit to achieve goal
Start with a relatively simple action
We all like to start with a very ambitious goal, which makes people look very happy, and we will tell ourselves: as long as we work hard, I will certainly be able to do it. Please don’t think that!
Take the above early to sleep as an example, perhaps 10pm is a best time to go to bed to make you healthier. Assuming you normally go home at 8pm. After that, you take a show, do some housework and do something to enjoy your personal life, why do you force yourself to sleep at 10pm?
The better way to do this is to find a time when you really want to sleep such as 12am. In this case, you are more likely to do it and don’t really sacrifice too much. There is still sufficient time to do something after you get home and you still have enough sleep for next day work.
Don’t sacrifice too much”. Don’t push yourself too much, because the result of persecuting yourself is nothing. When you are setting habit as your goal, suggest to pick a simple choice if you have one. Simple is always the best.
Be sure to do what you want to do: we need to understand the difference between “nurturance habit” and “learning” first.
Take weight loss as an example. If the goal is to go swimming every week, but in reality I cannot swim, I would say to myself that I can take the advantage to learn and at the same time achieve my goal through this habit. Such a goal will not be done.
Learning and habit are completely things concepts. Learning takes time and we should set a goal for learning itself.
Habit should fall into another goal which you have to do it. If you don’t know how to do to achieve the goal, it’s only an idea and won’t be executed.
Find the real first step: The goal can always be adjusted, but the process of forming a habit to achieve the goal is more difficult and more important. We can find out what the habit of the first should be changed with some practicing.
What does that mean? Because most of the time we want to change is the inner thinking and the way of life. However, the impact of our inner thinking is not just a single habit, but a string of logical, continuous habits of behavior. These altogether creates the current mode of internal thinking.
In order to develop a healthy lifestyle for early morning sleep, the start of the specific action may be to sleep before 12, but the implementation of the discovery is difficult to do, because we may still have things to do at night, and then we further found that the specific action that needs to change first is “do not bring work home”.
However, “do not bring work home” is too conceptualized, then we must continue to find out the reason, then we found we need to set “to complete a daily goal during working hours”. It is still too general, we check deeper and deeper and found out the action may be “develop daily tasks before work”.
Now, we know that in order to sleep early and get up early, the real first habit is to “develop daily tasks before work” which is a specific and measurable action. It is very important “to find the real first step,” and to get them into the habit to achieve our goal.
Keep you action
In the previous paragraphs, we know that we need to establish a concrete and feasible form of action target. But you can have room of flexibility when it comes to execute you target. Perhaps some friends feel that the militarization of management will be better, and perhaps this is different for everyone. In my own case, I will be more likely to give up this goal once I keep on fighting my own confidence if I can’t find a way to do something.
So we should give it some tolerance. It doesn’t mean to be indulgence.
If you really only can sleep at 12:30am instead of your target at 12am, then you still tell yourself to have the goal of early sleep. If you can only run for 10 minutes today instead of your target of 30 minutes, you still tell yourself to do daily exercise.
No matter how much or less you do, the most important thing is to keep the motivation of “doing it every day,” as long as you do it every day, you have a chance to do better.
Avoid too many goals
One of the traps when people want to improve themselves is to to set a lot of new goals”. People cannot do all the things at once, and cannot do too many things at once, that causes too much stress.
At this time, the only thing to do is to quickly give up some of these goals first. Do not be afraid of giving up, and give up. You are just giving up the goals that are too much and too heavy.
You are adjusting the goal step by step to become simpler and more specific. Give up those that are not important. At least keep one most important goals, and then stick into it. It’s going to be more important than anything.
Actions must be rewarded
Remember to reward yourself for moving forward to achieve your goal persistently even if it’s just a little action such as 10 minutes exercise a day.
Looking at it in another angle. We are motivated because there is a very big payoff behind that action which is very valuable to you. That motivates you to discover your potential.
So remember to give your action some rewards. Let it harvest. The best way is to maintain the reward system continuously.
Setting goal can lead a person’s behavior to work towards a target. It can make a person to adjust their degree of effort based on the degree of difficulty. Therefore, an effective leader has to set goals. This will further influence their persistence on doing anything.
Edwin Lock (Edwin A. Locke) and Hughes, a professor of management and psychology at Maryland University in the United States, found that external stimuli, such as rewards, job feedback, and supervision, were influenced by goals.
The goal itself has a stimulating role and can turn people’s needs into motives. It further encourages people to make effort to certain direction and in the process of timely adjustment and correction to achieve the goal.
It’s the process of translating the need into motivation, and then from motivation into action to achieve the goal. This kind of target stimulation is influenced by the nature of the goal itself and the surrounding variables.
The goal has two basic attributes: clarity and difficulty
The content of the target can be vague, such as “finish a task”. Or the content of the goal can be clear such as “Finish the task within 30 minutes”. By setting clear goals, people will be more aware of what to do and how much effort they can make to reach their goals. It also helps the evaluation of the individual’s ability.
Because people have a tendency to understand the cognitive tendencies of their behavior. The understanding of behavioral goals and results can reduce the blindness of behavior and improve the self-control level of behavior. Therefore, the clearer the goal, the better. In addition, the clarity of objectives also has an impact on performance. This is because the uncertainty of the fuzzy target is apt to produce many possible results.
From the difficulty point of view, the goal can be easy to difficult – “finish a task in 10 minutes/20 minutes/30 minutes. Difficulty depends on the relationship between the person and the goal.
A same task may be easy for someone but difficult to others, depending on their ability and experience. In general, the higher the difficulty of a goal, the more difficult it is for people to reach it. More than 400 studies have found that performance is linearly correlated with the difficulty level of the target. Of course, there is a prerequisite is that the person who completes the task has enough ability, the goal and the high commitment. Under such conditions, the harder the task, the better the performance. It is generally believed that there is a linear relationship between performance and target difficulty level, because people can adjust their efforts according to different task difficulty.
Once you know what goal setting is, it’s not difficult to understand how SMART goals are so important.
S – Specific
This to specifically explain clearly about the standard of conduct to be achieved. For example, your financial goals are that I want to become richer, happier, more confident and so on. This goal is ambiguous and you need to crystallize your goals.
Goals are set for projects, metrics, measures, deadlines, and resource requirements so that you know clearly what goals are being made and what the quality of completion will be.
M – Measurable
Measurement means that the goal should be clear, not vague. There should be a clear set of data as a basis for measuring whether or not to reach a goal. When it comes to specific goals, we have to quantify the way to make it concrete.
The goal of the measurement standards is to have a unified, standard, clear and measurable ruler, to eliminate the use of adjectives in the concept of vague and immeasurable description. Subdivide as far as possible effectively and set the scoring criteria for it.
A – Attainable
The goal has to be achievable. You need to know your situation very well. Set a goal to allow room to grow. Do not want to achieve the difficulties first, otherwise the enthusiasm is not lit before the fear of the failure. Try to ask yourself if the goal is feasible, or ask the professionals in the relevant industry
R – Relevant
The relevance of a goal is the association between achieving this goal and other goals. If this goal is achieved, but is completely irrelevant to the other goals, or if the correlation is very low, the goal is not significant even if it is achieved.
For example, you search for information in the guise of learning, and you find that you are attracted to other interesting content. You then try to comfort yourself that I am getting helpful information. It’s just a detour.
Thinking of a straight line rather than a detour. Improving relevance is also an effective way to reduce time wasters and improve efficiency.
T – Time-based
The time limit of the target characteristic means that the target is time-limited. Without a specific time limit, it would be difficult for us to monitor our own purposes and there would be no urgency.