The Importance Of Setting Goals
Having a goal and working toward it is a fundamental component to success. Goal setting is what gives us clarity. When you get into your car and start the engine you have a destination in mind. Before you turned the key in the ignition you knew where you were heading. In fact you were clear on why you were getting in the car in the first place. There would be no point jumping into the driver’s seat if you simply didn’t know where you were going. You’d just be wasting time, energy and resources.
Research studies in every discipline have shown a direct link between setting goals and improved performance. Goals help us be efficient in how we allocate our time and resources as well as helping to keep us motivated. Without that singular focus — the destination you are heading for — progress simply can’t be made. Your performance won’t improve.
Most of us want to be successful. We want to make a meaningful contribution and fulfil our dreams. However, without specifically articulating what it is we want to do it’s easy to become sidetracked. Goals give us purpose; creating a tunnel vision that blinkers us to the world’s distractions.
There is a question I like to ask people when I first start working with them: “Tell me the specific goal you are working on right now and why that’s important to you.” The answer should come instantly. Often it does not. The individual is caught off guard and you can see the panic as they desperately search for an answer that will sound grandiose and impressive. Which in itself shows a lack of understanding about what it means to set goals. In these moments I wonder whether part of the reason the individual in question isn’t performing at their peak is simply because they haven’t set themselves a specific goal.
Somewhere along the way many of us seem to have decided that ‘everything is important.” We try and make everything a priority. We spread ourselves too thin in many areas and achieve mostly an average performance in each. The secret to goal setting is to understand that everything is not the most important thing. Setting a goal allows us to explore our ideas and thoughts and then focus on the singular area that will help move us forward in pursuit of what we really want.
The importance of goals is undeniable.
Goals provide us direction…
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!” Those were the words of Zig Ziglar. Goals are what give us purpose. When you set yourself a goal you give yourself something to aim at. Imagine having to shoot an arrow but not having a target to aim at. What do you do? How do you know if you’re doing the right thing? Shooting aimlessly is just a waste of time and effort. It’s pointless. We need to know where we are aiming.
Goals help us stay focused…
Our world is full of distractions! Ever wonder how we get anything done? I do. Setting a goal gives us a priority. When we are making choices about how to spend our time we now know what is important. When you have set a goal you have created mental boundaries; you know the areas to stay away from.
Goals build momentum…
Goals push us to achieve. Setting a goal provides the foundation for our drive. Just setting ourselves a goal brings us one step closer to achievement; it creates a specific finish line to work toward. Making progress makes us feel good. It lifts our energy and gets us excited. Each step closer energizes us more. The more we progress, the better we feel. The opposite is also true; having no goal equals making no progress which makes us feel like we’re constantly running in quicksand. We have to use all our effort to stop ourselves from sinking.
Setting goals is essential for enhancing performance but it’s equally as important that we set ourselves the right kind of goals.
Our goals should stretch us. They should not be achievable through a simple incremental improvement but instead push us beyond the edge of our current performance. It is the goals that stretch us that ultimately make us grow. Our goals should feel just as challenging as they do invigorating. Our goals should force us to work harder and smarter to achieve our target. When you set yourself a stretch goal you should be prepared for the fact you may not meet it 100%, but even coming close will mean you have achieved extraordinary results.
Striving for goals helps to develop our potential. Goals that stretch us beyond what we know and toward what we desire make us courageous. We are forced to face our inbuilt fear of failure and bounce back with unwavering determination when setbacks occur.
We grow our performance only when we have set ourselves goals. Ask yourself…
- What do you want?
- When do you want it?
- What obstacles are in your way?
- What are you willing to give up to get it?
Peak performance comes from goals that stretch us.
About Paul Kaye:Born in England, Paul got his first PD role in the early 2000s, making him the youngest programmer in the UK at the time. After nearly a decade programming in the UK Paul moved to Canada in 2012 to work for Newcap.
Paul spends his days looking after stations in the CHR, Hot-AC and Classic Hits formats and also holds the role of National Talent Development Director for the company. A role that see’s him working with morning shows, on air talent, and programmers across the country to improve performance.
Paul lives in Vancouver and can be reached at [email protected]