6 Steps to Setting Goals That Improve Performance
by Joe Wilner
How many goals do you have on your agenda right now? Out of all these goals, how many are you actually making significant progress on? Furthermore, how many of these goals help better you as a person?
Setting goals isn't necessarily an art form. There are many common principles for setting productive goals, though an often neglected criteria, is incorporating the area of human performance into the mix.
Below is a process to follow in order to work toward your goals while simultaneously improving performance.
1.) Set clear, reasonable goals
First and foremost follow the staple principles of goal setting. Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, reasonable, and time-bound. Set goals that are realistic according to your current circumstances, and that can be measured and concretely performed.
It becomes easy to get side-tracked and distracted from taking the necessary steps if a goal is not clear and specific in nature. This means having a concrete plan and deadline to complete the task. There is a major difference between the big-picture vision, and the day to day operations that make the vision happen. Both are needed and must complement each other for long-term success.
2.) Identify the behaviors that are critical for performance
This step is often overlooked in the process of setting goals. People think about making sure the goal is realistic and specific, but seem to forget that each goal requires its own set of unique skills and talent, along with a necessary level of self-growth and development.
From the get-go establish what behaviors are going to be the primary focus for improvement and growth. What behaviors will be conducive to performing at your peak in the process of achieving your intended goal?
Discovering this will allow you to devise a plan where the necessary education, training, and support are built into the process and plan of achieving your goal. This will help provide the means to start setting more lofty goals, as you won't expect to know everything immediately, and can look toward the long-term vision with needed skills in mind to be learned along the way.
3.) Establish potential rewards and discipline
With any plan for making a change in habits or routine, it's important to have rewards and incentives prepared. Unless you are 100% intrinsically motivated to pursue your goal, there must be some external reward that will assist you in putting in the extra effort and commitment needed to follow through.
Hopefully you're approaching an endeavor where motivation comes from true desire and passion, but it can't hurt to have a little extra boost in motivation by keeping your eye on the prize that's awaiting you.
Also, if you're lacking intrinsic motivation, find a way to give the goal significant meaning and purpose, where the benefits outweigh the small inconveniences. Make sure you have developed the proper discipline necessary to see the goal through. This might mean incorporating a coach or acquaintance to hold you accountable to daily action steps.
4.) Continue developing abilities to enhance performance
Okay, this step is of vital importance. Revert back to what you considered from step two and start putting this personal or professional development into action. This can be easier said than done. You may be able to identify areas where you think improvements can be made, but are you following through in developing these areas?
It can be time consuming to engage in training or continued education. It can also be costly if you are taking a formal approach to education and training. Make sure that you are establishing a routine that includes time to build your skills and knowledge. Do your best to educate yourself by reading a book or two per month. Read blogs, articles, or magazines every week to keep abreast on the knowledge and current events in your area of growth. Connect with mentors to help you grow and expand your skills.
For blogging, one cost effective training program is the A-List Blogger Club. This program provides bootcamps, forums, mentoring, and continually updated content and resources to take you through the processes of setting-up a blog, all the way through establishing your blog as a successful business.
5.) Get accurate, timely feedback
Now that you're underway and the ball is rolling, make sure to keep tabs on how things are coming together. This is why it's so important to have measurable objectives, so you can gauge the progress being made.
Feedback can come from specific measures set-up at the beginning of the development process. Track your progress with specific milestones that are to be achieved by a specific date and time. Along with a deadline, have a good idea of what type of quality you intend to produce. Don't compromise quality and effectiveness, for quantity and efficiency.
Feedback can also come from others who are mentoring you through the process. Have someone else review your progress and provide constructive feedback. This will give you another perspective into how things are going, and new insight for how they could be improved.
6.) Administer rewards as promised and celebrate a job well done
After all is said and done, if you set reasonable and specific goals, you will most likely see some significant results. At this point make sure and give yourself the rewards established earlier in the planning process.
Give yourself the encouragement and praise for working hard and staying focused. Even if you feel far from your big picture vision, don't neglect the progress made. If you have achieved your measurable objectives up to this point, recognize this accomplishment, and give yourself a pat on the back before you hurriedly move on to your next set of goals.
This will help with maintaining a positive attitude and encouraged state of mind. It can also prevent frustration and burnout from feeling stagnant and unaccomplished.
If things aren't working for you, don't continue to doing things the same old way. Change the way you approach goals by seeking areas of growth and development, and by providing yourself a desired incentive and reinforcement for all your hard work. By doing so, you'll more likely to achieve your goal and get more personal value out what you accomplish.
(c) 2010 Joe Wilner, All rights reserved.
Joe Wilner is an entrepreneur and life coach. He runs the blog Shake off the Grind, providing advice to help people find success through the up's and down's of life.
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