The importance of Understanding Goal Setting



One very popular proponents of the goal setting theory, was philosophers E.A. Locke. His theory suggests that goal setting is innate among human beings, and that identifying and mapping out methods to reach them, are some of the most natural factors of human behavior. He, and others, would tell you that goal setting theory is rooted on these four basic ideas:

  • 1. People rationally set task-related goals.
  • 2. People are the ones that determine how much
    time and effort are afforded into reaching these
  • 3. Goals, to be effective, must be specific, accepted,
    and attainable.
  • 4. It is important to keep track of our progress.

The goal setting theory assumes all of the above four, and makes the following general claims:

  • 1.  Goal setting affects behavior.
  • 2. Difficult goals result in higher performance levels.
  • 3. Additional motivation comes from lessons learned,
    reaching previous goals.
  • 4. Goal clarity affects performance.
  • 5. Goal difficulty is directly proportional to

Goal setting and behavior

The Goal setting theory states that identifying goals, allows people to make calculated plans. Once those goals are reached, they naturally direct us, and provide additional motivation, and also help us to commit to greater goals, because of the knowledge gained, through the activities of our achievement.

Performance is correlated to difficulty

The more challenging and difficult it is to reach a goal, the higher the resulting performance level. Of course, if a task is a little daunting, the more effort we will likely give to accomplish it. Accordingly, our performance is influenced by four key factors.

First, goal setting centers our attention to actions, that will lead to our goal, thereby reducing the likelihood of getting side tracked. Second, as mentioned before, the higher the goal, the more effort is required. Third, when we know that we are in control of the time and effort needed, the more persistent we become. And fourth, there are lessons to be learned in every goal achieving process.

Motivation is driven by past actions

In addition to our inner desire, we get motivated to work harder toward our next goal, if we have been exposed to similar situation, where we experienced failure in the past. The goal setting theory says, that errors, and dissatisfactions, push us to do better the next time.

The clearer the goal, the better the performance

This is self explanatory. If we know exactly what we want, it will be a lot easier to identify the necessary actions needed, and consequently, those actions help us to reach our goals faster. We will work with a clearer vision, to reach our full potential.

Goal difficulty affects satisfaction

In relation to factor number two, we tend to derive a greater satisfaction, when we complete difficult tasks. Satisfaction levels are driven by the amount of effort, and sacrifice, put into reaching our goals. Challenging goals give a stronger sense of achievement.



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