Goals

Getting your goals rightGoals provide direction and energy for our behavior. They differ for each one of us. They differ depending on our developmental stage, personality and style of coping.

Everyone can set a goal. They can be set in relation to one or various aspects of our life. For instance, career goals, relationship or social goals and goals about creativity can be set. The entire set of our goals combine to constitute our life goals. The different areas that we focus on are sometimes referred to as
goal dimensions.

Goal setting and goal planning

Often people use the terms goal setting and goal planning interchangeably. While at other times they are used to refer to different things. When people use the term goal setting they are usually referring to a process that involves establishing a goal that you are going to work on. This can be done, for example, through using SMART goal setting principles.

In contrast to this, goal planning involves working out what you need to do to achieve your target. This process is similar to setting up an operational plan. This might involve identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Taking time to identify and write down your milestones is also helpful. A milestone is an action or event that marks a significant change or stage in your progress.

Achieving your goals

Goal achievement is important. Mindful and careful goal planning can help you achieve your goals. The goal planning process can be used to help identify barriers and facilitators to your success. Establishing achievable and relevant goals is key. Doing this will help avoid the scenario of establishing unrealistic targets.

There is a growing field of research into motivation and goals. Also, the links between motivation, types of goals, types of motivation (for example, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation) and goal-directed behavior are starting to emerge from the research literature.

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