Goal setting: part 1 - goal setting for motivation

It’s still a fairly new year, and as most of us drunkenly did around 11:59pm on the 31st of December, you might have decided upon a resolution for the months to come. Being the 27th February, you’ve probably already forgotten about it.Setting a new years resolution is fairly clichéd and often destined to fail outright. That’s not a recommendation to stop - just set them properly this year.Over the next few weeks this mini-series will cover just that – proper goal setting.There’s no doubt in my mind you already have some ideas up your sleeve for your agency this year. Perhaps you’d like to increase sales? Perhaps you’d like to up the ante on your web presence? Perhaps you’d like to be more people-focused in your approach to business management or customer service?You’re going to need to work out some goals. It’s important.We’ve all set goals before. They could have been set in the boardroom, or in primary school on butcher’s paper with a crayon. You might have figured out by now they don’t always work out as we hoped.This is usually due to a poor definition of what goals actually are. The ideas above are all perfectly reasonable desires for any business - but lets get one thing clear; a goal isn’t a desire.Sure, you desire the outcome of your goals, but they’re vastly different to plain old ‘wants’. Turning desires into goals requires some serious planning.And how then would these well-planned goals actually help to get anything done? Read on.

Goal setting as a motivator

Motivation seriously impacts efficiency. A motivated person is going to be far more productive than a dreary Johnny Hands-In-Pockets who lumbers into the office to simper in front of videos of cats for hours on end.The thing is, if Johnny doesn’t have a reason to give something his best, he won’t. That would be a waste of his time and calories. Through goal setting, he (or his superior) can create something he can strive for. If he can see a tangible endpoint there’ll be a reason to work hard.As well as knowing why he should do something, he knows how he’s going to do it. Good goals aren’t just an understanding of what the end result should be - but an understanding of exactly what’s required to achieve said end result.Setting goals can influence motivation in a few ways;

Johnny stops procrastinating

Most of the day-to-day is done at a whim, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s finished today, at the end of the week, or not at all. Once you’ve set a goal however, you’re accountable to finish it.Having a definite job and deadline is a great kick-up-the-bum to stop Facebook-ing and get to work.

Johnny gets focused

Imagine there were no goals in a game of soccer - what would you do with the ball? Hours could be spent meaninglessly dribbling it about. Where and why would you kick it?This perplexing little allegory is a great representation of the aimlessness of having, well, no aims.You need direction - whether it’s to kick a ball through some posts, or increase your sales. Goals are your targets to shoot for so you don’t waste time and energy pointlessly booting the ball hither and thither.

Johnny measures his progress

A goal gives you a benchmark to compare your current progress with.We hate not knowing where we are, or how far we have to go. This is the principle behind loading bars, page numbers, scales at the gym, and the time-worn huffing of backseat children; ‘are we there yet?’People want to track their progress and know exactly how far along the proverbial road to success they are. You run faster when you can see the finish line.This all sounds amazing, but not all goals will motivate by default. The difficulty of setting good goals is underestimated; we like the sound of the motivational benefits without understanding the limitations.Part Two (coming up soon), will explain in detail how to build goals that work.

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