Why Do You Need Goal Setting at Work?
Reams of paper and barrels of ink have been spilled extolling tips on how to set goals. Many people have even committed the SMART acronym to memory and for good reason. The idea that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound is a laudable one. It’s backed by science, and it even works in the real world.
However, it’s possible that far less has been written about why goal-setting matters. Whether you are an entrepreneur who is driving the success of an organization or an office worker who wants to get ahead, you need to have goals. Unfortunately, for many people, these goals remain more like hazy dreams.
The entrepreneur wants his business to remain solvent. The worker wants a supervisory position someday. How to get from point A to point B remains something of a mystery.
This is where goal setting enters the picture. You have a destination that you want to reach, but you need a road map to get you there. A goal provides you with everything you need to achieve what you want in the business world.
How does a goal do this? Mostly, it’s a result of providing you with a focus.
1. Your Goal Leads to Specific Behavior
When you have a goal that is clear, compelling and well-defined, then you can’t help but look for an actionable behavior. The entrepreneur may resolve to grow his profits by five percent by the end of the fiscal year. This is a clear, specific goal, and he can immediately begin taking action to realize that aim.
2. Goals Build Momentum
When you have a large, complicated goal that you’re working toward, then every small step that you achieve is a victory. Each time you complete a task that supports your overall aim, your brain releases dopamine, a natural reward for all of your hard work.
Here’s the magic: you can actually become addicted to that hit of dopamine. You’ll want to feel it again and again. This inspires you to take the next step and the next step toward your goal. Before you know it, you’re on a roll, and there’s no stopping you.
3. Your Goals Sharpen Your Focus
Do you ever feel like you don’t know what you’re working for? Maybe you’re feeling scattered and distracted. One day you want to run a Fortune 500 company, the next you’re dreaming of escaping to a fishing shack in Mexico.
Both of these options may be worthy and realistic goals. However, you’ve got to commit to one of them to make it a reality. Once you decide whether you want the boardroom or the fishing rod, you’ll stop feeling like you’re trying to run in two directions at the same time. Thanks to goal setting, you’ll have one main focus in mind, and this will sharpen your aim so that you can achieve your dream.
4. Achieving Your Goals Builds Confidence
When was the last time that you overcame a really challenging situation? Maybe you finally landed that big client at work or nailed that presentation to the directors. Either way, you probably felt like you were on top of the world when everything came out all right.
Of course, you’ve also learned from your mistakes along the way. That time you missed a deadline and an important deal fell through? It was devastating, but you’ve found ways to not just recover but come back stronger than ever.
With goal setting, you have the opportunity to build your confidence on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Every goal you achieve, large or small, proves how capable and competent you are. When you focus, you really can do anything.
Even the goals that don’t work out for any reason can end up giving you a sense of quiet confidence. You made some missteps, but you also picked yourself up and brainstormed a solution that saved the day. Whatever the challenge, you have what it takes to overcome it.
Knowing how to set and achieve goals remains a critical metric for any business person. Using SMART techniques is unlikely to go out of favor anytime soon, and this means that it’s valuable to make these tools a part of your everyday routine.
However, it’s also important to remember what goal setting does for you. It hones your focus, gives you something specific to work toward and imbues you with quiet confidence. Whatever you want to achieve, make setting a goal your first step for success.