Goal Setting: The Basics

What is goal-setting?

Goal-setting is a procedure that people use when they have a specific task, a desire or a want they wish to achieve (Locke 1981).

The best kind of goals are S.M.A.R.T

When looking at each part of your life and thinking about goal-setting, it is very important to remember the following guidelines

Be specific – don’t just make it a goal like “I want to be an psychologist” be precise in what kind of psychologist you want to be, such as “I want to a sports psychologist who works with performers i.e. musicians”

Measurable – so you know when you have achieved them and you are able to tick them off once they are achieved – as they are measurable in some way e.g. it will take six to seven years to gain my degrees.

Achievable – make sure can you reach them through your own efforts and that your success is not reliant on others e.g. have I got the scores I need to do psychology at uni

Realistic – (within your means) are you capable of putting your social life on the back burner for the time needed to achieve them. And Relevant – do I really want to achieve this, and Review them regularly, how am I going what have I achieved so far.

Time limited – so that you can work towards your goals, my undergrad will take four years, my Postgrad will take me 1 year and my masters should take me two years.

Many goals often need to be combined in short and long term steps. For example:

Subjective goals – getting fit, learning to have fun, and doing your best

General objective goals getting high marks, or making the teams

Specific objective goals increase the hours of practices or study

Outcome goals these represent standards of performance which focus on your results of a contest e.g. beating others to gain a place on the team or into the uni course you applied for.

Performance goals these focus on improvements relative to your own past performances e.g. improved marks or playing skills.

Process goals – the specific procedures in which the performer will engage in during a performance e.g., a boxer keeping his feet moving when fatigued or a netballer keeps her arm straight when she shoots a goal.

These distinctions are important as evidence suggests that certain types of goals are more useful in changing behavior than other types of goals (Williams 2006).