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4 types of personal goals, how they affect energy and attention

4 types of personal goals, how they affect energy and attention

When it comes to goal setting, the popular criteria S.M.A.R.T is only a secondary tool if success is to be achieved. The primary criteria is determining and assigning success the correct goal type. What we want is to maintain and sustain the energy and focus with which to work and succeed.

An entire sport is dedicated to scoring goals. Ever seen the glee on fans faces, even by-standers, when a ball hits the back of the net? Around the globe, people go wild and on the pitch players celebrate, such is the power of goals.

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Goal setting is a process of taking action in steps to reach an outcome. It is a compounding process that factors in other areas of your life. Whether small or big, depending on who's setting, understanding the motive behind your goals is vital for making them work.

Going by the football analogy, what takes 90 minutes to achieve however, happens over the course of time invested practice and training, passion, team work and sometimes talent.

Which brings us to the first type of goal.

Types of personal goals

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"I want to be better at X". Notice, it does not say "I want to be better THAN... at X".

These are based on personal standards. Personal standards of good and bad dictate these goals. For example, aiming to achieve a first class degree. They are often controllable.

"I want to train or practice at doing X".

These target specific actions or 'processes' in a system of operation. For example, aiming at studying for 3 hours after dinner everyday. The beauty of this type of goals is that they are 100 per cent under an individual's control.

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Delivery-focused goals aim at bringing about change in what someone is doing or in their field. For example, aiming at creating change as a business, as a technology or construction project. These are also controllable.

"I want to be the best at X in the world"

These are based on winning. Winning could mean landing a job at a particular place of interest or in your field. They are hard to control because of other influences that affect them.

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Although they can be achieved separately, all four have a linear relationship. This relationship is important becasue if you achieve your process goals, you have a good chance of achieving your performance goals, which then influence achieving outcome goals.

This also means that you get to spice up your goal setting plan to tackle different aspects of your life in a system.

They all play off each others' energy and focus in a unified circuit to boost chances of success in the short and long run. Seeing them come together can be satisfying too, not to mention the different skills you acquire from the four disciplines.

  • Set both long- and short-term goals
  • Set goals that motivate you
  • Be flexible with them, adjust them as necessary with time
  • Write them down and display them for yourself
  • Reward yourself when you achieve a goal
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Set all four types of goals and focus of getting the smaller process goals up and running.

Specific-highly detailed statement on what you want to accomplish (Who, What, Where, How, Why etc.)

Measurable- how will you demonstrate and evaluate how your goal has been met?

Attainable- they are within your capacity and can be achieved by your own hard work and dedication.

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Relevant- how do your goals align with your objectives?

Time based- set target dates- these are your guide to successful and timely completion (include deadlines, frequency and dates)

Why should you set goals anyway?

Identifying and distinguishing goals and their purpose can be an energy saver in terms of focus and productivity and general well-being. This organisation also brings with it mental clarity and reduces stress, worry and other energy-draining states.

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