Do you know what successful business individuals, top-level athletes, and achievers of all kinds have in common? They all have a great habit of setting goals. When you set goals, it provides you with short-term motivation and long-term vision. It focuses on knowledge acquisition and assists you in organizing your resources and time so that you can make the most of your life.

The Science Behind Goal Setting

A lot more than you would think takes place in your head when you set goals, and the whole science behind goal setting is sure to surprise you. Setting goals is not as simple as deciding on what you would like to achieve and then working towards achieving those things. Research by neurologists, psychologists and other scientists shows that goal-setting invests you in the target as if you have achieved it already. When you set something as a goal, regardless of how far or near in the future, large or small it is, a part of your human brain believes that the preferred result is a vital part of who you are. This establishes the conditions that push you to work towards the said goals and complete the self-image of the brain. The brain apparently cannot differentiate between things we have and those that we want. Then, neurologically, our brains consider the failure to achieve our goals in the same manner as it considers the loss of a treasured possession. And we have failed to accomplish the goal up until the point the goal is accomplished. That sets up a continuous tension that our brain looks to sort out. Preferably, by driving us towards achievement, this tension alleviates. In most cases, however, our brain simply reacts to the loss, and that causes us to feel anxiety, anguish, and even fear, depending on the as-yet-unachieved goal’s value.

Individual and Group Goal Setting: What’s the Difference?

There are key differences between an individual and a group goal-setting. Individual goal setting is specific to a person’s responsibilities and roles. When you set individual goals, it provides you with greater control over who is working on what. This can prove to be useful if your aim is to coordinate the maximum efforts of a group of individuals. .People have a tendency to invest themselves to a larger extent in goals that were specifically set for them individually, compared to goals set for the complete group (group goal setting). On the other hand, group goal setting is all about setting team goals that are crucial to the success of the entire team rather than an individual person. When you set group goals in a work environment, you push members to work together on certain projects. Individuals will be keen to collaborate as every person is working towards the same final result, like yielding a particular return on investment for your campaign or hitting a sales target. When one individual comes across an obstacle, another one chips in, and in this manner, every person in the group will balance out the weaknesses and strengths of each other more naturally. In group goal settings, we tend to witness greater levels of morale and interaction, which can enhance productivity. Individual goal setting, however, does support this camaraderie level to the same extent.

The Main Models of Goal Setting

The primary models of goal setting include:
  • Clarity: A measurable and clear goal is more attainable than one that is not defined well (more on this later). It is very important that you be specific when setting goals. The most effective goals have a particular timeline for completion.
  • Commitment: Put the purposeful effort in order to meet this goal. To boost your accountability to achieve that goal, share it with someone else.
  • Feedback: Establish a method to get valuable information about your progress toward a certain goal. If completing ten work assignments in 4 months turns out to be too difficult, it is prudent to adjust your goal’s difficulty mid-way through the timeline instead of giving up completely.
  • Challenge: The goal needs to have a certain difficulty level, making it challenging enough to motivate you to work towards the goal.
  • Task complexity: Ensure that you give yourself enough adequate time to get ahead of the learning curve involved in finishing the task if a certain goal is particularly complex. To put it in other words, if a goal is quite difficult, be sure you give yourself extra time so that you have the best possible chance at successfully achieving the goal.

Clearly Define Your Goals First

It is regretfully true that the majority of individuals fail to accomplish the goals that they set. They take the needed time to set the said goals, then do their very best to accomplish them and then simply fail at the end. Not defining your goals clearly is one of the key reasons why you are not able to achieve them. Generalized or vague goals are not really helpful since they do not provide adequate direction for you. It is crucial to keep in mind that you need your set goals to show you the right way. By precisely defining where exactly you want to end up, make it as simple as you can to get to the point where you want to go.

Goal Setting Essential Rules You Need to Follow

You should follow these crucial and golden rules when setting goals:

Set Goals that are Measurable

When setting goals, including exact dates, amounts and so forth so you can measure the extent of your success. How will you know exactly when you have been successful if your particular goal is just defined as "To slash down costs. In 2 weeks’ time if you have a 2% decrease or in 2 months’ time when you have a 5 % reduction? Without a proper means to gauge your success, you miss out on the happiness that comes with knowing you have actually managed to accomplish something.

Establish Time-Bound Goals

It is of paramount importance that your goals need to have a deadline. When you work on a deadline, your sense of urgency goes up, and you will taste accomplishment much quickly as opposed to working towards a goal without a deadline.

Set Relevant Goals

It is important that your goals be relevant to the direction you want to take in your career and life. You will develop the focus you require to do what you want and get ahead by keeping your goals lined with this direction. You are sure to squander your time away if you set inconsistent and scattered goals.

Fear of Failure Should be the Last Thing on Your Mind

Regardless of how hard you work towards achieving your goals, you are likely to fail at accomplishing them time and again. All of us have been there, and it is certainly not pleasant! However, it is your failures that eventually determine your personal character. They also comprise valuable lessons that can alter your life in a positive manner, if you have the courage to reflect and learn from these mistakes. Hence, you should not be saddened or feel apprehensive if you are not able to accomplish your goals. Just take a note of what you did wrong and leverage that knowledge to fulfil your goals the next time you have the chance.

Checklist: The Many Benefits of Goal Setting

There is no denying that the several benefits of goal setting are significant and real. Setting goals is applicable to both you as an individual and to a team that sets goals together. Some of the many advantages of goal setting include:
  • Enhances your self-image (or your group’s self-image).
  • It makes you cognizant of your weaknesses, so you can start to work on them and convert them into your strengths. Furthermore, when you set goals, you are made aware of the unique strengths that you can use to provide effective solutions to problems and tackle hindrances.
  • Goal setting helps you in visualizing. Plans actions to accomplish the goals you establish and then fulfil them.
  • It provides you with a stimulus for current triumphs and also gives you a sense of past successes.
  • Pushes you to set clear priorities that give you direction towards your pursuits.
  • Goal setting assists in defining reality and separates this reality from dreaming or wishful thinking
  • Serves as criteria to enhance your skills of decision making
  • Makes you responsible for your own failure or success and your life in general

Strategies and Ideas to Accomplish Your Goals on Time

Evaluate Your Goals and Reflect on Them

Some feedback is better than no feedback. Furthermore, feedback that is self-generated is more effective than externally generated feedback. After you set your goal, feedback is the best means to gauge how well you are doing. Make an effort to set up a schedule that allows you to monitor your progress on a weekly basis - do you need to reevaluate and redefine your goal to accomplish it on time?

Seek an Efficient Time Management System

One of the best strategies to accomplish your goals on time is to find the most efficient system to do it. This includes the quadrant time-management system. What it does is that it divides your goal activities into four quadrants based on importance and urgency. Things are either important or urgent, neither or both. Neither (4th quadrant) are the activities that you want to steer clear from and put your focus on the 2nd quadrant (not-urgent-but-important activities).

Construct a Goal Tree

A goal tree is a splendid logical thinking process tool that enables you to stay focused on your goal while contemplating over the strategy you may use to accomplish it. The apex of this tree is your mission statement (the ultimate goal). On the tree’s next level is a maximum of 5 key objectives that are pivotal to achieving your primary goal. Beneath these objectives are the required conditions; you need to accomplish each one. A goal tree is very much like a map that takes you to success, and every step is colour-coded over time as you complete it. What that means is that you can review the progress you have made very easily at a glance.

Don’t Fall for the Common Goal-Setting Mistakes

The following are the two common goal-setting mistakes you need to stay away from at all costs.

Underestimating Time of Completion

How often has completing a project or task taken more time than you thought? A lot of times, right? You might also say the same thing about the goals you have set at some point in your past. If you do not accurately estimate the completion time of your goal, it can be quite disappointing when tasks take longer to accomplish than you think they should. That might lead you to throw in the towel and giving up instead of continuing to work towards your goal. Moreover, in order to account for setbacks and delays, be sure to pad your timelines always. If you add extra time into your goal completion time estimate, there would not be too much pressure on you to rush and wrap up by a specific date.

Putting Focus on Very Few Areas

Imagine that you have just penned down your list of key goals for the next six months. You have dedicated yourself to boosting your sales by 20%, reading one management book every month and, applying for a key promotion at work. This list of goals (although quite ambitious) may be easy for you to achieve, but there exists a problem: these goals only put the focus on your work career. You have entirely left out important goals from other aspects of your life. Most individuals focus just on their work or career when setting goals. However, it would be a mistake to neglect those activities that give you happiness. Goals such as competing in a race, writing a novel, or building your home garage may also be very vital for your well-being and happiness. So, when setting your goals, ensure that you strike the correct balance between different key aspects area of your life.

Continue to Track and Measure Your Goals

What is important to keep in mind is that it often takes a considerable amount of time to achieve goals, and sometimes you might get the feeling that you are not making significant progress. This is why it is very important to continue tracking and measuring your goals regularly. Make sure that you set tiny sub-goals, cherish your achievements, and assess what you have to do in order to keep moving forward to accomplish your main goal. You are likely making some progress, regardless of how slow things might appear to be!


There is no doubt that in order to move forward, setting goals in all aspects of your life is of immense importance Living your life without setting any goals is equivalent to sailing a yacht on the sea without planning a course first- you are most likely to end up at a place that you did not want to go to! This is precisely why you have to set goals –you want to accomplish your dreams and develop yourself further.