Management & Leadership

How to Set Goals

Jan 11, 2022 | By Saranne Durham
How to Set Goals - SACAP

Setting goals helps us to achieve things we want to within our lives and to change our behavior patterns. They are great at preventing us from procrastinating and helping us to stay focused. Depending on why we are setting them, they can be fun or serious. Goals can be established at an individual, family, community or corporate level. So how do we set goals that are achievable and don’t end up demotivating us?

Why Set Goals?

Goals are important because they help to guide our focus towards things we want to achieve. They assist us in maintaining momentum. So as to prevent us from getting stuck where we currently are or feel bored with our lives. They can also help us to find purpose within our lives. They don’t have to be epic or seek to change the world. Those kinds of goals are great, for some. However, most people find that smaller realistic and attainable goals are better suited to spurring them into action or staying motivated.

Within families, communities and businesses, goals can assist in creating cohesion and coordination between individuals. They can assist with fostering comradeship as well as friendly-competition. Thus, goals, when framed properly, can assist in boosting morale.

Essentially, goals clarify the path we want to be on and what our priorities are. Goals can communicate meaning to ourselves and those around us. They do this by helping us to define success, then keeping us accountable as we work towards them. They also provide us with a way of measuring our performance or progress over time.

Where do Goals come from?

Personal goals should be set by the person trying to achieve them. Community goals are usually the vote of the majority and focused on uplifting or assisting the people from that community. Often family goals are intended to create closer bonds within a family, they are therefore usually set by those participating.

Corporate goals vary according to who is setting them. The greater vision and less detailed ones are usually imposed from the top-down. For example, to increase profits. Each department or division would then formulate their own goals intended to work towards achieving management’s vision. These would be more detailed and specific. Such as improving efficiency to save time thereby cutting costs or curbing factory production line expenses through less wastage.

“Where goals originate from often depends on their purpose and context.”

What are Goals?

Goals are defined by those setting them. There is no limit to what they can or should be. It’s a case of what do you see as important and want to achieve? The goals we set fall into three different categories.

3 Types of Goals

  1. Process goals are specific actions or processes. 
  2. Performance goals set a standard for achievement.
  3. Outcomes are founded on winning.

Process goals are able to be controlled the most by the person setting them. For example, I want to finish studying for my history exam. Performance goals, which are personal, are mostly controllable by an individual although have some external influences. For instance, I want to get an “A” for my history exam. Outcomes based goals are the least individually controllable. So, while you may aim to be top of your history class you have no control over others’ exam results. Therefore, their results will impact if you come first, second or last.

Setting Goals

To make dreams a reality we need goals. Goal-setting is therefore the process we go through in order to actively achieve something we desire. It’s a decisive and intentional process, which requires us to put aside time to specifically do it. Personal goals should be set by oneself. Thereby, better ensure that you are self-motivated to achieve them. This will also help you persevere when things get tough or external support is lacking.

“Goals without Action are just Dreams.”

How to Set Goals

Begin by setting your outcomes goal. What’s your end desire? Then look at if there are relevant performance linked goals that you want to achieve along the way. Finally, look at the details of how you actually need to go about things to achieve your outcome goal. Then using this information define your process goals. Process goals are important because they help set you up to succeed. They are essentially a roadmap from where you currently are too where you want to get to.  Process goals are sometimes called milestones, which are seen to benchmark small successes.

Many people use the SMART goal framework to help them while they develop their goals. As well as plan their strategy to achieve them.

SAMRT goals are ones that are:

  • S: SPECIFIC in their detail of what you want to achieve.
  • M: MEASURE your performance so you know if you are succeeding in your efforts.
  • A: Realistic and ATTAINABLE within your own abilities.
  • R: Keep your three types of goals RELEVANT to each other. So that they make sense in relation to your desired outcome.
  • T: Have set TIMEFRAMES which correspond to when you want to accomplish each of your process, performance and outcome goals by. This also assists with having an accountability factor.

By using this framework, you will have a priority list. From this you’ll be able to see the order in which you need to achieve your process and performance goals. It can also help you to determine what you actually want to accomplish and when. Furthermore, it requires you to work within your abilities and plan as opposed to relying on luck. Without a proper plan, you are almost guaranteed not to achieve your goals.

The Value of a Life Coach

Working with a life-coach can be greatly beneficial to you within the goal setting process. Afterwards they can provide you with external accountability and support while you work towards your outcome’s goals. Coaches are also great at assisting you to adjust process goals along the way, if you encounter unforeseeable challenges. This ensures that your shorter-term goals are helpful and remain relevant to achieving your long-run goals.

How to become a Life Coach

If becoming a life coach interests you, then enquire today about enrolling in one of SACAP’s internationally accredited coaching courses. With online and part-time options, SACAP allows working professionals to augment their skills or smoothly transition into a new career without a break in employment.

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