Everywhere you look, it seems like there’s an emphasis on setting goals – why you should try to be more goal-oriented, or how to set better goals.
And as useful as the idea of SMART goals can be (that is, creating objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely), this technique for goal setting leaves out one
important piece of information: WHY you should worry about targets at all.
We all know that goal setting is important – and once we put objectives in place, we often see a boost in confidence and productivity. But, what are the reasons behind these improvements? Well, according to Forbes, setting targets is all about improving focus. So, here are five reasons why goal setting can lead to better performance:
1. Goals help you mobilise
When you have a clear, compelling objective to aim for, it can help to trigger the right behaviours and drive you toward action. The key, however, is that the target must be specific.
If, for example, you say you want to lose weight, it’s probably not going to be enough to get you to take action to reach the goal. But if you say you want to lose ten pounds, so you feel confident during your beach holiday in July, you will be more likely to take the steps necessary to reach your target.
2. Goals direct your attention
With a specific target in place, it becomes much more clear what you need to focus on to achieve your aims.
3. Goals help you maintain momentum
Progress can actually be addicting – your brain gets a rush of dopamine when you attain a reward, and this can boost further performance and helps you gain momentum. Without an objective in place, you wouldn’t be able to measure your success or experience that flood of ‘feel-good’ hormones.
4. Goals provide an opportunity for feedback
Without goals, you can’t ever be really sure of where you’re going. Imagine getting in a car and not knowing your destination – how would you know if you were getting close, or even what your ideal route should be?
When you set a target, it aligns your focus and gives you a way to measure your progress. You can then get feedback on how your actions help or hinder, and decide if you need to take steps to correct your course of action.
5. Goals enable self-mastery
When you’re able to pursue – and achieve – goals, it can help to build your character and allows you to see yourself as the type of person who can be successful. That boost of confidence can have long-lasting effects and can help you achieve even more.
Whether you’re setting goals in your personal life, or in a credit management function, it’s also important to track progress to see how you are achieving your objectives. After all, you can’t be sure about improvements if you don’t measure your performance.