Goal Setting for Millennials:
The Definitive Guide
You may already know that Goal Setting is the foundational step towards a better life. But how can you take advantage of it?
Goal Setting is not and should not be limited to New Years.
For Goal Setting to work you need a Clear Objective, Real Expectations…. And have the right belief system
In this guide I am going to help you overcome all these Goal Setting obstacles (and more)
Topics to be Covered
Introduction to Goal Setting
If your life has no directions it maybe because of your lousy goals and visions.
You see, feeling fulfilled and accomplished starts with Goal Setting.
Fortunately, every step towards a better life starts by having knowledge. This chapter will help you understand the quick essentials of Goal Setting.
What is Goal Setting?
Goal Setting can be different for everyone depending upon their daily life, their values and beliefs and how they define success. In general, it is the process where you identify what you want, write down your action plan, analyze the timeframe and measure your outcomes.
In other words, any area of your life can be improved once Goal Setting is precise. Goals can be short term (Daily, Weekly, Monthly) or it can be long terms (1 Year, 5 Years)
We all should be setting progressive goals. Progressive goals allow us to celebrate small wins and small wins leads us towards larger achievements.
This creates Joy and keeps you fulfilled.
Not all goals are same. Some Goals focus on Outcome while other focus on Performance.
Types of Goals
According to Cale Learning Enhancement there are 3 types of goals.
- Process Goals
Process Goals are completely controllable. These are the goals where results are based upon the specific tasks. Perhaps Eat no more than 1500 calories
- Performance Goals
Performance Goals are based on Personal Standards. These cannot be limited to employee, but it can also apply to anyone. Say Doing 50 Pushups Daily till 30 Days
- Outcome Goals
These are milestone you want to ultimately achieve. The process and Performance Goals are building blocks to achieve the outcome. This goal is dependent on the previous two goals. Perhaps Loosing 5kg before summer.
Why is Goal Setting Important?
According to a Research, people who set well written goals accomplished much more than people who did not (More on this study later).
Top level athletes, businessmen and achievers they all set goals to achieve their dreams.
This gives you a long-term vision whilst helping you to organize your resources properly.
Some major benefits of Goals settings are as followed:
- Gives you a Clear Focus
- Allows you to Measure your Goals
- Keeps you Motivated and Committed
- Keeps Procrastination at the Bay
- Helps you understand your Needs and Wants
- Beliefs are Clear
Research on Goal Setting
Now it’s time to cover the empirical evidence on Goal Setting.
Most traditional pages on the internet cover the old cliché topic. Goal setting is much more than that.
In this chapter I will cover some Research based on Goal Setting. This will help you to get the right mindset backed by scientific and empirical data.
Interrelationships Among Participation of Employees, Differences, and Goal setting
A study published in 1978 by Gary A. Yukl and Gary P. Latham examined 41 participants for over 10 weeks where they found out in Interrelationships between individual personalities and Goal Setting.
These 41 participants received goals given to them by their subordinates or Reporting Manager or had set their own goal and the research revealed that –
- Participants that set vague goals achieved little to no result
- Participants that set difficult goals achieved greater results
- Participants with higher self-esteem and difficult goals did the task extraordinary
- Participants who knew their “why”, had higher Self Esteem who set Difficult Goals had higher chances of success rate (more on this later)
The outcome –
♦ More the specific goals, the higher the performance
♦ Specific goals led to more productivity
♦ Participation of someone that we listen to makes a difference
Dr Gail Matthews – Goal Setting (2015)
A study published in Harvard that claimed that only 3% of the graduating students had written goals and after 20 years 3% of those students did exceedingly well in their respective lives.
Dr Gail Matthews at Dominican University decided to find out evidence for this claim.
In 2015 from various Businesses and organizations 267 participants took part in this initiative but only less than 150 participants completed the study. These participants were then divided into 5 respective groups.
- Group I simply had no goals, but they were asked to think about their goal
- Group II had a written goal with no action plan
- Group III had to write down their goals with a given action plan
- Group IV had to write it down and send it to respective supportive person (Friends or Family)
- Group V had to write down, send it to their support and prepare a weekly plan (they were sent weekly reminders to send quick progress report)
The findings –
- Group V received the most amount of results
- Written Goals with Action plan and a support has a high amount of success rate
There were all types of goals. Process Goals, Performance and Outcome Goals still every one of the goals had the same process to achieve great results
Locke and Latham
If you want to come across some influential findings about Goal Setting, then this theory by Locke & Latham is the way to go.
In this study Two most important attributes of Goal Setting were studied.
- Content (Say, getting 60 Marks out of 100)
- Intensity (How difficult the task is)
After examining 400 studies on Goal Setting, it has been consistently found that Content of the Task is a Linear function of Goal Difficulty.
The result –
- If you have sufficient abilities to do a task but have decrease in commitment than achieving a goal is difficult
- Difficult goals led to higher performance
The main reason to bring across this research in front of you is to help you get the right mindset towards goal setting.
Things to Remember in Goal Setting
Now after going through these researches which put you in the right mindset, it is time to understand the Fundamentals of Goal Setting.
As the American Law professor says –
You can’t invent Google, Facebook or the iPod unless you’ve mastered the basics, are willing to put in long hours and can pick yourself up from the floor when life knocks you down the first 10 times
And in this chapter, I will show you the basics that you need to know to get maximum understanding on Goal Setting.
Keep your Goals Few in Number
There is a study done by Joshua Rubinstein, PhD, Jeffrey Evans, PhD, and David Meyer, PhD which indicates that multitasking reduces our productivity.
Focusing on one task is critical towards attaining your goals but having multiple goals can do more harm.
We can focus on one goal and divide into sub goals which is ok but having multiple goals diverts our focus and provide little to no results
Write it down
As we saw in the researches above (Go and Read it if you have not) There is a power within you which allows you to remember what you haves written.
When you vividly describe your goals in written format with a clear action plan the chances of attaining that milestone is increased by 1.2 to 1.4 times.
Measure your outcomes frequently
We know that writing goals with a proper action plan leads to greater success rate. This success rate can be easily doubled if we just start measuring our progress.
This step helps our goal turn into reality.
The reviewing or the measuring process can be done daily, weekly or monthly. This process also leads towards inspirations and motivates us to aim higher
Do not share with everyone
Sharing your vision with someone who does not show interest can demotivate you. Also, it is not advisable to share your goals if you have commitment issues.
But what to do for some support? What can be done is you can share with people you trust and who will help you when you have a difficult time.
Commitment is the key
Goal setting requires more than just a vision.
A vision without a commitment can be determined as a vague goal. This can lead towards losing interest in the vision and hence giving up on your Goals
Commitment means if the performance is below the expectation, the efforts needs to be increased.
Psychology of Smart Goal Setting
Now that you have a strong foundation in Goal Setting (After Reading the basics, things to remember and Research) it is now time to explore Smart Goal Setting.
And despite what you know about Goal Setting in general, SMART Goal setting is the one that you should be after.
What are Smart Goals?
SMART is an acronym that can be used to set smart goals. It Stands for –
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Action Plan
- R – Reason / Purpose
- T – Time-Sensitive
Your goals should be specific as in it should clearly define the purpose/outcome, measurable in terms of where you are as compared to where you want to be, Achievable and quantifiable, Realistic and result based with time sensitivity
How to Set Smart Goals? (Step by Step)
Without a shadow of a doubt, smart goals have been known to provide consistent result to people all around. These are the exact step I use to get SMART goals in place
- Step #1: Get a Journal to write down your Goals
- Step #2: Draw the SMART Goal block and write your goal (It can be Daily, Monthly or Yearly)
- Step #3: Start with Specifics of your Goals
- Step #4: How can you Measure it
- Step #5: Write down the list of Action Plan you would take
- Step #6: Write down the Reason for Achieving this Goal (Purpose)
- Step #7: Attach a Pain Point of not achieving this Goal
- Step #8: Write down the time needed to achieve this Goal
Step #1: Get a Journal to write down your Goals
As we all know now that writing your goals is the basic requirements to meet your vision. Hence the first step is to get a good journal book from your local stationary shop.
It would just cost a couple of dollars.
Step #2: Draw the SMART Goal block and write your goal
Use the template attached in this article and draw it in your Journal Book. This takes a couple of minutes
Next, it is time to write down your goal. Make sure you create different blocks for your different goals. This goal should be something broad. e.g., Loose Weight
Step #3: Start with Specifics of your Goals
Now it is time to write down the nitty gritty detail about your Goals. This part deals with mentioning the main objective of your Goals
The nitty gritty details lay out the foundation of your target while providing the necessary context.
E.g., Loose 15 pounds in 2 weeks
Step #4: How can you Measure it
Specific goals give you a solid start. But Goals that can be measured in numbers are termed as realistic.
Why is it important?
Quantifying the goals makes the goal setting much easier to track progress and check if you have reached your destination.
E.g., Would like to lose 0.5 inch of my waist size and reduce the overall weight by 15 pounds
Step #5: Write down the list of Action Plan you would take
What are goals and visions without actions? As the Japanese proverb say –
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is nightmare”
This next step is all about jotting down your list of actions that you would take to achieve your Goals.
These actions plan provides you with the guidance and keeps you motivated throughout. With this the final goal seems less overwhelming and the process becomes fun
Step #6: Write down the Reason for Achieving this Goal (Purpose)
What is your why? Why did you choose to achieve this goal? What will you get out of it? These are the basic questions you must ask to understand the underlying reason to go after this goal.
This step should provide you with a deeper meaning for achieving this goal. You can and must try to embed an emotion in this step.
E.g., (Look better in the mirror and be able to take off my shirt before the trip to a water park
Step #7: Attach a Pain Point of not achieving this Goal
This step is the continuation of the previous step. To become totally unstoppable and achieve your goals, this is a crucial step
Understand that our brain will do anything to avoid pain so let us use that against our own brain to get what we went.
Think of the way you would feel if you failed to achieve this goal. How worst would it feel? Compare it to the feeling that you would get from achieving this goal?
E.g., (I had one chance to show off my healthy physique, but I failed)
Step #8: Write down the time needed to achieve this Goal
Goals cannot be stretched forever. There should be a deadline. But a healthy goal with precise targeting will anyway provide a deadline.
Write down the time required to achieve this goal which help you to measure your progress.
That is it about it for SMART Goal Setting. Use the template below to start Jotting it down
Goal Setting Worksheet
The more vividly the goals are captured the more likely goals can be achieved.
When you are about to take your life to another level you must note down every tiny detail.
Tap into a format that is easy and saves you time
Download Goal Setting Template
Why Use a Goal Setting Template?
Here’s the truth:
If you want to achieve great things in life you want to have a clear direction and clear direction comes when you have clarity.
This template is here to provide you with the necessary clarity of what you want and why you want it because success in work and life is all about getting what you want.
The better you can accomplish your goals the happier you would be.
That is the power of this template. It massively helps and guides you to consistently jot down your goals that you can achieve.
What is Included?
This Goal Setting Template consists of 3 things:
- Smart Goal Setting Block (The Meat) (Here you mention your nitty gritty detail)
- Questions you can ask yourself while writing down your details (These are helpful to write down your precise Goals)
- Sample Goal Setting Plan (A demo to get you started)
How to use this Template?
- Take out your Journal and Draw the format. (You can even use the word file)
- Mention your Goal in Broad terms (Loose weight, Gain Weight, Study more)
- Check out the question section and start answering those question in the respected Row (You can come up with your own Empowering question)
It's Your Turn Now
This is how you can nail your Goal Setting Process Every time.
Remember that Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 clears your basics and provides you the right mindset by looking at the Researches on Goal Setting
How are you going to use this template?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now