Goal setting is the final stage of the process for getting from where you are to where God has called you to be. First, He reveals His vision for your life…what your life is meant to be about. Second, He clarifies His purpose for your life…who you are called to be. Third, He gives you the freedom – by way of your gifts, personality, abilities, and interests – to pursue various roles and “things to do” with your life. Within your doing, goals and goal setting become the primary means for accomplishing your vision and fulfilling your purpose.
The benefits of setting goals (and accomplishing them) are myriad. IN the 1960’s, psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham developed the first theories of goal-setting. They found that setting goals increased motivation and productivity between 11% and 25%. They also found increases in focus, priority designation, purpose identification, and personal satisfaction when goals were accomplished. This resulted in deeper levels of commitment and persistence in the face of opposition.
I first studied this research in my Organizational Communication and Professional Development Master of Arts program in the late 1980’s. Just a few years ago, The Association for Talent Development did research of their own on goal completion. They found the following percentages for the likelihood of success:
- When one has an idea or a goal in mind – 10% likelihood of success
- A conscious decision is made to commit to the goal – 25%
- The goal is written down with a stated deadline – 40%
- When a strategic plan is developed and written down – 50%
- That plan is shared with another person – 65%
- When a specific accountability appointment is set to monitor progress – 95%
That’s incredible! It also means that when you have an accountability partner (i.e. personal coach), you have just a 5% chance of failing to meet your desired outcome.
There are two parts – or two types – to goal-setting: Outcome Goals and Process Goals. Outcome goals are descriptions of the final results you want to see or experience. Process goals are the strategic steps you’re going to take to accomplish that outcome. It is important to know the difference and to set both types. Trying to determine the specific steps to take is where many people get bogged down. This is when a coach can prove most valuable.
SMART is an acronym for a goal-setting strategy popular in management and leadership circles and it works equally well on a personal level.
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – achievable
- R – relevant
- T – time bound
There are other versions of this approach but the principles remain basically the same. We expand on this by adding E and R;
- E – evaluate
- R – readjust
This episode covers these principles in detail and expands your understanding of how to set goals you will actually accomplish. Keep in mind this is part four of a four-part series covering vision, purpose, mission, and goals. Be sure to listen to the previous episodes and take notes if you need to. Please reach out to me if this is an area in which you could benefit from having a partner and accountability.