Goal setting theory

The famous goal setting theory was put forward by Dr Edwin Locke in the late 1960s. It is widely recognized as the most valid and useful motivation theories. Today, we all use it and set our goals. Not only company and organizations use it, we use it in our lives too. It is a great way to motivate us and enhance our performance.

What does goal setting theory tell? According to the theory, to result in high motivation and performance, goals must be specific, challenging and achievable.

1. Goals should be specific

Goals such as "Become a top sales" or "Sell as many products as I can" are too vague and therefore have no effect on motivation. Instead, you should set more specific goals. Specific means quantitative. For example, you may set a goal such as "sell 500 products per month". This is a specific target. You will use the specific result as a source of motivation and you will perform better.

2 Goals Should Be Challenging

Make each goal a challenge to you. If the goal you can easily achieve, without difficulty, it is not very motivational. Hard goals are more motivating than easy goals, because when you are challenging a goal, you will try your best and generate enough enthusiasm to get it done. When the goal has been accomplished, you will feel very happy and you will get high rewards too.

3. Goals should be achievable

Goals can't be unattainable, of course. If the goals are not realistic for you to achieve, you may lose confidence in the end. So when you set a goal, make sure that you can achieve it. The goal should be challenging and difficult, and you believe that you can achieve it too.

We can use goal setting theory to motivate ourselves. When developing goals, make sure the goals are not only specific, chanllenging, and achievable, but also are measurable and have a target date for attainment. You can learn more of these in smart goals .

Finally, make sure that you provide feedback on goal performance. You measure your progress and see how you are doing. If the goal is too hard, adjust the goal's difficulty.

If you follow these simple rules, your goal setting process will be much more successful , and your overall performance will improve.

Return to Why set goals

Return from Goal setting theory to Goal setting for success Home

footer for goal setting theory page