Goals are an important aspect of enthusiasm and motivation. They provide a viable target to work towards. They can encourage us to go that extra mile, put in the extra effort needed. But they need to be tailored to suit the person or persons to whom they are intended.
Unrealistic goals can be almost counter-productive. They discourage and make people lose heart. Sometimes unrealistic goals can result in people becoming badly stressed and negative about themselves and their capabilities. They can highlight peoples weaknesses and make them more visible.
Some people like to have a main goal, but with interim stages or points along the way. For example, with weight loss, or training for a marathon or a competition, it can be a positive part of the process to set a particular long term target, but also have short term goals that recognise and appreciate what has been achieved to date.
In business, some individuals may be set work or sales targets to work towards or teams may be set in competition against each other. This is designed to provide stimulus and motivation to produce more and better results. For some people winning is success enough. For others a visible reward or inducement is an important component.
Motivation is a key part of goal setting. Some people are good at self motivation. They compete against themselves and can maintain the level of enthusiasm required to reach their goal. Any set back serves as a challenge to their determination, and stubborn doggedness and perseverance sets in. Other people may require the stimulus of a prize or even just the goal of having their name 'in lights' on a winners board.
Teams will often include people with different skill sets. Members of a team often work to motivate each other at different times. Difficulties can arise when one or two people are highly motivated and work hard, whilst other members sit back and let everyone else put the effort in. The knack with a team effort is in keeping everyone enthused, especially when there are different elements in the task.
Positive strokes can be used to great effect in goal setting. Praising someone for what they are doing helps to build confidence and reinforce the determination to continue making the effort. A positive stroke means that someone says 'well done, good effort, you are doing a great job' , and does not qualify the praise with an additional comment that reduces the value of the praise. So adding a comment like, 'try to keep up the effort', or 'I hope you will continue to be this hardworking all of the time', significantly reduces the value of what has been said.
Goal setting helps us to raise the bar and provides an extra dimension to our effort making. Used effectively, goals can significantly improve performance and keep motivation levels committed and enthused.
Susan Leigh is a long established Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, with over twenty years experience. She is a member of several professional organisations and is committed to a programme of Continuous Professional Development.
She started the practice in 1988 with her husband Frederick, and after being widowed at the age of 39, took over the practice full time. Prior to working as a Counsellor, Susan worked for many years with a blue chip company and has experienced the stresses of balancing a corporate and personal life. Now she balances writing regularly for many organisations, is a regular contributor to BBC radio and has a thriving Counselling and Hypnotherapy practice. She works with individuals, helping them cope better with the pressures of daily life, works with couples to provide relationship counselling and improve communications, and in business to provide support to staff members and teams. She has had a lot of success working with clients with unexplained infertility in women and also with managing pain in childbirth. Many of her clients have successfully gone on to become pregnant and have a positive experience of giving birth. For more information see www.lifestyletherapy.net