High performers do not only set objectives, they set objectives that will enable them to be successful. Objectives and goals set the wrong way can hurt our performance more than help it. That is why we need to understand what makes a good objective and what does not. There are many guidelines out there on how to set proper goals, but in this article we will go through five of the most important ways to improve our objectives.
First of all we do not “need to” or “have to” reach our objectives. The objectives we set, we set not because our survival depends on it, but because we want to improve; we want to be successful. The key word in that last sentence is ‘want’. When we understand that we want to reach our objective the motivation is placed internally within us. When we say to ourselves that we “have to” reach our objective we are subconsciously placing our motivation externally.
Make it specific
An objective is a beacon we place in front of us to help us channel our energy in the best direction. When our objective is vague we leave room for our energy to become diluted, but when the objective is specific our energy becomes concentrated and focused. Because we only have a limited about of mental energy each day the more of that energy we place toward our objective the more likely we are to achieve it.
Keep it close but in the future
We do not want our mind to live in the future, but we do need to have a direction to move toward. Objectives when placed slightly in the future, no more than a month, give us direction and motivate us to accomplish action items today to reach them. When an objective is placed to far in the future it weakens our motivation and leaves the door open for procrastination. Keeping our objective in the near future will increase our motivation and influence our concentration.
Give it a range
Sometimes we reach our objective before expected. Everything goes right and we accomplish what we set out to accomplish a week early, so now what are we going to do? At that time we tend to relax and become idol instead of take advantage of the days we have to keep progressing. Range objectives give us flexibility between a lower range (an objective that will stretch you but not stress you), and a higher range (what you could achieve if everything goes your way). Range goals help us keep motivated even when we may reach the lower range of the objective early.
Don’t make it the most important thing
Sometimes we don’t reach our objectives. When this happens some people get discouraged, some get higher anxiety, and some decide to give up. But high performers realize that reaching an objective is not the most important thing. Progress and development are more important than reaching our objective. When we don’t reach our objective we need to take a look our progress and celebrate that as we adjust our next objective.
We can all benefit from improving the quality of our objectives. Whether that is from emphasizing want, being more specific, keeping them in the near future, having an established range, or reminding yourself that completing objectives is not the most important thing. To become high performing we have to make adjustments and that includes adjusting our objectives to enable our success.
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