In the world of work, an evaluation provides the perfect opportunity to discuss what is working and what can be improved. One of the key elements of an appraisal is effective goal setting. Effective goal setting is important for personal and professional growth.

I have found that giving my personal life a regular evaluation is also an invaluable tool. Goals that you may look at setting could be a simple as walking an additional 5 minutes every day, to being able to learn a new language in 6 months. Both of these are examples of pushing you outside of your comfort zone and easy to measure progress, for without manageable milestones comes failure. I have made it a habit of evaluating current goals as well as looking at how to set new effective ones best. I take this approach every time.

Set clear, yet challenging goals

Understanding what you’d like to achieve in the long run is the key to setting effective goals. To begin, map out all the major areas of your life. I use the Level 10 Life chart as a template. These areas may include your career, health, and personal development. Following this, begin to ask questions such as “where do I see myself in 5 years’ time” and “is there anything I’d like to improve on.” By starting this task with this mindset, it provides the foundation to begin setting goals.

Once you identify each category, it’s important to set goals that have something that can be measured. When someone sets a goal such as “learning a new language,” it can be hard to keep the motivation going and will result in failure. If this was changed to “learn 50 new words in a different language in a month”, there is an attribute that can be measured and keep the motivation level high.

Research has shown that people work harder with goals that are challenging. It creates a gap between expectation and reality, therefore resulting in higher performance levels to bridge this gap. It’s important to note that whether the goal you’ve set is in new or current activity, ensure that this challenge is initially small and then build it up in small increments. By doing this, this will allow for growth and result in immediate progress that you can track.

Slow and steady wins the race

While goals need to be challenging, having an unrealistic outcome and set you up for failure. If this goal is initially “unrealistic”, begin by breaking it down into smaller and more manageable targets. Suppose that you’d like to run a marathon in a year. It would be silly to say that next week you could run a half-marathon, especially if you’ve never run such a distance. In this example, begin by introducing a short run every day and measure how long it takes you to do a certain distance. Each day, look at making this time quicker and take note of your progress. Following this, begin by increasing your distance and pushing yourself that bit further. Whilst doing this process, write down your progress as you go along. This not only holds you accountable but provides visual evidence for helping you achieve your overall outcome.

Written by Craig Poku