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Goal setting, Success Magazine, Dr. Casey Mulqueen,

Goal Setting Done Right

People are driven by benchmarks and goals, and will always thrive to achieve established outcomes. Setting goals too small can result in underperformance. It can confine expectations and set people’s standards low. Here are two tips Casey suggests will help you achieve your goals:

Tip 1: Set Process Goals

One consideration to make as you set goals is to distinguish whether your goals are outcome goals or process goals.

Outcome goals focus on what you want to achieve and are typically an end-goal.

Process goals focus on action steps, or smaller goals that will lead you to a greater end-goal.

In order to achieve outcome goals we must set SMART process goals. This means goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. It is important to set smaller SMART goals to reach a desired outcome, rather than focusing solely on the end-goal.

The reason for this is because the brain has a great difficulty distinguishing between what we want and what we have. When we set a goal, we feel as though we’ve already accomplished it, but if we fail to meet the desired outcome, we feel as though we have lost a valued possession, even a part of ourselves. That is why goals are such important drivers for behavior. If we want to achieve outcome goals, we must set smaller process goals, for example, if we say we want to lose 20 pounds, without establishing any process goals we aren’t as likely to reach that end goal. A solution to attaining this outcome goal is to say “I am going to work-out for at least 25 minutes every day.”

Interestingly, research shows that when you set a process goal (i.e., a specific behavioral intention) you begin to build a new habit in the automatic system of the brain. This means that even in the face of stress, fatigue, or distraction, your brain remains committed to your goal and actively looks for ways to further that planned behavior.

Tip 2: Don’t be too hard on yourself

In one study, psychologists followed hundreds of people over time as they were trying to achieve a wide variety of goals. They found that those who were harder on themselves when they experienced setbacks made less progress and were significantly less likely to achieve their goal by the end of the study compared to those were more forgiving with themselves. This is because when you are critical with yourself, you are depleted of energy and you need to be soothed, which leads you to resort to old habits.

TRACOM’s Dr. Casey Mulqueen has been featured in SUCCESS Magazine in the article “Master the Art of Setting Goals in 4 Steps.” This article delves into how proper goal setting can have a strong impact on the success of both individuals and organizations. Dr. Mulqueen’s piece in SUCCESS Magazine focuses on breaking your big goals down into small, measurable steps. As quoted in the article, “Casey Mulqueen, Ph.D., director of research and product development for the workplace training company TRACOM Group, calls ‘process goals,’ the behavioral intentions necessary for completion of the outcome goal. Say, for example, an entrepreneur has an outcome goal of signing 15 new clients by the end of the year. Her process goals might be reaching out to five potential clients and setting up two lunches every week for the next six months.

According to Dr. Mulqueen, “When you set a process goal, you begin to build a new habit in the automatic system of the brain. This means that even in the face of stress, fatigue or distraction, your brain remains committed to your goal and actively looks for ways to further that planned behavior.”

Goal-setting is an important aspect of having an Adaptive Mindset and being resilient. To learn more about our Adaptive Mindset for Resiliency Model click here. 

To read SUCCESS Magazine’s full article, “Master the Art of Setting Goals in 4 Steps” click here.

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