August 8

What Are The 3 Types Of Goals



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Edwin Locke and Gary Latham were renowned psychologists of the 1960s. Through multiple studies, these two psychologists discovered that setting goals increased a person's productivity by 11% to 25%.  The fact is, setting short-term goals for yourself leads to several advantages.  But for best effect goals should be from each of the three categories that all work together to achieve a desired result.  So, in this article we will answer the question what are the 3 types of goals?

Because asides from helping you focus on what's important, goals provide a source of motivation because you look forward to the sense of accomplishment that comes with checking a goal off your list. Goals also provide a real sense of personal satisfaction when you complete them.

But, beyond giving purpose, goals also serve other purposes. For instance, they help us develop resilience. With a goal in front of you, you are more likely to persist even when things stand in your way. Placing your target on a well-defined goal will also help you in developing the right tactics and strategies to achieve what you really want.

All in all, the process of setting goals forces you to acknowledge your current position and, more importantly, it makes you think about where you want to be, the timeline for achieving it, and the methods you'll use to pursue it. The way we set goals helps us focus on our process, performance, and outcome. In fact, these are the three different types of goals you can set.

If you are looking to be more effective with your goal setting, these are the three types of goals you should know about. Breaking your goals down based on their type will help you organize your thinking more easily and achieve your goals quicker.

What Are The 3 Types Of Goals

1. Process Goals

Process goals are the basis of your goal setting adventure. They help you achieve your performance goals which, in turn, help you achieve your outcome goal. Much like performance goals, process goals are under your complete control. These are the little things that you'll want to do or focus on to achieve your performance goals.

Some good examples of a process goal would include training four days out of the week, eating less than 2,000 calories per day, adding a call-to-action for every article you write, calling three prospects each morning, and so on.

2. Performance Goals

Setting performance goals is highly valuable as these goals define a new standard of performance that you want to achieve. The performance standards that you set for yourself will help you build towards your outcome goal, and they should be aligned with the pace and size of that outcome goal.

Basically, performance goals help break down the outcome goal into benchmarks regarding your performance. For instance, if your outcome goal was to lose 50 pounds in 2 months, you'll set multiple performance goals throughout that period, like losing 8 pounds per week for the first 2 weeks, then 6 pounds per week for the next 2 weeks and so on, until you're up to par with the performance standard that will enable you to achieve your outcome goal.

If your outcome goal is related to revenue, you'll do something similar, setting performance goals along the way where you gradually increase your revenue one quarter after the other. In any case, your final performance goal will ready you to achieve your outcome goal. Stacking performance goals in this way will help you track your performance and accomplishments on the way to your ultimate goal, your outcome goal.

So, try thinking of performance goals as stepping stones to your outcome goal. Examples would include cycling 10 miles in 25 minutes, converting visitors to leads at a rate of 2%, calling 50 prospects this month, and so on.

3. Outcome Goals

The top level of your goal setting will be your outcome goal. This is the one collective goal that you are working to achieve. They're very often binary and involve winning, like winning the gold medal at the next championship or being the largest company in a given sector. These outcome goals are wildly motivating, but you'll quickly lose control of them due to their size.

Outcome goals are affected by not only your own performance, but the performance of others too (like the growth of other companies in your industry). Other examples of outcome goals would include aiming to win top three in a race, achieving a certain amount of sales in a given time period, and so on.

Set SMART & Measurable Goals

One of the best pieces of advice you can take when it comes to setting goals for anything is to follow the “SMART” methodology. This ensures your goals are Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time-bound.

In other words, you need to analyze your outcome goal before you begin coming up with a plan to reach it. Too often, businesses, athletes, and people from all walks of life end up setting outcome goals that are simply too ambitious. That ultimately leads to a discouraging experience because you set yourself up for failure.

Here are the criteria you should check your goals against:

  • Specific: First things first, your goal should be clearly defined. Is “lose weight” well-defined? Try specifying a number, like “drop 2 dress sizes.”
  • Measurable: You need to be able to measure your progress, whether it’s time, money, inches, or something else. You must know when you have reached your goal.
  • Achievable: If you have other stakeholders in your goal, you must consider their opinions and negotiate an acceptable goal.
  • Relevant: The goal has to be achievable. If you’re in doubt, check with stakeholders and those you trust. 
  • Time-bound: Your goals have to have a deadline or you’ll go on endlessly thinking about them and not making good progress.

If you’re looking for additional tips, think about how you can set yourself up for success. Aside from being SMART, your goals should also excite you. You should be able to get behind your goals with all your heart. If you can’t do that, you’re not going to have an easy time working towards them.

Set Short Term Goals

We’ve all had New Year’s Resolutions at some point or another, but it’s a common occurrence that we ditch them somewhere in January or February. That’s because far too few people actually use the goal setting techniques described in this article.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has looked into this. In 2007, he found that 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail. The biggest issue? They made big, long-term goals and they never made a plan to stick to them. If people used the 3 types of goals explained above, they may have a better chance of achieving them.  The best goals are short-term goals that are broken down into even shorter term goals using the methods described here. After all to achieve a goal - to get an outcome you're currently not getting you need to change your habits, and changing habits can be incredibly difficult - a wonderful book which made our list of 150 books every man must read is Charles Duhigg's " The Power of Habit".

A short timescale, like 13 weeks, helps people meet their goals with the best success. Applying the 13-week timeline will help you immensely because there are 4 sets of 13 weeks in a year, meaning it’s great for planning quarterly goals, and you can sustain motivation with ease over this limited time period.

Why Follow A Goal Setting Process?

It’s easy to set random goals for the small things you want to accomplish and find a way to work them into your life. However, once you learn what are the 3 types of goals and how to use them achieve big outcome goals--like making more money, being healthier, or learning new things--following this proven goal-setting process will help you make the most of your time and effort.

Ultimately, you need to look at these three goal types as a formula for progress. If you follow this formula, you’re sure to get satisfactory results and see noticeable improvement, even if you don’t meet your outcome goal as you originally set it.

For example, if you take the time to work backwards, laying out an outcome goal, then defining the performance goals that will help you reach it, then defining your process goals to hit your performance goals, you will see progress as long as you follow the plan. You may not get the ultimate outcome goal you were hoping for, but you’re still going to be better off.

Just think back to all of those after-race interviews where athletes said they were proud of themselves and their progress even though they didn’t win. With this goal setting method, you’re going to get great results even if you come up short on your outcome goal.

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