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 directed.
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 at 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 terms 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 productivity. 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 to 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 of all the time’, significantly reduces the value of what has been said.