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´╗┐Be Smart: Some Things You Might Want to Know About Goal-Setting Theory

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What drives us to do the things we do? This is a question that psychologists have been studying for some time. Motivation is one factor of human beings that psychologists just find hard to figure out. This is the reason why a lot of theories have been presented about the subject. Some theories, like Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of needs have stood the test of time and are still used today. Another example of the theories that are still used today is the goal setting theory.



Psychologists who support this theory state that people are driven to achieve goals. The goal setting theory states that people behave the way that they do because they are focused on achieving goals that they have, consciously or unconsciously, set for themselves. The goal setting theory states that people work towards goals that are:



a) Clear - people have to know what they want in order to get it. Whether it is a choice between water and coffee or a choice between careers, people work towards a goal because they know what it is. This means that people have to know what they want before they know how to take the steps to get it.



b) Challenging - people set goals for themselves that are challenging. Boredom is humanity's least favorite emotion. People who find themselves challenged often work harder to achieve a certain goal. By challenging themselves, people increase the feeling of achievement they get from doing a certain action.



c) Achievable - people love challenges. However, they must also be aware that a goal is something they can achieve. People somehow know in their subconscious whether something is a goal or just wishful thinking.



Part of the goal setting theory is feedback. The goal setting theory states that people need feedback in order to continue pursuing a certain goal. People have to know whether they are making any progress towards achieving that goal. Whether the feedback comes from other people or from their own judgments, people need to know about their progress.

There are two types of goals in the goal setting theory:



a) Directional - in this type of goal, people try to work towards a certain goal without knowing the specific steps they need to take to reach that goal. A directional goal is quite motivating since it seems to be more achievable. We set a certain goal and then adjust our actions to support it.



b) Accuracy goal - This type of goal involves a person setting a certain goal and studying all of the paths that he or she must take in order to reach that goal. People who set this type of goal often realize the slim chances of them actually reaching their intended goal and they work out different paths in order to get them as close as possible. Accuracy goal are characterized by careful planning. However, we all know that we can't really plan out futures accurately and deviation from plans is quite natural. The goal setting theory states that people who set accuracy goals often try to minimize deviations as they consider any unplanned deviation as a waste of resources.



The goal setting theory helps people understand exactly how to get the things they want in life. The goal setting theory states that all people set goals. It is just a matter of the type of goal which determines the success of a person.


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