Good and Better Goal Design

Good and Better Goal Design

Ever wonder why pursuing some goals is more fun than others? There’s a reason for this. If you’ve framed your goal as an opportunity to improve your skills or relationships you’ll perform better and achieve more.

Being Good

A ‘Being Good’ goal focuses on you showcasing what you can do. You see the goal as an opportunity to impress others, and perhaps yourself, with what you already know or the skills you have. They’re highly motivating in the short term.

Tests promote ‘being good’ behaviour. They’re an obvious statement of how clever you are – particularly relative to your peers.

Performance goals focus on the end result or outcome – often at the expense of enjoying the journey. And, given our satisfaction is tied to the outcome, our scope for satisfaction is limited.

The problem with ‘Being Good’ goals is that they are all about validation. If you do well, it proves you’re smart. However, if you do poorly, it can undermine your confidence and performance. Plus, you’re less likely to ask for help – because that would mean you had failed.

‘Being Good’ goals will help you perform well with easy and familiar tasks. However, in tougher situations you’ll probably give up earlier.

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Getting Better

A ‘Getting Better’ goal focuses on improvement. This might be to improve your relationships or learn something new.

Learning something because you’re interested and want to learn will prolong your interest and ultimately deepen your skill level.

Getting better goals focus more on the process of discovery, improvement and learning. Therefore, you’re more likely to enjoy the journey.

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Wherever Possible…

Translate ‘Being Good’ goals into ‘Getting Better’. You’ll enjoy the journey more, you’ll be more resilient, happier and you’ll achieve more. Design your tasks as challenges and opportunities to learn and grow.

This is an extract from the Book Rapper issue Victory: How to Fulfil Your Goals. It’s derived from Heidi Grant Halvorson’s book Succeed.

Previously: How to Design Effective Goals and Two Keys to Goal Achievement


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