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You can only win the Soccer game by scoring the GOAL. To score the GOAL you need a BALL. It is key to focus on the ball so that you can score the goal. How are you going to score if you do not have the ball? asked Dr Emmanuel 

For the past 15 years, I’ve been straggling to understand the theory of goals. Goal setting is planning and taking steps to achieve any desired outcome. Here are the three most effective goal-setting techniques to motivate and take you towards achieving your desired result:

  1. SMART Technique
  2. HARD Technique
  3. WOOP Technique

1. SMART Technique

Good for beginners, it is one of the most popular and efficient methods of goal setting, especially for beginners. It says an effective goal should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

  • Specific – you know exactly what your goal is.
  • Measurable – you can measure and track your goal.
  • Attainable – your goal is realistic, and you can achieve it.
  • Relevant – your goal is exciting and meaningful to you.
  • Time-bound – you have a clear deadline for your goal.

The most common goal model is SMART. SMART goals are established using a specific set of criteria that ensures your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame.

Writing a SMART goal entails working through each of those five components to build a measurable goal that encompasses exactly what needs to be accomplished and when, and how you’ll know when you’re successful. This approach eliminates generalities and guesswork, sets a clear timeline, and makes it that much easier to track progress and identify missed milestones. 

2. HARD Technique

Good for personal goals., it is an easy and effective way to follow when you want to set personal goals.

Mark Murphy ideated this second method in his well-researched 2009 book Hundred Percenters. To set productive goals, he says the proper way is: H.A.R.D.

Murphy’s research for his book revealed people who set HARD goals were up to 75 per cent more fulfilled than those who set easy goals. He explains how success comes from knowing how to set HARD goals:

  • Heartfelt – have an emotional attachment with your goals when setting them and try to make them “scratch an existential itch.”
  • Animated – see yourself having achieved future success and imagine vivid pictures of the positive feelings after you have achieved them.
  • Required – build a sense of urgency and necessity into the goals you are setting and imbue your goals with a sense of immediacy and urgency.
  • Difficult – make your goals difficult, and be prepared to take their challenges headlong, as outstanding achievements come from tough challenges that leave you feeling stronger, smarter, and happier.

3. WOOP Technique

Good for both personal and business goals, this is a newer technique based on solid science. Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, and Peter Gollwitzer, psychologists at New York University, created WOOP after 20+ years of scientific research. It has proven effective across ages and life domains.

Dr Oettingen is against the Think Positive and Thoughts Become Things movement. While optimism can help us soften the immediate suffering and stand with strength in challenging times, merely dreaming about a bright future makes people more frustrated and unhappy. They become lazy and less likely to achieve their goals.

WOOP improved effort, attendance, and even GPA among students by significant margins. It reduced insecurity-based behaviours (e.g., looking through your partner’s phone log) and increased commitments in romantic relationships. It also doubled regular physical exercise over four months and increased fruit and vegetable intake by 30% over two years.

There is also a WOOP app on Appstore and Playstore.

WOOP bases itself on a visualization technique known as Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII) in the scientific literature. WOOP stands for:

  • W — Wish – wish something you want to accomplish for real, one that is exciting, challenging, realistic.
  • O — Outcome – imagine the best outcome of your goal and recognize how it would make you feel.
  • O — Obstacle – imagine the personal obstacles that prevent you from accomplishing your goal.
  • P — Plan – make an if/then plan to name an action you could do if an obstacle appears

One thing is common about these techniques, they all yielded almost identical results and benefits. It well documented the importance of goal setting, the role of building self-confidence and improving productivity. Here are five reasons why goal setting will improve your focus:

1. Goal’s trigger behaviour.

Having a clear, compelling goal mobilizes your focus toward actionable behaviour. In other words, goal setting should motivate you.

2. Goals guide your focus.

When you set a goal, you naturally direct your attention toward the next step and, as a result, lead yourself in the right direction which forces your actions—your behaviours—to follow.

3. Goals sustain momentum.

Seeing progress is addicting. No seriously, it’s addicting because of the dopamine released in your brain after attaining a reward.

4. Goals align your focus.

Goal setting helps you align focus with behaviour because you get feedback on your progress. The actions you take—or avoid—offer clues about your values, beliefs, challenges, strengths and weaknesses which allow you to course-correct as necessary and reset your goal achievement strategy (and subsequently, your focus).

5. Goal setting promotes self-mastery.

Perhaps the most important reason why goals work is because they build character. Achieving goals builds character. While the process of goal setting is important because it helps unearth and identify what’s truly important to you, pursuing your goals is the real money-maker (literally and figuratively) because it builds self-efficacy; it develops yourself as the type of person who can achieve goals.

My coaching section with Dr Emmanuel Imevbore simplified the concept of GOALS. He introduced the analogy of the soccer match, for a team to win the match the ball must be inside the GOAL post. Without the ball they will be no GOAL, every player in the field of play is focusing on the ball illustrating the importance of the ball to achieve your goal.

What is the ball for our life GOALS? The ball is the functional phases of our GOALS. The character of the word BALL made me ask the positivemind question, what is in the word BALL illustrated by phases.

Building Blocks: In fact, socialization gives us the tools to fill our evolutionary roles. They are our building blocks, Warren Farrell

Action Plan: “If you keep waiting for the ideal time, chances are that there will never be” ― Bernard Kelvin Clive

Learning Experience: There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience, Archibald MacLeish

Leveraging: We must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings, Scott Adams






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