Goal setting and motivation

With every new year comes a wave of new goal setting ideas, strategies and subscription products.

While you could join many of the productive planning programs or invest in motivational speaker products for your team, why not use January to start with the basics.

What is goal setting?

Goal setting is a technique used to raise incentives for employees to complete work quickly and effectively.

Goal setting leads to better performance by increasing motivation and efforts, but also through increasing and improving the feedback quality.

Why is setting goals important?

Setting goals provides you and your team long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses on the knowledge you have acquired and helps you to organise your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life.

Having a goal provides a challenge. When we have goals and proceed to reach them, we feel a sense of achievement.

By incorporating goal-setting into your workplace, you can both improve employee performance as well as reinforce their engagement.

Michele Grow, CEO of Mental Health and Wellness at APM, says keeping focus and using small goals to build achievement was a positive strategy.

“Setting goals is a great way to direct our focus to what is important to us and is an effective way to increase motivation.

“Bigger goals or long-term goals can be broken down into smaller stages that will make them feel more achievable.

“The sense of satisfaction from achieving our goals is great for our wellbeing and helps us to perform positively,” Michele adds.

How do we plan goal setting?

First consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it.

Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that motivate you and write them down to make them feel real. Then plan the steps you must take to accomplish your goal, and cross off each one as you work through them.

SMART goals encourage you to think outside the box and rethink how they are working.

If a goal is challenging, merely working faster or longer will not get you the results. Instead, you will need to rethink the way you usually work and create a productive way of working.

SMART Goals could include

  • Walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week
  • Improve your listening skills
  • Speak up to increase visibility
  • Improve presentation / public speaking skills
  • Improve your emotional intelligence
  • Start networking
  • Volunteer regularly
  • Improve your time management skills

Set your goals and make them happen

  1. Pinpoint what is most important in your life. Goals must have a benefit for you in order to stay committed
  2. Set a goal and write it down
  3. Identify obstacles
  4. Make a plan
  5. Set a timeline
  6. Commit and block time
  7. Get an accountability partner

Why do SMART goals motivate?

Motivation is important because it provides you and your team members with goals to work towards.

It can also help you solve problems, change old habits, and cope with new challenges and opportunities.

The more feedback on the progress your employees are making toward their goal success, the more effective they become.

Ways to motivate you to reach your goals

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others
  2. Understand your purpose
  3. Keep a daily diary
  4. Remember where you started
  5. Don’t fear criticism
  6. Set a quit time
  7. Spend time with smart people
  8. Rely on habits

If you’ve tried but failed to get motivated, then it might help to talk it through with someone you trust.

Sometimes it can be hard to achieve things on your own, so having a good support network may help when you’ve taken on a big challenge. Keep this in mind when working with your team and their goals.

Setting goals for your team

Setting goals that are both measurable and attainable can not only improve individual performance, but can contribute to a positive work environment.

Michele shares her tips to ensure your goal setting delivers the best results:

  • Ensure the goals align with the overall business goals – when employees can see how their work contributes to the bigger picture they are often more motivated to achieve their goals
  • Involve employees in the process – ask them to identify job specific goals such as ways to improve productivity or efficiency
  • Have goals that are measurable and crafted using the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) framework
  • Keep it real – avoid setting unrealistic or overly ambitious goals as that will only lead to frustration and demotivation
  • Be consistent – set similar goals for employees with similar responsibilities to foster a sense of fairness
  • Monitor progress – and reward success! Feedback and recognition go a very long way in keeping employees motivated and on track
  • Provide coaching – not every goal will be achieved easily and ensuring there is coaching and support available will help to keep everyone stay connected and focused

Keep it going

While January gives us the opportunity to assess our priorities for the next 12 months, it’s important to maintain and support positive mental health and wellbeing all year round.

“The start of a new year is a great time to help your workforce give time and attention to their health and wellbeing,” Michelle says.

“It is a good time to promote the programs and support you have in place such as your employee assistance program, your health benefits, or your wellbeing calendar.

“It is also a good time to schedule events such as a webinar on nutrition, or a guest speaker on stress management. Whatever you do, just acknowledging that health and wellbeing is an important consideration in your workplace is a good start!”