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Goals and Well-being: How Goal Setting Impacts Our Outlook On Life

Goals and well-being

Goals and well-being are tightly intertwined. But how? And can goal setting and goal achievement improve the way we view our life?

Goal setting is important not just to your success, but also to our well-being. In this post we’ll discuss how to set goals that drive action and generate results so that you keep you moving 4WRD personally and professionally.

According to Edward Locke and Gary Latham (1990), who are leaders in goal-setting theory, goals influence our behavior, job performance, and energy. According to Locke & Latham, goals help motivate us to develop strategies that will enable us to perform at the level required to achieve our goals. They also found that accomplishing the goal can either lead to satisfaction and further motivation, or frustration and lower motivation if the goal is not accomplished.

Goal-setting theory, according to the research, states that the simplest and most direct motivational explanation on why some people perform better than others is because they have different performance goals.

Locke and Latham (1991) also found that performance is a linear function of a goal’s difficulty. Given an adequate level of ability and commitment, the harder a goal, the higher the performance. People normally adjust their level of effort to the difficulty of the goal. As a result, they try harder for difficult goals than for easier goals.

How Goals Motivate Us:

  • Goal setting is important for individuals and groups
  • There is a relationship between goals and performance
  • The most effective performance comes when goals are specific and challenging
  • When used to evaluate performance and linked to feedback on results, goals create a sense of commitment and acceptance
  • Motivational impact of goals may be affected by ability and self-efficacy, or one’s belief that they can achieve something
  • Deadlines help improve the effectiveness of a goal
  • A learning goal orientation leads to higher performance when compared to a performance goal orientation

Dr. Gail Matthews, a clinical psychologist, found that those who write down their goals and share their goals with a friend, as well as send weekly updates, were on average 33% more successful when it comes to accomplishing their goals compared to those who merely formulate goals.

Goals and Mental Health

Goal setting is also an important part of mental health. Goal-setting theory helps us understand that setting goals is a conscious process and a very effective and efficient means when it comes to increasing productivity and motivation – especially in the workplace – which directly correlates with our well-being.


SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-specific. But SMARTER goals are also emotional and rewarding. But sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of all our little goals that make up our big SMART goals that way. So much so that we just give up on those little goals that make up between “here” and “there.”

Sanity and Professional Goals are similar to SMART goals but are basically, “SMART goals Lite” and thus, can be easier to set, implement, and attack on the way to achieving big goals. Yet, they do still follow a process map that makes their achievement more likely, following the three principles below.

Clarity – Be clear on what success looks like.

Clear goals allow you to create clear plans, which increase your probability of success.

Priority – Understand why this goal is important.

To achieve big bold goals, you need to be firm on the goal, but flexible on the approach, and having a strong why will help you keep your eyes on the prize and keep going in the tough times.

Accountability – Track your performance.

When we track our performance in the process of working toward our goals, we dramatically increase the likelihood of success.

In conclusion, big SMART goals are great but HOW will you get “from here to there? Set smaller goals and maintain your sanity by keeping yourself accountable to your goals and tracking your progress. If you want to set yourself a big bold goal, then be clear about what success looks like, make sure it’s your goal and understand why it’s important to you, break it down to small goals, track your performance and celebrate each small success. If you can do that then you will significantly increase your chances of being in that small group who actually achieve their goals— with sanity intact!

The best way to track your goals? 4WRD!

4WRD allows you to create action plans that enable you to break up bigger goals into achievable smaller steps and actions. With deadlines you can keep yourself accountable while managing and tracking your progress. 4WRD is founded in scientific methods for goal-setting – take the guesswork out of your goals and find success!

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