This article is not intended to being just another boring article about setting goals. The aim of this article is to share some of my knowledge and expeirnce on how I use goal setting to my advantage.
The research about goal setting is popularised by Locke in 1968 (LOCKE, E. Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives. Organ. Behav. Hum. Perform, 3, p. 157-189)
He argued that setting goals effects the individual’s performance in 4 main ways:
mobilises effort in proportion to the demands of the task
encourages the individual to develop new strategies for achieving their goals
Similarly, another research (click here to read the paper) shows that those who clearly decide on their goals and/or write their goals down accomplish significantly more than those who do not decide or write down their goals.
Goal setting for me is not just about identifying what my achievement will be, but more importantly identifying a clear plan on how to get there. I like taking a complex problem, analyse it and then slice it into digestible chunks. This means that I have an overall GOAL but also interim goals to get there. This in my opinion is extremely important. Many people set big goals for themselves and then get demotivated as the task is too big to achieve. Setting big goals is great and important but you should also plan how to get there and have interim goal to achieve this, get motivated and conquer the overall goal.
I use this methodology daily in my private life and also business life. In business, I have multiple business interest. I have a Venture Capital organisation that have number of identified goals for this month, this year and in the next few years (overall goal is sliced into smaller goals as described above), similarly I have an international Property Development business where I have number of models such as: build to sell, build to rent, buy to rent or buy to sell. In each model, there are number of set golas needs to be achieved so I can decide to move to the bigger position or re-evaluate the business for efficiency and consistency and modify my own goals.
In trading it is the similar story. I have weekly, monthly and yearly targets that I set as my own goals. If the goals are not reached after a certain amount of time, then I keep re-evaluate and set a different path to achieve the same outcome. Don’t forget there are thousands of ways to climb the same mountain – If there is a will, there is a way.
In my personal life, I set goals to learn new skills. Each year, I set a goal to achieve something non-business related. Some of these goals can be as small as learning how to play poker (2009 goal) or bigger goals such as getting a Private Pilots License (PPL – achieved in 2012), etc.
When we are setting goals, the important thing is having achievable goals and not to have too many goals at once (this will affect your focus) and making sure that you have identified measurable outcomes. You need to know when your goal is successfully achieved. If you for example say this month I will become better in trading, there is no measurable outcome in this. What does ‘better’ mean? It means you wont loose money? does it mean you will make money? If so how much more than normal? Think about this before setting any goal.
If you are new to goal setting, I strongly suggest writing them down somewhere so you can go and check your progress. Once you get used to goal setting, you will probably not need to write them down anymore as they will become part of your everyday life and keep you in the direction of your set goals. Once you start to achieve your goals, this will become almost a habit and will push you to set more goals in your life hence more achievements to follow…
I hope this is helpful. If you like the article or if you have any comments, please let me know on twitter (@monacotrader) – I am interested in your feedback and your achievements using the methodology above.
Have a nice weekend.