6 Steps to Setting Goals that Improve Performance

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.” – Jim Rohn

How many goals do you have on your agenda right now? Out of all these goals, how many are you actually making significant progress on? Furthermore, how many of these goals help better you as a person?

Setting goals isn’t necessarily an art form. There are many common principles for setting productive goals, though an often neglected criteria, is incorporating the area of human performance into the mix.

Below is a process to follow in order to work toward your goals while simultaneously improving performance.

1) Set clear, reasonable goals

First and foremost follow the staple principles of goal setting. Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, reasonable, and time-bound. Set goals that are realistic according to your current circumstances, and that can be measured and concretely performed.

It becomes easy to get side-tracked and distracted from taking the necessary steps if a goal is not clear and specific in nature. This means having a concrete plan and deadline to complete the task. There is a major difference between the big-picture vision, and the day to day operations that make the vision happen. Both are needed and must complement each other for long-term success.

2) Identify the behaviors that are critical for performance

This step is often overlooked in the process of setting goals. People think about making sure the goal is realistic and specific, but seem to forget that each goal requires its own set of unique skills and talent, along with a necessary level of self-growth and development.

From the get-go establish what behaviors are going to be the primary focus for improvement and growth. What behaviors will be conducive to performing at your peak in the process of achieving your intended goal?

Discovering this will allow you to devise a plan where the necessary education, training, and support are built into the process and plan of achieving your goal. This will help provide the means to start setting more lofty goals, as you won’t expect to know everything immediately, and can look toward the long-term vision with needed skills in mind to be learned along the way.

3) Establish potential rewards and discipline

With any plan for making a change in habits or routine, it’s important to have rewards and incentives prepared. Unless you are 100% intrinsically motivated to pursue your goal, there must be some external reward that will assist you in putting in the extra effort and commitment needed to follow through.

Hopefully you’re approaching an endeavor where motivation comes from true desire and passion, but it can’t hurt to have a little extra boost in motivation by keeping your eye on the prize that’s awaiting you.

Also, if you’re lacking intrinsic motivation, find a way to give the goal significant meaning and purpose, where the benefits outweigh the small inconveniences. Make sure you have developed the proper discipline necessary to see the goal through. This might mean incorporating a coach or acquaintance to hold you accountable to daily action steps.

4) Continue developing abilities to enhance performance

Okay, this step is of vital importance. Revert back to what you considered from step two and start putting this personal or professional development into action. This can be easier said than done. You may be able to identify areas where you think improvements can be made, but are you following through in developing these areas?

It can be time consuming to engage in training or continued education. It can also be costly if you are taking a formal approach to education and training. However, attending an online university is a great way to save money and learn at your own pace.  It allows you to set a reasonable goal, as you’re in control of your schedule. The feedback you receive from your professors will help you accurately improve your performance, to establish rewards, and to continue developing your abilities. Nearly every online university offers high profile degrees, as well as free information regarding their particular program.

Make sure that you are establishing a routine that includes time to build your skills and knowledge. Do your best to educate yourself by reading a book or two per month. Read blogs, articles, or magazines every week to keep abreast on the knowledge and current events in your area of growth. Connect with mentors to help you grow and expand your skills.

For blogging, one cost effective training program is the A-List Blogger Club. This program provides bootcamps, forums, mentoring, and continually updated content and resources to take you through the processes of setting-up a blog, all the way through establishing your blog as a successful business.

5) Get accurate, timely feedback

Now that you’re underway and the ball is rolling, make sure to keep tabs on how things are coming together. This is why it’s so important to have measurable objectives, so you can gauge the progress being made.

Feedback can come from specific measures set-up at the beginning of the development process. Track your progress with specific milestones that are to be achieved by a specific date and time. Along with a deadline, have a good idea of what type of quality you intend to produce. Don’t compromise quality and effectiveness, for quantity and efficiency.

Feedback can also come from others who are mentoring you through the process. Have someone else review your progress and provide constructive feedback. This will give you another perspective into how things are going, and new insight for how they could be improved.

6) Administer rewards as promised and celebrate a job well done

After all is said and done, if you set reasonable and specific goals, you will most likely see some significant results. At this point make sure and give yourself the rewards established earlier in the planning process.

Give yourself the encouragement and praise for working hard and staying focused. Even if you feel far from your big picture vision, don’t neglect the progress made. If you have achieved your measurable objectives up to this point, recognize this accomplishment, and give yourself a pat on the back before you hurriedly move on to your next set of goals.

This will help with maintaining a positive attitude and encouraged state of mind. It can also prevent frustration and burnout from feeling stagnant and unaccomplished.

If things aren’t working for you, don’t continue to doing things the same old way. Change the way you approach goals by seeking areas of growth and development, and by providing yourself a desired incentive and reinforcement for all your hard work. By doing so, you’ll more likely to achieve your goal and get more personal value out what you accomplish.

Keep Reading! Related Articles:

How to Learn a New Skill and Understand More

Three Keys to Staying Committed to your Goals

Building Belief in Your Goals: Ideas on Staying Motivated and Confident

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if so, please share it with others, or subscribe below to get updates straight to your in-box!


Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • http://twitter.com/christopher_101 Christopher Lovejoy

    Hi Joe, a lot can be said for structuring your approach to becoming accomplished (as you’ve probably heard, “structure determines behavior”). For me, I find that I can accomplish a great deal from being who I am, from following my intuitive guidance according to inspiration, and feeling very satisfied with the outcome or results.

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for commenting! I think that structuring our activities to support our growth really is necessary to better ourselves. I appreciate you mentioning the value of being true to ourselves in order to feel satisfied and motivated to reach our goals. If we are inspired and interested in what we’re doing, we will certainly learn and improve along the way.

  • http://brite-talk.com Andrea DeBell – britetalk

    Hi Joe! I tend to bite on more than I can chew on. I definitely need to work more on your first step – reasonable goals.

    I love celebrating every little milestone for a job well done. As I celebrate along the way, it keeps me motivated. Celebrating small steps for my bigger goal also keeps me happy along the journey.

    Thanks for a great post! Loving blessings!

  • http://www.shakeoffthegrind.com shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for commenting! I’m quite the same way. There’s times when I try to do everything and fit as much in as possible. I think this has stiffled my effiency before, and have learned to make sure to get certain tasks out of the way first that are the most urgent. I’m glad to hear you celebrate the milestones you reach along the way. That is essential to staying encouraged.

  • http://thedropoutkid.com Jonathanfigaro

    With out a clear specific goal we get no where. We find nothing and get road blocks we cannot overcome because our aiming point is off. Get yourself a clear goal and clearly define your major deification purpose in life. Great post!!

  • http://www.thelifething.com Jonny Gibaud

    Great photo. No idea why I like it so much.

  • http://www.alternaview.com/ Sibyl-alternaview

    Joe: Great advice and post. The reality is that the majority of us know we want to accomplish something, the challenge of course is figuring out the best way to go about getting what we desire. I really appreciate all the advice you shared here. It was very helpful and a nice logical and easy to understand approach. I thought what you said about giving yourself credit for the things you have accomplished is an important part of the process. Sometimes when goals have many baby steps that we must take, we overlook the progress we are making because we are focused on the ultimate end goal. However, we really do have to appreciate all the little steps and the progress we make and that gives us the momentum to continue. Great post and great advice.

  • http://www.2achieveyourgoals.com Dia

    Hi Joe,

    Very nice post! There is nothing like setting reasonable goals. If we don’t set goals that are not realistic, then it would be hard to achieve them. It is always about setting a plan, goal setting and taking action. Thanks for sharing

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for commenting! Having clear focus is crucial, and can be difficult to maintain. There many things I want to do, and being patient while keeping a laser focus, takes much practice and personal development. It can be easy to feel segmented and distracted from a primary goal.

  • Anonymous


    Yeah that photo stood out to me as well, don’t know if it really fits though. :) Thanks for stopping by and expressing your thoughts.

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for your insight! I really feel giving ourselves due credit can be one of the toughest things to manage when pursuing long-term goals. Having patience and maintaining faith are really obstacles if we don’t remind ourselves of all the success and progress we are making.

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for your thoughts! I totally agree and think those ideas are really principles to take toward setting productive goals.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkPowers Mark Powers

    Great post, Joe! I agree that selecting (& sticking to) an incentive for yourself is an important part of staying motivated to make things happen. Thanks a ton!

  • Anonymous


    Thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate you stopping by.

  • http://www.thefittestvegan.com/ Alejandro “The Fittest Vegan”

    Hey, these are great points. Specially setting rewards as this is how I quit smoking. I set up a reward for the first day, the third day, the first week, then 2nd, 3rd & 4th weeks. these rewards were big enough that I was able to keep my eye on the prize and rid my body of nicotine.

  • Joe – shakeoffthegrind


    Thanks for commenting! You are right we need to have accountability and self-commitment to following-through with goals. I like the idea of setting up a daily routine or plan that really keeps your goals in-line, and keeps things in perspective. Wonderful insight!

  • http://www.colonialstoneandfloorcare.com/ Concrete Grinding

    Setting goals isn’t necessarily an art form. There are many common principles for setting productive goals, though an often neglected criteria, is incorporating the area of human performance into the mix.

  • Pingback: robert()

  • Pingback: A Simple Solution to Greater Productivity and Less Distraction | Shake Off the Grind()

  • Pingback: Feeling Stuck? How to Get Unchained and Start Taking Serious Action | Shake Off the Grind()

  • http://strongkick.com Mark T

    Stay motivated without work toward goal is demotivating :)
    So don’t forget to start work after motivating.

  • Pingback: Ways to improve goal setting | Goal Setting()

  • davidgrimes