“Goals determine what you’re going to be.” – Julius Erving

Goal setting is something that has been written about extensively. The accepted acronym is SMART.

Specific: Goals should be simplistically written and clearly define what you are going to do.

Measureable: Goals should be measurable so that you have tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal.

Achievable: Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but definedwell enough so that you can achieve them.

Results- focused: Goals should measure outcomes, not activities.

Time-bound: Goals should be linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency, or results in tension between the current reality and the vision of the goal.

I have heard this phrase from high school teachers, college professors, coaches, and all the way to current day employers. Professional athletes refer to goals in interviews all season long. Successful entrepreneurs reference goal setting as a way to increase motivation.

Ray Silverstein from entrepenuer.com writes, “Make sure your goals are concrete, concise and attainable. Instead of, “I want to make a lot more money this year,” specify “I want to increase my revenues by X percent (a realistic amount) by the end of the year.””

Making a goal and having the ability to reach that goal are two separate things. There must be an absolute commitment to the goal in order to achieve it. In an article titled Motivation Through Conscious Goal Setting, Edwin Locke finds “High commitment to goals is attained when a) the individual is convinced that the goal is important; and b) the individual is convinced that the goal is attainable (or that, at least, progress can be made toward it).” In team settings the goal is often a championship. For young athletes, the end goal might be to play professionally or earn a Division I scholarship. In order to properly goal set, there should smaller obtainable goals, or steps, along the way: win the first game of the season, make the 7th grade team, win the conference, be a starter, etc. These can all be steps on the journey to that end goal.