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Webucator's Free Goal Setting and Time Management Tutorial

Lesson: Understanding the Importance of Goal Setting

Welcome to our free Goal Setting and Time Management tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Goal Setting and Time Management Training course.

Goal setting will take you to the next level in your personal and professional life and help you fulfill your dreams. You've already taken the first step toward goal setting by completing the lesson on time management.

However, before we get started with the actual process of goal setting, it is important to recognize where you are today, and why goal setting is important.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn how to get started.
  • Learn why goal setting is important.

Start Where You Are Planted

It is extremely important to have the right mind-set going into the goal setting process. All the tools and techniques for goal setting will not work if you don't have the right mind-set.

Believing in yourself and your ability to fulfill your potential will get you on the path to creating the right mind-set.

You might feel you are at a stage in your life with your current skill sets, experience, and circumstances that does not offer much hope in pursuing all your aspirations. However, with the right mind-set, you can start exactly where you are today and flourish.

Start Where You Are

Let Go of What Is Not in Your Control

As we go through life, we face situations outside of our control. We might not be able to change or undo some of the events that occur in our lives. These circumstances often bring frustration, stress, and anxiety. In these situations we should strive to figure out what we can control and start there, letting go of the things that we cannot control.

Don't Limit Yourself

In Start Where You Are (New York: HarperCollins, 2009, p. 37), Chris Gardner makes a strong case for not placing a limitation on ourselves due to a perceived lack of resources or skills. Often, the challenge of not having experience in a particular area or the loftiness of a goal can make us feel limited. However, with enough conviction, most goals can be accomplished.

Develop the Right Mind-set

The idea of the importance of having a strong sense of belief in one's own self was introduced by the psychologist Albert Bandura using the self-efficacy theory. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-efficacy), Bandura defined self-efficacy as having a belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations.

One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. According to Bandura's theory, people with high self-efficacy are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.

Thus, self-efficacy has a direct correlation to the types of goals and the standards people set. The higher a person's self-efficacy, the higher the personal standards he or she will set.

But, how does one develop self-efficacy? The good news about self-efficacy is that it's not something you are born with. You can cultivate it by a developing a strong resolve to achieve your goals. Don't shrink from trying again and again until you get it right when dealing with an insurmountable task. Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch in Creating Your Best Life (New York: Sterling, 2009, p. 25) recommend the following strategies to develop one's self-efficacy.

  1. Have a peer role model.
  2. Have the right kind of cheerleader.
  3. Handle stress better.
  4. Have small "wins."

In the following section, let's look at why these strategies are important and how to execute them.

Have a Peer Role Model

Those who attain their goals often read biographies of successful people and consider them as role models. However, it can be even better to look at someone you know who has overcome barriers, crossed boundaries, and set the bar high. The more you can relate to the person, the more helpful he or she can be as a role model. Because, you know someone who has blazed the trail before, you can follow suit.

Have the Right Kind of Cheerleader

Find someone who believes in you and someone you can confide in. The right kind of cheerleader will:

  1. Help you increase your self-confidence.
  2. Encourage you to take risks that you would not normally take.

The wrong kind of cheerleader will:

  1. Discourage you from going outside your comfort zone.
  2. Tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear.

Handle Stress Better

People who don't have high self-efficacy allow circumstances and external events to keep them from doing their best. In order to persevere with your goals and do the best you can, it is important to learn how to manage the stress that comes from unforeseen events.Practice stress-relieving exercises, take breaks when needed, and learn what you can and cannot control

Have Small "Wins"

This is the most important technique to build self-efficacy and it is also the simplest. Break your goals, no matter how difficult they seem, into smaller measurable and attainable objectives.It is always easier to look at the next step in the process than to overwhelm yourself with the final objective. Gaining mastery over the actions that allow you to attain these small "wins" will give you a lot of confidence and build your self-efficacy.

Check for Understanding: Start Where You Are Planted

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about respecting your time.

  1. Which of the following will help you develop self-efficacy (you may select more than one)?
    1. Breaking your goals into smaller pieces.
    2. Getting overwhelmed by stress.
    3. Finding someone who believes in you and in whom you can confide in.
    4. Finding a role model.
  2. What would you do if you had no limit to your resources or skills?
  3. Write down your role model -- someone you have read about -- or someone from your daily life. Make a table with two columns. In the first column, list three traits/resources that are common between both of you. In the second column, list three traits/resources that the other person has but you don't. How would you go about attaining these resources? Write down your plan.


  1. A, C, and D.
  2. Think about the things you could accomplish with no limits on resources and skills. Does this give you ideas about what you can accomplish with the resources and skills you now have?
  3. Some traits you may find you have in common with your role model may include similar career goals and the differences may include resources available to attain those goals. Your plan should include ways to attain the traits and/or resources your role model has that you do not have.

Why Goal Setting Is Important

Among other benefits that we shall explore in the following section, smart goal setting can help you lead a positive and fulfilling life.

It Will Help You Find Purpose and Direction

The famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn stated that "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you?" Not much (http://thinkexist.com/quotation/if_you_don-t_design_your_own_life_plan-chances/295557.html).

Goal setting first and foremost gives you a sense of direction in life. Without goals, you go from day to day letting others steer your ship, rather than setting your own direction.

Everyone has some passion, some desire, or something they want to do that brings joy to them. Often these passions and desires remain unexpressed because people feel they are too busy to pursue what they really want.

If goals are set correctly and with the right process, they can provide you a sense of direction and purpose in life.

You Will Be More Productive with Your Time

Reinforcing what we learned in the first lesson, goal setting results in effective time management. Without personal and professional goals, people often waste time pursuing activities that are not aligned with their success and happiness.

Those who don't set goals often don't even realize how they spend their time. They go to work, react to everything that comes their way and they feel busy, but that is not the same thing as being productive.

Setting goals allows you to:

  1. Focus on specific deadlines and projects.
  2. Shut out other distractions.
  3. Complete tasks with a high degree of efficiency.

Setting personal goals in life also helps you make the most efficient use of the time you have each day outside of work.

You Will Get Used to the Feeling of Success

Nothing feels as good as success. We all have a natural aspiration to feel successful. Success:

  1. Gives us joy.
  2. Gives us a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Boosts our self-confidence

Goal setting involves breaking up big, impossible looking goals into small incremental goals. When you accomplish a small goal, you feel successful, which makes you more inclined to pursue your next goal.

Optimism Will Become Second Nature to You

Goal setting helps you look forward with expectation. No matter what your goals are - personal or professional, they help you look beyond the challenges and hurdles that inevitably come in everyone's life.

Personal and Professional Growth Will Become Your Mantra

Goal setting can help you obtain the personal and professional growth you strive for by:

  1. Preventing you from becoming stagnant. Whether it is to learn how to make an iPad app, to join a knitting circle, or to obtain a promotion at work, goals help you get out of your comfort zone.
  2. Making you take action that you would not take otherwise. Goals help you grow and go further in life.
  3. Allowing you to challenge yourself. Challenging yourself brings benefits both by seeing how far you can go and by allowing yourself to grow in the process.

Check for Understanding: Why Goal Setting Is Important

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about the importance of goal setting.

  1. You should set goals because:
    1. Goal setting gets you out of your comfort zone.
    2. You will enjoy the feeling of success that comes from setting and accomplishing incremental goals.
    3. Having goals helps you multitask.
    4. Goals provide you with direction and purpose in life.
  2. List three reasons why goal setting is important for your success.


  1. A, B, and D.
  2. Your list should include personal as well as professional or career-related reasons why goal setting is important.Some examples might be: Professional growth and advancement, achieving personal financial goals, and role modeling for children.