Are Your Goals Helpful or Harmful?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to setting goals:

  1. Goal setting is good
  2. Goal setting is bad

I believe both can be true, but it depends. Goal setting is good when we set good goals. And goal setting is bad when we set bad goals.

A good goal is focused on improvement. It taps into our intrinsic motivation and leverages our natural ability to learn and perform. A good goal honors the process over the product, which ultimately leads to a positive outcome.

A bad goal is focused solely on results. It is driven by incentives, penalties, and other external motivators that create a facade of learning and growth. A bad goal rewards the outcome over the behavior, which can actually hinder performance.

Goals can be helpful, but they can also be harmful. How are your goals helping you improve? How might your goals be affecting the decisions you make, the actions you take, and the behavior you exhibit?