Set Goals Towards Specific Aspects
One way to improve performance is by setting goals to direct your attention to specific aspects of the task you are engaged in.
When setting a goal, start by identifying the long-term outcome that you want to achieve. Then, break that down into short-term performance and process goals.
Outcome goals are often categorized as the endpoint or “finish line” type of goal.
For example, passing a specific class, receiving a promotion at work, or becoming an all-star in your sport, would all qualify as outcome goals. These goals often rely on other people to be obtained and the individual often has less control; thus they often end up increasing anxiety within the person.
Process goals focus on learning the proper aspects of a skill, in order to be successful.
For example, in order to pass a class, a student would need to learn the knowledge related to that class, by attending class, reading the textbook, taking notes, asking questions, etc. Focusing one’s attention to such process-oriented aspects are necessary to achieve the standard of performance that one is aiming for.
Performance goals are based on an individual’s own standards or statistics and can be used to monitor progress.
For example, a professional would want to be aware of his or her current sales rate, so that he or she may set a 5% – 15% higher rate as a performance goal. Unlike outcome goals, performance and process goals are more controllable and flexible, meaning that you can tailor them to your specific needs and change them if necessary.
These types of goals also tend to increase one’s level of enjoyment, effort, and motivation, and can greatly reduce anxiety.
So, the next time you want to improve within a specific area, identify the outcome you want and then break it down into more controllable and manageable performance and process goals. This will help facilitate success, and make obtaining that outcome more enjoyable and more likely to occur!