Goal Setting Theory is a well validated theory from organizational psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham that specifically says for goals to be achievable they need to be SMART:
- Specific— like “I want to lose 10 pounds” (not that I want to lose weight)
- Measurable— like “I’m going to weigh myself every Friday”
- Achievable— like “I actually have 10 pounds that I can actually lose without putting my health at risk”
- Realistic— like “I’m trying to lose 5% of my body weight, not 45%”
- Time-bound— like “I project that I’ll lose 10 pounds in 3 months”
Multiple other researchers have published papers and meta-analyses backing up these concepts. Which means that setting goals in a specific way increases your chance of achieving them and increasing your performance. And of course, this isn’t just work specific— it’s any goal in any situation.