University of South Carolina

Business prof: Resolve to make 2011 a goal-setting year

“Response from others lets us make adjustments along the way,” said Meglino. “We feel a greater sense of responsibility when we have to adjust what we do. Feedback is an important part to ensuring success.”

Setting personal goals at work can provide greater focus and lessen stress.

“The goal sets the priority,” said Meglino. “When you have a clear goal, your behavior becomes second nature. Human beings don’t like cognitive overload. We want things to be reasonably simple in our lives so we can concentrate on other matters. Setting personal goals lets us do that.”

Of course, setting too many goals can actually cause cognitive overload, he said.

Meglino recommends two or three goals. Even up to five goals can be reasonable, but they should be directed to different areas of one’s job or life, he said. The key is to avoid competing goals.

The social sanction of setting goals or resolutions in anticipation of New Year’s helps people mentally prepare for tackling the goal.

For that reason, Meglino recommends managers tell employees in advance that he or she wants to establish goals.

“It makes it easier for employees to accept goals when they can mentally prepare,” Meglino said. “Identify the general area the goals will apply to and their importance. Adjusting expectations early helps the process. Thinking – even worrying about it – helps workers find it easier to accept the goal once the particulars are shared.”

By Office of Media Relations

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Posted: 12/22/10 @ 12:15 PM | Updated: 03/25/12 @ 5:26 PM | Permalink

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