The Key to Goal Achievement: Learning Goals vs. Performance Goals

According to Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, there are two different types of goals.

Performance goals are goals in which a person strives to obtain competence in a task either to gain favorable judgments or to avoid negative judgments from other people.

Learning goals on the other hand, are goals in which a person strives to gain competence in a given activity to understand something new or to increase their skills or understanding in this area.

While learning goals tend to be the better type of goal to set for various reasons, performance goals can actually be very motivating! Especially when you experience success early in the goal achievement process. However, research has found that performance goals can also have a negative effect on performance.

Why? Well, performance goals can reduce your performance when a task is too complicated, complex or when the goal is seen as too challenging. That's when you start to think you're not skilled enough or you're lacking confidence.

Additionally, performance goals can result in cheating behavior in situations that are highly competitive.

Surprisingly to some, learning goals are actually a better alternative for increasing performance.

Learning goals are associated with higher levels of intrinsic motivation, which is associated with higher performance.

Also, learning goals are associated with diverse positive processes, such as enhanced memory and well-being, a greater focus on the task at hand, and you see complex problems as a challenging task.

So let's go over a few tips to help you stay focused on getting the best out of both goals.

Basic Principles Behind Learning and Performance Goals

1. Enjoy the journey.

While performance goals target outcomes, learning and behavior goals are more concerned about the process. You pay attention to how you approach a complex task rather than tracking just the final results.

2. Focus on knowledge and strategy.

Learning goals make sense when you need to ensure that you're equipped for what you have in mind. For example, it takes more than effort and persistence to build an app. You would need to master design and programming, or work with someone who has a development background.

3. Develop personal qualities.

Similarly, your objective may be to reinforce personality traits and values that you find admirable. For example, looking at your life as a whole may reveal that you would benefit from being more patient or proactive.

4. Reduce setbacks.

Performance goals usually help us to work harder, but sometimes they can backfire if we're being pushed beyond our current abilities. Learning goals protect us from becoming burned out or cutting corners.

5. Invest your resources.

Picking up news skills and knowledge requires time and effort. It may take a while to see changes.

6. Think creatively.

One of the most beautiful things about learning and development goals are the opportunities they create. You are free to use your imagination and be innovative. Look for multiple ways to approach a project. Experiment with new and interesting methods.

7. Branch out.

While you can probably find more variety in your familiar routines, take advantage of the potential to venture into new areas. If you've been working in accounting for years, find out what it's like to study acting or botany. Use your free time for volunteer work that deepens your compassion or creative projects that bring out your artistic side.

How to Apply Learning and Performance Goals in Specific Situations

1. Coordinate your work.

You may not need much original thought to complete routine paperwork, but extra time training could enhance your long term performance.

2. Care for your health.

Increase your chances of leading a long and active life by staying informed about exercise, nutrition, and medical news.

3. Manage your finances.

The more you know about money, the better prepared you are to deal with whatever happens in the global economy. Keep up on industry trends and investment opportunities. Examine your attitude towards material goods and simplify your level of consumption. Develop a mindset for adding to your savings on a regular basis.

4. Enhance your relationships.

Our interactions with others can be full of surprises, but we can make a commitment to being compassionate and communicating skillfully. Ask a trusted friend for feedback or consult a counselor if there are areas where you think you need help.

5. Encourage your children.

Instill a love for learning in your children. Let them know they're winners each time they rise to a challenge.

Think outside the box in order to enhance your knowledge and skills. Supplement performance goals with behavior and learning goals that will strengthen your capacity to excel at a wide range of personal and professional activities.

If you're interested in learning more about goals, I have a course called Advanced Goal Achievement. I'm giving a special offer for those who are actually reading this now so you can get it for free by clicking on the link! Won't be free forever, take advantage of the opportunity and learn a lot more about the psychology and motivation behind goals.



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