When it comes to personal development, many people rely on goals to help them achieve new levels of success. Unfortunately, if they don’t reach their stated goal, they experience much stress. While goals are indeed a great tool for personal development, focusing on a goal does not prompt feedback and can increase stress. Therefore, a more effective approach to personal development is to focus on behavior and, more specifically, procedures.
For example, let’s assume that you want to improve your free throws in basketball. Setting a goal of how many you can make in a row will not be as helpful as a procedure for keeping your elbows in and following through. If you miss a free throw, you can reflect on whether or not you implemented all phases of the procedure correctly, rather than just dwell on the fact that you did not make X number of baskets (and feel both stress and frustration for not making the goal).
So here’s an idea to implement: If you’re focusing on personal development, by all means set goals for yourself. Just be sure that within your goal you have a specific behavior or procedure upon which to focus. Doing so will help you reach your goal more effectively and with less stress.