To-do lists and goals

Mar 24, 2006

My social psychology teach counseled his students in the great benefit that goals can have on mood, self-esteem and self-efficacy, the latter being much more important in light of recent studies. Accomplishing goals, however small, has a great positive effect upon one’s feelings of self worth (self-esteem), motivation and ability to achieve (self-efficacy). In this light, he implored everyone to create to-do lists every day, outlining everything you plan to do.

Really, you want to include as much as possible, within reason. Something like “get out of bed” probably doesn’t belong on a list, but “go to the gym” is a good goal. If you see breakfast as standard fare, it doesn’t need to be on the list, but if you’re one to normally skip the day’s prime meal and want to change, it ought ot be on your list. As silly as some goals seem, even eating breakfast, achieving a goal has great positive psychological effects, as mentioned above. Be warned however, that failing to achieve a goal has inverse effects. In that light, creating goals that aren’t trivial but at the same time aren’t too much of a stretch is the best thing to do.

Furthermore, having a list of huge goals that are very long in the making should be somewhere else; putting “build kit car” on your daily list won’t do anything good but keep that un-achieved objective present in memory. If you are building a kit car, perhaps you want to get the bottom end assembled this weekend or install a couple of control arms today.