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Difference between Aims, Goals and Habits

AIM work up to a certain effect or result or the perfect real object or conscious or unconscious desire of the subject; the end result the process is deliberately targeting; “Bringing the opportunity to its full completion”; a conscious image of the anticipated result. 

GOAL the result or achievement toward which effort is directed. A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines. A goal is roughly similar to a purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value. 

Goal-setting theory was formulated based on empirical research and has been called one of the most important theories in organizational psychology.  Goals affect performance in the following ways: 

  • goals direct attention and effort toward goal-relevant activities, 
  • difficult goals lead to greater effort, 
  • goals increase persistence, with difficult goals prolonging effort, and 
  • goals indirectly lead to arousal, and to discovery and use of task-relevant knowledge and strategies. 

A positive relationship between goals and performance depends on several factors. First, the goal must be considered important and the individual must be committed. Participative goal setting can help increase performance, but participation itself does not directly improve performance. Self-efficacy also enhances goal commitment. For goals to be effective, people need feedback that details their progress in relation to their goal. 

Goals can be long-term, intermediate, or short-term. The primary difference is the time required to achieve them. Short-term goals expect to be finished in a relatively short period of time, long-term goals in a long period of time, and intermediate in a medium period of time. 

HABIT is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.  The American Journal of Psychology (1903) defines a “habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.” Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory. A 2002 daily experience study by habit researcher Wendy Wood and her colleagues found that approximately 43% of daily behaviors are performed out of habit. New behaviours can become automatic through the process of habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioural patterns which humans repeat become imprinted in neural pathways, but it is possible to form new habits through repetition. 

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