Friday, January 29, 2010

Goal Achievement Includes a 4-Stage Learning Process


Successfully setting and achieving a goal often includes struggles as well as rewards. But, when one understands that the process also includes four stage of learning, the overall journey can take on an entirely new richness and value. See how the learning stages impact the goal achievement process.


Have you become frustrated at one time or another when trying to achieve a new goal? It can sometimes seem as if you are struggling to reach your destination. And the last thing you want to do is become discouraged or self-deprecating. Yet, this does tend to happen to the best of us.

While a proficient achiever knows how to set and pursue a goal, there are other factors that enter into the process toward developing excellence. Knowing about this process can help alleviate getting stuck and also bring greater clarity and value toward achieving a goal.

When learning something new, most of us go through a 4-stage process. Think in terms of a baby who does not get around on its own, but then learns to crawl, eventually walks and finally knows how to run. If you see the big picture, then you are more likely to work through the rough spots.

Setting and working toward a goal is very similar to the four stages of learning. So let us take a look at these stages and consider how this process applies to the journey of goal achievement.

The learning or achievement process can become difficult when bad feelings surface because one makes a mistake or hits a roadblock. These feelings are reflected in self-judgments such as, ‘I am not doing this right,’ ‘I am not good enough,’ ‘I can never learn this,’ and so on.

Ironically, not getting it right early on and making mistakes are vital steps in the learning process. Yet too often our attention goes to trying to avoid the bad feelings, rather than to the learning or task at hand. Understanding and working through the four stages of learning a skill or achieving a goal can help keep the process focused, and not about feeling frustrated or discouraged.

Here are the four stages of the learning process:

1. Unconscious Incompetence: ‘I do not know that I do not know how to do this.’ This is the stage of blissful ignorance before learning begins.

2. Conscious Incompetence: ‘I know that I do not know how to do this, yet.’ This is the most difficult stage, where learning begins and where the most self-judgments are formed.

3. Conscious Competence: ‘I know that I know how to do this.’ This stage of learning is easier than the second stage, but it is still uncomfortable and self-conscious.

4. Unconscious Competence: ‘What, you say I did something well?’ The final stage of learning a skill is when it has become a natural part of us; we do not have to think about it.

Do you see how these four stages apply when setting and pursuing a goal? Remember, while you may know all the steps for properly setting a goal and going after it, there are still other factors that you must process along the way. Keeping the four stages of learning in mind can definitely help in making the goal achievement journey more effective.

Article Tags: Goal Achievement, Four Stages

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