Goal setting and performance

A friend introduced an article to the group of us.
“When goals are counter-productive” – by Dilip Soman and Amar Cheema
(It’s on a published paper – I will quote from it when authorized)

In the goal setting world, we can see three kinds of it in general.
1. All or nothing goal “I will save $500 a month”
2. Grading goal “I will improve my saving rate per month”
3. Cheer-up goal “I will do my best”

No.1 is the easiest to measure but one will psychologically suffer most when the goal is not met. In fact, in order to make up the lost confidence he or she might end up spending more than ever. “Saving is not for me”. In the worst case, it is a dead-end. The report is about this point, how goal-setting works in a counter-productive manner occasionally.
No.2 is blurrier than No.1. but has one good point as the article suggests : since it is not specific, it can be flexible – whenever situation changes, we can modify the goal and adjust it to the reality, good or bad.
In the Modern Business Attitude world, No.3 might not count as any kind of “goal setting” simply we cannot measure it.

For me, the first goal is seductive but counterproductive. Seductive because it makes me look nicer ( decision is my middle name). Counterproductive because I lose confidence very much when I fail to achieve whatever is set. Dr. Soman, here you have an ideal candidate for your research.

The usual routine is that I go through 1 to 3, consequentially. First set a firm goal to push me hard toward it, then soften the aim facing reality, end up telling myself that I did my best. Dr. Soman, here you have the topic of your next assignment.