HOW GOALS ARE SET IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT
Fairall, D. G., & Rodgers, W. M. (1997). The effects of goal-setting method on goal attributes in athletes: A field experiment. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 19, 1-16.
Three methods of goal-setting (participative, assigned, and self-set) on various goal attributes were examined.
University track and field athletes (N = 67) were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions. There was a significant difference in the perception of the amount of participation athletes perceived in each of the conditions, indicating the success of the manipulation. Further analyses, however, revealed no advantage to the participatory and self-set conditions compared to the assigned condition in terms of goal attributes. The influence of a goal-setting method on other goal attributes may be spurious or due to other contextual variables.
"If the quality and quantity of information available to athletes is controlled and if the goal-setting environment is supportive, there is no advantage to participative or self-set goals over assigned goals in terms of goal attributes." (p. 14)
Implication. The form of goal-setting may not be as important as has been proposed. What is important for athletes appears to be that they have goals for performance that focus mental and physical skills upon their achievement. When this is done in an informative and supporting environment, the best qualities of goals will be developed.
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