Ambitious, driven people tend to set themselves goals in life. These can be long-term (such as raising a family or reaching a given level in I heir profession), medium-term (such as getting a promotion or getting their golf handicap down), or short-term (such as finishing a report on lime or paying the bills).
Setting goals for yourself is generally considered to be a good thing because it allows you to focus on what is important and to measure your progress against the most important standards of all: your own. People without goals (either explicit or implicit) tend to be less focused and, some would argue, less likely to succeed.
In fact, there is little downside to setting yourself real-life goals. If you meet or exceed your goals, it gives you a great confidence boost and challenges you to set bigger, more-challenging goals. If you fail to achieve your goals, you will either be motivated to try that much harder or be forced to reevaluate whether your goals were realistic. Either way, the fact that your progress is being measured can be enough to push you to greater results.
Following this logic, setting goals for your poker game must surely be advantageous. In fact, many players do set themselves goals at the poker table. These may be short-term goals, such as winning a certain amount of money in a session or doubling up in a tournament by a certain level, or targets to be achieved over the longer term, such as building their bankroll to a set figure by a certain date.
Unfortunately for these players, setting such goals is rarely useful, and in many cases can actually be detrimental to their game. Broadly speaking, setting poker goals for yourself can be good, but they should never be monetary targets. There are three important reasons why:
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