The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.

—Robert H. Smith, real estate developer after whom the R. H. Smith School of Business was named

Goal setting theory is a theory of motivation that explains what causes some people to perform better on work-related tasks than others. At its deepest roots, goal-directed action is based in biology. All living organisms, from plants to animals to people, must engage in goal-directed actions in order to survive. Life is conditional; organisms have needs. Survival requires taking action that satisfi es needs.