Effective Goal Setting

In our last post, we looked at reasons why goals can be unsuccessful, and covered 2 key points, being defining the goal clearly, and then setting steps with deadlines to reach them.

Other points to make your Goal a very Well Formed Goal are:

Check that it is self initiated and compelling

Take care to set a Goal that you have as much control over as possible. Check that it is something you can initiate and maintain. One way to do this is to focus on goals based on personal performance, rather than on goals based on the outcome only. Outcome goals may fail due to circumstances beyond your control, which will leave you feeling discouraged. Ask yourself, “Is it within my power and ability to reach this Goal?”

Also ensure that what you are setting out to achieve is something you really want to achieve. Sometimes we set out to do what we think we ought to do, or what society or our parents or friends say we should do. You are the one who will be doing all the work, and who will reap most of the benefits! So ask yourself if this Goal is: balanced; for your own good and the good of those around you; and will be achieved in a healthy and fun way?

All these points will ensure that you feel compelled and motivated to work towards your Goal. So give yourself permission to make your Goal sparkle and to have fun achieving it!

Identify resources and remove blocks

Now that you’ve defined your goal, set a timeline to it, and checked that you really want it, you’re at the stage where you want to ensure your success. Setting yourself up for failure is not fun! So look around you and within yourself for resources that will help you not only enjoy the journey of achieving your goal, but also ensure that you make it to your destination!

The kind of resources I am referring to is the skills, the knowledge and the beliefs you already have that support you. Your internal resources are also your states of courage, faith, determination and persistence. Resources can also be people you know, like friends and family, or someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve, and can act as a mentor to you. Books, tapes, the Internet, training programmes- there is a wealth of resources out there just waiting to help you be successful!

Taking a good, honest look at yourself and your past attempts at reaching Goals. You may notice some emotional blocks or limiting frames of mind that sabotaged you. Now would be a good time to take action on working to overcome these blocks. Depending on what is holding you back, just the awareness can shift the block. Or you may need to go through a process to remove those limiting beliefs or frames of mind (such as a specific training or coaching programme).

Also taking into account any obstacles you may have to overcome to reach your goal, and planning ways to conquer them, will ensure that you keep on track when you come across them.

Recognise evidence and ways to celebrate

It is important too to know when you have achieved your goal, or else, how will you know when to exit and move onto the next goal? So think about the evidence that will let you know that you have been successful. What can you measure or observe at each step, and at the final destination, that will show you it’s time to celebrate your success?

Celebrating in some way (like giving yourself a pat on the back or some reward) each small step you take, and again when you finally reach your goal, is an important mechanism to keep you motivated and encouraged. Be your own best cheerleader, and you’ll keep going!

Write down the Goal

The difference between a Goal and a Well Formed Goal is that the latter is written in words. Research shows us that the chance of achieving a goal is dramatically reduced when it is not written down. This is because when you write your goal down, it becomes crystallised, more focused and when you put your pen to paper, you transfer cloudy thoughts into clear, tangible points.

In addition writing starts etching your goal into your subconscious and your neurology. You are then giving your subconscious mind and body a detailed set of instructions to work on. The more information you give it, the clearer the final outcome becomes.

Factor in accountability

Create accountability for your journey towards your Well Formed Goal. By human nature, we are not all that good at holding ourselves accountable. Unlike Goals, Well Formed Goal’s have an external accountability system that checks in on your progress at each and every step. You might want to ask a friend or colleague to act as a ‘team-mate’ and check on you to follow up, or even find a mentor, coach or goal setting software programme to keep you on track.

There is only one question left, once you have followed all of these points, and that is: “What stops you from moving towards your Well Formed Goal right now?” You may need to check that you are ready, that you have given yourself permission to achieve this Goal, and that you have decided to take this course of action.


So as you observe how time flies by nowadays, how would it be if you set aside a few hours to write out your Well Formed Goal? Can you imagine a time and place in your future when this Goal will become real to you? And what if, after you celebrate reaching your Goal, you noticed that the process of setting Well Formed Goals had become your servant, and not your master? What if it became a part of your life? Would it bring you pleasure, satisfaction and a great feeling of achievement?

Wouldn’t you say that if you do not already set Well Formed Goals, that now is a great time to start?

To effective Goals!