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How to Set Goals

How to set goals

Five Star Goal Setting

Goal setting is the first step to greater success, because "success" means, the achievement of a worthwhile goal.

It is important that your goals have star qualities, which means the goals should be :


Yours goals must be specific, not vague.

For instance if your goal is to be "in better shape", that sounds good, but it is very vague.

You cannot hit a target you cannot see. Therefore specify your goal in writing, with numbers.


The goal should at least in theory, be achievable. You must have the potential ability to achieve the goal.

Everyone is limited by their genetic potential. If you are under average height, you are never going to be an Olympic gold medallist at the high jump.

Take stock of your talents and work with what you have got. Everyone has "an area of excellence", things they are naturally good at.

To be successful, it makes sense to align your goals with your natural talents and abilities.


Every goal requires resources. Resources may include money, technology, people.

If you need to finance your goal, how will you fund it?

What technology do you need to achieve your goal and where will you obtain it?

Who else do you need to employ to achieve your goal, and how will you inspire them to cooperate with you?

Time Limited

It is important to put a time limit on your goal - a deadline by which you intend to accomplish your goal.

A deadline is important since it give you a sense of urgency.

A deadline limits the time available and gives you a sense of emotional pressure towards the attainment of your goal.

A goal without a deadline is dead. Without a deadline, then your chances of achieving your goal is reduced.

Without a time limit many people will procrastinate. A deadline imposes a sense of urgency; it lends more motivation to the achievement of the goal.

If you want to progress, then you must set a clear, reasonable, yet optimistic deadline.

The deadline must be clearly stated.

The deadline denotes a time limit. Your deadline should be precise: specify an exact date, or time. Your deadline should not be an approximation or an equivocation.

Your deadline should be something like: "By the end of 31 March of next year, I will have achieved my target", rather than "Sometime next spring I will achieve my target"

The deadline should be reasonable.

The deadline should be reasonable. The deadline should NOT be a mere guess, or a wish, or an arbitrary date plucked out of the air, at random.

The deadline needs to be considered; it needs to be calculated and worked out rationally.

If a deadline is unreasonable; if it is too short; or impossible to meet, then, rather than motivating the person to step-up to the task, there is an opposite reaction.

The deadline must be perceived to be achievable by reason.

The deadline should be optimistic.

Even though the deadline must be perceived as predominantly reasonable, there should also be a pinch of optimism.

Optimism means, assuming things go well, then what would be the deadline? The purpose of optimism is to apply some pressure to make sure that you do not allow yourself too much leeway.

If you are too soft on yourself, you will tend to let things slide.

So, spice up your life by adding a pinch of optimism to your deadline.

Success of your goal

Your success relies on you to:

  • Stop procrastinating.
  • Set yourself goals.
  • Give your goal a deadline.
  • Ensure the deadline is clearly stated, and reasonably optimistic.

A Goal is just a dream without a deadline.

"Everyone needs deadlines" Walt Disney

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Goal Setting

  • How to Set and Achieve Goals
    Do you have dreams of a better future? How are you going to turn those dreams into reality? If you wish to accomplish anything in life, you must have goals. Successful achievement of your goals is dependant on you having a plan.
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  • 12 Steps to Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever
    Do you want to make 2020 your best year ever? Many people make New Year's resolutions that they don't have any hope in achieving. If you are thinking of making some goals for next year, take a look at these 12 steps which will help you to succeed.
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  • When to Use the P.D.C.A. Model
    Do you use the PDCA continuous improvement model? PDCA helps you achieve your goals in a logical, systematic way. This blog explains when and how to use the PDCA model to its best advantage.
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  • How to achieve your personal goals
    Personal goal setting We all have different ideas of what constitutes success, don't we? For one person success might mean lots of money in the bank; and for another person success might mean being famous, and for you it might mean the achievement of your current project. But we all want...
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  • How to Set Specific Goals
    Every successful person sets goals, in aspects of their life they want to succeed in. Once a goal is set, the necessary plans need to be put in place, in order to achieve it. Make the most of your life by setting up specific goals and plans.
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