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How and Why to Set Goals

How and Why to Set Goals

How and Why to Set Goals

To be successful, we must set goals because success means the achievement of a goal, and we can't achieve a goal we never set.

Advantages of Setting Goals

Setting goals has numerous advantages.

Setting goals creates the potential for success. As already noted, we cannot achieve a goal unless we set it, so the starting point of all achievements is goal setting.

Goals Unify People

Families, teams and organisations are composed of different types of people who may or may not like each other. Goals unify different types because the achievement of the goal benefits every member of the group.

Goals act as a common frame of reference and often form the bedrock of relationships that we have with other people. We may work with people we have not much in common with, other than they share the same goal as us, and on that basis, goals act as a unifying force between various types of people.

Goals Help Us to Prioritise

We prioritise goals according to how much they contribute to the goal we are trying to achieve.

If a task relates strongly to the achievement of a goal, then we prioritise it higher.

If a task does not add value to the goal, then we prioritise it lower.

Without goals, it's almost impossible to know how we should spend our time.

Goals Stop Us from Drifting

Many people are drifters; they drift through their days, without any sense of urgency, or a vision for a better future.

Consequently, they lack motivation, hope, or optimism.

They may be intelligent, educated, and charming people, but drifters do not achieve what they could achieve because they don't set goals.

A mind which has no goals is purposeless and will never fulfil its potential.

How to Set Goals

Write down the answers to the following eight questions, in full detail:

  1. In general terms, what goal do I want to achieve?
  2. How would I define the goal numerically?
  3. How do I define the goal in words?
  4. What feedback measures do I need to track, in order to tell me whether I am making progress towards the goal or not?
  5. What mental abilities (knowledge, skills, experience) do I need to develop, in order to achieve the goal?
  6. What physical resources (money, technology, tools, and people) do I need to assemble in order to achieve the goal?
  7. How much time should I give myself to achieve this goal?
  8. Using all the information I have so far collected, what is my best detailed written plan that I need to follow, in order to start making progress towards my goal?

Memorise these eight questions

Memorise and use these eight questions as a template for setting goals.

We need plausible answers for every question.

No question may be omitted; all questions must be answered.

When we have answers for every question, we are in a good position to start making progress towards our goals.

Continually re-ask the same questions and refine the answers, as new information becomes available and as situations develop.

The Questions Never Change

The greatest thing about these questions is they never change! They are universally applicable to every context and every person at all times, and once we know them, we know them forever.

The Questions Never Change, But the Answers Always Do

Every time you ask these questions, they generate a fresh set of answers, which you use to make continuous progress towards a brighter future.

New Year Goals

Now we are in January 2024, it is a great time for you to set goals using this method.

Leadership Training

Goal setting is an important part of leadership training, and if you want to know more about leadership or personal development training, then please check out our courses..

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 Leadership and Management

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    Goals provide direction, motivation, and focus. They clarify expectations, guide decision-making, and measure progress. Setting goals enhances personal and professional growth, fosters a sense of purpose, and boosts overall productivity.
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  • Tips for managing people
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