Tag: Goal setting

SMART Goals Worksheet

SMART Goals Worksheet

The following SMART Goals worksheet is designed to help you effectively set personal goals for yourself.

SMART is an acronym used to effectively set goals. It is a simple tool to help create an actionable plan that gets results. There are several variants, but SMART usually stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound


The criteria for SMART Goals Worksheet

Specific Your goal should be detailed and state the exact level of performance expected.
Measurable Your goal should contain a measurable indicator to assess the amount of your progress and to definitely determine if the goal has been achieved.
Achievable Your goal should challenge you and stretch your abilities, but realistically be able to be attained.
Relevant Your goals should be important to you and motivate you.
Time-bound Your goal should specify when the result(s) will be achieved.


Printable Version – SMART Goals Worksheet Printable


Step 1:

Write down your goal on one line.

My goal is to: ________________________________________________


Step 2:

Make your goal SPECIFIC by adding details. Answer the questions: who, what, where, when, and how.




Step 3:

Make your goal MEASUREABLE. Add measurements and tracking details.

I will measure/track my goal by using the following numbers or methods:


I will know I’ve reached my goal when ________________________________________________



Step 4:

Make sure your goal is ACHIEVABLE. What additional resources do you need for success?

Items I need to achieve this goal: ________________________________________________

How I’ll find the time: ________________________________________________

Things I need to learn more about: ________________________________________________

People I can talk to for support: ________________________________________________



Step 5:

Make your goal RELEVANT. List why you want to reach this goal:



Step 6:

Make your goal TIME-BOUND. Put a deadline on your goal.

I will reach my goal by the following date: ___/___/______.


Set some benchmarks to track your progress.

Date I will have accomplished…
___/___/______ __________________________________
___/___/______ __________________________________
___/___/______ __________________________________
___/___/______ __________________________________
___/___/______ I will have reached my goal___________



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Effective Goal Setting

Keys to Effective Goal Setting

Although setting goals seems to be a fairly simplistic task, it can have significant negative implications if not do effectively. Many people fall short of achieving their goals simply because they make one or two mistakes which could have been easily avoided.

Below are six keys to effective goal setting strategies that often make the difference between accomplishing your goals and not.

  1. Write It Down
  2. Make it SMART
  3. Set Challenging Goals
  4. Break it Down
  5. Have an Action Plan
  6. Be Flexible


Effective Goal Setting Techniques

Write Down Your Goals

One of the best strategies for achieving a goal is to write it down. It sounds simple, but most people who say they set goals for themselves do not write them down. They simple think about what they want to achieve and work for a while towards achieving it. Before long these people get distracted and move onto something else. Writing them down helps you stay focused on achieving what you want.

Research has shown that people who write down there goals are significantly more likely to achieve those goals. Writing them down shows commitment and increases motivation. So write them down even if it is just on a Post-it or sticky note.


Make it SMART

Properly set goals can be great motivators for you. To be done right, you should ensure that your goals have some basic criterion. This basic criterion can help structure your goals so they are easier to achieve. Thus, when writing your goals down, use the SMART Goals formula for maximum effectiveness.  Many people believe writing SMART goals is the key to effective goal setting.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound


The criteria for SMART Goals:

Specific – Your goal should be detailed and state the exact level of performance expected.

Measurable – Your goal should contain a measurable indicator to assess the amount of your progress and to definitely determine if the goal has been achieved.

Achievable – Your goal should challenge you and stretch your abilities, but realistically be able to be attained.

Relevant – Your goals should be important to you and motivate you.

Time-bound – Your goal should specify when the result(s) will be achieved.



Set Challenging Goals

Goals should be challenging. They should challenge you to step up your abilities and reach outside your comfort zone. You may not always reach your goal, but the more you stretch your abilities, the more abilities you will have in the future. It is better to aim high and come up a little short, than to aim low and never test your capabilities or reach your potential.

Research shows goals that are challenging motivate and increase persistence. Also, the more challenging a goal, the greater the satisfaction and reward in achieving it.

Setting challenging goals requires a careful balance to ensure it will be challenging, but yet still attainable. Goals that are either too easy or too difficult will negatively affect your progress and performance. If the goal is too easy, you may get bored and lose motivation. On the other hand, goals that are too hard can cause frustration with the lack of progress. Hence, take time to set challenging goals suited to realistically stretch your capabilities. The best goals are the ones that really challenge you without frustrating and demotivating you.



Keep them Flexible

Goals should be flexible enough so they can be revised if necessary. Circumstances may change and you will need to adapt to those changes.   For example, you may have a goal to run a full marathon within a year. However, if you get injured during the course of training, it may be better to adjust your goal to running a half marathon.   Achieving the lesser revised goal is better than not achieving the original goal.

Also, you may set a goal which you later find to be too difficult and need to revise it to better match your abilities and increase you chance of success. It is better to modify your goal, than to quit and or not achieve your goal at all.



Break it down

Break down your long term goals into smaller more easily attainable short term goals. This helps to visualize smaller more manageable chunks, rather than one difficult end goal.

Think of the goal setting process like running a marathon. Your ultimate goal is to reach the 26.2 mile marker (long-term goal), but you are best to think of the race in terms of sections or chunks. Therefore, break the race into segments or a series of short term goals (5 mile, 10 mile, 15 mile, etc…). This way you are focused on just achieving one short-term goal at a time. Without short-term goals, you can lose sight of your long term goals, and get frustrated and demotivated.

Have an Action Plan

The last key to effective goal setting is to create a plan of action to achieve your goals. Your action plan should be broken down into specific tasks with timeframes associated with each task. Like a checklist, you will be able to check off each task as you complete it.

Having an action plan helps you mentally see the goal as very achievable. By breaking the larger goal down into smaller goals and specific tasks, makes the larger goal seems more easily achievable. However, do not just create a plan, track and monitor your progress. You what to periodically review your progress to ensure you are on track to achieving your goal. Therefore, once a week or so, take out your plan and check your progress. Identify challenges and make adjustments as needed to increase your effectiveness. These regular assessments allows you to ensure you remain on track, motivated, and committed.


Additional Links

Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal setting 10-steps

Setting Goals


SMART Goals Worksheet

Performance Goals


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Keys to Effective Employee Goal Setting

Keys to Effective Employee Goal Setting

There are several keys to effective employee goal setting. The following elements will help ensure you have a successful goal setting program:

Encourage Participation and Collaboration

  1. Align Employee Goals With Organizational Goals
  2. Set SMART Goals
  3. Ensure Availability of Resources
  4. Provide Motivation
  5. Create a Plan and Monitor Progress
  6. Recognize and Reward


About the Keys to Effective Employee Goal Setting

Encourage Participation and Collaboration

The first step to effective goals setting is to get the employee involved. Employees respond much better to goal setting if they have participated in the process. Therefore, make it a collaborative effort between the employee and his or her direct supervisor or manager.

Having employees actively involved in identifying and creating his or her own goals increases “buy-in” and ownership of their objectives along with an increased chance of successful achievement.

There is a big difference between imposing goals on employees and encouraging them to create their own goals. People naturally do not like to be told what to do. They would rather have a choice and be able to make that choice. Therefore, if you involve them in the decision making process, they will feel they are choosing the goal, and not being told what to do.

Additionally, active participation in the goals setting process allows them to better understand how their individual goals fit with the objectives of the organization. Explaining the organizations goals and asking how they think they can contribute to the accomplishment of those goals helps them understand what their role is in the bigger picture. It also makes them feel good about contributing to something bigger than themselves.



Align employee goals with organizational goals

Connecting the strategic goals of an organization to each of the employee’s performance goals is critical to the success of an organization.

In an effectively aligned organization, everyone is working towards the same goal. Each individual knows exactly how their job tasks contribute to the success of the overall organization. With everyone working together toward the same objectives, the company can efficiently execute their strategy.

To achieve goal alignment in an organization, the strategic goals and objectives must first be clearly communicated across the entire company. Everyone needs to understand how their personal goals fit with the objectives of the organization. This allows everyone to understand what is important and what needs to be done.

The strategic goals of an organization are tied to the organization’s mission and vision statements. These goals determine the desired results of an organization and how those results will be achieved. After the organizational goals and objectives are set, goals are then broken down across the organizational hierarchy eventually reaching individual employees.

Each employee’s goals should be tied to the company’s overall growth strategy in order to be effective. When employees understand how their individual role and responsibilities contribute to organizational growth, they are often more focused and motivated to achieve goals that result in success for both the business and themselves. On the other hand, employees who do not understand the role they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged. Consistently communicating strategic business goals can help to keep employees engaged.



Set SMART Goals

Effective performance goals helps employee understand what the measurable successful achievement is for their goal and how it will play into the organization as a whole. Creating SMART is a best practice for many organizations.

SMART is an acronym used to effectively set goals. It is a simple tool to help create an actionable plan that gets results. A SMART goal should be;

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound


Specific – The goal should be detailed and state the exact level of performance expected.

Measurable – The goal should contain a measurable indicator to assess the amount of progress and to definitely determine if the goal has been achieved.

Achievable – The goal should challenge and stretch a person’s abilities, but realistically be able to be attained.

Relevant – The goal should be important and tied to the success of the organization.

Time-bound – The goal should specify when the result(s) will be achieved.


Goal can sometimes seem too ambitious, irrelevant, or merely unattainable. Having an irrelevant or unattainable goal can lead to frustration and result in a lack of motivation. However, if a SMART goal is created, it will help lead to its successful achievement by ensuring it is relevant and attainable.



Ensure Availability of Resources

Another area of frustration for employees trying to accomplish a goal is a lack of resources. If people do not have the necessary resources to achieve their goal, they become frustrated and demotivated. To avoid this an assessment of necessary resources should be done early on in the process.

Resources include tools, money, people, knowledge, and skills. The acquisition of any of these necessary resources should be include as part of the plan for achieving the goal. Often these resources are required early on in the process, and the lack of them could stall the goal before it even gets momentum. Even more problematic is when the resources are needed at the end of the process. Having spent time and energy completing a significant portion only to learn the goal cannot be accomplish is even more frustrating.



Provide Motivation

Highly-motivated individuals have a willingness to get the job done efficiently and effectively. This willingness results in benefits for the company including higher productivity, increased revenue, and cost savings.

An employee motivation can be increased by setting well-defined, challenging, but achievable goals. By successfully achieving specific goals and objectives, employees develop a sense of accomplishment and pride. This feeling encourages them to keep looking forward to new accomplishments, and thus in turn increasing their performance levels.

However, it is important to keep in mind, well written goals alone do not increase motivation. An organization must have a positive environment. The organization’s culture and working atmosphere must be positive in order to raise motivation and performance levels.



Track and Monitor Progress

Once a goal is set, a plan must be created that outlines how it will be meet. Since the goals are SMART, they are measurable and time-bound. This will allow you to easily create a plan to track and monitor the progress to achieving the goals.

The first step would be to identify key milestones and break the goal down into tasks. After which, a timeline should be created noting the key milestones.

It is important to track the progress on the goals throughout the year. This ensures that people are on target to achieve their goals. Therefore, a monitoring system should be put in place to ensure the goals are on track to be accomplished in the time required. This allows for measurements at various intervals so that issues can be dealt with before they threaten goal achievement.



Recognize and Reward Performance

Everyone likes to be recognized and rewarded for a job they have done well. Hence, in order for a goal system to be effective, a recognition and reward system must be in place.

People appreciate when others recognize when they have done something well.

When you recognize a person’s good work, you not only make them feel good, you reinforce the behaviors you most want to see repeated. Your recognition also reinforces that person’s understanding of how you would like to see him or her perform in the workplace. However, you can only get by with praise and recognition for a limited time. At some point, some kind of reward has to be given.

Goal achievement should be tied to a reward such as increased compensation. Thus, when an employee achieves his or her SMART goal at the end of the year, they should receive a raise computable to the level of achievement. Essentially, the reward gives incentives to achieve the goal and often times to “go the extra mile.”



These are the Keys to Effective Employee Goal Setting. Therefore, review your goal setting process and goal management system to ensure these elements are part of your program.


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SAFE Goals


SAFE Goals

One of the most common goal setting techniques is termed SMART.  SMART is an acronym which encourages individuals to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding or Realistic, and Time bound.  This advice for setting your goals usually works well, but it may not be the best process for you to use.



Right Brained Goal Setting

If you are more right-brain, creatively oriented you may want to try utilizing the SAFE method.  SAFE is an acronym for a creative goal setting process especially useful for right-brain-oriented people.

SAFE stands for:

  • See it -See the end result
  • Accept it – Accept the end result
  • Feel it – Feel the end result
  • Express it – Express the end result


The Right Brain

The right side of your brain is more visual and focuses on the big picture.  Your right brain helps you think holistic, grasp total situations, gain insights, and be creative.  These aspects of right brained people are very powerful, so it makes sense that if you are right brained you use these attributes to set goals. If you are left-brained and you use this attributes, you will achieve more when you utilize your whole brain.


SAFE Goals


SAFE Goals


Start by creating a mental picture of the future as it will be when your goal is achieved. See it in great detail and full color.  Use all of your senses to become aware of the details.  See the colors, sights, sounds, and emotions of having achieved the desired goal.  See the results in your mind of having attained the goal.



Accept it means that you are opening yourself up to possibility and accepting that you can achieve the goal. You may not know all the details of how you will achieve your goal, but you are confident about achieving it.  You may have doubts and concerns, but focus on remaining open and accepting the potential.



Feel it has you to feel the emotions associated with attaining your desired goals. It is about mentally placing yourself to that time and place in the future and sensing those feelings associated with achieving your goals. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the desire to achieve the goal.

As you visualize yourself having achieved the goal, allow yourself to feel the accompanying emotions. Adding emotion to your visualization can be extremely powerful.  You should feel good about your accomplishment.



Use your powers of expression to create your end result.   Capture your feelings in words or visual expressions.  Write about it.  Describe in vivid detail every aspect of how your life will be after the goal is achieved.  Draw it or paint it so that it describes and depicts what you want to achieve.  Place your writing and pictures where you will see them every day.

You can write about it, draw, or paint. This is particularly useful if you find it difficult to mentally visualize your goal.  Try to visualize yourself telling others about the accomplishment or giving a presentation.  Whatever creative action you take, include as much detail as possible about your goal.



SAFE Goals Summary






The SAFE Goals method is especially good for those individuals who need to have the big picture. You may not need to use SAFE Goals for every goal you have, but it may help if you doubt your ability to achieve your goals.


Related Links

Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals






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Three Types of Goals


3 types of Goals


Three Types of Athletic Goals




Setting Athletic Performance Goals

Goal setting is one of the most important skills you can use to help you achieve optimal performance. The goal setting process helps you understand your current performance level and then assess what steps you need to take to reach your ultimate performance level.

There are three types and levels of athletic goals:

  • Outcome goals
  • Performance goals
  • Process goals


Three types goals




Three Types of Goals

Outcome Goals – This type of goal refers to the desired end result. These goals are those that compare your performances with those of other athletes. For example, coming in the top five or winning the tournament. In both these examples the outcome is connected top and depends on the performances of others.

Performance Goals – This type of goal identifies a specific standard to be achieved. These standards are independent of other variables. For example, increase your batting average from .270 to .310, or run the 100 meter race in 12.2 seconds. You have much better control over the results of these goals than you do of outcome goals.

Process Goals – This type of goal deals with the technique or strategy necessary to perform well. These goals are used to improve the execution of a skill. For example, you may strive to run the 100 meter race with perfect form, or make solid contact with a golf ball as you strike it. These goals focus on your individual actions and are not dependent or connected to the performance or actions of others.    



Types of goals process




Connection between the Types of Goals

These types of goals are categorized by how much control you have over it. You have the most control over process goals and the least control over outcome goals. When setting goals, you should to visualize and set a desired outcome, but more importantly you should focus on the process and your performance.

Experts have found individual performance improves quicker if you set systematic goals that are focused on the process and performance, rather than focused on the outcome of competition. Process goals feed into performance goals, which feed into outcome goals. If you focus on process and performance goals you have done all you can within your control to achieve your outcome goal. By setting the foundation with process and performance goals the outcome goals likely takes care of itself.



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Goal Seting Pyramid


Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are similar in that they both are an “end toward which effort is directed”.  However, goals should be thought of as the ultimate end, while objectives are the strategic steps or tasks by which the ultimate end is achieved.  Objectives are specific tasks that need to be completed in order to complete a goal.

An objective of a goal can also be a goal in and of itself.  Enabling goals are also objectives.  They are explicitly written to help achieve a longer-term goal.  Enabling goals are like stepping stones that help measure our progress toward reaching longer-term goals.  The objective of obtaining a medical degree for the ultimate goal of becoming a doctor can be a goal itself. 


Long-term goals can have many objectives associated with it.  Therefore, it would be advantageous to categorize these objectives under short-term goals. 

Short-term goals help us stay focused and maintain a positive attitude toward reaching the long-term goals.  Being able to “check off” a goal as completed is a positive feeling of success and helps maintain motivation.


Life and Cap


Possible objectives for the Lifetime or Capstone goal of going to college would include a wide range of such things as getting good grades in high school, joining a social committee, saving money, determining a major, completing college applications, and taking the SATs.

If you group and categorize these objectives, you can create smaller goals.  For example, the objective of “getting good grades” can be change into a goal of “obtain a 3.0 GPA by the end of my junior year of high school.”


Life to foundational




Goal:  Decide which college to attend.

  1. Determine area of major
  2. Research colleges that meet (size, distance, athletics, social, etc..)
  3. Find eight colleges that meet these requirements
  4. Visit schools
  5. Select the top four choices
  6. Complete and mail applications to top four choices
  7. Choice a school
  8. Apply for financial aid
  9. Apply for scholarships



Other Links:

Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals

Performance Goals





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Steps Goal Setting


 Goal Setting Steps

Basic Steps Goal Setting



Identify your goal


Write down your goal in specific, measurable detail with a declared target date.



S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Relevant

T = Time bound



Write down the benefits of achieving your goal



List the obstacles to overcome in accomplishing your goal



List the skills and knowledge required to reach your goal



Identify the people and groups you need to work with to reach your goal



Develop a plan of action to reach your goal

  • Set a series of related daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and completion dates



Continuously take an action step toward the attainment of your goal (weekly or daily)




Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals


SMART Goals Worksheet

Performance Goals




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Performance Goals and Outcome Goals



Goal Setting ribbon


Performance Goals and Outcome Goals


There is a significant difference between performance goals and outcome goals.  Performance based goals can be controlled by the person who sets the goals while outcome based goals are frequently controlled by others.  It is best to set performance goals when possible.


Short-term goals are best written as performance goals versus outcome goals. Performance goals focus on the person performance while outcome goals focus strictly on the outcome or result.


Performance is what the person controls while outcomes are frequently controlled by others. Unfortunately, outcome goals do not take into account how well a person performed. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control. So when setting goals, you want to set a goals that is performance based and not outcome based.


Effective short-term goals focus on performance, not outcome.



 Performance vs. Outcome title


Why Performance Goals

The reason you want to set performance goals is that you have much more control over the ability to achieve that goal. You may have an outstanding performance and not win a contest because other people have performed even better. After the race, you may become disappointed because you did not reach your goal, even though, you performed exceptionally. Conversely, you may perform poorly and still win if all others perform at a lower level. Unfortunately, this may give us an inaccurate assessment of you performance.


Performance goals are about control. If a person’s goal is to run the 100-meter race in 12.5 seconds, the person has greater control in achieving this goal than winning the race.



Process Goals

To take goal setting to the next level, the person can set process goals. Process goals give a person even greater control of achieving a goal. For example, a person can set a goal to run using the correct form, and focusing on arm and leg movements. This process goal gives the person more control over his/her performance than with performance goals. The more the goal can be controlled, the more valuable it will be.


Another example of the different types of goal setting is golfers setting a goal in an upcoming tournament. The first golfer may set an outcome goal of coming in the top 10. A second may set a performance goal to shoot 68, while a third may set a process goal to make solid contact with the ball on each shot. The second golfer has more control over shooting a 68 than the first has of coming in the top ten. However, the third whose goal is to make solid contact has even more control over their performance.



Setting Performance Goals

When possible set performance goals, not outcome goals. Make sure you set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more discouraging than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. These could be a difficult business environment, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just bad luck. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still finish fifth as a result of a poor judging decision. If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat. If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.



Examples of Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals:

Performance goals outcome goals


Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals


SMART Goals Worksheet

Performance Goals


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Types of Goals


Types of Goals title

Types of Goals


Generally, goals are categorized as either long-term or short-term.  Long-term goals consist of plans you make for your future, typically over a year down the road.  These typically consist of family, lifestyle, career, and retirement goals.  Long-term goals are achieved over time as a person completes the stages of their life.  People set long-term goals for themselves by envisioning what they want to be doing and where they want to be five to twenty years from the present.  Then they use short-term goals to get there.

Examples of long-term goals

  • Become a Mechanical Engineer
  • Get a Master’s Degree
  • Buy a house
  • Run a marathon
  • Own my own company
  • Retire at age 55


Short-term goals are ones that a person will achieve in the near future, typically in less than one year. Short-term goals are often, but not always, steppingstones on the way to achieving long-term goals. These types of goals are considered enabling goals because accomplishment of these goals will “enable” you to achieve an even greater goal.

Enabling goals usually consist of such topics as education, short-term jobs or projects, as well as valuable work experience. Each of these often contributes directly to the long-term goals a person sets for himself or herself.

Examples of short-term goals

  • Lose five pounds
  • Paint my living room
  • Get an “A” in Biology
  • Get a 3.2 GPA or above this semester
  • Build a deck
  • Get a job for the summer



Long-term short-term goals



Long-term & Short-term Subdivided

These two categories, long and short-term goals, can be further subdivided.  Long-term goals can be either lifetime goals or Capstone goals, while short-term goals can be further categorized be either foundational or provisional goals.


Long-term and Short-term chart

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable.  Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”  Denis Watley



Types of Goal Pyramid




Long-term Goals

Long-term goals


Lifetime Goals

Lifetime goals are those major goals that you would like to accomplish over your lifetime. Depending on your age, these goals may be accomplished significantly later on in your life. Typically, these goals will have accomplishment dates of ten or more years in the future. Examples of lifetime goals include get a job as a teacher, become a professional basketball player, graduate from college, buy a house, or retire to Florida.

Lifetime goals may fall into one of several categories including career, education, family, financial, or just pleasure. You can have a Lifetime goal to become an accountant as well as goals of getting a Master’s Degree, having four children, making ten million dollars, and/or traveling around the world.

Lifetime goals are often general at first but as you work towards them, they become more specific. The original goal of “get a job as a teacher” becomes “Get a job teaching math to high school students,” which later evolves into “enter a career in teaching Trigonometry and Calculus to high school seniors.” As time goes on, the more defined your goals will become.

Lifetime goals often are your most meaningful and important goals. One problem, however, is that the achievement of these goals is usually far in the future. As a result, you may have trouble staying focused and maintaining a positive attitude toward reaching these goals. This is why it is helpful to set up enabling goals.


Enabling goals

An enabling goal is a distinctive type of shorter term goal. It is written to help achieve a longer-term goal. Enabling goals are like stepping stones that help us measure our progress toward reaching longer term goals. They can be considered “objectives” of long term goals.


You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.”  Charles C. Noble




Capstone Goals

Capstone goals are commonly those key goals you will need to accomplish first before you accomplish your lifetime goals. These goals will typically be accomplished in one to ten years’ time. A Lifetime goal of becoming a doctor would have Capstone goals of going to college, going to med school, and completing an internship. A lifetime goal of traveling around the world would have a Capstone goal of saving a certain amount of money.


To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.”  Anatole France




Short-term Goals

Short-term goals



Foundational Goals

Foundational goals are those short-term goals that will most likely be accomplished in less than one year. These may be enabling goals that may need to be accomplished prior to the Capstone goals being met. They are often used as physiological improvements. You need to get straight A’s next semester in order to get into a good college, so that you can eventually go to medical school. However, Foundational goals can also be stand-alone goals with no link to a Capstone goal or a Lifetime goal. This could be making your high school basketball team, learning how to play three songs on the piano, or saving money for a home theatre system.


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




 Stepping Stone Goals

Provisional Goals

Provisional (stepping-stone) goals are usually stepping-stones to the larger goals.   Typically, these are completed in less than a month. These are the types of goals you focus on a daily basis and are often used for technical improvements. Many times these may be enabling goals that may need to be accomplished prior to the foundational goals being met. “Get a 90 or better on the Algebra test next week”, which will help meet the goal of getting straight A’s next semester in order to get into a good college, so that you can eventually go to medical school. However, like Foundational goals, provisional goals can be stand-alone goals with no link to a Lifetime, Capstone, or a short-term goal. This could be “paint the house”, “clean the basement”, or “finish a school project.”


Goal Types


Related Pages 

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals


SMART Goals Worksheet

Performance Goals




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Setting Goals



Setting Goals


Your goals should be grown from your values, beliefs, desires, and your sense of purpose. Before you begin to create your goals, you should go through the process of self discovery.

Self-discovery is an exploration through your inner self, trying to discover who you are, your potential, and your purpose in life. Self-discovery will help you determine what you really want out of life and what will give you a personal sense of fulfilment.


Types of Goals

There are different types of goals. Some goals are lifetime goals; meaning that you intend to achieve them before you die. To achieve them, you break them into smaller goals, perhaps ten-year goals, five-year goals, and one-year goals.

These long-term and intermediate goals are then divided into smaller segments, until you have subdivided the lifetime goals into immediate and short-term goals. You eventually break goals down into tasks and objectives that you can work on a daily basis.



You may also set long-term and short-term goals for yourself that are not tied to lifetime goals. For example, you may have a long-term goal of purchasing a car or a short-term goal of losing 25 pounds.

Long-term goals – typically takes longer than a year to achieve

Short-term goals – typically takes less than one year to achieve



 Setting goals

Setting Personal Goals

Setting personal goals starts with your Lifetime goals which are followed by a series of lower level goals. The series of goals and objectives can continue until you have a list of daily tasks.

By setting up this structure, you are able to break down lifetime goals into a number of small tasks that you need to do each day to reach your ultimate goals.



Setting Your Lifetime Goals

You set lifetime goals by envisioning what you ultimately want to achieve in various facets of your life. These facets may include the following:

  • Career
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Family / Relationships
  • Physical Health
  • Travel
  • Spiritual / Emotional
  • Travel and Adventure


After you determine your lifetime goal, you then set additional long-term goals for by determining what you want to be doing and where they want to be five to ten years from the present. Then you use short-term goals to get there.



Steps to Setting Goals

  1. After you determine what you want to accomplish for the various aspects of your life, write down your lifetime goals.
  2. After you have your lifetime goals written, lay out your plan of actions that will determine how to you reach them.
  3. Set additional long-term goals that will help you reach your lifetime goals. For example, if you have a lifetime goal of becoming an Engineer, you would need long-term educational goals for a specific college degree.
  4. Once you have set your long-term goals, set up your short-term goals that you should complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. For example, a short-term goal tied to your long-term goal of becoming an Engineer, may be to get an “A” on specific school course.
  5. You can set a 5-year plan, 1-year plan, 6-month plan, and 1-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.
  6. Finally, set a daily “to do” list of things that you should do today to work towards your goals.


“If not us, who? If not now, when?”  Kennedy, John F.



Types of Goals

Goal Setting

Goal Setting Overview

Goal Setting 10-steps

Setting Goals


Performance Goals




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