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Personal Goal Setting: The Essentials

Personal Goal Setting: The Essentials

Jonathan Farrington

Success should be something you don’t just “Kinda Sorta” want to achieve but something you must achieve.

Generally top achievers expect to be successful and as a consequence they usually are. They are driven by a “have to” attitude not a “want to” attitude.

If you have no concrete goals and you have been succeeding in spite of yourself, just think how much more success you could enjoy if you set your sights on a definite path and had a specific time-frame in which you expect to reach your destination.

Setting Goals Keeps You Focussed:

What you should know is that goals give you three distinct advantages, which help you succeed:

• Goals keep you on track

• Goals let you know when and what to celebrate

• Goals give you a focussed plan to work with If nothing else, goals let others know what they have to aim for to keep up with your standards.

Effective Goal Setting

Take the time to think about what would make you happy, contented and satisfied and about what would motivate you to become a Top 5% Player.

It’s important to remember that goals are maps; they will guide you towards your success – the more detailed your goal setting the easier it will be for you to reach your destination.

When you are in the first stage of goal setting you also need to remember two important factors – i.e.

• The goal must be better than your best yet – but it must be achievable.

• Goals should be based on productivity not production.

Keeping these two rules of goal setting firmly in your mind will help you to form and stay committed to what is really important to you.

Time Yourself – By Months, Years & Decades:

• Always begin with long-term goals and work backwards. Your long-term goals are probably the most difficult to set anyway, so if you set those first, you accomplish the tough stuff right up-front.

• Long-term goals should be five-year projections and three areas you may want to consider when you set them are personal accomplishments, status symbols and net worth.

• Medium-term goals are usually three year projections and the same criteria can be used – but again think productivity not production and consider the activity that will be necessary to achieve success.

• Short-term goals will demand most of your attention and these are usually a twelve-month projection although you can set “immediate goals” which have a 90-day projection.

You must believe you can achieve all of your goals – otherwise you will not achieve them.

Setting a Well Balanced Diet of Goals:

It is essential to set personal as well as career goals to keep your life well balanced. If all your goals are connected to your commercial life, you will have trouble taking time out for family and friends because you will always be pushing towards the next career goal.


Work smarter not harder. Setting personal goals gives you after business.

Put Your Goals in Writing:

Once you have formulated your goals it is time to make your final commitment to them by putting them down in writing. This is undoubtedly the single most important step in goal setting because until they are inscribed somewhere they are merely wishes and dreams.

After you have written them down, your mind will start seeking out whatever it will take to make them a reality.


The moment you start moving forward towards a goal is the moment you start to succeed.

Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals:

Once you have identified your goals ensure that they are S. M. A. R. T. E. R. i.e.

S = Specific

Ensure they are not vague but they state exactly what you want to achieve. Narrow it down to the most detailed level you can.

M = Measurable

How will you know when you’ve succeeded? Find some way to measure what change has taken place. Unless you can monitor progress how will you know if you’ve been successful?

A = Achievable

Be realistic, but do aim to stretch yourself. Too low and you will not have a challenge. Too high, can cause demotivation and disappointment.

R = Relevant

It is essential that your goals are personally meaningful. Doing it for yourself will make you feel proud and satisfied when you achieve it.

T = Timed

Set realistic time targets. Are you able to identify when you expect to have achieved your goals by?

E = Exciting

This should ensure that it will stimulate you into action. If it doesn’t you may opt for the “status quo”

R = Recorded

Writing your goals down serves to form a contract with yourself. Written goals can be reviewed and modified and you can carry them around as a permanent reminder or show them to other people.

In Summary:

Even though you do not need to set goals in order to reach some level of success, most professionals who fail to set goals reach a plateau and lack either the motivation or the direction to go beyond it. They are unable to move upwards to a higher achievement status.

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved