Do you have dreams?  In truth, most of us do and aspire to be more than we are today.  But in order to make progress in fulfilling these dreams, goal setting is crucial.

Goal setting and achievement is one of the most common themes that I come across when providing coaching to individuals and teams.  For some, they coast along without focus or direction while others seem to be continuously chasing objectives but to what end?

Below, I set out some key questions to help guide you as you begin to consider the topic of effective goal setting so that you can pursue your own dreams.

Are you goals meaningful?

What motivates me may not necessarily motivate you and vice versa.  Therefore, it is absolutely essential to have a good level of self-awareness before setting goals.  Do your goals correlate with your values and beliefs?  Do you even know what they are? How motivating are your goals to you?  Will they ultimately add to your legacy whatever you may want that to be?

Are your goals specific?

Improving results over the next quarter too vague?  How about to lose weight.  There are thousands of other examples of poor attempts at goal setting.  In order to succeed you have to firstly define each of your goals in vivid detail.  What exactly does it look like and how will you know when you have reached it?

Are your goals positive?

The language that we use around our goal setting is very important and should always be positive when framing them.  A newly promoted team to the premier league doesn’t set a goal of not being relegated (if they do they will inevitably fail).  Instead they set themselves positive goals such as to acquire a minimum of 40 points etc.  In terms of the goals that you set frame them with positive language and you too will succeed.

Are they taking time?

Is the pursuit of your goals taking time each day?  If the answer is yes, then that is good!  You will never reach your goals unless you actually spend dedicated time working on them! ‘Time management’ could be more accurately called ‘priority management’.  We all have 24 hours each and every day.  How are you investing your time and energy?

Are they ambitious?

The most common model when it comes to goal setting states that should always be SMART with the ‘R’ standing for ‘Realistic’. The problem with this is that it encourages individuals and teams to be overly conservative and it becomes a box ticking exercise. Replace ‘Realistic’ with ‘Risky’ and see what happens!  You are likely to be far more capable than to think right now so stretch yourself and see what happens.  The results might even surprise you!

Are they measurable?

Yes, your goals should be measurable. How are you getting on?  In what way will you celebrate each milestone as you proceed as doing so helps to maintain focus and motivation? Who is responsible for each action and where are you in the process?  Set timeframes and hold yourself (and others) accountable on a continuous basis.

Are they displayed?

Finally, if your goals are not clearly written down and displayed you are far less likely to achieve them.  Its that simple!  Revisit them each and every week as this too helps to maintain focus and direction.

Joe McDonald founder of create10 is a qualified, registered and experienced professional coach and trainer. Working with individuals, teams and organisations in the pursuit of performance enhancement.  If you are passionate about performance then reach out today. Email: or see