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A goal is a concrete action, event or outcome that you strive to obtain. Goals enrich our lives, give us energy, create a sense of purpose and give us a road map.

Goal Setting Tips and Guidelines

  • Goals are specific. Remember, “hazy goals get hazy results.”
  • Effective goals are broken down into measurable steps such as:
    • "Each day I will identify three positive things about my work” or
    • “I will conduct two informational interviews every month.”
  • Goals are aligned with your values.
  • Goals are realistic and reasonably attainable.
  • Goals are designed within a realistic time frame with specific deadlines.
  • Goals are flexible; they can be altered as change or new awareness occurs and as new information is received.
  • A written goal has a greater chance of being accomplished; when a goal is written down it seems real.
  • Evaluate whether you achieve your goals. If you set goals that are measurable then you have criteria with which to evaluate them.
  • Plan for both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Celebrate achieving your goals!

Goal Setting Instructions

When it comes to setting goals, use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

Specific:
  • Should address the five W’s: who, what, when, where and why.
  • Easy to understand.
  • Specifies desired future results.
Measurable:
  • Describes how each goal will be measured (numeric or descriptive).
  • Answers the questions:
    • How will I know when the result has been achieved?
    • How will I verify the achievement/performance of this goal?
    • To what level do we need to achieve this result?
  • Focus on elements such as observable actions, quantity, quality, cycle time, efficiency and/or flexibility to measure outcomes.
Action-oriented:
  • Identifies actions to be taken or results to be achieved that will contribute to the achievement of a larger objective within a specified period of time.
  • Uses concrete action verbs, such as create, design, develop, implement, produce, etc.  
Realistic:
  • The individual has the capabilities (skills, knowledge), tools or resources to accomplish this goal.
  • The goal is appropriate in scope.
  • The goal is realistic even with other commitments.
  • The goal is within the individual’s power and influence.
  • The goal may be a stretch, but still feasible one step at a time.
Time-framed:
  • There is a specific time frame to achieve this goal (beginning and end dates).
  • May include interim steps and a plan to monitor progress.
  • May establish a time frame for short and long-term goals.