5 Steps Towards Setting Effective Goals

5 Steps Towards Setting Effective Goals


Everyone has the ability to set goals, but more often than not these goals are not properly thought out. This results in the goals not being achieved and the person wondering why. If you are wondering how to set effective goals that will see you achieving the outcomes you desire, read below to find out more.

1. Set broad goals

Before delving into the specifics, the bigger organisational picture must be considered. By commencing with generalised goals, this will help focus on what is really important to the success of your project. Recognising the outcomes that you value will help to guide you in your decision making, as well as keeping you focused on the end result that you are working towards. Start with generalised goals such as ‘increase profit by 5% by the end of the year’, and then you will be able to further break down that goal at a later date.

2. Divide broad goals into specific goals 

This step is where broad goals must be broken down into a number of key components. Consider all actions that you will need to undertake to in order to achieve the end outcome – this includes looking at the who, what, where, when and why of each broader goal. Remember, these specific goals should have the ability to answer highly specific questions.

3. Prioritise goals

It is important to set both short and long term goals which are in order of priority. Take the time to review your list of specific goals and evaluate which are the most crucial, time sensitive or important to work towards first. At any given time it is likely that you will have a number of goals in different stages of completion. By prioritising your goals, you are able to keep on track towards the end outcome. If challenges are faced you are able to revisit your priority list and make informed decisions accordingly.

4. Set measurable goals

In order to track our personal progress, we need to ensure that all goals are quantifiable and able to be measured. This allows for both measurement along the way to evaluate whether you are on the right track, as well as measurement after the completion of the goal. Having measurable goals also helps in the evaluation process after the project – you are able to see what worked and what could be done better next time.

5. Ensure goals are realistic     

Finally, goals must be realistic. You must sit back and evaluate your situation honestly and decide which of your goals are realistic, and which are perhaps unattainable. An example of this is aiming to ‘increase profit by 100%’ when your market is stagnant, although it would be wonderful to double your sales, it is probably not realistic. A more realistic goal would be reverting back to step 1 and aiming to ‘increase sales by 5%’.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: Wake Up Cloud; Small Business.

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