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Setting and Achieving Goals

As a leader, you know how important it is to have a vision for the future. The best way to accomplish that vision is to set goals. You will need both long- and short-term goals, with short-term goals serving as the building blocks to reaching your long-term goals. Follow the steps below to get started defining and, more importantly, achieving your goals. Our Setting and Achieving Goals Worksheet [PDF 82kb] will help you keep track of your goals – check it out now!

Step 1: Define your long-term goals. Working towards and achieving goals in all aspects of your life is a great source of motivation and fulfillment. Long-term goals are the bigger goals that you set for yourself, such as to become a doctor, receive an advanced degree, or start a business. When creating goals, make sure you also define how you will measure success. For example, if your goal is to start a business, you might say you are successful if the business is still operational one year from the time you establish it.

A strong goal will be SMART, which means that it is:

  • Specific: Define your goal in detail. A vague goal is hard to work towards!
  • Measurable: Identify the ways you will know your goal has been accomplished.
  • Achievable: Make sure your goal is something you realistically can accomplish. Ending poverty may not be possible on your own, but providing educational opportunities for underprivileged youth may be.
  • Relevant: Your goals should align with the direction you want your life to take and, if applicable, the needs in your community.
  • Time-bound: Putting a deadline on your goals will keep you motivated and on track.

Give each goal the SMART test. If it passes, you have created an excellent goal for yourself.

Step 2: Define your short-term goals. Short-term goals keep you on track to achieving your long-term goals. If your long-term goal is to start a business, your short-term goals may be to conduct market research, make a business plan, meet with a mentor, etc. Based on the outcome of a short-term goal, you may need to reevaluate your long-term goal. Perhaps when developing your business plan, you find out that the cost of starting a business is greater than you anticipated. Will this change your long-term goal? Are there additional short-term goals you can establish to help you work towards your long-term goal? Make sure you reevaluate your long-term plan as you complete each short-term goal. And remember, short-term goals do not need to be as ambitious as your long-term goal may be. Developing your professional skills is a great short-term goal. If that’s one of your goals, check out our resources on how to write a biography, prepare for a job interview, and deliver a speech.

Step 3: Identify the resources you will need to achieve your goals. After you define your goals, make a list of the resources you will need to achieve each goal. Resources may include research and information, money or financial support, or help from others, such as your family, friends, members of your community, or your coworkers. By having a list of what you need, you will know where and to whom to turn for support. After you have defined your goals and what you need to achieve them, make sure you continue to review your established goals so you can stay on track. The best way to do this is to write everything down. You can also watch our free online lesson on Setting and Achieving Goals for additional tips.

Start the process with our Setting and Achieving Goals Worksheet [PDF 82kb].