Home Blog Personal Development Begin with the end in mind - setting crystal clear goals
Begin with the end in mind - setting crystal clear goals

Have you noticed how good it feels to set a goal for yourself and then go on to achieve it? So what is it that makes the difference between those goals we do achieve and those we don’t?

One thing is certain - that if you know what you’re setting out to achieve you are much more likely to accomplish it. This may seem obvious, yet all too often the goals we set ourselves, both personally and in business, are extremely vague and therefore unlikely to be achieved.

Imagine setting off from home on a journey – without deciding where you are going. Do you turn left or right at the end of your road? And where from there? You will certainly end up somewhere and that somewhere may be interesting, but the journey will be more of a mystery tour than a purposeful one. Whereas if you decide you are heading for Lands End, even if you take a wrong turning or decide to take a detour to visit Bath, you still know where you are headed and will make your way there.

So here are a few tips to setting crystal clear and compelling goals:


What do I want?

Describe the goal in the positive – to improve productivity (rather than reduce absenteeism)


Describe what you see, feel and hear when you have achieved that goal – people working, a sense of achievement, colleagues talking enthusiastically about what they are doing

Put into context

Who? When? Where? How?


Within your influence?

Check whether all or part of the outcome is within your own control.

Imagine achieving the outcome

Does it pass a win/win check?

Does it fit with other people or systems you relate to?


First step

What specifically and when?

Follow through

What is necessary to ensure this plan will work?

Where and how could this plan be at risk?

What contingencies can I set up?

Use this approach when setting goals, for example as part of the annual appraisal process, and you will experience a different result – for you and your direct reports. And what’s more, because you have a shared sense of what the goal will be like once you’ve got there, it will be more motivating to work towards achieving it. Try it out – and notice the positive difference. You’ll soon be using these tips on your personal goals too…..


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