What is Goal Setting? A Guide to Set Personal Goals for Yourself


Meaning of Goal Setting

Goal setting is a way to plan and achieve something you want to do. It’s like making a map for yourself to reach a specific destination.

Example: Imagine you want to bake a delicious cake. Your goal is to make that cake.

How Does Goal Setting Work?

1. Specific

Your goal should be clear and specific. Instead of saying, “I want to bake a cake,” you say, “I want to bake a chocolate cake with frosting and sprinkles.”

2. Measurable

You need a way to know if you’re getting closer to your goal. For baking a cake, you might measure it by checking if you have all the ingredients and tools you need.

3. Achievable

Your goal should be realistic. It’s possible to bake a cake at home with the right ingredients and an oven. But making a cake from scratch without any experience might not be achievable.

4. Relevant

Your goal should matter to you. Baking a cake should be something you want, not something someone else wants for you.

5. Time-bound

Set a deadline for when you want to achieve your goal. For example, “I want to bake the cake by Saturday for my friend’s birthday.”

The following infographic shows the SMART technique clearly:smart goals technique


Break Down of Example Goal Setting, the Cake-baking Goal

  • Specific – You want to bake a chocolate cake with frosting and sprinkles.
  • Measurable – Check your kitchen to make sure you have cocoa powder, flour, sugar, eggs, and other cake ingredients. If not, you’ll need to get them.
  • Achievable – If you’ve baked before and have the ingredients, it’s achievable. If not, you might need to practice simpler recipes first.
  • Relevant – Baking the cake is something you want to do, perhaps to celebrate your friend’s birthday.
  • Time-bound – You want to finish it by Saturday.

With this goal, you have a clear plan. You know what cake you want, what you need, and when you need to do it. This makes it much easier to succeed. Plus, when you finish baking the cake, you’ll have a tasty reward for your efforts!

How to Set Personal Goals for Yourself?

Setting personal goals is like giving yourself a roadmap to achieve things that matter to you. It’s important to make these goals meaningful and achievable.

image showing a person focusing on a goal
Photo by Yosef Futsum

Here’s a simple guide to help you set personal goals:

1. Identify What You Want

Start by thinking about what you truly want to achieve. It could be something like getting healthier, learning a new skill, or saving money for a special trip. Be specific about what you want. Instead of saying, “I want to get healthier,” say, “I want to walk for 30 minutes every day.”

2. Break It Down

Big goals can feel overwhelming. To make them more manageable, break them into smaller steps. For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, break it down into weekly lessons or daily vocabulary practice. These smaller steps will make your big goal easier to tackle.

3. Make a Plan

Once you’ve broken down your goal, create a plan. Decide when and how you’ll work on each step. If you want to save money, plan how much you’ll save each month and set up a separate savings account.

4. Stay Motivated and Adjust

Staying motivated can be tough, so find ways to remind yourself of your goal. You can use a journal to track your progress or set reminders on your phone. Also, be flexible. Life can throw curveballs, so it’s okay to adjust your plan if needed. The key is to keep moving forward.

Remember, setting personal goals is all about making your dreams come true. It’s like having a personal guide to help you get where you want to go. So, take the time to think about what you want, break it into smaller steps, create a plan, and stay motivated. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!

Frequently Asked Questions about Goal Settings

1. What is goal setting?

Goal setting is a process where you decide what you want to achieve and make a plan to get there. It’s like creating a map to reach your destination.

2. Why is goal setting important?

Goal setting gives you direction and motivation. It helps you focus on what’s essential and measure your progress.

3. How can I set achievable goals?

To set achievable goals, make them specific, and realistic, and break them into smaller steps. Start with something you believe you can do.

4. What’s the difference between short-term and long-term goals?

Short-term goals are things you want to achieve soon, like in a few weeks or months. Long-term goals are for the future, often taking years to accomplish.

5. How do I stay motivated to work on my goals?

Keep your goals visible, celebrate small victories, and remind yourself why you set the goal. Surround yourself with supportive people.

6. What should I do if I can’t reach my goals?

It’s okay to adjust your goals if needed. Sometimes life changes, and your goals may need to change too. The important thing is to keep moving forward.

7. Should I share my goals with others?

Sharing your goals with someone supportive can provide accountability and encouragement. But it’s essential to choose the right people to share with.

8. How many goals should I have at once?

It’s best to focus on a few goals at a time, so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Three to five goals is a good starting point.

9. Can I set goals for personal development and career simultaneously?

Yes, you can set goals in both areas, but it’s essential to balance your efforts and make sure your goals align with your overall priorities.

10. Is it okay to change my goals as I grow and learn?

Absolutely! As you gain new experiences and insights, your goals may evolve. It’s a sign of personal growth to adjust your goals to reflect your changing aspirations and values.