Setting Goals For Real Results I Oxford Open Learning

Setting Goals For Real Results

Goal setting is an important aspect of any journey. Whether it is setting goals relating to your career or something a little more personal, the process of fixing your eyes on the prize is often the first step in making your dream a reality.  It is powerful to note that goals are something more solid than ambition alone. So, if this is true, how should you set goals to help you see real results?

What Makes A Goal A Goal?

A goal is more than just a wish or a desire, but reflecting on what you desire or wish for is a great way to identify your goal! Try to think of your goal as the ‘be’ and question yourself in relation to this. What do you want your life to be like? What would the results of your hard work be? What would you like to be different? From there, you can identify your plan of action and accompanying ‘to do list’ that will need ticking off in order for you to achieve.

Long Versus Short-term Goals

Ensuring that your goal has a set time frame is vital and will become the driving force behind you achieving it. Without this, everything can shift and that dream is likely to drift away. Some people speak of their five year plans but it is likely that within that plan there are specific targets that they are looking to hit along the way. Look at what you want to achieve in the longer term, then set your shorter term goals in response to this. But more on time in a moment…

What Makes A Good Goal?

Goals come in many shapes and sizes but take one of three forms; a positive goal that you are looking to achieve, a negative goal where you are looking to avoid or move away from something or a goal that is bigger than yourself such as impacting your community or environment. Whatever shape yours takes, spend some time refining it to ensure it is…


Good goals are ones where we can be held accountable because it will tell us whether what we are doing is helping us to achieve it. Therefore, it is necessary to make certain that goal is;

Specific – What exactly is it that you want to achieve? Can you identify the who, what, when, where, or why?

Measurable – How will you know when you have achieved it? What results will you see that will let you know that you are making progress?

Actionable – What steps require taking and are you able to take them? Do you require additional resources or support?

Relevant – Why is this goal important to you? What will keep you focused when the tasks at hand become hard?

Timely – What is the deadline, when will you review your progress and how will you break down the time between now and then to get the job done?

Once your goal has this level of detail, you will hopefully feel fully invested in realising your vision! Live with the goal every day by placing it somewhere prominent where you will be reminded of it often and share it with your family and friends. Take time to review your progress and, for every action you take or decision you make, ask yourself, how is this helping me see the success I’m aiming for?

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