Goal Setting

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goal-chalkboardGoal Setting and the road taken to achieve these goals is not an exercise for the faint hearted….it takes work and dedication, but it is definitely worth it! The goal setting process has equal application for individuals, family units and businesses of all sizes.  Sure we’ve all heard sayings like: “Failing to plan is planning to fail” and “If you don’t know where you are or where you are going, then any road will get you there”. There are also some widely accepted statistics that less than 5% of Americans ever have actual written goals, but those who do consistently outperform the other 95%. So I think it is safe to say that those who are reading this article, with an interest in life coaching, would agree that establishing written goals and developing a path with various milestones is essential to eventual goal achievement.


My wife and I had the pleasure of co-authoring a workbook entitled “Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus…Legacy Edition”. This course workbook and accompanying DVD has already helped hundreds and hundreds progress toward true “Financial Freedom”.  Goal setting is emphasized as one of the key components for success. Although this program is geared primarily to personal finance, the basic concepts certainly will benefit commercial and not for profit enterprises as well.

Because goal setting is new to many of the 7 week course participants, we decided to introduce the concept in two phases. At the very beginning of the course we draw heavily upon a book by David Bach entitled “Smart Couples Finish Rich”. We ask all course participants to use a “Basic Values and Goal Setting” form. They are to prayerfully list their top five core values, in priority order. Then they establish a specific goal with a date for accomplishment of each goal. For example, if “Better health for our entire family” is a value, then an accompanying goal might be “to join and regularly use our local YMCA or health & fitness club”.  The target date for this one goal might be by the end of the month.  Obviously just joining a fitness club does not change anything; but it represents a tangible first action step and the fact that there is a specific date makes it a meaningful goal and not just a wishful thought.

By the third week of the seven week program a more comprehensive and very thought provoking activity is introduced: “Financial Vision and Faith Goals”.  Here folks are asked to dream big, to include God in their plans, and to plan far into the future. There are several listed goal categories and others can be added by the participants; examples include goals for: saving, giving, education expenses, debt repayment, major purchases, business and personal investments, etc.  In this exercise each goal can have a very different target date. For example, a young family with small children might have a ten or fifteen year horizon on college funding.  A big part of this exercise is the inclusion of initial action steps related to each goal.  These first action steps are to be spelled-out and milestone dates assigned to each.

If you have interest in using one or both of these goal setting forms, I have good news.  We have made these forms and other Spending Plan forms available for free at www.debtfreelegacy.com. Simply visit the home page and click on “Spending Plan Forms” and select one or both of the goal setting templates.

SMART GOALS is an acrostic used to emphasize the fact that goals must have five essential elements. We will endeavor to address this topic in more detail in another article and we will definitely use these elements in our life coaching goal setting process, but for now I will just comment briefly. “S” means that goals must be very “specific”. The “M” tells us that our objectives must be “measurable”; because it is nearly impossible to manage anything that cannot be measured. “A” stands for “attainable” or realistic. “R” can stand for either “relevant” or “realistic”; and “T” indicates that goals must be “timely”.  These are good reminders as we start the process of establishing personal and business goals.

I started this article with some sayings we’ve all heard about the importance of goals.  Let’s close with two powerful quotes from the Bible. Proverbs 29:18 tells us: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” and the Prophet Habakkuk instructs us in Chapter 2 verse 2 to: “Write the revelation (vision) and make it plain.”  You are probably already a top “five percenter” who desires to be an effective goal setter and then one who accomplishes your personal and business objectives.  William Sitter Life Coaching is well prepared to assist our business and individual clients in the process of establishing goals and mapping meaningful and realistic paths to their accomplishment. Our role as a third party accountability coach may prove to be the link that was missing in prior attempts to make the goal setting process work.