1.4 Creating an action plan and setting achievable goals

The Purpose
How to Begin Setting Goals
Goal Setting Plan
Exercise – Goal Setting
Module 1 Quiz UK Based
Module 1 Quiz Ireland Based

Goal Setting

Whenever you achieve something worthwhile you have probably either consciously or sub consciously realised a goal. Goals are useful as they keep you focused on your specific purpose. They can act as reminders, incentives or as steps that can assist you in doing the things you want to do.

The Purpose?

Goal setting is used widely; from top-level athletes, business-people, high achievers and people from all levels of society. Goal setting can also be a more formal process for career and personal planning. The process of setting goals and targets allows you to:

  • Stay focused on your objective
  • Decide what is important for you to achieve in your life and to start, step-by-step, achieving these goals.
  • Be in control of where you go in life. By reflecting on and then recording exactly what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on to do it.
  • Separate what is important from what is irrelevant. Goal setting helps you work out what not to concentrate on, what decisions to choose in relation to your goals and it keeps you focused away from distractions.
  • Motivate yourself to achievement. It gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge and helps you to organise your resources.
  • Track and record your progress and achievements.
  • Increase your self-confidence as you develop your level of competence in achieving your goals. This is very important, as self-confidence is critically important during the job searching process and many organisations place a high value on this quality.
  • How to Begin Setting Goals

    You can create goals on several levels. You can create larger scale, overarching goals related to your personal and career wants and needs. You can then create sub-goals and tasks under different areas of the larger goals. You can also create short, medium and long term goals. Once you have stated and recorded your goals, you can break them down into the smaller targets and tasks that will take you towards your long term goals. Once you have a plan, you start working towards achieving it. Making a goal statement to begin with can be very empowering and be a quick reminder of why you are

    Goals should have the following qualities:

  • Specific and Measurable: Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. What exactly will you be doing when you achieve your goal? When specifically will you do it? Who else, in particular will be there? If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Small Steps: A goal can be broken down into small observable steps. Each step should be observable and specific. A series of mini-goals to attempt one-by-one.
  • Important and beneficial to you personally.
  • A beginning rather than an end.
  • Realistic and Achievable within the context of your life: Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Include time lines and target dates. Time lines can provide motivation for you to continue working until the problem is solved. They also place limits on how long you are willing to wait for an active response to your efforts.
  • Prioritised: When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • A challenge: they may be hard work, but are personally worth achieving. Just as it is important not to set goals unrealistically high, do not set them too low. People tend to do this where they are afraid of failure or where they are lazy! You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them.
  • Goal Setting Plan

    The following provides you with a simple outline of the factors you may want to consider and identify when setting and analysing your goals.

    Goal(s) (Define and write them down in order of priority)

    Benefits and Advantages of achieving this goal (Listing these may help to motivate you)

    Key Steps I Need to Take
    (What individual steps do you need to achieve the goal)

    When Will I do This (Record deadlines)

    Support and Resources (What support and from whom do I need, what resources, eg. time, money, contacts)

    Outcomes and Reflection (Record whether you achieved the goal and what worked or did not work along the way)

    Click here to open the goal setting worksheet

    Module 1 Quiz (UK based)

    Module 1 Quiz (Ireland based)

    Quiz Answers (UK)

    Quiz Answers (Ireland)