What is Goal Planning?

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What is goal planning? This is a very important question for anyone wishing to change their outcome in life.

Many of us think about goal planning when it comes to work but do we ever think about applying it in our personal lives?

Most don’t for several reasons.

What is Goal Planning? Bullseye on dartboard

For years, I was just aimlessly wandering through life.

Once I learned what goal planning really was and the benefits from it, I very quickly learned how to apply it to all areas of my life.

Wow, what a difference it has made.

I now have a plan, a purpose a direction that I want to head towards in life and it has certainly made my life much more enjoyable.

In this article, we will look at goal planning and how it can help.

So, What Is Goal Planning?

Before we can define goal planning we first must identify what a goal is.

According to Wikipedia, “a goal is an idea of the future or the desired result that a person or group envisions, plan and commits to achieve.”

Based on that definition, goal planning would be identifying your goals, putting together a strategic plan to accomplish that and committing to putting that plan into action and achieving that goal.

Without realizing we goal plan on regular basis.

Think about it.

How many times have we or someone we know said “This year I am going to lose weight”.

While that is certainly a terrific goal it is much too broad.

How To Define Goals?

If you want to achieve that goal you will need to define that goal a little more.

How much weight do you want to lose?

What time frame do you want to lose that weight in?

Now that you have clearly identified what you want to achieve, it is time to come with a plan of action that will allow you to achieve the desired results.

The next step would be to identify what specifically you can do daily to achieve that goal within the desired time frame.

In the weight loss example, you could:

  • exercise daily
  • eat healthy foods
  • learn portion control
  • eliminate sugary snacks

The final step would of course be to implement that plan.

Lifetime goals

What is Goal Planning? Making a deal to reach your goal

To set a lifetime goal you need to think about the big picture.

What do you want your life to look like in 10, 20, 30 years?

Take a look at every aspect of your life:


What do you want to achieve, what level do you want to reach?

Do you want your own business or is a position in management your dream career?

Do you want to have to travel or prefer to stay local?


How much do you want to earn and when? How is this related to your career goals?

Maybe you would like to start your own business.

Do you want to own your house? Have a certain amount of money in the bank?

Maybe you want a certain amount of passive income?

Perhaps your goal is to be able to donate to certain charities?

All these things are worthwhile goals and only you can decide what is important to you.

EducationWhat is Goal Planning? - Education should be your first goal

Do you need to acquire certain skills or accreditations to achieve any of your other goals?

Maybe you need to go to college or university to be able to qualify for that dream job.

Maybe you just need an evening course to brush up on certain skills.

Perhaps you just want to learn something new for your own pleasure?

Maybe you want to learn how to start an online business.

Whatever your educational needs, there are plenty of courses to choose from.


Do you want to be married, or have kids?

Clearly defining what you want your future family to look like is the first step to achieving that goal.

Do you want a loving relationship or just someone who is more like a roommate?

Take the time to decide what you want and don’t settle for less.


Do you have any artistic goals you want to achieve, a book you want to write or a blog to publish?What is Goal Planning? - pottery

Some people would love to paint or sculpt.

Others, like myself, enjoy knitting or crocheting.

Some, like our eldest son, enjoy woodworking.

My husband enjoys making things in his machine shop.

Whatever your interest, it is important you don’t neglect your creative interests.


Do you harbour any negative feelings that may be holding you back?

Do you feel you got slighted when someone else got that promotion rather than you?

Whatever happened it is important to work through and let go of any negative feelings, they will only hold you back and prevent you from attaining your goals.

PhysicalWhat is Goal Planning? - free weights

Do you have any athletic goals you wish to achieve or do you want good health as you age?

Do want to run that half-marathon in the fall or maybe you want to sail across the Atlantic?

Maybe you want to be the draft at hockey camp or make that college basketball team.

Maybe you want to shed that extra 20 pounds or so.

Whatever you want be sure you define that for yourself and determine what you need to do to make it happen.


How would you like to enjoy your life? Do you wish to travel, attend theatres, museums?

If you want to travel then decide where you would like to go and for how long? What would you like to do there?

Clearly define what you want to do. Get as much information about that activity that you can find.

Set your goal and make a plan to obtain it.

Public Service

Do you have goals for making the world a better place?

Maybe you want to build schools in some under-developed country.

You may want to save an animal species from extinction.

Another goal may be to help solve pollution in our oceans or any other worthwhile cause that benefits mankind.

How do you plan goals?

Setting achievable goals is possible by following these tips.

State your goals Positively

Using positive self-talk when stating your goal is much more effective.

For example, simply stating ” I will give a well-thought-out and clearly enunciated speech” rather than ” I won’t freeze with stage fright”.

Can you see how the positive statement will help you achieve your goal?

Precision Matters

You can’t be wishy-washy with setting goals. You need to create a clear mental image of what you want and describe it in detail in your goal-setting.

Take the time to set sharp, clearly defined goals that allow you to measure your progress and take pride in each step along the road to achieving that goal.

Picture yourself after achieving that goal, how does it feel? These details are important. Allow yourself to freely dream.

Learning to recognize your ability and competence in achieving the goals you set for yourself will raise your self-confidence.

Set SMART Goals

I am sure we have all heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals but do we understand what that means?

Until recently I didn’t really understand it.

S – Specific(significant) The more specific the better and it should also mean something to you. Your goals are your road map through life so be as clear as possible to help yourself as you walk through life.

M – Measurable(meaningful) It is by setting dates, amounts and specific results that you will be able to measure your level of success.

A – Attainable (action-oriented) you must set actually attainable goals. Setting a goal that you have no hope of achieving will only demoralize you and erode your self-confidence rather than build it up.

R – Relevant (rewarding) Your goals should be relevant to your overall life goals. They should remain in line with the direction you want to go in life.

T – Time-bound (trackable) Your goals should have a deadline. This helps keep you accountable and continuously working towards them. It also offers a set date that you can celebrate your successes.

Stick With It

Goal setting is an ongoing activity.What is Goal Planning? - One step at a time

What that means is that as you achieve one goal you set another.

This continues goal after goal and keeps you growing and learning throughout this life journey.

Achieving your goals is possible by taking action every day to move towards the result.

One step at a time, and one day at a time and you will achieve your goals.

Consistent effort is the key.

I write down my goals and keep them by my desk so I see them often. This helps keep me on track.

Final Thoughts

What is Goal Planning?

It is taking the time to determine what it is you want in life and then establishing a clear actionable plan to achieve those goals then putting that plan into action.

When goal planning it is important to consider all areas of your life

  • career
  • financial
  • family
  • artistic
  • attitude
  • physical
  • pleasure
  • public service

Another important aspect is to be sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S – specific

M – measurable

A – attainable

R – relevant

T – time-bound

Once you have set your goals it is time to put that plan into action.

Be sure to do something each day to move you forward towards achieving your goals.

Once you achieve your goal celebrate the wins and then set new goals.

Always challenge yourself to grow and learn new things daily and you will achieve all you set out to achieve.

What methods of goal setting do you use?

What keeps you motivated or on track?

Leave your answers in the comment section below.

Best wishes my friend.

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2 thoughts on “What is Goal Planning?”

  1. Great post man and very timely. I was a bit behind this year with my new years goal setting. 🙂 Its always a good time to reflect on my past goals, and modify them as needed. Love the SMART goal formula, I find A has made a big difference in my life. I always set the high shoot for the moon goals, but I found that by breaking them down into Attainable goals the big goal became more attainable. Thanks again man. Cheers

    • You are welcome Robb, yes, breaking them down is a requirement or it will feel like too much to handle. They must be attainable to give that sense of accoumplishment.

      Thanks for the comment Robb,
      Have a great day


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