The Pathway to Excellence | Work | Planning


Goal setting is about defining what you want to achieve: know what you want and the steps you need to take to make sure this happens. Setting a goal means defining the concrete objective that helps you to know first what you want to do in very practical terms and later whether or not you have achieved it.

Goal Setting


Your goals need to be specific, reasonable, and achievable. Being practical and realistic doesn't mean you shouldn't aim high. It means you need to grasp the need for taking shorter legs on a longer journey: this is where short term and long term goals work together to help you fit together the pieces of the journey. They help you to describe the process you need to take to grow in character, competency and wellness.

What is most important in goal-setting is defining your intention: what you want to happen and what you need to do to achieve this. Knowing what you want and what to do about making sure this happens is really important, therefore, in giving you direction and helping you to feel good about who you are and who you are becoming. When this is happening, you will begin to see the value you are creating for yourself and for others in the person you are becoming and the growth and achievement that supports this.


If you are equipped with the knowledge that what you are proposing to do is both of value to you and others and is also in accordance with what you think is is good and right, your goals will give you the sense of purpose you need to define your “Why?” and the courage to define the “What?” that will lead in turn to the “How?” that creates the road-map for The Pathway to Excellence.

The process of creating value through your goal-setting begins with the decision to do the things that you want and need to do to become more fully you. Your goals also need to align with your values and beliefs about what matters most. If you don't know what's essential to you, then defining a goal that lacks this grounding in your sense of purpose is very likely to leave you feeling let down, regardless of whether you succeed in accomplishing it. At the same time, if you do apply your goals and success to an objective that is not linked to your sense of purpose in life, you risk achieving a hollow victory. The wins will more likely come when you bring value to the lives of others because you are growing in your own accomplishment capacity to achieve a purpose that is greater than you.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

Pablo Picasso


Often when you begin setting goals, you can lack experience in how to describe them with sufficient clarity. You can also lack confidence in how to apply them to an understanding of the bigger picture of our lives. You will paint this picture of your life much more successfully if you can assemble its elements correctly. For you to create a masterpiece, you need to see it as a blank canvas. Your long-term goals are comparable to a painting's major elements, whilst your short-term goals are like the brush strokes that create those elements. All are necessary for a complete and meaningful product.

You will find that building an understanding of the sorts of things that you might want to do for your career will help you to take your goals and put them into a much more meaningful and purposeful context. You can use the following questions to help you to grow in your understanding of this context and in mastery of your goal-setting practice:

  • Are my thinking and planning grounded in my sense of purpose that informs the numerous choices that will comprise my career journey?
  • Do I know where and how to research sources that give me knowledge about and insight into the career areas that interest me?
  • Do I know how to find and connect to those who can help me evaluate and make good decisions about my career interests, pathway and goals?
  • Do I avoid rigid thinking in my career planning, knowing that I may need to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities?
  • Do I know that I need to develop and practice core competencies in order to thrive along my career journey?

When you set yourself clear objectives that have context in your life and are connected to your sense of purpose,, you will have a good reason to wake up every day and to keep going when things become difficult. Each of us responds well to achieving goals; it motivates us to aim higher and do more. Setting goals helps you enhance your abilities and performance, therefore, and increases what it means to realise your potential and the chances that you might do this. This is because goal-setting changes how your brain is structured. As you move from the ambiguity of not knowing what you want to do to defining your aspirations and objectives, your brain actually changes and becomes optimised to achieve those goals. The obstacles you perceive will reduce in size and the task will become much more doable.


Setting goals means being clear about a vision of your preferred future and how you will get there through how you learn, live, lead, and work. The clarity that your goals in each of these competencies can give to the way you connect today with tomorrow will help to motivate, influence, direct and inspire you through the often-tough effort required to get there. In many ways, therefore, your goal-setting is at the heart of the self-leadership you need to know what you need to do and how to get things done to bring life to your purpose on The Pathway to Excellence. Go for it!

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