Monday, 17 February 2014

6 Keys to Successful Goal Attainment

This last week I feel I have been anything but successful in implementing my action plan for goal attainment. I feel disappointed in myself. I hit a couple of obstacles and got derailed from my path. Not a total train wreck though. So this week I though I should remind myself of the keys to success. 

So What does success really mean?  
Success can be a rather abstract term and it can mean very different things to different people. To some people, success means being the best at what they do while to others it might mean just doing the best they can. To most people, and according to the Oxford dictionary , success means achieving a goal or the correct or desired result of an attempt. What does success mean to you?

Here are the keys everyone agrees will unlock the door to goal achievement? 

7 Keys to Success

1.Purpose - What do you want to Achieve 

Every journey needs a starting point and your purpose (the reason why you are doing what you are doing) should be it.   Purpose is the compass that you take on your life journey that reminds you of the direction you are suppose to be going in.  Purpose is the foundation on which you build your goals.  therefore before you start get to know what it is you are trying to achieve and why it is important to you.  If you feel aligned with your goal you will be more prepared to put in the hard work required to make it a reality. When you have clarity and a strong WHY, the commitment and passion will come as part of it, and chances are you'll be more invested, determined and focused to do the work and achieve your goals.


Take some time now to think about what you believe is your life purpose. What is it you want to be remembered for or what is it you would be proud of achieving.  The wheel of life  is a fabulous exercise that I recommend for figuring out where your time and energy currently is invested and checking whether you are living (in real day to day life) what you want for your life (in your head and heart). Like other exercises it can be found in various forms all over the internet, in books and coaching sessions. You might also like to complete the exercise in Resolve to Evolve 

2. Desire

Do you really, Really, Really want it?  The desire to reach you goal must be really intense.  According to John Whitmore in Coaching for Performance "some people experience a shrinking commitment and just can't wait for an obstacle to appear and provide them with an excuse for non- completion" of their goals.


Sit down and write out all the benefits and advantages of achieving your goal, not only for yourself but also for your circle of influence ( family, friends, community). A list comprising 20-30 reasons should provide sufficient motivation but if the list is between 50-100 then you will be unstoppable. 

Rate on a scale of 1-10 the degree of certainty you have that you will carry out your goal or the actions in your plan.   If you have rated yourself below an 8 out of 10 then you need to review your goal. Reduce your goal in size or the time-frame and reapply the rating.  If after the process you are still below 8 then cross it of the list as you are unlikely to complete the action/goal.  Don't put things on your list you have no intention of doing as this tends to make you feel guilty/a failure. These feelings don't lead to successful outcomes.

3. Identify Obstacles

It is important to understand that every goal we set comes with a number of obstacles that we have to face and overcome before reaching success.  the challenges and problems we must successfully maneuver provide us with valuable lessons that are required to help us reach our destination.  If you want to succeed and jump the hurdles and cross the finish line, you must master the art of problem solving.  The only difference between the people achieving their goals and those that aren't is the choices they make.  The obstacles you are likely to face can be internal or/and external.For example an internal obstacle may be that you  lack a particular skill required to meet your goal while an external obstacle may be that you can't access a training program to meet the skill deficit.  Identifying and analysing the obstacle will assist in identifying options and possible solutions. Remember there are always actions you can take to move you forward towards your goal.


Write a list of all the possible challenges you will face in reaching your goal and/or achieving each step in your action plan..
  • Are there people who will discourage you? 
  • Do you need to do certain things before you can start on your goal?
Make a list of possible options and solutions for overcoming the problem. Research the subject and educate yourself . Find out as much as possible about what you are trying to achieve.  Perhaps you know people or now of people who have accomplished what you want.  Talk to them or read their story.  Develop a support system or a goal buddy.  

4. Create a SMART Goal

  1. Write it down- Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. Post them on your Facebook page to ensure accountability. 
  2. You have probably heard of "SMART goals" already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be:

    • Specific.
    • Measurable.
    • Attainable.
    • Relevant.
    • Time Bound.
   3. Set deadlines and time-frames for checking progress. 


Follow the link to my previous post Going for Gold on Goal Setting to develop a SMART Goal. 

5. Make a Plan 

Making an Action Plan is often missed in the goal setting process, yet it is the means to reach the end.  It is the GPS or road map that outlines how to move from A to B through to C. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This not only provides motivation but it is especially important in making goal achievement more manageable. For further information on the change process read my blog post on Change Process - Transformation.


Complete a Gap Analysis ( see Change process Blog Post)  or use the  Sarks Micro Movement Wheel.  It is a brilliant tool for setting in motion a series of small steps towards your goal. On a blank piece of paper draw a large circle, with a smaller circle in the middle and then divide the circle into six equal segments. In the centre circle write down the goal you want to achieve. A Micro movement is a small tiny action that can be completed within a time span of between 5 seconds and 5 minutes. Each segment of your circle represents a 5 second to 5 minute sequence. Now in each segment break the goal down into six smaller actions. Each action once taken will move you closer to the goal you are aiming to achieve.


Goal setting is an ongoing activity not just an activity at the commencement of the goal setting process.  An Action Learning framework provides an opportunity to review what you have done and to ensure your still o n track. Make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.

If you get stuck perseverance and motivation can be developed by setting achievable time frames (smaller goals over shorter time frame) which reduces the amount of time you have to persist before reaching a target.

It is easy to get down on ourselves if we did not follow our game plan 100% or if we missed the target date set for our goal. Don't give in to discouragement. This is the enemy! Acknowledge the misstep, then move on. The more you dwell on your perceived misstep, the more it can hinder your success .If you fail to reach a target, don't see it as a failure, but as a "free lesson" - What did I learn? What could I have done differently? What is the next actin required?  How can I improve?  


Create to do lists, insert regular review dates into calenders. Create a vision board and cultivate self belief and confidence.  If you believe it you can achieve it.  Keep a journal of your journey to inspire and motivate you.  Reward yourself along the way.

We all know that goal setting is an important tool to achieving success. And we all know that the price of trying is risking failure. But the old saying is true you have gotta be in it to win it. 

Be brave and courageous.  Take a chance this week on setting yourself one small goal.  Remember to reward yourself for trying as well as for success.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you found it useful.  If you did I'd appreciate if you recommended it on Google.


  1. Keep the good advice coming. I feel you are on the same wavelength as me.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. It's great that you are finding the information useful.