goals and objectives, goal setting, set and achieve goals, coaching success

Goal Setting – Hit the target every time!

Goal Setting 3 – Well Formed Objectives

Refine your objectives

OK so the first thing I can hear you saying is “What the hell is a well formed objective?”

Simply put a well formed objective is one that is more likely to help you achieve your goal, and that’s the important thing!

When you have –

  1. Gone through the Balance Sheet exercise
  2. Begun the process of defining what your goals actually are
  3. Started setting direction by establishing what you want (the goal) as opposed to what you do not want (the problem)
  4. Added the philosophy of the OAF Strategy to how you operate

Then you can set about refining your goal to make sure it is more achievable.

Once your goal is specified in as much detail as possible you can use this structured approach to refine your goal further until it meets all the conditions specified below.

As you may know I am exceedingly fond of acronyms as a way to remember processes.

I think you should try to follow these guidelines religiously, so I am now going to suggest the acronym –


  • Positively stated
  • Resources
  • Initiated (and maintained) by you
  • Ecology
  • Sensory evidence
  • Time frame
  • Size

You have already achieved stage 1 by using the Balance Sheet Exercise, so move on to stage 2.

Step 1) Positively Stated
What do you want to achieve?
Make sure your outcome is stated in the positive
i.e. what you want rather than what you do not.
Be specific and detailed.

Step 2) Resources
What do you need to achieve your goal?
This refers to both internal and external resources –
Internal resources are your own skills and abilities, including commitment and motivation to get the job done.
External resources might be money for funding or other peoples expertise.
Knowledge can often be a prime resource so a fast track to success might be to role model someone else who has already achieved what you want to achieve.

STEP 3) Initiated and maintained by you
It is important that goals are within your own sphere of influence – i.e. within your control.
You can develop the skill of managing your own moods, yet you cannot be in charge of the moods of others.
I want my partner to treat me better is an aspiration but it cannot be a well formed goal.

Step 4) Ecology check
How ecological is your goal?
Identify the effects of achieving and not achieving your goal, both on yourself and others.
What will you gain/lose?
What might others gain/lose?

Step 5) Sensory Evidence
How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
How would someone else know?
Evidence should be testable through sensory experience.
What evidence can you and others See/hear/feel?
How specifically will you know that you are making progress towards your outcome
and/or that the outcome has been achieved?

Step 6) Time Frame
Be clear on your time frame and set a deadline.
This way you can pace yourself through time and see if you are on schedule or not.
It is also worth mentioning here that hitting a deadline isn’t always the most important thing.
Having a target is important yet deadlines frequently need to be reset, especially on longer term projects.
An athlete training for the Olympics does not necessarily expect to win their first race.
Sometimes knowing how close to hitting your target you are and modifying your approach can be even more important.
Always remember consistent action over time can create profound change.

Step 7) Is the outcome of appropriate Size?
Can it be achieved in one step?
Does it need to be broken down into more bite sized pieces?
What first step can you take now?
If the outcome is too big – chunk down.
If it is too small to be motivating – chunk up.
Always remember, consistent action over time, even in small stages can create profound change!

And a last word in closing. The above like everything else I suggest is a structure to work to, a process to increase the likelihood of success. However it is only one way of achieving results, there may be others…

GOAL SETTING 4 – The Disney Strategy