Goal Setting Techniques

In last week’s blog I talked about the benefits of goal setting.  Today I’m going to cover some of the goal setting techniques that I’ve used on my business journey.

I’m focussing on the techniques and frameworks that have helped me most but that are lots more out there and it really is a question of finding the method which suits your personality and business style.  Choosing the right goal setting technique is as important as setting the right goals.   But you don’t have to choose just one, I’ve used a combination of all of the below methodologies in my goal setting activities.


This methodology is perhaps one of more well known ones and it’s been around for a while.  The SMART method sets out an approach for setting goals which are:

Specific – make sure your goals are specifically defined.

Measurable – you should always be able to measure your goals so that you can track your progress towards them.

Attainable – goals should always be realistic and achievable.

Relevant – your goals should always serve a relevant purpose.

Time-bound – you should attach a time frame to your goal and specify a deadline. 

By using this approach you can be sure that you are setting goals which are meaningful. It’s all very well to say my goal is to lose weight but without specifying how much weight I want to lose or setting a realistic time frame it’s not really good enough. It would be difficult to create any lasting motivation or sense of urgency to such an open ended goal. Furthermore, defining your “why” factor when addressing the Relevant criteria is vital for shoring up commitment.

Massive Goals Theory

Similar to other goal setting techniques like the Big Hairy Audacious Goal and the Mountain of Goals Theory, David Hyner’s Massive Goals Theory encourages us to set goals which stretch our boundaries.  His research found that successful people don’t limit themselves to small, realistic and achievable goals.  They set big, huge, gigantic, ambitious and pioneering goals.  This approach requires you to dream BIG!

It isn’t just about setting a massive goal though – David Hyner’s model sets out a method for taking that massive goal and breaking it down into smaller tasks for us to prioritise and then act upon.  The theory is based on a pyramid structure, with your summit ambition at the top and each layer beneath representing the stages required to get there.  

I love this approach because it inspires me to be creative with my goals and to think beyond the realms of what’s possible now. Once the dream is defined and you break it down into it’s component stages and tasks, it no longer feels like a dream. It becomes a future reality and you have a clear map to reach it.

90 Day Plans

This methodology was a game changer for me.  A common goal setting practice is to set plans from one year to the next and that timeframe, for me at least, is just too big and leaves far too much room for procrastination.  It also leaves little room for adjustment if circumstances change.  By breaking down your year into 90 day increments you have enough time to make significant achievements but not enough time to get complacent and procrastinate.  90 days is the perfect balance to keep you motivated, energised and encouraged.

Good, Better and Best

This framework asks you to define degrees of success for your goal.  For example, if your overall goal is to increase your sales revenue, a Good goal would be an outcome you are happy with.  One that is realistic, achievable and beneficial.  A Better goal would be an outcome which is beyond your expectations and a Best goal would leave you over the moon and jumping for joy.

The theory is that having degrees of success allows you to stretch your imagination and creativity and look beyond what you can confidently commit to, but with none of the pressure or negativity that would come with setting an unrealistic goal.  Good, Better and Best gives you a realistic and attainable goal but with bonus levels to shoot for.

Final thoughts and next steps

Goal setting isn’t a one off task.  It’s an ongoing process and in order to be successful you need to review and re-evaluate your goals on a regular basis and make any necessary adjustments.  Be mindful of your mental state and attitude towards your goals – if you’re not feeling motivated and inspired to keep going then something has gone awry and it may be time to take a step back and review.   Setting goals with a clear motivation or “why” factor is critical to their success – without a clear “why” then your commitment will inevitably wane. 

If you’d like some help with applying any of these techniques then do get in touch. We would be delighted to help you set your goals and help you reach them!