Defining Your Goals & Objectives

Written By: Dr. Herbert Harris

Some people live their lives like stars on a predetermined trajectory to the end of their beginning. Others live their lives like thistles in the wind, going hither, thither, and yon.

“Where you have no vision, you fail.”

Which are you? Do you go from failure to failure, crises to crises? Or, is everything going to plan? One of the main causes of failure is lack of clearly defined goals. If you do not establish clearly defined, written goals, you surely cannot achieve them.

Goals are the stepping stones to your vision. Your goals are the outcomes desired as a result of your organized efforts. Goals must be set in each area of your life: spiritual, physical, personal, family, professional, financial, community, etc.

A Yale University study found that only 3% of the graduating students had written goals that they reviewed regularly. However, over a period of 20 years those 3% were worth more that the rest of the graduates put together.

Your goals must be S.M.A.R.T.:

(S)pecific – definite, concise and written. Writing your goals helps crystallize exactly what you want to accomplish. Write each goal in one or two sentences. Define it in terms of your senses: How does it look, feel, smell, taste, and sound? See your goal in terms of characteristics that can be perceived by the senses.

A short, written, simple, concise goal statement is easier to think about, remember and act on.

(M)easurable – to determine its dimensions. When a goal is measurable, you have a standard by which to analyze it and estimate completion. If it is not measurable, it is difficult to project when you will attain it, how far you have to go, or how much energy it will take.

(A)dvance – set in advance. Each goal is a destination, a desired outcome for your endeavors. If it is not set in advance, then you cannot make plans nor take effective steps to attain it. When you set a goal in advance, you give focus to your life, thoughts, and energy.

(R)ealistic – attainable. One of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure is to select improper goals. No goal is impossible, but it may be unrealistic at your particular state of development at a given time.

(T)ime – cover a definite time period. You must set a definite time by which to accomplish each goal. A definite time period gives you a standard by which to measure and regulate your performance. This time period should be realistic in light of your level of skill, time and resources available, and time constraints of the goal itself.

If you write your goals in each area of your life, concisely and in great detail, then you can make a written plan. Follow your plan consistently and persistently for your goals to be accomplished and your vision realized.

© LifeSkill Institute, Inc., PO Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402

Dr. Herbert Harris is a retired attorney, graduate of Columbia University in New York City and author of the International Best Seller, The Twelve Universal Laws of Success. He maintains a busy speaking schedule and conducts a weekly radio program Success Beat on 1180 AM, WLTT. More information at and



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