Goal Setting Format

The format in which a goal is written is more important than it might seem. To illustrate, you might enjoy seeing the text of an actual e-mail I received from a young man applying for a job at the advertising agency I manage …

Please accept this letter in application for one of the following positions possibly available within your company: Account Executive, Loan Originator, Account Manager, Office Support Staff, Branch Manager, Office Manager, Supervisor, HR Support Staff. 

It’s hard to achieve your goal when you don’t know what it is. On the other hand, define your goals, state them properly, focus – and you’ll have a much better chance of accomplishing those goals.

Here is a format for setting effective goals.

• Start with the word “To.”

• Then add the verb that describes what you’re going to do.

• Next insert a quantity… and make it a range. This is called “stretch.” You will wind up with a basic goal and a stretch goal.

• Fill in the text that explains your goal.

• End with the word “by” and the date by which you intend to accomplish your goal.

An example of such a goal would look like this:

• To read five to seven books on the topic of self development by December 31 of this year.

This format, of course, is not the only way to write a goal, but it does create a specific, measurable goal, with both a basic version and a “stretch goal” version. It allows you to very quickly see exactly what you need to do. It gives you the opportunity to know, at any moment, where you are in relation to your goal, and how much time you have to make up the gap. It includes a built-in mechanism for going above and beyond your initial, basic goal. These elements make the goal setting process, and the efforts that follow, much more dynamic.

I wonder if the person who sent me the e-mail above ever got his dream job. I’m not sure, and chances are he’s not sure either. By using the format described on this sheet, however, you would know for certain whether or not you’ve reached your goal. And that’s what goals are all about.

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