Goals, we have all have them but what are they really and how important are they?


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a goal is  “something that you are trying to do or achieve”. Sounds straightforward and clear right?


It isn’t that simple though and there are certainly different angles to look at goals:

  • Time-bound
  • Type of goal



Goals can be pretty lofty and unclear. Typically, when goals aren’t clear it becomes difficult to understand them and as a consequence actually achieve them. So how do you define goals in order to set you up for success?


One way is to look at it from a time-bound perspective, splitting the goals up in 3 ways.

1. Long Term Goals

As with anything you want to start with the big picture. Think about where you want to be 5 years from now. What is the vision? How do you want to feel? Where do you want to be? … The key is to really get in touch with the goal and vision 🙂

An example could be, In 5 years time, I will have transitioned from my corporate job, built my own company, and be working remote from my country house in Italy. I will feel free and be able to define my own schedule from day to day.


2. Mid Term Goals

These are typically monthly, quarterly or yearly targets and are designed to support you in achieving your long term goals


3. Short Term Goals

These are daily or weekly goals that will support you in achieving your mid-term goals


In conclusion, what you’re really doing is breaking down your vision in smaller time frames so the vision and what you need to do to get there becomes clearer.


Type of Goals

There are 4 types of goals* 


1. Performance-avoidance

These are really goals based on fear.  These are goals that you would set for yourself just to avoid looking bad or incompetent. For example, let’s say you would like to set up a business of your own, one you are really passionate about. Well in order for you to do that you will need to quit your current job. So a performance-avoidance approach to it would be to ensure the business is successful just so you don’t need to come back to your old job to avoid looking bad. Create fear and anxiety


2. Performance-approach

These are goals that are based on achieving an outcome or based on being competitive and trying to “beat” someone. These can be used as a way to motivate yourself. Continuing with the example, a performance approach could be something as follows. Let’s say you have a competitor who started the business at the same time. A performance approach would be “I want to be further ahead than them after 1 year”


3. Mastery goals

This type of goal is all about learning, improving your understanding, and achieving long term success. It is not based on an outcome such as the performance-approach goal as whatever happens you will learn and continue to grow. An example of a mastery goal would be “I would like to present myself authentically in my new business at all times, learn as much as I can in the first year and see financial improvements”


4. Core goals

These are the goals that you really, really want. It is the feeling that you get when you achieve your “outer” goal. For example, if you want to have your own business so you can plan your own schedule. When you have achieved that you will most likely have a feeling of satisfaction and freedom. Well, it is that feeling of satisfaction and freedom which is your core goal.


*Note that these types of goals are based on my interpretation of the copyrighted work of Bruce D Schneider and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)