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Goal Setting Questions 101

How to Set Personal Goals By: Katie Lister

January 05, 2024

What are the most important goal setting questions? What does it take to become a better goal-setter? What questions should you ask yourself before you set your goals?

Hi, I am Katie Lister,  a practicing Registered Nurse and founder of Growth Gals. In this article I will tell you all about the goal setting questions you need to answer to successfully set goals.  

To set your goals, whether they are long-term or short-term, it’s essential to ask yourself some relevant questions. When you set goals with proper research, you set yourself up for success.

People make goals, whether for work or personal life. Goal setting is especially common at the beginning of the new year. If you are a person interested in goal setting, this article will provide all the information you need about setting achievable goals, including the questions you should answer to ensure you set the right goals.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

4 Key Goal-Setting Questions

Before setting goals, ask yourself these goal-setting questions to ensure you’re on the right path. Ask yourself the following questions:

What Do I Want, and What is My Desired Outcome?

It’s important to brainstorm and identify your objectives and goals making up the big picture. Determine whether the goals are short-term or long-term. If you have a long-term plan, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals.

This way, you can work on accomplishing each goal individually until you reach the desired outcome. For instance, if you aim to pay off a long-standing credit card debt, you could start by paying a fixed amount each month for a certain number of months or years until you pay the debt off.

Why am I paying off the debt, and what values guide me?

According to Dan Buettner, who developed the Three Elements of Purpose Framework, you need three things to help you find your purpose and meet your goal today:

  • Passion: Encompasses what you love doing or what you are passionate about
  • Strengths: This refers to your muscles or what you are good at
  • Values: These are the things you believe in or your values

Buettner believed these three elements can help you find your purpose in life.

How Will I Get to My Desired Outcome? (My Strategy)

How will you achieve your goals? Do you have a clear action plan? Split your big goal into smaller SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound.

What Happens If Things Go Wrong? (Contingency Plans and Risk Management)

No plan is foolproof, and things may go wrong. It would help if you had a contingency plan and risk management strategies to do damage control.

What is The Most Important Step in Prioritizing Goals? Find out here. 

What are the 5 C's of goal setting?

People set goals for different reasons. The 5C goals may mean other things depending on context. The 5Cs of the goal-setting process refer to:

1) Clarity

It’s easy to set goals, including short term goals, and neglect them unless they genuinely motivate you. One of the first steps in successful goal-setting is clarifying the reasons behind your dreams. For example, if you intend to learn a new language, you need to be clear on why you are learning it.

Are you passionate about the language? Are you in a relationship with a native speaker and planning to relocate to their country? Or is it necessary for you to learn the language for professional purposes? Clarity and self-awareness about your goal will help pave the way for the rest of your goal-setting journey and completely change your life.

2) Confidence

Have confidence in your abilities to create rewarding goals as you accomplish them. Confidence comes from knowing that you can achieve goals when you set your mind to it.

3) Challenging

Your goals must present a challenge and exceed what you are familiar with. However, do not put too much pressure on yourself. Only pick what you feel you can handle without too much stress. Journaling is important for posterity’s sake, mainly to record your thoughts and feelings during challenging moments.

4) Consistency

Once you set goals, creating an action plan that will guide you toward achieving the outcome you have in mind is essential. Consistency is critical to success. Even if you feel discouraged, keep at it, and you will eventually reap the rewards. It may take up to 21 days to form a habit, and initially, the goals you set might feel challenging, but with time, the tasks you have outlined will become second nature.

5) Connection

The goals you set need to have great significance in your life and must change your life once you accomplish them. Without this deep connection, it’s easy for the goals to lose their meaning, making your focus and dedication waver.

Goal Setting Questions - The 5Ws of Goal Setting

Setting goals is more challenging than it sounds. You must reflect on your goals and ask yourself questions about what you want and why. By asking yourself these pertinent questions, you can prioritize your goals and make SMART goals. Using the 5Ws can simplify the process since it answers the most important questions in goal setting. The 5Ws include:

·       Who

Who considers the people involved in your personal goals, and if it is a professional goal, which teams are involved? This step finds what role each team member plays in the goal-setting journey.

·       What 

What do you want to accomplish? Most people have general goals like losing weight, building muscle, etc. These are great goals, but you should specify your goals. If you want to lose weight, you must select how much. Your goals must be measurable so that you know exactly what you want to achieve.


·       Why

You must know why you are setting your goals. If you want to start a cooking school business, you must know why. Are you doing it for the money? Is cooking a passion? Know your why before setting your goals, and think about how life looks like today and how it will look after the outcome.

·       When

The When determines the amount of time you will dedicate to the goal. If you plan to lose weight and already know the ‘what’, you must specify the timeframe. You can lose the 20lbs in six months, a year, or whatever time you will be comfortable with.

·       Where

The Where considers the goal’s location and its overall impact on your life. When you have a plan in mind, it’s essential to consider how your location will affect it. For example, if your goal is to lose weight by going to the gym every day, you need to think about the area of the gym and where you live. Is it feasible to go to that gym every day, or is it too far away, making it inconvenient for you?

What Goal Setting Questions Should I Ask While Setting A Specific Goal?

When setting a specific goal, you must ask yourself questions to help you clarify and define your objective. Here are some key questions to consider:

What exactly do I want to achieve? Define your goal in clear and specific terms. For example, if you want to set business goals, you need to determine what it is you want your business to achieve for your goals to make sense.

Why is this goal important to me? Understand the underlying motivation and significance behind your goal. Identifying your reasons will help you stay committed and focused.

Is this goal realistic and attainable? Assess whether your goal is within reach and aligns with your abilities, resources, and time frame. Setting realistic goals increases your chances of success.

What are the specific steps or actions required to achieve this goal? Break down your goal into smaller, manageable tasks. Determine the specific actions you need to take to progress toward your desired outcome.

How will I measure my progress? Establish clear metrics or indicators to track your progress and determine whether you are moving closer to your goal. Consider using measurable criteria such as deadlines, milestones, or specific targets.

What is my timeline for achieving this goal? Set a specific timeframe for accomplishing your goal. A deadline creates a sense of urgency and helps you prioritize your actions.

Remember, goal setting is a dynamic process, and it’s essential to continually review, adjust, and adapt your goals as needed. Regularly reassessing your progress and asking these questions will help you stay on track and increase the likelihood of achieving your desired outcome.

How Can I Set SMART Goals Effectively?

To effectively set SMART goals and enjoy the benefits of goal setting, you need to:

  • Think about the outcome and be specific about the results. How will life look like once you achieve your goal?
  • Ensure the goals are measurable, attainable, and realistic
  • The plans need to be time-bound. This means you must give yourself a timeline for completion
  • Write the goals down by journaling. This allows you to go back and re-evaluate your goals
  • Create an action plan that will guide your journey
  • Take action and re-evaluate your goals if and when necessary

Growth Gals Can Help You Set Better Goals!

Attention all women looking to improve themselves! Are you interested in learning more about goal setting and achieving goals? Look no further than Growth Gals, a supportive community of like-minded women who can help you become better at setting goals and achieving them.

Check out our newsletter below for the latest personal growth tips and advice. Stay tuned for goal-setting journals too. Join us now and begin your journey towards self-improvement!

Goal Setting Questions - Conclusion

To set goals, you must reflect and ask yourself the right goal setting questions to help you accomplish your objectives. You can rely on the 4Cs and the 5Ws to guide you as you set goals towards fulfilling the bigger picture. The journey is not easy, but it is doable if you avoid procrastination. All the best on your goal-setting journey!

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