Dec 4: Goal Setting Basics

On December 4, 2018, we started Goal Month! To get ready for 2019 and build a foundation for success, we’re learning how to set goals and work toward them. Here are the show notes:


Dr. Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting and WBC of SC Co-Founder

Shennice Cleckley, The Chief Start-Up Evangelist and WBC of SC Coach

Theme for the day:

Goal Setting Month begins! Today’s topic is an introduction to goal setting.

Agenda review:

In December, we want to focus on goal setting for 2019 and envisioning what this new year of business will look like. We’ll begin with a general discussion about goal setting, how to do it, what tools you’ll need, that kind of thing. Next week, we’ll have our friend Tom Ledbetter walk us through an entrepreneurial assessment — kind of a “Where are you now?” workshop. Then we’ll define some goals and plan some measurement activities for 2019.

group of people in a discussion
Photo by on


Segment 1:

Start Something, Columbia! Is brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College.

I’m a big nerd about goal setting. I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about where I want to be and if the work I’m doing right now will get me there.

Goal setting is a relatively easy practice, once you know the basics. It can also be a great way to reset when things start to feel like they’re slipping out of control.

So, where does goal setting begin? I start with envisioning. What do I want my life, my day, my family, my fitness to look like?

This article suggests starting with those big-picture things and then narrowing the focus so you’re narrowing in on what you need to achieve each day to move yourself in the right direction. From the article:

  • First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
  • Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals.
  • Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.

It can be helpful to categorize the areas of your life so that you can set goals in each one. From the article:

  • Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
  • Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
  • Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
  • Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
  • Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
  • Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.)
  • Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
  • Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
  • Public Service – Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?

Do you have categories for your goals?

I (Kasie) use a goal-planning worksheet that breaks it down into:

  • Health & Fitness
  • Marriage & Family
  • Business & Leadership
  • Finance & Earnings
  • Fiction Writing
  • Business Writing
  • Friends

I write vision statements for each category and then develop some objectives to help me achieve those.

Segment 2:

Once you have developed this vision for yourself, categorized the areas of your life where you want to do meaningful work, then you can start writing goals. Most practitioners fall back on SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable (or action-oriented), Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Before we get there, though, I want to mention this concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. It’s important to know yourself well enough, to know how you’re motivated, otherwise you may not set in place the right incentives or mechanisms to keep yourself on track.

Dozens of Google hits for “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” motivation, but I like this one because it gets at what really matters in our goal discussion here today.

  • Extrinsic – external motivations like your boss’s expectations, deadlines, or financial bonuses or incentives. Some outside demand or reward.. Examples of extrinsic motivation for an entrepreneur?
  • Intrinsic – the internal motivation that stems from personal satisfaction or accomplishment. This kind of motivation leads to long-term behavior and deeper, more satisfying results.

We can’t always be 100% intrinsically motivated. This article suggests three things intrinsic motivation does for us:

  • Competence: succeeding in what you do.
  • Relatedness: connecting with others.
  • Autonomy: being in control of your life.

So, in each of our goals, we need to identify the extrinsic and the intrinsic motivators for pursuing and achieving the goal.

Segment 3

So, back to the SMART acronym. Let’s break down each piece.






Again, Google SMART goals and you’ll get pages and pages of blogs and articles. I liked this one. It suggests some questions we can ask in each letter to better define the word.

  • Specific – What exactly do I want to achieve? When? Where? How? With whom? What are the conditions and limitations?
  • Measurable – What will I use as concrete evidence that I’ve been able to achieve this goal?
  • Attainable/Action-oriented – Is this goal attainable? This is about perspective. It may be your goal to become America’s Next Top Model, but how realistic is that?
  • Relevant – this goes back to our Builder personalities from last month. Is the goal relevant to you? Is it appropriate for your skill set? Your interests? Your environment?
  • Time-bound – Install some deadlines for yourself. When must you achieve this by? You cannot spend your whole life chasing something that never occurs; if you have milestones with real deadlines, you’ll know when to continue to pursue and when to call it quits.

More tips for goal setting:

  • State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this technique well” is a much better goal than “Don’t make this stupid mistake.”
  • Be precise – Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
  • Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control!
ColumbiaCollege_WomensBusinessCenter_RGB (4)
Start Something, Columbia! is brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina headquartered at Columbia College.

Ready to support the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina? Click here to donate!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: