1. Home
  2. Personal Skills
  3. Goal Setting
  4. Choosing Goals

Choosing goals is different for different people. Some people already know exactly what they want, some people want so many things they don’t know where to start, and some people don’t have a clear idea of what they want.

For those who aren’t sure what they want the information on this page can help you find things that interest you and hopefully inspire you to work towards them. For others, the information here can help you better understand what you want or help to bring balance to your ambitions.

The easiest way to get ideas on things you may want to work on is to read about what it is possible to achieve. This can be done by browsing through this website, reading books about Personal DevelopmentExternal Link, or just looking at thing other people have accomplished.

Goal Criteria

There are several criteria a goal should satisfy to ensure that the goal is effective and can reasonably achieved. The book Personal Development All-In-One For DummiesExternal Link says that goals should conform to a S.P.O.R.T. criteria. SPORT is an acronym for the following:

  • Specific — Your goal should state what you want to achieve in precise language. Describe exactly what you want to accomplish with this goal. How will you look different? What exactly will change in your environment? How will your behavior change? The more specific and detailed you are the more likely you will be to achieve your goal. Feelings do not make good goals. Instead, chose what you want that will give you those feelings. What specific achievement will make you feel the way you want?
  • Positive — Goals should always be stated in the positive. Goals are things you are working towards, not away from. For example, don’t say that you want to spend less time in front of the T.V. Instead, say what you want to be doing when not watching T.V. like exercising or reading.
  • Observable — your goal should specify a change that you, or someone else, can observe. For example, don’t say you want to be friendlier, say you will talk to a new person every day. It should be obvious when you have achieved a goal. It should be a concrete action or event.
  • Realistic — Your goals should be achievable by you in the timeframe you set for yourself. This one isn’t always easy to define and often needs revision as you move forward.
  • Time — your goal should have a specific timeline. Having a deadline can motivate you to work more or provide feedback as to how realistic your expectations were.

In addition to the above, your goals should rely only on your own development and not the development of others.


Brainstorming is a technique to help you create new ideas. This involves writing down everything that comes to mind about a particular topic without stopping and without censoring. Not everything you write down will be a good idea, but if you don’t write it down, you may miss out on a related idea. Here are some pointers for brainstorming:

  • Suspend all judgment
  • At this stage you want quantity not quality
  • Extrapolate and experiment
  • Evaluate later

Set a time for which you must not stop writing (e.g. write nonstop for three minutes about my health goals)

After you have filled a page with ideas review them and pick out the ideas that appeal to you the most. Keep a record of the ideas that you have come up with but don’t appeal to you — they may come in handy in the future. Look for ways of combining ideas if possible or goals that achieve more than one objective at a time (e.g. joining a health club to get fit and to meet new people).

For example, the results of your brainstorming session may look like this:

Make more money

Get in shape

Read more literature

Lose weight

Find a new job

Eat healthier

Save up for a new car

As you can see, several of these goals can be combined. For example, making more money and finding a new job are related. So are getting in shape, losing weight, and eating healthier.

When you have created a set of goals that interest you, you can learn about ways to Record Your Goals.

More Information

Goal Setting Based on Life Time Cycle
Goal Categories

Related Pages

Goal Setting - Misconceptions
Three Characteristics of Goals
Notes On Goal Setting
Motivation towards your Goals
Choosing Goals
Goal Setting Process