Why Set Goals?

Science has shown that goal setting is the most effective performance enhancing strategy available.

How it Works

  • Provides a measure to evaluate progress & success
  • Helps in the discovery of new strategies and techniques
  • Directs attention and energy on the most important thing
  • Helps sustain effort & motivation by focusing on short term objectives

Define Your Goal Setting Mission

This article will assist you with being successful, understanding the importance of goal setting, and guide you through the steps of setting effective and meaningful goals. Goal setting is a process that builds from figuring out what you want to accomplish and continues to guide how you get there. The steps in the goal setting process encourage action and commitment to pursuing meaningful goals in many areas of your life:

  • Physical
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Family

Five Dimensions of Strength

Five key dimensions, identified by Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, will serve as anchors to support your individual achievement throughout this planning process.

Performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, healthy body composition and flexibility derived through exercise, nutrition, and training.

Approaching life’s challenges in a positive, optimistic way by demonstrating self-control, stamina and good character with your choices and actions.

Developing and maintaining trusted, valued relationships and friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication including a comfortable exchange of ideas, views, and experiences.

Being part of a family unit that is safe, supportive and loving, and provides the resources needed for all members to live in a healthy and secure environment.

One’s purpose, core values, beliefs, identity, and life vision. These elements, which define the essence of a person, enable one to build inner strength, make meaning of experiences, behave ethically, persevere through challenges, and be resilient when faced with adversity. An individual’s spirituality draws upon personal, philosophical, psychological, and/or religious teachings, and forms the basis of their character.

Steps for Setting Effective Goals

Goal setting is a process that builds upon itself, as indicated by our circular model. This process encourages action and constantly changes as you change. Once you set a goal it is not set in stone; you can always come back and reassess or change your goals. True goal setting is a dynamic and fluid process that should continue throughout your life.

Step 1: Define Your Dream

One of the most important strategies for setting effective goals is to choose goals that are personally relevant and meaningful. These types of goals inspire and motivate you to push past obstacles and to persevere through hardships as well as just getting you excited to get out of bed in the morning. The first step to figuring out what is meaningful and relevant to you is to consider your values, what is important to you in the grand scheme of life. Values are those things that really matter to you, the ideas and beliefs that we hold as special.

Step 2: Know Where You are Right Now

The time for dreaming big must be balanced with an objectively honest self-analysis about where you are at this very moment. This is where you evaluate what assets you have to leverage, and what limitations are standing in your way.

Step 3: Decide What You Need to Develop

To begin closing the gap between where you are and where you want to go, you’ll have to focus your attention and energy on the activities and thoughts that will have the greatest benefit and that are under your control. This means setting priorities: identifying which skill areas, knowledge areas, and competencies you need to build up in order to achieve your outcome goal.

For instance, the outcome goal of losing 30 pounds may require setting priorities aimed at improving your diet, maintaining a positive attitude, improving fitness, and staying committed to the process.

Step 4: Make a Plan for Steady Improvement


Once you have figured out your priorities, you will need to figure out what needs to be accomplished daily and weekly. It is important to consider both the actions for each priority and the attitude that you want to have which are affirmations. Figure out what you need to do and how you want to be in order to reach your goals.

For instance, the priority of improving my diet under Actions might be:

I keep a daily food journal

I make an appointment with a nutritionist by Thursday

I reduce my junk food intake to once a week.


Typical goal setting has focused solely on actions, but this is a mistake. You have to do the right things, but you also have to think the right way. If you attempt the right actions but have a worrisome, doubtful, or hesitant attitude, you won’t perform those actions to the best of your ability or with full commitment. Having the right attitude helps keep you motivated.

Once you have written your actions, write out powerful beliefs or attitude statements that describe how you want to be as a result of your actions. For instance, the affirmations for improving my diet might be:

“The better I eat, the better I feel.”

“I am the master of my diet.”

Step 5: Set and Pursue Short-term Goals

There is no short-term goal more important than the one you make for today. The present moment is the only place where you have any true control, which means that your personal life and your Army career are nothing more than the sum of all your “todays.” If you can accomplish a small mission “today” and every day that follows, you can’t help but move towards your dreams.

Step 6: Commit Yourself Completely

Sacrifice, discomfort, and setbacks are a part of the process. Do not let them erode your confidence and motivation!

Find creative and strategic ways to post your goals so that you trip over them every day.

Share your goals with those who will reinforce your successes and hold you accountable when you’re tired or distracted.

Step 7: Continually Monitor Your Progress

Monitoring your progress is important for two reasons:

You are able to see progress and therefore stay motivated

It shows you if something is not working so that you can change it.


This goal planning program is like a chain that becomes stronger with each link. Your actions mobilize effort on an immediate and regular basis to strengthen your priority areas, and your affirmations create a powerful attitude for accomplishing these behaviors. As each priority area improves, you move closer to reaching your outcome goal. The chances of success decrease when you set only one type of goal in only one dimension. The 5 Dimensions of Strength; Family, Social, Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical, tie together and encompass your entire life to get you to where you want to go.

Source: SupportLinc; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington: www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/