Get organised: set goals

Why do we set goals to be organised?

We set goals to help us think about what our ideal future looks like and to motivate us to turn that vision into a reality. The link between goal setting and motivation was first put forward by Edwin Locke in the 1960’s and has been developed ever since. Goals help us to have a long-term vision but a short-term motivation. Setting goals helps us to organise our time and resources as well as to improve our self-confidence. Goals help us to reflect on our strengths, our abilities and any challenges that we may have to overcome on the way to getting organised.

Where do we start with setting goals?

The first place you need to start is with your values. It is very hard to set goals if you don’t know what our values are or what is important to us. For example, a five-year old may not value parenting but a person with a child probably would. Therefore, people who have children are more likely to have a goal around parenting than a five-year old would. So the first thing we need to do is to understand what our values are. Some examples of values are honesty, employment, education, relationship, culture, travel, kindness to the environment, sport and leisure. Basically, your values are anything that you feel that is important to you. Once you have listed your values then we can start goal setting.

Set clear, precise and achievable goals

To set clear precise and achievable goals, we use a tool called SMART which is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Let’s break this down a bit further to help you create your own goal.


Specific goals have a much better chance of being achieved. The way to set specific goals is by asking yourself five “W” questions: Who? What? Where? When and Why?

Who is involved in this goal?

What do I want to achieve?

Where are you going to achieve the goal?

When do I want to achieve this goal by?

Why do I want to achieve this goal?

Let’s look at some example responses:

Who? I as an individual.

What? I want to lose weight.

Where? I can achieve this goal at the gym and at home.

When? By the end of the year.

Why? I want to be healthier.


For a clear goal, there has to be a way to measure it. If we cannot measure a goal, then how do we know if we have achieved our goal or how do we know if we are progressing in achieving it. The way to know if your goal is measurable is to ask yourself these 3 questions:

How many/much?

How do I know if I’ve reached my goal?

What are the indicators of my progress?

Examples answers to these questions could be:

I want to:

obtain a gym membership;

workout four days a week;

lose 1 kg of body fat each week.


Achievable goals will help us figure out ways in which we can reach our goals or work towards them. We want to challenge ourselves but not make the goal impossible to reach. The way to do this is by asking ourselves these simple questions:

Do I have the resources and the ability to achieve my goal?

Have others done it in the past?

Example answers here can be:

I have the funds and the accessibility to join the gym.

Many other people have joined the gym before me including my friend who joined last month.


The next item to look at is whether your goal is realistic, given the time and resources that you have allowed yourself. In order to achieve this and make sure that your goal is realistic, ask yourself the following questions:

Is the goal realistic and reachable?

Is it reasonable given the time constraints and the resources I have?

Am I committed to achieving the goal?


Your goals must have a time frame within which to achieve them. You must have a start date and an end date. If your goals aren’t constrained by time, then they lack urgency which also decreases the motivation to achieve them. The way to make sure that our goals are timely is by asking ourselves the following:

Does my goal have a deadline?

When do I want to achieve my goal by?

An example reply to these questions is:

I want to lose 8 kilos by the end of December.


Now let’s get organised! Let’s put our goal together using the SMART acronym prompts:

On the 28th of October, I will have obtained my gym membership. In order to be healthier, I will work out 4 days a week. Every week I will aim to lose one kilo of body fat. By the end of December, I will have achieved my goal if I have lost 8 kilos over the next two months.

What’s my next goal?

If you are struggling to get organised in your life or at work or would just like to learn more about setting goals for yourself, please get in touch. Our counsellors at Blissful Minds would like to hear from you.

Watch Courtney talk about goal setting.