The Number 1 Determinant of Successful Goal Setting

Updated: Jan 16


Many people set goals at the start of the year and take actions for days even weeks.


Then after a short period of time they look back and realise they are no longer working towards that goal.


"I'll get back to it soon they tell temsleves"


Yet another year goes by until they decide to get back in action.


Others are reluctant to even set goals because they feel they just don't have the discipline or focus, or drive to achieve them.


There is certainly evidence that those who have clear goals achieve more than those that don't


A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.

We will look here at the number 1 determinant of successful goal setting


I'm sure you have all heard the principles of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time referenced) goals before and it is wise to follow this formula, however there is additional key element to goal setting almost always overlooked


Make sure they are aligned with your values

goals linked to your highest values have the greatest probability of success.

If something is high on your values you will endure both pleasure and pain, support and challenge, ease and difficulty in pursuit of them.


the concept of intrinsic human values has been made famous by the work of Dr Demartini


So what are values? Our values are the hierarchy of what we find most important to least important in our lives.


Our life demonstrates our values. To determine yours consider taking the complimentary Dmeartini Values Determination Process®

When something is lower on your values, you will do it if it is easy or pleasureful but when it is difficult you give up or require outside motivation or reward or punishments.

If you set a goal and look back in a week or a month and see you are taking no action on it and see no evidence in your life of that goal coming true, then consider that the goal is not really yours.

If you set a goal and it is not aligned with your highest values, you will find yourself hesitating, frustrated and not making progress. You may take some initial action but you won't be able to sustain it for long.


I come across a lot of people who are reluctant to even set goals. They feel it's setting themselves up for disappointment or failure.

You can't truly fail in pursuit of goals that are aligned with your own values, Why? Because you just keep going, when you are intrinsically driven you keep going no matter the failures. The failures are feedback, lessons that you didn't get it quite right.

The reason that some are reluctant to set goals is that they have set goals in the past that weren't truly their goals.

When we inject the values of others into our life we may set goals that we think we should do, rather than what our life demonstrates is truly important to us.

For example, if you looked up to or admired an acquaintance who was physically fit and loved to exercise. You saw the way they looked and decided to set a goal to exercise everyday.

If you, for example, had a high value on socialising, eating out and working long hours, then you may set this goal to exercise everyday and you may sustain it for a week or more and then find it was interfering with your work, or give it up to socialise, or put it off until tomorrow.

The truth is that it was never your goal.

When you set goals that aren't aligned with your values you may find yourself thinking

'why can't I stay focused'

'I don't have the self discipline'

'I can't do it'


Most people don't take the time to fully understand what is most meaningful and important to them and so repeatedly set goals that have a low probability of success.


To increase the probability of achieving your goals you can


Change your goals to match your values, or change your values to match your goals

For more information on values head to