Goal Setting: Critical Thinking Skills Success Study Guide (page 2)

Updated on Sep 19, 2011

Goal-Setting Chart

What Becomes a Goal?

When you are brainstorming, you come up with various possible solutions to a problem. But which one is worth pursuing? Goal setting is about choosing the best solution and creating a plan to make it happen. To do this, you need to clearly define your goal. What is it, exactly, that you wish for an outcome? Since every possible solution is different (by varying degrees) it can lead to different outcomes. Evaluate the ideas you came up with during brainstorming based on the specific criteria you set for your goal.


You work for a company that manufactures running shoes. Compared to figures from a year ago, profits and sales are slumping. You are asked to come up with a solution that will increase both. While brainstorming, you come up with three possible solutions:

  1. start a major marketing campaign
  2. limit the availability of the product/service to increase demand
  3. lower costs so that profit margins are increased

Let's look at these possible solutions and their probable outcomes. A large marketing campaign would most likely increase sales. Limiting the availability to increase demand would eventually lead to higher prices and greater profits, with a possible increase in sales. But lowering costs would most likely result in increasing sales and is a better way to increase both sales and profit. Therefore, it makes sense to choose solution c.


Sometimes, despite all your planning, you may fail to reach your goal. Realize that it's just temporary, take it as a learning experience, and redirect your resources toward a new goal.

Roadblock to Setting Goals

An important thing to remember is not to set a goal that's too big or would take too long to accomplish. People often grow tired of their plans before they're completed. When you set a goal, can you picture yourself following the timeline to its conclusion? If not, break down the original goal into smaller, more manageable ones. Here's an example: Lennie sets a goal to ask for a raise in six months, so he made this goalsetting chart.

Goal-Setting Chart


In terms of objectives and timelines, Lennie is giving himself six months to improve his job performance and learn more about the company. But he expects to do everything at the same time for the next 26 weeks, which might be difficult. He would have a better chance of success if he set smaller goals one month at a time. For example, the first month he might concentrate on coming in early and leaving late to improve his image with his boss. Then, the second month, he might just work hard during normal business hours and read about the company at home on weekends. The third month, he could check out news about the company once a week while brainstorming ways to help other employees. By breaking down the large goal, he's more likely to reach it in six months.

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