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Goal Setting Done Right

January 09, 2023

January and goal setting go hand in hand. While any time of year is the right time to set a new goal, provided one is motivated to do so, there is something about the start of a new calendar year that makes it easier to commit to fresh beginnings. Taking the opportunity to reflect back on the past year, also makes it a good time to effect a positive change or two moving forward.

At WealthCo, we are big believers in the power of goal setting. Which is why we have adopted the Success Enhancer Coaching (SEC) program as part of our performance management philosophy. This in-house designed program helps us to work towards both individual and company goals and reinforces our commitment to our team’s growth and success. SEC involves leaders working with team members to establish goals that are linked to division goals as well as broader corporate goals and are supported through quarterly reviews and regular touchpoints.

What is the best way to see goals through to completion? There are dozens of goal-setting techniques out there. An Amazon search for “books about goal setting” delivers over 8,000 results. Here, we share five popular goal-setting techniques (brace yourself for some acronyms).


1)       S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The S.M.A.R.T. technique is one of the most time-honoured and popular goal-setting methods. It has five components:

S – Specific: specifying a goal that is precise and unambiguous

M – Measurable: ensuring there is a mechanism for assessing progress 

A – Actionable or Attainable or Achievable: ability to develop actionable steps for getting started

R – Realistic or Relevant or Reasonable: keeping the goal rooted in what is actually reasonably doable will keep the goal-setter from getting overwhelmed and giving up

T – Timely or Time-bound: setting a timeframe is important so that the task doesn’t get stale or fall off the to-do list

When used together, these criteria can boost your confidence and help make reaching your goals more manageable.


2)       B.H.A.G. Goals

The B.H.A.G. goal-setting technique takes the (R)ealistic and (R)easonable component of the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting framework and turns it on its head. Rather, with B.H.A.G. goal-setting the vision is to encourage its followers to achieve something truly transformational in their life. B.H.A.G stands for “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal” - a lofty target that will require long-term dedication and focus to achieve it. Simply put, they are the "moonshots" of your goals – and they usually require, at least some, outside-the-box thinking when you're putting together a plan to bring them to life.


3)       OKR Goals

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results and this style of goal-setting is a popular technique among organizations, especially those seeking to improve their performance. Originating in the 1970s, the idea behind OKRs is to set an objective and then break it down into measurable and achievable key results. This helps keep organizations focused on achieving their goals, since without measurable results there’s no way to determine if any progress has been made on a particular objective.


4)       Backward Goal Setting

The backward goal setting technique challenges traditional methods of planning and problem solving. This inventive technique centers on having you create your end result and then working backwards to figure out the steps that must be completed to reach said goal. Essentially, what you're doing is taking the catalysts to achieve success and working from there. Think of it like having a reverse roadmap that tells you what needs to be done in order to reach the desired outcome. By breaking down the big picture into smaller tasks, it becomes easier to decide which steps need to be taken first and which can wait. Incorporating this method can lead to faster and often more creative solutions than other methodologies.


5)       HARD Goals

Yet another acronym, this one stands for:

H – Heartfelt: the goal comes from the heart, there is an emotional attachment

A – Animated: visualizing the achievement

R – Required: imbued with a sense of urgency

D – Difficult: the goal should be challenging – if something is too easy then there will be no sense of pride

From Mark Murphy’s book, Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where you Want to Be, the overarching goal-setting concept is to set extraordinary goals that stimulate and engage the brain in ways that other strategies may not.

Goal setting is a powerful tool to help focus the mind and is a fundamental part of success. When we set goals, we are actively engaging with our own ambitions and striving for greater accomplishments. Whatever technique you use to set out on meeting any goals that you have set for yourself in 2023 and beyond, write them down: one study found a76% success rate with participants who wrote down their goals compared to 33% of those with unwritten goals. 

From our team to yours, we wish you all the best for a healthy, happy, and productive 2023.

The Integrated Advisory community consists of a network of progressive CPA firms, along with best-in-class professional advisors, service, and product specialists, who work together to deliver an elevated and holistic client experience. One that optimizes both their personal and professional lives with an integrated financial strategy designed to help clients reach their goals.