See All Jobs

Goal Setting – The Why and the How

Goal Setting – The Why and the How

By Guest: Mary T. Tierney (Azurite Consulting Ltd.)

Mary T. Tierney set up Azurite Consulting Ltd, in 2006. She set up to allow herself to share her passion and to dare to be different. Based in Ballycasey Business Park in Shannon, Co. Clare she focuses primarily in the areas of Interpersonal Communication, Presentation Effectiveness, Leadership Development and Transformational (Executive) Coaching for managers and leaders. Some of the companies she currently works with include; Novartis, DePuy, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Vistakon, Stryker, Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific and Fexco. She truly believes and is hugely grateful for the fact that she is now finally doing the work she was born to do. Check out this inspiring article below by Mary T. Tierney.


The 5 Step Goal Setting Process that will make 2014 your best year yet

So, Why Do 3% of Harvard MBAs Make Ten Times as Much as the Other 97% Combined?

The answer is a simple question: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”

In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that:

  • 84% had no specific goals at all
  • 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  • 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class. You can guess the results:

  • The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all.
  • Even more staggering – the 3% who had clear written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% put together.

Source: from the book ‘What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School’, by Mark McCormack

The results of the above research may or may not be true in today’s world, but either way, there appears to be a strong case for having clear written goals.

As it’s nearly Christmas, I would like to offer you a gift! The same gift that a close friend of mine gave to me a few years ago. The real beauty of offering you this gift is that no matter how many times I give it away, I lose none of it. There are not too many things in life that once we give it away, we still hold on to it ourselves. If you use this gift as it’s intended, there’s a good chance that 2014 could be one of the best years you’ve ever had, in terms of achieving what it is you really want to achieve, both personally and professionally. I’ve been using it now for the past 3 years, as have a significant number of my clients, and I can’t speak highly enough about its impact.

It’s a goal setting structure, a template, if you like. It is straightforward; it’s complete, it’s brilliant and it really works. It comes from a guy called Robin Sharma, who wrote the well known best-seller: ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’.

Imagine what it would be like to hop onto a boat and take off, but you have no compass, no sense of direction, no idea where you’re headed, or where you’ll end up, or indeed if you will even land. And if you do, you’ve no idea what you will do when you get there? Yet many of us go through life with no set goals about how we’d like our lives to look… (and I put my hand up, as someone who in the past, stumbled upon each new year, thinking ‘ah shur, let’s see what happens!’). Setting goals is like knowing the destination before takeoff.

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there… if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there? Goals give us something to measure our progress against, to see if what we are doing is moving us closer or further from our ultimate target. Effective Goal setting is a powerful tool, whether applied to one’s professional life, personal aspirations or health objectives. It’s the critical difference that makes the difference between success and failure.

In my experience, completing your Robin Sharma – Goal Setting Process in advance of the New Year is best – it will take several hours to complete (a good time to do it is on one of those typically quiet days between Christmas and the New Year). Going into the New Year with this level of clarity, you’ll be amazed how quickly you will see things lining up in ways you could only imagine.

If we think we don’t have time to write up our goals, I wonder where on earth are we going to find the time to achieve them?

So, to unwrap my gift to you…

The Robin Sharma 5 Step Goal Setting process

Step 1 – Celebrate

Here is where you record a few things! Ask yourself a few questions – What wins do I need to celebrate from the past 12 months? What things did I do that I need to appreciate myself for? What are my big achievements from last year, my small achievements? Write them all down. That’s the Key! Write them down in as much detail as possible.

When I first started writing mine, I expected to come up with about 6 or 7 bullet points. I ended up with over 7 pages. I do acknowledge that 7 pages is not absolutely necessary, but I do suggest that you write until you have nothing left to write! As I typed, I re-lived each experience, I felt all over again what it meant to me then, and what it still means to me now, I couldn’t stop typing; I had so much to celebrate about my previous year that I could easily have just forgotten and allowed to slip through the annals of history. I captured some specific memorable breakthrough sessions I had with clients, I wrote about new business contracts that I won against stiff competition, I acknowledged my personal successes, the wins like getting my blood pressure back to normal without medication, I celebrated new friends that entered my life and the glorious friendships I maintain with those friends in my inner circle.

When I finished, I was blown away.

Step 2 – Education

Ask yourself: What did I learn over the past 12 months? What 3 things did I learn from a business perspective, and what 3 things from a personal perspective? What was I doing when I achieved my best results? You know that better awareness helps us to make better choices and better choices ensure that we get better results…

Write down your 6 answers… really reflect on them. I personally found this piece profound!

I have to admit that I broke the rules here, I didn’t stop at 3 lessons. Clearly I had a lot more to learn!

Step 3 – Clarification.

Clarity produces mastery.

This one asks you 3 things: firstly, to capture your ‘Big 5’, then ‘your top 5 values,’ then ‘your 15 goals’.

The big 5 relate to those 5 things that must happen this year, to ensure that you’re going to have the best year ever. For example, one of my big 5 for last year was to I maintain a state of optimum health during 2013. Top 5 Values – what is important to you as you live your life, as you go through the coming year. For example, if honesty and integrity in all your dealings is important to you, and if one of your goals is to have an income of 100k and you decide to do it the easy way and rob a bank, well that won’t work, because it is conflicting with your values. Our values drive our behaviours. If we behave in a way that is incongruent with our values, we will be unhappy. Choose your top 5 values. Write them down and consider, in doing so, why these values are so important to you and how you would feel if they were challenged in any way. These form the core of who you are and the pillar of your success.

Now, choose 15 goals – I found it easy to list 3 goals directly under each of the Big 5 which all tend to be pretty high level (e.g., optimum health and bringing my business to the next level), so it is important to drill down a little deeper on each of the big 5 and create specific goals indicating how I plan to achieve each of them.

For example, in my quest to achieve / maintain optimum health (one of my Big 5) some of my specific goals were to normalize my blood pressure without medication, do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and meditate every morning and evening).

Now, take each of these goals in turn and ask yourself: are they SMART? (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). Each Goal should be specific enough so that you know exactly what you are striving for; measurable so you can tell exactly when the goal has been reached; achievable, realistic in that it is practical and can be achieved, and time and resources constrained meaning that it has a definite deadline for completion and it is possible to get the necessary resources.

Step 4 – Graduation

This is about taking your goals and putting them into a plan. Sequencing them into a month by month plan, establishing what can practically be achieved during January, during Feb and March and so on. Then for each month, chunk it down even further into the weeks, if that’s possible and write the steps down stating clearly what you’re going to do each week to help you move closer towards your goal. This piece is powerful! It makes your goals real and tangible. You start to see genuine progress! I found that writing these ‘To Do’s’ into my diary really helped! There was no ‘ignoring’ them, no procrastination!

Step 5 – Visualisation

This is about beginning with the end in mind. This is where you close your eyes, and see yourself very clearly having achieved all the things you have committed to. As you close your eyes and clearly visualise it, start to emotionally engage with that vision of what your life will look like in each of the categories of your life that you’ve established in your Big 5, having achieved the goals that you’ve committed to.

Another useful thing you could consider doing to enhance the visualisation piece, is to create a visionboard / storyboard / collage of how you want your life to look like on the 31st Dec 2014. What will be included on it? When you have achieved your goals what will that look like? what will you be doing?

One way of doing this is to get a large poster board (A1 or A2 size), attach it to a wall in your office or home where you will see it often. Browse through magazines, brochures, newspapers, articles and Google images etc., and when you come across pictures that represent how you would like your life will look when you have achieved your goals, cut them out and glue them to your storyboard. Create the picture of the life you want to see.

Look at this vision board every day or as often as you can – put it somewhere that you’ll see it often, and it will embed into both your conscious and unconscious mind what success looks like and how things will look when you have achieved your goals. This process might not be for everyone, but if it works for you, great!

There’s something I haven’t mentioned already, in relation to our success or otherwise in achieving our goals; this is our attitude to life!- or the window of the world we look through. What do we see when we look out our window? Do we see sunshine or rain (metaphorically, not literally), do we see smiling or sad faces, do we see opportunity or closed doors, do we see love or fear? What we see when we look through our window will be a good indicator of how well we get on with our goal setting. Of course, that’s a whole other article!

Regardless of the window we look through – how about ‘doing it anyway?!’ – following the advice of Mother Teresa in her beautiful reflection entitled ‘Way of Life’.

Way of Life – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

People are often unreasonable, illogical

And self centred

Forgive them anyway


If you are kind, people may accuse you

Of selfish, ulterior motives

Be kind anyway

If you are successful, you will win some

False friends and some true enemies

Succeed anyway


If you are honest and frank

People may cheat you

Be honest and frank anyway


What you spend years building

Someone could destroy overnight

Build anyway


If you find serenity and happiness

They may be jealous

Be happy anyway


The good you do today

People will often forget tomorrow

Do good anyway


Give the world the best you have

And it may never be enough

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway


You see, in the final analysis

It is between you and God

It was never between you and them anyway





Upload Your CV

Upload your CV to apply for as many jobs as you like.

upload your CV

Send Me Job Alerts

Stay up to date with the latest jobs entered onto our system, emailed to your inbox.

Cork Office

CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900