Gallup CliftonStrengths Editorial Team | Gallup
Setting goals doesn’t just happen at the start of a new year, and achieving goals doesn’t just happen because you set them. The best goals combine desired outcomes with realistic expectations — so keep reading to learn how to achieve goals in a way that comes naturally to you.
What Is a Strengths-Based Goal?
A strengths-based goal is focused on positive outcomes — and is created to cater to your natural talents while still challenging you to use those talents in new ways. You should set goals with your top five CliftonStrengths in mind. If you don’t know yours, check out the assessment.
For example, you might say, “I will use my Achiever talents to send an extra 10 emails a day to sales prospects so I can meet my revenue goal this quarter.”
Why is it important to set goals with your strengths in mind?
Because far too often, we set goals that are intended to punish ourselves for “poor” behavior, for a talent we don’t have or for an accomplishment we haven’t achieved.
Strengths-based goals offer a new approach — one that allows you to look realistically at:
- what’s important to you
- how you want to grow
- what changes you want to see
This approach helps you set personal goals that stretch you, that are exciting and that complement your natural talents.
Smart Goal Setting Begins With a Solid Approach
Set yourself up for success from the beginning by starting with a plan. You might be thinking, OK, so now I have to make a plan for the way that I set my goal, before I actually set the goal? The answer is yes (although that makes it sound like no fun). So, let’s break down effective goal setting:
Your goals should be either action-oriented or outcome-oriented and S.M.A.R.T.
- Consider whether your goal is action-oriented or outcome-oriented. Goals that are action-oriented focus more on the specific steps you’ll take to reach them (e.g., “I’m going to work out three times a week”), while outcome-oriented goals could be reached in a number of ways (e.g., “I’m going to lose 10 pounds over the next four months”). This differentiation is important to help you determine what your desired outcomes are and what actions you’ll take to get there.
- S.M.A.R.T.: The smart goal template has been used for years to set high-quality goals. Your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. You can use this framework to set new goals or to audit existing ones to ensure they are, indeed, S.M.A.R.T. For a better chance of success, try to make sure your goals meet most (if not all) of these five standards.
Remember: Your goals should be an expression of your strengths — a reflection of what matters to you, not a punishment or means of negative discipline.