Goal Setting Glossary

This goal setting glossary provides key terminology and distinctions to help you get the most from the goal setting information provided for your use. Take note of these terms as you review the other goal setting tips and goal setting articles provided.


Goal – A goal is the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.

  • “ongoing” implies that goals are a process, achieving goals take time
  • “pursuit” involves a chase, recognizing there will likely be obstacles to overcome to achieve the goal
  • “worthy” seems to indicate the chase will be worthwhile, that there’s a big enough reward to endure the obstacles you may encounter
  • “until accomplished” suggests you’ll do whatever it takes to get it done

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Accountability - Accountability is being responsible to someone or being responsible for some activity. Accountability is a helpful tool for focusing, particularly on goals that are important but not urgent and may be overshadowed by “crises” or day-to-day emergencies. Generally, it is easier for us to let ourselves down instead of letting others down, so consider forms of accountability involving other people for your goals.

Action Plan – An action plan is a roadmap or blueprint to accomplishing a goal. An action plan should include the intermediate steps necessary to achieve a goal and include the resources required. The action plan should provide a reasonable chance of success given the time and resources you have available.

Beliefs – A belief is a feeling of certainty about something. We unconsciously accept our beliefs as real or true. Most of our beliefs are generalizations about our past, based on our interpretation of painful and pleasurable experiences.

Purpose – Your purpose is the reason you are here. Everyone is here to accomplish something, learn something, and impact other people’s lives in some way.

SMART Goals – SMART Goals are a memory tool for describing the goals you want to accomplish. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and have a Time-frame for completing.

Values – Values are the guiding principles and beliefs that govern how you live and everything you do. They are the activities, preferences, or behaviors that you naturally gravitate toward, that fulfill you and give you energy.

Vision – A vision is what you see is possible for the future, generally written in the present tense as if it is true today. Visions should be clear, positive, stretching, inspiring, and simple.


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