How To Use This Powerful Goal Setting Model For A Better Life

Yet Another Powerful Goal Setting Model

I love setting (and achieving goals).
There are many ways to go after goal setting.
The model you go for is always the right one.
It always beats the alternative “Not Setting Goals.” 😉

In this article, I will discuss one of the many ways to go about goal setting.

The goal setting model here involves looking at several elements.
These items are:

  1. who,
  2. why,
  3. how,
  4. what,
  5. where,
  6. when and
  7. with whom.

You can set your goals. For an even better life!

But it can come in handy to understand the ins and outs of this goal setting model first.

All elements influence the other components.
A change in one part can trigger changes in other parts.

The model places the elements (Who, Why, How, What) within a context (Where, When and With Whom).

This model is useful for helping with or understanding goal setting.

According to this model, the items influence and relate to one another in all directions.
Next, I’ll discuss the different elements.

The NLP Logical Levels of Change Model influence this model.

The Logical Levels were inspired by Gregory Bateson and developed by Robert Dilts.

The key strength of this approach is that it helps you plan goals.
Goals  that are in alignment with:

  • your environment,
  • behaviors,
  • competencies,
  • beliefs or values, and
  • identity

Powerful Goal Setting Model


Let’s say for example that you listed goals and things about yourself or your life you wish to improve.
You also listed them in order of their importance to you.
You have written your mission statement, the roadmap you chose to follow.
You thought about your vision statement.
This vision statement is the end result (how you view your future success and happiness).

Keep in mind that goals are there to bring purpose to your life.
When you work through the following paragraphs

You will find success on the journey to your goal.

It’s all about bringing passion (back) to your life.

Success does not merely follow after goals have been accomplished, but it occurs as you work towards their completion.

Goals should identify a specific outcome and should answer questions involving:

  • Who
  • Why
  • How
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • With Whom

First, “Who.” Who are you as an individual?
Who is the person setting the goal?
You, of course.
What role do you play to achieve your goal?
Who are you or what part do you play?
Is it the role necessary to achieve your plan?
What do you need to change?

Now take a close look at yourself.
Take note of your actions and thoughts during a day.
You will probably think of yourself as a pretty good actor.

An actor who acts according to a script.
And an actor with enormous improvising qualities.
Matching the different demands that meet him or her all the time.

This actor in us can manage a vast number of roles.

All through life, you play different roles depending on what you are doing and to whom you are relating.

For example, when you are talking with your parents your role is son or daughter.
When you are talking to your children, your role is father or mother.
At work, you may at various times be a manager, a subordinate, a coworker.
At other occasions, you may be a trusted friend, a volunteer and so on.

Goal Setting Model

Goal Setting Model

Classifying your part enables you to set a clear goal.
Here are examples of different roles:

  • father
  • mother
  • husband
  • wife
  • son
  • daughter
  • brother
  • sister
  • grandfather
  • grandmother
  • boyfriend
  • girlfriend
  • income provider
  • volunteer
  • boss
  • employee
  • project leader
  • team member
  • mentor
  • student
  • sportsman or woman
  • friend
  • neighbor
  • salesperson
  • writer

Which role will you play to achieve each of your goals?


The second item to consider whenever setting a goal is “Why.”

Why do you want to achieve an objective?
Why do you do something?
What do you believe in or value?
Most likely the answer is because you believe in or value that goal.

What beliefs do you have about yourself, about others, about the world in general?
Do these beliefs support you in fulfilling your role (Who)?
What do you value – in yourself, others, the world in general?
Are these values in alignment with your role?
Are there other beliefs and values that you could take on that would be more in alignment?

Finding your “Why” means finding your purpose, what drives you, what you are passionate about.
Many people fail in achieving success just because they lack clear motives for doing so.
Incorporating the “Why” into your goals will enable you to reach them while enjoying the steps you will take along the way.

Even the drudgery we sometimes have to deal with is easier to manage if we know why we must do it.
Understanding “Why” will make the necessary tasks a part of your plan, and thus a choice rather than a load.

Explain to yourself why you want to achieve this goal.
What happened to you to want this, and how reaching your goal will change your life.

The more compelling your motives and reasons are, the greater the odds are that you will accomplish your goals.

Conversely, if you cannot come up with “good” reasons, you might as well move on to another goal, as this one won’t be achieved.

Do you want $5 million at retirement?

You say you want to live in a mansion?

Do you want that new car?

There are no wrong answers here.
“Whys” are the principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable by the person (or couple or family or team) who holds them.
What one person or group thinks is stupid or vain, another will think is great or worthy.
You need to come up with benefits that are honest, compelling and inspiring to you or your group.
And the more “Whys” you have for each objective, the better.

Here is an example of “Why”:

I want to reach my goal (become senior account manager) because I believe it is important for me to stay financially secure.
And I value a career and feel responsible for maintaining a good income for my family.

Think about how you feel as achieve your goal.
What can you see, smell and hear?
Are you excited, nervous, relieved?

You can also view “Whys,” as the list of benefits to you for reaching this goal.

For example, benefits for a fitness goal might include feeling great, clothes fit well and look good, and people compliment me.

If you have strong enough “Whys” for your goals, you are going to pursue your goals until you achieve them.

Not achieving your targets would give you more pain than doing what needs to be done to realize your goals.


The third item to consider whenever setting a goal is “How.”
“How” are you going to achieve your objective?
How do you go about doing things?

What capabilities/strategies/action plans do you have?
Do you need to develop new skills, strategies or action plans?
Are they in alignment with the Why and the Who?
If not, what needs to be changed?
Perhaps you need to change your capabilities (get more training), your strategies or action plans.
Or maybe, given this new information, you need to reassess your role (Who) or your beliefs and values (Why).

To be able to do so, you must have the necessary strategy and resources in place.

As a simple definition, “strategy” is the specific steps it will take to reach your goal.
For example, let’s say your goal is this: “I want to go back to school and get a bachelor’s degree in English by December 31st of next year.”
That’s a decent goal, but you aren’t just going to walk onto a college campus and be awarded a degree in English.
You must decide which school to attend, how to pay for school, and how many classes to take at one time, among other details.
There must be a strategy.

Let’s take strategy even further, again considering the college goal.
Earning the degree itself is a significant goal.
“How” are you going to achieve your objective?
You can break it down into smaller goals.
For instance, one of those smaller goals could be:
“I want to finish four classes by the end of this year.”

A goal may be short term, medium term or long term.
Some people call everything under a week “short term,” under six months “medium term,” and over six months “long term.”
Others might choose different time frames.

Short-term goals are ones that you will achieve soon, such as within a day, within a week, or possibly within a few months.
They are often the stepping-stones that lead up to medium- and long-term goals and are a great way to progress through your plan.
Those stepping-stones are your strategy.
Short-term goals keep you from becoming overwhelmed or losing sight of your long-term goal.
They give you steps to look forward to, so you can celebrate along the way to the larger goal.

What you decide you want to achieve by next week, and where you choose you want to be in one year, or five, or even twenty, will have an impact on what you do today.
Be ready to plan your strategy.

The other important aspect of deciding “How” a goal will be carried out is the resources you have available, or will have available, to achieve this aim.

Resources are necessary to complete a task.
They usually are people, equipment, facilities, funding, or anything else required for completing a goal.

An assistant is a resource, more education is a resource, and an encouraging mate is a resource.
Other resources may include books, tapes, seminars you would like to attend, courses you would like to complete, mentors, and coaches.

A list of your resources is a valuable tool for making and accomplishing goals because you can instantly draw on resources to help you.
If you don’t currently have a certain, necessary resource available to you, you will need to determine when you will get it and how it will be obtained.

“How” are you going to achieve your goal using resources?

What is it you want to achieve?
If you want to start your own business in the next couple of years, then you know you have to set back cash (resource) to obtain this goal.
You will also need to decide if you need extra skills (resource) or education (resource) to set up a business.
Here you’ll notice that resources and strategy go hand-in-hand.
Resources are those people or items capable of or required for completing a goal.
The actual planning of what you’ll need and determining the steps you’ll take to achieve them is the strategy.

Let’s assume I planned to become a senior account manager.
Consequently, I will volunteer to perform chores (strategy) with a friend of mine who is a senior account manager at another company, and while performing those duties, I’ll ask him for some useful tips (resources).

The most valuable resource you have is . . . Guess who?  Yourself.
You might like to do what marketing consultants call a SWOT on yourself—this is where you analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

You’ll probably only want to put your strengths and opportunities in your resource’s list.
Think about your abilities, physically, mentally, and in terms of confidence.
Your strengths and achievements in these areas are excellent resources for you to draw on.

goal setting

Goal Setting System


The fourth ingredient, of this goal setting model, to consider whenever setting a goal is “What.”
What are your behaviors?
What you do and how you behave.
Our behavior is made up of the specific actions we take within our environment.

What do people see or experience in your behaviors?
Are your actions in alignment with Who, Why and How?
Does something need to be changed?

Simply put, “What” is your goal, written in the framework of performance rather than an outcome.
When thinking about what your goal is, you need to think of it in terms of a way of getting the result that you want, not as the outcome that you’re hoping to achieve.

Just think about it for a moment.
How much of a ‘final goal’ can you control, without the influence of other people or events?
An athlete may train with a goal to win an Olympic gold medal, and hit all of their performance targets along the way, but, in the real race, the end goal that they set from the start could be taken away from them by a better athlete, or some mistake that they make during their event.

Having an outcome as a goal has too many variables that you cannot control, meaning your goal is often unachievable.
To succeed in achieving an outcome-oriented goal you have to be able to consider the things that could go wrong and find a way to overcome them if they do.
Also, you always have to be better than anyone else who may be standing in the way of you reaching that goal – and allowing for the skills and strengths of other people is much more challenging.

Failing to come to an outcome goal is easier to take if it’s due to outside influences than it is if it’s simply down to you not being prepared enough, or just not being capable of reaching that final goal.

Another problem with outcome goals is the fact that they are based on you receiving some form of reward when you achieve your goal.
Although the reward may sound tempting when you first start out, it can begin to look a lot less appealing if you aren’t going to receive that reward for some months; furthermore, as mentioned earlier, there is no guarantee that you will reach that final goal anyway, so the thought of the reward can become less motivating over the following days, weeks, months or even years.
When that starts to happen, you give up, and never get anywhere near reaching the goal that you have set.

Of course, if your goals are more achievable and lead on to further goals on your path to improving your performance or knowledge, then you are going to be able to stay focused, reach each new target along the way, and feel good about having done it.
If you do need to have an outcome goal, then using these ‘progress goals’ to help you along the way is going to see you reach your outcome, without the doubts and lack of focus that you may have otherwise had along the way.

In the athletic event example: if you get disqualified in the early heats, or you are beaten by three or more athletes who are better than you, then you are not going to achieve your aim of getting into the finals, and ultimately winning that gold medal.
If, on the other hand, your aim was to beat a personal best, and you achieve that without going any further in the competition, then it’s not a total loss.
You may not be in with a chance to win gold, but you will have the satisfaction of reaching the goal you had set, and that may be enough for you to build on in future events.

Before you try to reach for something that you may have no hope of achieving, stop to think for a moment.
Who are you trying to do this for?
What are you trying to do?
Is it an outcome goal, or a progress goal?
So, take some time to write down something that you want to achieve for yourself, and make sure that it is something that is practical.
If it’s personal enough, realistic enough and it will make you happy, then it is achievable; who knows, maybe later you can try to take the next big step using the goal setting skills that you are starting to perfect.

goal setting

The Where, When & With Whom in this Goal Setting Model

This is the context in which we set and achieve our aims.
The final items to consider whenever setting a goal are “When, Where and with whom.”

All goals must have deadlines because it’s a psychological law that work always expands to fill the time allowed.

So goals we set must have target dates, time frames for completion.
Establish a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade.
Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague.
It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time.
Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

For example, many of us may want to find a new job or start our own business.
We spend a lot of time talking about what we want to do, someday.
But without an end date, there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today.
Having a particular time frame, a “When,” gives you the impetus to get started.
It also helps you check your progress.

The “where” is usually the simple part.
You need to identify a location.
Where do you achieve your goal?
Start with the future environment in which you want to reach the target.
This is a creative exercise; there are no limits!
Choose the nicest offices or houses, in which you would love to work or live.
If that is applicable in the context of your goal setting.
Working towards a goal often implies making a change in one’s environment; it could involve bringing in an organizational specialist to rearrange an office environment in support of a mission or job, or it could be as simple as reorganizing furniture, adjusting the temperature or making ergonomic changes.

The person(s) involved in helping you reach a goal fall into the “With Whom” section.

We explored the five components to consider whenever setting a goal: Who, What, Why, How and When, Where and With Whom.
Now it’s up to you to use that Goal Setting Model information to set definitive goals.

To your success!

NLP Logical Levels, Part II – Renewal Technologies Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved from