6 Characteristics of a Great Goal

Embarking on a journey towards success is akin to setting sail without a destination in mind. Crafting meaningful and achievable goals serves as the compass that guides our endeavors, steering us towards a brighter tomorrow.

Just as every map holds essential markers for the traveler, the characteristics of a great goal illuminate the path for individuals striving to actualize their aspirations. Below are the 6 characteristics you’ll find in every excellent goal.


When setting goals, specificity acts as the guiding light that illuminates the path to success. Imagine a goal like “improve sales.” While this might be a common objective for a business, it lacks the key elements of clarity.

On the other hand, consider a revised goal such as “increase monthly sales revenue by 15% through developing new marketing strategies targeting online platforms.”

This refined goal is specific, measurable, and has clear action steps. By knowing exactly what needs to be achieved, individuals can direct their energy towards actions that directly contribute to reaching their target.

Plus, think about how a lack of specificity can lead to wasted efforts. Without a clear direction, individuals may find themselves scattered in their actions, unsure whether they are moving closer to their goal or simply spinning their wheels.


One of the fundamental characteristics of a great goal is its measurability. When a goal is quantifiable, individuals can easily monitor their progress objectively.

For example, someone aiming to run a marathon could set mini-goals like increasing weekly mileage by 10% or improving their pace by 30 seconds per mile.

These measurable checkpoints not only keep motivation high but also serve as indicators of progress toward the ultimate target.

The data-driven nature of measurable goals eliminates ambiguity and provides concrete evidence of where improvements are needed.

This allows goal-setters to make informed decisions on adjusting strategies or seeking additional support to ensure they stay on track to reaching their desired outcome.


When it comes to setting goals, finding the sweet spot between a challenge that pushes you out of your comfort zone and an objective that is within reach is key.

Imagine aiming to increase your monthly sales targets by 50% in the next quarter. While this goal might seem daunting at first, breaking it down into smaller achievable steps can make it more manageable.

You could set incremental targets each month that build up to the final goal, thereby challenging yourself while maintaining a realistic path to success.

An example illustrating this balance might be a runner training for a marathon. If they set a goal to complete the marathon without prior training or experience, it would be overwhelmingly challenging and possibly demotivating.

However, by gradually increasing their running distance each week, they can challenge themselves sufficiently while ensuring the end goal remains attainable. This approach not only fosters growth but also boosts confidence as milestones are achieved along the way.

By striking the right balance between challenge and attainability in your goals, you harness the power of motivation and determination. It’s important to push yourself beyond what feels comfortable to ignite personal development and skill enhancement while still being within reach of achieving success.

Recognize that great goals are not about being easy; they are about driving growth and progress in a way that ignites passion and perseverance for reaching new heights.


Relevance is a fundamental aspect that separates meaningful objectives from arbitrary tasks. Individuals must ensure that their goals are aligned with their overarching objectives and core values.

This connection to personal values provides intrinsic motivation and serves as a roadmap for prioritizing actions that bring them closer to their long-term aspirations.

Moreover, when goals are directly relevant to a person’s life purpose, they act as powerful drivers during challenging times. Consider a scenario where an entrepreneur aims to expand their business into new markets because they believe in making their products accessible globally.

During inevitable setbacks or obstacles, this deep-rooted belief in the relevance of the goal reignites their passion and resilience, enabling them to navigate setbacks with persistence and adaptability.

By crafting goals that are intrinsically connected to one’s values and vision for the future, individuals are more likely to remain committed.

The sense of purpose derived from pursuing relevant goals becomes a transformative experience that propels individuals forward despite adversities or distractions along the way.


Attaching a time frame to a goal can be the catalyst that propels individuals from intention to action. Imagine setting a goal to learn a new language but leaving it open-ended.

Without a deadline, this aspiration might linger in the realm of “someday.” However, by deciding to become conversational in French within 6 months, suddenly, the quest gains momentum.

This urgency not only fuels motivation but also compels concrete planning and consistent effort toward achieving proficiency within the stipulated time frame.

Famed author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

Time-bound goals shine a spotlight on what must be done and when. In professional settings, projects with clear deadlines often see heightened efficiency as teams work cohesively towards a shared endpoint.

By embracing this characteristic of great goals—by giving them wings along with deadlines—we infuse purpose into our actions and transform vague desires into concrete achievements awaiting celebration.


Flexibility in goal-setting is a crucial characteristic that can make the difference between success and failure. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change rapidly.

By being flexible with our goals, we allow ourselves the ability to adapt and evolve along the way. For instance, imagine setting a goal to run a marathon in 8 months—being flexible means adjusting your training schedule if an injury occurs or unexpected commitments arise.

This way, you don’t abandon your goal entirely but find alternative ways to work towards it without compromising your ultimate objective.

Moreover, flexibility fosters resilience in you. When faced with setbacks or obstacles, those who can pivot their strategies while keeping their end goal in mind are more likely to persevere and achieve success.

Final Thoughts

The path to personal growth and achievement can seem daunting. By recognizing and embodying the 6 characteristics of great goals, goal-setters can pave their way toward excellence in both their personal and professional lives.

As professionals strive for career advancement, goal-setters reach for milestones, and self-improvement enthusiasts embark on transformative journeys, these characteristics serve as beacons guiding them toward success.

Imagine each characteristic as a pillar supporting your aspirations:

  • Specificity is the beacon illuminating your desired destination.
  • Relevance serves as the compass aligning your actions with your values.
  • Balancing challenges ensures you’re climbing mountains within reach.
  • Measurability is the odometer tracking progress on your journey.
  • Time-bound deadlines are the fuel propelling you forward.
  • Flexibility stands guard against unforeseen obstacles along your path.

Ultimately, internalizing these pillars of great goals into your daily practices not only sets you up for success but also empowers you to transcend limitations and reach new heights in your pursuit of excellence.

Photo of author

Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.