Goal-setting that works!

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Research shows that traditional goal-setting is ineffective

In our search for a method of goal-setting that taps into the emotional brain, we have developed an alternative to SMART goals (click here to find out why SMART goals aren’t so smart!)

To create a true achievement-focus, we’ve developed WISE™ goals. WISE stands for:

Written — Inspiring — Shared — Engaging

Let’s look at these in turn:


All the research shows that to effectively anchor a goal in your brain, the goal needs to be written down. Written goals are many times more likely to be achieved as they impact a part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) – the goal-seeking mechanism within the brain. The RAS subconsciously alerts you to random opportunities that may be relevant to your goal.


As we have seen 80% of performance is based on emotion. Even though there may be a logical reason for a goal, if we are not inspired by it, this will greatly minimise our chances of accomplishing it.


Keeping a goal to our self is the safe option – no one will know if we fail to achieve it. It is more risky to share our goal with others, as we might look stupid if we fail to achieve it. However, sharing a goal will increase our chances of success and provide an opportunity for others to help us, and indeed to hold us accountable.


Many goals rely on collaboration with others. To maximise your chances of success make your goals engaging for others. In the words of General Eisenhower, “Leadership is the art of getting people to do what you want done because they want to do it.” Think about how can you align your goals effectively with the interests of others? In short, if you succeed, they succeed.

If there is any one overriding suggestion I would make when setting goals with your staff, make sure they are truly inspired. Really listen to their views, and give them freedom to decide how they will achieve them.

Make your goals WISE!

Having a big inspirational goal will help us refocus the brain on something positive. Goals provide a compass, giving direction and meaning to the chaos of life. They help us become resilient and tackle obstacles we meet along the way – such is the power of effective goal-setting.

The important thing is that our goals inspire us rather than being something we think we should do.

There are also pitfalls to goal-setting, for example, being too attached to an outcome will mean that when we meet an obstacle, we risk being totally de-railed.

Flexibility in our thinking is critical here. We need to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. A road block just means we need to find an alternative route.

Click here for information out our training solutions or get in touch directly to find out how TWI can help.

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