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Celebrating 50 years of Building High Performance Corporate Teams - 1971 to 2021
Goal Setting

Goals for 2021 – This time make your goals stick ~!

By January 14, 2021No Comments

When I was asked to write this blog I was somewhat sceptical, as the topic is very dry and everything that one needs to know about the topic of goal setting has already been written.

That having been said, the Christmas Holidays have come and gone and many of you will have made your goals for 2021.

But here’s the really sad part.

According to research conducted at Scranton University, only 8% of people achieve their personal goals.

That’s a shockingly low number!

Imagine any company scoring an 8% success rate in respect to their goals.  They would soon be out of business!!

Companies who stay in business in any given year typically would expect to achieve between 85 and + 100% of their goals.

The gap is enormous in personal goal setting, but also unacceptably high in companies, especially smaller more entrepreneurial companies.

So why is there this enormous gap?

There are many reasons why we fail to achieve our goals, both personal and business. That having been said, my intent here is to focus on what I think are the critical three. That’s not to suggest that the other steps in the goal setting process are irrelevant – they are necessary but maybe less critical.

So, what are the 3 Essential Elements needed to make your goals more “sticky”?

1.Start with your Why?

Let’s start with this question. Do you have a compelling Purpose for wanting to achieve this goal?

Is this goal really important to you in and of itself, or is the goal a critical component of a bigger goal?

If there is no compelling “Why” – you are more than likely to give up on your goal.

So, start with a compelling answer to the question – why this goal?

2.Detailed action plans

This is where the rubber meets the road, because “the devil is in the details”.

Detailed action steps tell you and others how you are going to achieve your goal[s].

In my opinion this is where most goal setting programs come unstuck.

Your action steps should be written in point form. They spell out the specific actions, the date for achievement and a ranking in terms of importance.

It’s almost impossible to hold someone accountable if there are no very clear action steps.

Action steps should also be ranked in terms of importance using a star system.  Some actions are vital while others maybe “nice to haves”.

Agreed action steps are the “gas” that drives your goals on a daily basis.

They should be tracked on a daily basis or at least weekly.  Failing to detail your action steps and to then track them leaves you rudderless and likely to be unfocused.


To make our goals “sticky” most us need to have someone to hold us Accountable [a friend, the boss, a colleague, a coach or maybe all 4].

For much of 2020, I have been writing a book of memoirs. I have told numerous friends, family and former work colleagues that I’m going to do it. Indirectly I now feel a sense of accountability to these people to complete this challenging goal.

Once you have written your goal[s] with clarity and detailed action steps now it’s time to share.

Based on your presentation and discussion with others who you will be working with and whose support and accountability you will need, you may need to modify some elements in your goals/action steps.

Other team members should also share their goals.  This reinforces the whole idea that “nobody is perfect, but a team can be” and that you are all responsible to each other.

Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been told similarly that “we are all in this together”, helping us to feel a commitment and sense of responsibility to not let others down in our goal to defeat the spread of the virus.

In summary, knowing why your goals are important to you, how (specifically) you are going to reach them, and having a strong accountability group supporting you will go a long way in achieving a success rate of far greater than 8%!


About the Author:  Tim Rooney was the founder of Rooney Earl and Partners a consulting, coaching and training company that he founded  18 years ago, before selling quite recently to his business partner.  Tim is currently writing his memoirs in a book entitled “ Your son won’t even make it as a butcher !”

He can be reached at or 905-472-0894