Goal Setting Questions – A Comprehensive Guide

5What are goal setting questions? What should I do before I set a goal? Which questions should I ask before I set goals? How can I become better at setting goals? This article will give you the answers to these questions and more.

Hi, I am Sean Galla, a men’s support groups and forums facilitator with over ten years of experience. Part of my job involves creating spaces where men can learn how to be the best versions of themselves and about issues affecting men.

Knowing how to set goals and the type of questions to ask can make goal-setting easier, and you can enjoy the benefits of goal-setting.

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Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

The four critical goal setting questions

It’s easy just to set mental goals but never get around to fulfilling even one, an example being the New Year resolutions we all make to counter last year’s mistakes.

Goals lend direction and focus to our lives, giving us something to look forward to and helping us avoid procrastination. Asking the right questions will help you set the right goals. Here are some key questions you must ask yourself before setting your goal.

What Do You Want?

What do you want? What are your personal goals? Brainstorm and come up with a list of your goals and objectives. Prioritize them and divide them into short-term and long-term goals. Split the big goal into smaller, more attainable tasks to make them less daunting.

Your Why? – What values guide you?

Dan Buettner developed a helpful framework known as the Three Elements of Purpose Framework. He said that you need three things to find your purpose in life:

  • Passion: What fires you up or what you are passionate about
  • Values: The thing you believe in or your principles
  • Strength: These are the things you excel at

Buettner believed these three elements were the key to finding your purpose in life.

What is The Most Important Step in Prioritizing Goals? – Find out in this article.

How Will I Get To My Desired Outcome? (My Strategy)

  • The HOW in goal setting is crucial. How will you achieve these goals? Without a how or strategy, all these plans become just plans. You must have an action plan. As we said earlier, splitting your goals into smaller tasks makes them more manageable. Divide the goals into SMART goals, an acronym for:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

What Happens If Something Goes Wrong? (Risk Management)

Even the best-laid plans can go wrong. Ensure you have a fallback plan and a risk management strategy if things go awry.


What are the 5 C’s of goal setting?

We all set different goals according to our needs and what we want to achieve. The 5Cs we should all consider when setting realistic goals are:

·        Clarity

Setting goals is easy, but they must inspire and motivate you to save time and energy. One of the first things to consider when goal-setting is clarity. If you want to go back to school to become a teen counselor, clarify why you want to do it.

Are you passionate about teens and their issues? Do you have teenage family members that you would like to mentor? Do you think educators need to do more for teens? Clarity about why you are setting this goal sets a benchmark for the rest of the goal-setting process.

·        Connection

Connection and clarity are entwined. Just like you need clarity on your goals, you also need to be connected to the goals. Your objectives must carry a lot of significance to you and your values. Without a connection, the goals will be something else to do and lose meaning, making you lose focus.

·        Confidence

You must have tremendous confidence in yourself and your ability to set worthwhile goals. Confidence stems from understanding that when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you set out to do.

·        Challenging

Setting easy goals that demand nothing from you is something anyone can do. The real test is to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. However, don’t exert yourself by setting unrealistic goals; remember, you don’t have superpowers.

Pick goals that will put just enough pressure on you but not ones that will cause stress or frustration. If you do not record your thoughts, journaling will help you note down your thoughts at every step of the journey.

·        Consistency

Consistency wins every time. When you set your goals, having an action plan will help you achieve them quickly. Even at your lowest and when you want to give up, be consistent, and it will eventually pay off. What seems like a challenge now will become second nature with much practice.

Short Term Goals Can Be Set To Achieve Specific Long-Term Goals – Here is how. 

The 5 W’s of goal setting questions

Setting goals is a complex process. You must practice self-awareness and reflect on why you are putting these great goals. Asking the following questions lets you prioritize the most important things and make your goals SMART. The 5Ws help simplify your goal-setting journey by providing a structure on which to base your questions. The 5Ws are:

·        Who

Who else, besides you, is involved in your personal development goals? If they are business goals, who are the team members? What roles do they play in the big picture? Ensure they use worksheets to log tasks, making tracking individual progress easier, and use LinkedIn for networking with like-minded people.

·        What

What do you want? This should be the most important question. Be specific. For instance, if you want to run a marathon, decide whether it is a half or full marathon. Measurable goals will help you tackle potential obstacles.


·        Why

Know why you are setting these goals. What does achieving goals mean to you? You must understand and be clear about why you want to learn a new language. Is it a love for the language? Do you intend to relocate to a country that speaks that language?

 Do you want to improve your resume in anticipation of a role that requires that particular language skill? Think about your life today, the bigger picture. What does your life look like now, and how will it look after achieving the objective?

·        When

The when factor determines how much time you must dedicate to this goal. Give yourself a timeline for running the half or full marathon. If the marathon is in six months, you must set aside time for training. You can train twice daily for six months or stagger the training as you deem fit.

·        Where

Where is the goal’s location, and how will it change your life? For instance, if you train for the marathon, you must consider where you will qualify. Is it too far out of your way? Will it inconvenience you? Can you look for a different location, or is the area specific to your training?

Goal setting questions should to ask for specific goals

When setting specific goals, you must ask questions that define and clarify your objective. Here is a template of some of the questions to consider before selecting a goal:

  • What do I want to achieve? Define your objective and be specific. If you are training for a marathon, specify whether your goal is improving speed or resilience.
  • Is this goal Realistic? Check if your goal is realistic and achievable and aligns with your resources, abilities, and timeframe. If you are running the full marathon, have you run the half marathon yet? Are you fit to run?
  • Why is this goal significant to me? Why is this goal so important to you? Why are you motivated to achieve this objective? When you identify your reasons, you can stay focused and committed. What does it feel like when you imagine the outcome?
  • What actions do I need to take to achieve this goal? Break down the goal into smaller tasks. Specify the actions you need to take to get your projected outcome.
  • How do I measure progress? Identify the metrics that will track your growth and inform you if you are any closer to your objectives. Use milestones, targets, and deadlines as your metrics.
  • What is my timeline? Give yourself a specific deadline to push you into prioritizing your actions.

Goal setting is a powerful but fluid process that you need to revisit and adjust your goals if need be constantly. These questions keep you on track and help propel you toward success. 


How can I set SMART goals for personal development?

To effectively set SMART goals, there are specific steps you need to follow:

  • Think about the desired outcome and be transparent about the results you want to achieve.
  • Ensure that your goals are measurable, attainable, and realistic. You need to create goals you can realistically accomplish within a specific time frame.
  • Set a deadline for your goals. The plans need to be time-bound. You must give yourself a timeline for completion, which will help you stay focused and motivated.
  • Write down your goals by journaling, which allows you to re-evaluate your goals, keep track of your progress, and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Create an action plan that will guide your journey. Break your goals into small, achievable tasks, and create an action plan to help you reach your goals step-by-step.
  • Take action and re-evaluate your goals if and when necessary. Remember that your goals should be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.

How MensGroup can help in your goal-setting journey


Being surrounded by family or friends who cheer and support you on the goal-setting journey is sometimes not enough. It pays to have a group of men who understand goal-setting and the importance of a self-discovery journey from personal perspectives.

 Joining a men-only self-improvement support group like Men’s Group is one of the best things you can do to become the best version of yourself. Self-improvement support groups are a mine of resources and support. Being in such a group grounds you, helps you stay focused, and holds you accountable.

In Conclusion

Before you set goals, you must answer important questions about why you are setting these goals. They must align with your values and make your life better in the process. Joining a support system like Mensgroup.com will be a plus in your journey.