In a recent post, I talked about creating SMART goals from the HEART and asked; How Smart is Your Heart? Although mostly theory with a few practical examples, I’m going to turn it around in this post with a little goal-setting theory to get us started and some practical explanations and examples to follow.

In the 1960’s, Edwin Locke and Gary Latham researched goal setting and proposed their goal-setting theory which identified five principles. Locke also developed a model of successful business-people called, “The Prime Mover Theory”.

What Is Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory?

Simply put, it shows how goals and feedback can be highly motivating factors for employees. Locke’s theory applies to entrepreneurs too.

Five Principles

Five goal-setting principles can increase the chance of success:


A clear goal is measurable and there’s no room for misinterpretations

Goals are unambiguous regarding the desired result and how it will be measured

SMART principles can help to understand the task, measure the results and reach success.


Clear: By understanding and applying Wealthy Affiliate Training it will lead to an effective website that is Google (SEO) friendly and reduce the time it would take (without this training) to reach success and particularly organic visits and actions on site.

Unclear: Develop an effective website.


Setting challenging goals demands an accurate balance to achieve the right level of challenge. Goals that are too easy or too difficult will negatively influence motivation and adversely affect performance. The highest level of motivation is reached when your goals are balanced between easy and difficult.

During the goal-setting process, make sure goals are challenging and realistic, difficult and achievable. Ask yourself the following questions and make some notes:

Are they challenging?

Are they significant and motivating?

Are they realistic and achievable?


Challenging: Convert website visitors to site followers

Significant and Motivating: Site followers will convert to paying customers

Easily achievable: Frequent and appropriate site content is necessary


You must fully understand and manage the set goals

Your input motivates you to set goals

People have the inclination to work hard to achieve goals when they set and own them

Is the goal achievable and in-line with your aspirations? If you answer, “yes” to that, motivation will be easier to maintain.


Correct: You set the goals and determine the expected results after considering the possibilities.

Incorrect: You set goals that are random and don’t take into account what you will need to achieve them.

Feedback & Evaluation

Feedback tells you whether you are doing it right or need to adjust. It doesn’t have to come from other people, although site comments’ and those from peers can help. You can also provide your own feedback so long as you do it honestly.


Correct: Checking in frequently to evaluate your progress.

Incorrect: Setting goal deadlines and forgetting about them until the goal approaches the deadline.

Task complexity

Complex goals can negatively influence morale, productivity and motivation.

Complex goals can be overwhelming.

Is there enough time to work towards the goal and improve performance?

Is adjusting the complexity and difficulty of the goal required?


Correct: Break down the goal into manageable chunks to ensure that you reach the goal in the time you set.

Incorrect: Not breaking down the goal.


Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory underlines the importance of the relationship between goals and performance. It supports projections that can result in the most effective performances. If the goals are specific and challenging, they are used to assess performance and linked to feedback; success is more likely.

Examining the results ensures commitment and acceptance. The motivational influence of goals can be swayed by your views on capability and self-reliance and setting realistic deadlines improves the success outcomes of goals. Focus on a learning goal can also lead to higher performances, where mindset is as important as individual goal setting.

The type and quality of goals you set affects how well they will work. If the goal is to get-rich-quick. That is going to be a challenge. If the goal is to get rich in five years and here are the steps I’m going to take, A, B, C . . . success is more likely. Effective goal setting encourages the growth of achievement and helps keep us on course.

Recording Your Goals and Tracking

Some entrepreneurs have made this into a niche business and if you search Google you will discover hundreds of templates that you can adapt and use to keep track of your goals as you progress. I’ve tried many and some work at least partially while others have failed miserably. Know too that some are offered freely while others charge a fee. There are some useful templates here to get you started. My evaluation sheet is based on one of them.

This one works for me but here I’ve been economical with space. When I develop a new goal, I start by typing my responses into the boxes in the table and I use color and bold to highlight what I consider to be important aspects. I also use images if they seem appropriate and because linked with text, they fire the creative furnace.

Once finished and only when I’m happy with the results, I add some space to each box so I can write in by hand later if necessary. Next, I print the document and always aim for one goal, one sheet of A4 paper.

(You’ll recognise HEART and SMART from yesterday)

The Goal
H – HEALTHY Does this Goal support my greater well-being? Yes / No is never an answer, there must be a “because”.


Is this goal setup to encourage grit and perseverance?
A – ALLURING How does this goal pull me forward?
R – RELEVANT How does it relate to my core values?
T – TRUTH What is My Truth? Not that of someone else
S – Specific Goal Few words
M – Measurable How?
A – Agree Do I absolutely agree that this is a realistic goal?
R – Realistic Honesty time
T – Time-Based What is the timeframe?


In a loose-leaf folder, the goals sheet above always appear face-up on the left as I open the folder. On the right, also face-up is the evaluation sheet. Some goals require several sheets of evaluation so the most current is always on top.

Goal Feedback
What I’ve done / How did it go? STATUS


Potential Issues to keep an eye on PRIORITY


I hope this has helped. Let me know either way by leaving a message or question in the comments’ area below. A little debate is always good for growth.


Share the Love