Introduction to Goal-Setting

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is the process of defining our desires and breaking them down into tangible, achievable objectives1. We can divide goals into two types: outcome and behavioural.

Outcome goals

  • What do you aim to be or have
  • An example is ‘I want to achieve a normal HbA1c blood test for diabetes in 6 months time’
  • Another example is ‘I want to be more confident in my body wearing my favourite dress’

Behavioural goals

  • What do you aim to do to achieve your outcome?
  • An example is ‘I will do the Couch to 5K programme three times a week’.
  • Another example is ‘I will walk 4000 steps a day by breaking up desk time every hour’

Goal setting may involve identifying specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. It’s been shown to be an important motivating factor underpinning changes in health-related behaviour2.

Why is goal setting important?

Goal setting forms a key part of many successful behaviour change programmes. Clear goals act as an anchor to keep us grounded, focused, and determined throughout our health journey. With well-defined goals, we can not only measure our progress, creating a roadmap to success, we can also make adjustments when we need to. Clearly defined goals hold us accountable to ourselves, and can narrow our focus to specific targets. This can help us to avoid becoming overwhelmed with the thought of improving our lifestyle, and prevents us trying to do it all at once.

It’s important to know both your short and long term goals. Generally, your long-term goal is your overall aim, the guiding light, and your short-term goals are what you’ll do to get to, and achieve, it. 

Long-term goals create a vision for the future and keep us inspired and committed over time. At Roczen, a long-term outcome goal is something you’d like to achieve by the end of 12 weeks or longer. This could be a specific weight loss target, diabetes remission, or being able to comfortably do a physical activity that you found challenging before.

Short-term goals provide immediate, often daily, targets. They may also be quick wins that build confidence and propel us forward. Within your Roczen consultations and follow up, we may help you set short term goals that you look to achieve over four weeks. 

Short term goals can be both behavioural (eg. go for a 20 min walk once a day, or go for a 20 min walk five times per week) and outcome based (e.g. be regularly meal planning each week);

Finally, at Roczen, we’re big believers in SMART goals! Here’s a quick reminder what that means:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  • Specific: Clearly defined and well-articulated, leaving no room for uncertainty.
  • Measurable: Quantifiable and trackable, allowing us to count progress.
  • Achievable: Realistic and attainable within our capabilities.
  • Relevant: Aligned with our values, needs and health objectives.
  • Time-Bound: Set within a specific timeframe, eg. every day or every week, or giving us a deadline to work towards.

Good luck goal-setting! Remember the Roczen team will be more than happy to guide you if you need a helping hand.


  1. Levack WMM, Weatherall M, Hay-Smith EJC, Dean SG, McPherson K, Siegert RJ. Goal setting and strategies to enhance goal pursuit for adults with acquired disability participating in rehabilitation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015.
  2. McPherson KM, Kayes NM, Kersten P. MEANING as a smarter approach to goals in rehabilitation. In: Siegert RJ, WMM L, editors. Rehabilitation Goal Setting: Theory, Practice, and Evidence. London: Taylor & Francis Group; 2014. p. 105–19.  
  3. Epton T, Currie S, Armitage CJ. Unique effects of setting goals on behaviour change: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Dec;85(12):1182-1198. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000260. PMID: 29189034.

February 12, 2024
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