GOAL setting

Welcome to our interactive goal-setting page. Here, you can use different tools and resources to set personal goals that can help you take progressive steps to achieve your ambitions. 

We advise having a pen and paper to hand whilst using this interactive page, and there is a hard copy of this tool that can be printed too, just click here or see below.

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Think of 5 goals you have right now, no matter how big or small...

Before we get started, take time to think about 5 bigger goals or ambitions that are important to you right now. Jot these down with a pen and paper, in the notes section of your phone, or on your computer. You're welcome to use the box to the right; however, this information can not be saved, so making a second copy somewhere else is advised


Recent research in the field of sport psychology tells that it might be helpful to understand different types of goals when looking to improve performance or sustain our motivation (Swann et al., 2020). 

Based on this research, there are two different types of goals we need to be more aware of when thinking about goal-setting, these are Learning Goals and Performance Goals.


When we use learning goals our focus is on learning new strategies, methods, or processes that can help us master a task. 

Learning goal-focused questions might be, "how can I complete this task more efficiently?" or, "What strategies can I use to help me achieve my ambitions?"

Learning goals can be helpful as they can promote sustainable behavioural changes through the acquisition and application of new knowledge. 

However, they might be less helpful for more highly skilled or motivated individuals.


When adopting performance goals we direct our attention to the outcome of a task or how well we completed it - our performance.

Performance goal-focused questions sound like, "Did I achieve my desired outcome for this task?" or, "What does the outcome of this take tell me about my performance?"


Performance goals can be helpful to know if we're staying on track with our ambitions or longer-term goals. When we meet our performance goals it can a great confidence booster.

 However, if we just use performance goals, we can also become demotivated if we do not succeed. In addition, without asking why we did not meet our performance goal, it can be difficult to know how to meet your goal next time

What do these different goals look like in everyday life?


Use this space to take some time to think about how learning and performance goals could be helpful in achieving the 5 ambitions/ biggers goals you listed at the start. There's some space here to write down some of your own learning and performance goals, but we'd also recommend you make your own copy as your entries can not be saved on the website.


Recent research in the field of sport psychology tells that it might be helpful to understand different types of goals when looking to improve performance or sustain our motivation (Swann et al., 2020). 



It's helpful to know exactly what it is you're trying to achieve. Being specific about your goal can help you stay focused. A specific performance goal may be to walk 10,000 steps per day, on the other hand, a specific learning goal could be to find three new ways of walking more during your day.



It's also important for your goal to be measurable as this helps us know if our goal has been met - this is especially relevant for performance goals. Research suggests 'do you best' goals are less helpful than goals that can be measured and then evaluated to assess the outcome.



An attainable goal is an achievable goal, and we all know that we feel better in ourselves when we're achieving and feeling competent. If our goals are not attainable, we can lose our sense of self-belief when we eventually fail to reach it. If you're not sure what is attainable for you, start small, build your skills and confidence, before setting more challenging goals.

See what Olympic and Word Championship goal medalist, Christina Ohuruogu, said about the vale of goal setting

As heavy weight world champion and Olympic goal medalist, Anthony Joshua has had to set a number of challeging goals to be the best

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray talks about the importance of time-bound goals...



Keeping your goals relevant will help keep you on track to achieving your ambitions. This is especially important to consider for learning goals, as selecting relevant learning goals will help us develop the required skills or strategies to experience success.



Making your goals time-bound can help you work towards a deadline and keep you on track. Without an end date in mind, your goals can feel unstructured.  Yet with a timeline, you can reflect on where you'd like to be at different time points and adjust your goals if needed.

Applying the SMART principles of goal setting, take time to think about how SMART your goals are. In the section below, there's space to think about this in more detail and make some plans to make your goals a little 'SMARTer'. Again, just a reminder, be sure to make your own copy as your work won't be saved on our website. You might find it helpful to use our goal-setting tool, just click here.

Use the sliders below to reflect on how SMART your goal is. For example, move the slider to measure on a scale of 1-10 how specific, measurable, attainable, relevant or time-bound your goal is.







We hope young found this interactive page helpful for setting your personal goals. You can keep using this page to reflect on your goals and we also recommended keeping a personal copy as the work on here can not be saved. 

Just as a reminder, we also have a goal-setting tool included in our toolkit, which is FREE to download, just click here.

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Finally, we'd love to know what you thought of this page, how helpful did you find it? What else could we have included to make it more informative? Were there any technical glitches? Or any other comments! Just type you feedback in the box below and press send :)

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School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT


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