The power of goal setting

6th January 2020
rsz danielle macinnes iulgi9pwetu unsplash - The power of goal setting
Tom Matthews

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change.

However, once the glow of a fresh new year wears off, many people struggle to make good on their plans. Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.

The problem with resolutions 

The problem with resolutions is that they tend to be all or nothing. Black or white. We usually focus on what we don’t want to do rather than what we do want. And we don’t usually plan out how to sustain that resolution for a whole year.

Try a different approach 

This year, before your resolutions fly right out the window, let’s try a different approach.

Instead of resolutions, set goals. Dedicate the time and effort toward setting and evaluating your goals and think of what you could accomplish.

Why have goals anyway?

There is tremendous power in goal setting. Goal setting helps you plan where you want to go in life and keeps you motivated to turn your vision of your future into a reality. Goal setting enables you to be proactive about what you want to achieve.

Personal goals

When setting personal goals, some people find it useful to divide their goals into categories, such as:

  • Economic goals
  • Career goals
  • Health and fitness goals
  • Travel goals
  • Fun goals
  • Personal development / education goals.

To maximise the likelihood of following through, make sure your goals are compelling and inspiring. You’re much more likely to put time and energy into something that excites you, so your goals should reflect that same level of momentum.

Some other tips on setting goals:
  1. Set both long-term and short-term goals
  2. Set timeframes for the achievement of each goal
  3. Be specific
  4. Frame your goals positively rather than negatively
  5. Ink it, don’t just think it. Put you goals in writing and keep them somewhere visible, so you see them every day
  6. Prioritise your goals. Come up with two to three for each category that you are committed to achieving
  7. Put a plan in place to how you will achieve your highest priority goals. Once you are clear on what you want and have committed to a timeframe to achieve the goal, then put a plan in place for how you will get there. Work backwards from the end point. What are the key initiatives you will need to focus on and what are the milestones you will need to hit?
Business goals

If you are a business leader, I would encourage you to also set goals for your company. At Pemba, we spend considerable time working with founders and management teams to set the strategic vision for every company we invest in.

I’m not saying our way is the only way but the approach we follow is:

What is the appropriate time horizon?

  • Links to shareholders’ and management’s personal objectives

What size and shape does the business need to be in order to achieve a premium valuation at this point in time?

  • Analysis of comparable buinsess in overseas markets
  • Case studies – lessons learned
  • Exit considerations – exit options, pros and cons, buyer universe, analysis of the most likely buyers (financial firepower, acquisition track record, stated acquisition criteria etc.)

Working backwards from there, what do we need to do to get there?

  • What are the key growth initiatives that need to be delivered for each component of the group?
  • What is the associated capital requirement?
  • What is the human capital requirement – what are the right people needed to deliver the growth plan?

What other initiatives could help accelerate the plan?

  • Channel partners
  • Adjacent markets
  • Value-added services

Through a series of strategy workshops, we help founders and management teams set the strategic vision for their companies and put the business plans in place to achieve these goals. However, it is extremely important for us at Pemba that the strategic vision and business plan for achievement of the end goals are founder and management led, since these are the individuals responsible for delivering the key growth initiatives.

At Pemba, we facilitate these strategy sessions and challenge ideas where appropriate. However, most importantly we support founders and management and bring them opportunities to accelerate the growth of their businesses. This could be via international expansion, partnership or strategic bolt-on acquisition opportunities.

In keeping with our Sherpa name, we are seasoned mountaineers. But it’s not our journey, it’s the founders’ and management teams’. Our job is to help them successfully summit.


The start of the New Year is a good time to think about what you want to accomplish in the coming months.

If you are a business leader and want to discuss how we might be able to help you set your strategic goals for your company, then please contact us to discuss further.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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