Set Goals with WAYPOINTs

Set-Goals-WaypointsA WAYPOINT is something akin to a goal. It is different in that goals have finite end points. WAYPOINTs recognize that life goes on past the completion of one goal. You will set another WAYPOINT to take you in new and ever more satisfying directions. Getting to a WAYPOINT that you set for yourself recognizes that the journey is on-going, indeed, never ending.

Success is defined as many things. It could be good health, great relationships, a solid marriage, happy kids, and financial security to name a few. One of the things that all of these have in common is that they are not end points. There is no finish line that you cross and then move on to the next thing. For instance, you don’t one day have a solid marriage, check the box and forget about it. The bar is continually being raised, and what is satisfactory today may not be tomorrow. From the time you are born to your last day, it is a continuum.

In my last post, I discussed how to set goals with SMART criterion, and the SMARTWAY goal setting system, which is to set goals that are not only SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound) but also written, aligned, and yours, the WAY part. While these criterion are important, I sought out something more complete that would be more personal and relevant to each human being. That’s how I came up with WAYPOINTs.

What Is a Waypoint?

A waypoint in navigation is quite simply a point that you reach that sends you in a new direction. When flying from New York to LA, a plane does not often fly a direct route. Air Traffic Control may have the plane fly over Columbus, Memphis Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and finally into LA. Those intermediary points are called waypoints. The GPS in your car doesn’t talk about waypoints, but every turn you make is actually a waypoint.

The WAYPOINT Goal Setting System

It starts with a WAYPOINT statement. A good WAYPOINT statement will define what the situation is and what you want to change about it. What is the best possible outcome? It defines what you want and identifies boundaries. It will be granular enough that it is actionable. Here are some examples of WAYPOINT statements:

  • Weigh 170 pounds by June 1, 20XX
  • Achieve the steps it will take to make $XX profit by December 31, 20XX
  • Clean my desk every Friday
  • Have a staff meeting on the last Monday of every month to cover these items: _______________, ________________and ________________
  • Re-vamp the organization chart and make changes to the organization by January 1, 20XX

Here is what a WAYPOINT worksheet looks like.


I’ll explain in my next posts in this series, but think about how you would set goals with waypoints for your own situation. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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