A study of goal setting by the Harvard MBA Program found that:

  • 3 percent of participants with written goals earned 10 times what the 97 percent without written goals earned.

A similar study by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews showed that:

  • 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals achieved them. Only 43 percent of participants who didn't were successful.

In this byte you'll learn how to use the Target Grid to write down your goals.

Target Description

Step 1

Let's say your goal is to write a resume. To start, enter a brief description of your goal in the center of the grid using the Do What? format.


  • Do what? Write my resume.

  • Do what? Learn a new language.

  • Do what? Start my job search.

Schedule Constraints

Step 2

Next we need to put some boundaries or constraints around our target to bring it into sharper focus. We'll start by adding a schedule constraint. Schedule constraints take the form of dates or time periods such as daily, weekly, monthly etc. They answer the question When?


  • Finish term paper. When? March 3, 20XX.

  • Complete Rumie byte on how to write a resume. When? September 2, 20XX.

  • Practice the guitar. When? Daily.

Quantity Constraints

Step 3

Next we'll add quantity constraints. Quantity constraints define units of work and are expressed as numbers or ratios. There is usually a relationship between the "what" in your target description and the quantity constraint. The quantity constraint answers the question How many or how much?


  • Write my resume. How many? 1 resume.

  • Make new sales. How many? 3 per week.

  • Save money for the future. How much? $5,000

Note that each constraint we add brings the target into clearer focus.

Resource Constraints

Step 4

Now we need to add the people, time, money and tools required to achieve our goal. Resource constraints answer the question Using what?


  • Practice the guitar using myself and a tutor, 1 hour a day to practice, $20 to buy lesson books, a music stand, and my guitar.

  • Make a desk using myself as the resource, 40 hours of labor, $75 for lumber and stain, and any necessary tools in my workshop.

Here are the resources required to write your resume.

Quality Constraints

Step 5

Finally we need to enter quality constraints or measures of success. Quality constraints answer the question How well?


Quality constraints for writing a resume might include:

  • No typographical or grammatical errors.

  • Resume follows format shown in Rumie bytes on how to write a resume.

  • Resume passes review by at least three trusted friends or advisors.

Test Constraint Compatibility

Step 6

Schedule, quantity, resource and quality constraints are interdependent. Changes to one constraint must be offset by changes to others.


Let's say you've learned about an interesting job, and the application is due two weeks earlier than the due date you set for completing your resume. If you move your due date forward, you'll need to make proportional adjustments to one or more of the other constraints. You don't want to lower the quality standards for your resume. The quantity constraint (1 resume) isn't going to change. This means you need to add more resources, probably by spending more time each week working on your resume.


Let's review the steps involved in using the target grid:

Step 1: Enter a brief description of your target in the center of the grid that answers the question Do what?

Step 2: Add constraints to bring the target into focus by answering the questions:

  • When?

  • How much or how many?

  • Using what?

  • How well?

Step 3: Test your constraints to ensure they are compatible with one another.

Here's one final example to reinforce what you've learned. Let's say your goal is to learn a new language. Your target grid might look like this:

Take Action

Write at least three goals for yourself using the target grid.

Here are some sample target descriptions to kick start your thinking about goals you may want to set.

  • Choose a career path

  • Learn how to use a spreadsheet

  • Expand my circle of friends.

  • Save money for the future.

  • Keep a journal.

  • Complete Rumie bytes

  • Learn how to play an instrument.

  • Do volunteer work.

  • Stay physically fit.

  • Perform acts of kindness.


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