Game On! The Rules of Setting Goals

After my husband explained the rules of football, it became a lot more interesting. As he says, “If you know the rules, you understand the battle.” It got me thinking that setting goals is similar. You are much more likely to reach a goal if you know the rules.


In football, the goal is to make a touchdown. The team in possession of the ball has 4 chances to advance 10 yards toward their goal. If they make that, they get another 4 chances to advance another 10 yards.


The other team is trying to prevent the advance toward the goal by tackling the player carrying the ball or by intercepting the ball when it is thrown. Players need to change course as they encounter obstacles. Breaking the rules can cause penalties and result in a loss of ground. A touchdown is worth 6 points, and the scoring team can gain an additional point if the football is kicked through the goal posts. A field goal is worth 3 points. The reward for getting the most points is winning!

Have a Game Plan

No matter what goal you choose, you need to have a game plan, and it helps to have targets along the way to the goal. Grab a copy of the Goal Shift Chart at Choosing Goals to create your game plan.

Here are rules for goal-setting:

  1. Goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, rewarded, and time bound.)
  2. Goals must be written.
  3. Players must choose which strategies will likely gain the most points.
  4. Players must know the steps to take and have a game plan of action.
  5. Players must be prepared to make decisions and change direction when obstacles are encountered.
  6. Players must take action to advance toward the targets.
  7. The desire to achieve the goal must outweigh opposition.
  8. Players must keep the goal in sight, and always be aware of where the ball is on the field.
  9. Players must always know how much time is left on the clock and review progress regularly.
  10. Outstanding players develop skills and are determined to win.

Learn more with the Daily PlanIt eBook, “Get Goaling.”

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in goals
5 comments on “Game On! The Rules of Setting Goals
  1. Darren Tong says:

    Nice post! I like the way you’ve made a potentially complex concept more accessible with the football/soccer metaphor.

    I agree with all your points, particularly on being SMART. We had a post on AE about goals last week, and the importance of goals in resolution setting and achieving change. Check it out – I think you’ll enjoy it!

    Kind regards,


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