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The 5W'S Complete Goal Setting Framework

Make Better Goals
Gain Perfect Clarity Around What You Want to Accomplish
Increase Your Chances of Achieving Your Goal


The 5W’S Complete Goal-Setting Framework is about setting big, meaningful goals that are whole and complete. It dramatically increases your chance of achieving your goal. It is an acronym for seven words. The ‘5W’ stands for the following five words: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The letter ‘S’ stands for Specific. It also includes the word Complete. The questions around how you are going to achieve your goal are part of a different exercise. It is important to separate the two. Creating the goal comes first. The goal must be your own, not one set for you by others. And the goal must be aligned with who you are and where you are going. Note that we sometimes refer to this method as the Five W's Complete Goal-Setting Framework.


Here are the definitions of the seven words. They are presented in a somewhat different order, that makes thinking about your goal easier.

  • Specific. When going through this exercise, make sure you use very specific numbers, priorities, dates, and times.

  • Complete. Your goal should complete a major project or effort: everything is done, and you have received all your desired results.

  • What. What is the problem, issue, or opportunity you want to work on? This is a short statement , usually twenty words or less, that can be easily understood by others.

  • Where. Think about a map. Where are you now? Where do you want to be?

  • When. When do you need to start? When do you need to finish?

  • Who. Who can you model? Who is an expert? Who can help you?

  • Why. Why is this goal important to you? Why is it important for others? Why does it need to be done right now?

Explore our solutions to learn more about The 5W'S Complete Goal-Setting Framework and how we can help you transform your life.

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