What is a Goal Tree and How To Create One Now

Plus Examples Of Goal Setting Diagrams For Achieving Success

In this article, we are going to explore the use of a goal tree for your personal goal setting. You will also find several goal tree examples. To help you select, set, and achieve your goals in life.

So, let’s get moving…

What Is A Goal Tree?

First of all, a goal tree is a tool used to outline and visualize the milestones required to achieve a challenging long-term objective.

It was popularized in 2 books written by Bill Dettmer:

Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints: A Systems Approach to Continuous Improvement

The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving

Furthermore, a goal tree includes 3 major components:

  • A challenging long-term goal
  • Critical success factors (CSFs) that are necessary to achieve the goal
  • Necessary conditions required to meet the CSFs

As a result, a goal tree diagram looks like this:

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Theoretical drawing of a goal tree

Next, I will explain why the goal tree approach is important. And how to use it to ensure success with your personal goal setting…

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Why Is A Goal Tree Important?

A goal tree is important because it requires you to align and interconnect your goals across time and purpose.

First, by connecting your long-term goals with your medium-term goals. Then by requiring you to set short-term goals that must be accomplished first. Helping to ensure the successful completion of your objectives in the distant future.

As a result, a goal tree populated with goals encourages good decision-making about what to work on now. And what is important today, next week, and next month. In pursuit of goals that may not be fully accomplished for several years.

How To Create A Goal Tree In 4 Steps

Here are the steps to create a goal tree:

  1. Establish a vision for a future state
  2. Determine a long-term goal that supports the vision
  3. Create supporting medium-term goals
  4. Make short-term goals to work on now

Thus, your goal tree will look like this:

goal tree drawingPin
Goal tree with short, medium, and long-term goals

While you should have only 1 long-term goal. There can be as many short and medium-term goals as necessary.

Let’s talk about each of these steps for creating a goal tree in a little more detail…

Establish A Vision For A Future State

Before setting goals, I suggest creating a vision for the future. Simply because if you can envision it, you can achieve it. Whatever, “it” is.

Dream big. Because you are only limited by your thoughts.

Determine A Long-Term Goal That Supports The Vision

Then turn your vision into a long-term goal.

First of all, a goal is a desired outcome that is specific and measurable. Furthermore, a long-term goal typically takes at least 5 years to achieve.

Create Supporting Medium-Term Goals

Next, determine the necessary medium-term goals to accomplish your long-term goal. Medium-term goals can be accomplished in more than 1, but less than 5 years.

Make Short-Term Goals To Work On Now

Finally, determine the things that need to be accomplished within the next 12 months. These activities should support your medium-term goals.

They represent the tasks to get busy on right away. To ensure success in the more distant future.

So, now you know the theory. And how this tool can be used for your personal goal setting.

Next, let’s look at some examples of goal tree drawings. To bring the theory to life.

Goal Tree Example #1: Personal Goals

Your personal goals for development relate closely to your friends, family, life experiences, and beliefs.

Here’s a goal-setting tree example for a personal goal:

personal goalsPin

Goal Tree Example #2: Financial Goals

Financial goals relate to your money, financial security, and funds required for important things in life.

Here is a goal tree template for a financial goal:

financial goalsPin

Furthermore, make sure you have the right tools to achieve your money goals. For this, I suggest the free online tool from Personal Capital.

Goal Tree Example #3: Career Goals

Career goals relate to your professional development. For your work and your job.

Below is a goal tree analysis for an employment goal:

Career goalsPin

And for a great-looking resume? I recommend MyPerfectResume.

Goal Tree Example #4: Business Goals

If you own and operate a business. That’s where your business goals come into play.

However, you may work for a company. And your employer might ask you to set goals for the business periodically.

Using the goal tree approach, here is an example:

business goals examplesPin

Outsourcing non-core processes is a typical business goal. For example, accounting, tax, and financial management.

So, if you need help with your business finances. Look for full-service financial management at a reasonable price.

Goal Tree Example #5: Lifelong Learning Goals

Never stop learning. That’s what I like to say. And that’s what the best lifelong learning goal examples are all about.

Goals of this nature focus on education and personal development. But, after your formal classroom education requirements have been met.

Here’s a goal-setting tree for this type of goal:

Examples of learning goalsPin

Goal Tree Example #6: Fitness Goals

Finally, if you are like me. You could stand to improve your fitness level. That’s what your fitness goals are all about.

Most importantly, to be your best. You should feel your best.

Here’s an example…


Tips For Setting And Achieving Your Goals

The tools and tips I have shared today are a great way to structure your goals. And for making sure they work well together.

However, it’s important to set your goals properly. Also, develop good habits that will keep you on track for success.

So, here are a few tips about goal setting, making a continuous effort, and monitoring your progress.

Put Your Goals In Writing

Be very detailed and specific about what your want to accomplish. And when.

Thus, your objective trees become “the big picture” view. To make sure all of your goals and activities complement each other.

While your written goals are the nitty-gritty detail.

Review Your Goals Frequently

Reviewing your objectives will keep them fresh in your mind. Then as you establish your daily and weekly to-do lists.

Make sure you have one or more tasks to complete. In support of your goals.

Work Hard And Work Smart

Accomplishing challenging goals is difficult. So, be prepared to commit and work hard on your action plan.

But work smart too.

Ask yourself if you are working on the right things. And working on them in the right way.

Monitor Your Progress

Things can and will come up. To throw you off track.

Thus, it’s important to make an honest assessment of your progress several times per year. Then adapt as necessary to stay on track.

On a more positive note, you may quickly accomplish some short-term goals. As you do, slot in some new ones that support your medium-term critical success factors.

Okay. Now it’s time for you to get busy setting and achieving your goals.

But first, allow me to recap…

Summary: Understanding And Using Goal Trees

Goal trees are a visualization and sequencing tool. They help you take your vision for the future and break it down into smaller attainable objectives. Using project management concepts.

As a result, your goals are aligned from short to long-term. And you have a better chance of accomplishing your hopes and dreams.

Create your objective trees using these steps:

  1. Establish a vision for a future state
  2. Determine a long-term goal that supports the vision
  3. Create supporting medium-term goals
  4. Make short-term goals to work on now

Finally, get busy, work hard, and good luck!

More Reading To Be The Best You Possible!

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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The conclusion is written on a whiteboard

Read more articles about how to set goals.

What Is A Goal Tree And How To Create One Explained