Your Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting: North Star Objectives

9 min read
North Star Goal Setting

Your Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

North Star Goal Setting is extremely powerful when done right. That’s why we want to give you the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting Using North Star Goals, with practical examples and an interactive goal-setting worksheet. But first …

Imagine your ideal life in 5-10 years, where you are enjoying feeling accomplished and successful.

What had to happen in your life to experience your desired level of success? What did you accomplish? Who did you become?

When it comes to goal-setting theory, it’s important for you to ask yourself, what does success look like for you?

Before you can begin any journey, you have to know where you’re going. You can’t set effective long-term goals without a compelling vision of success.

Until you have a vision of success that you truly connect with and that inspires you, you can’t create meaningful or motivating life goals.

“Every goal, long-term and short-term goals, need to be rooted in a vision of success.” Tweet this!

How Do You Measure Success?

When it comes to defining success, there’s no “right” way to do it. 

Some people measure success by their bank account, others by their family. Some people won’t feel successful until they’re a CEO, others when they’ve lost 30 pounds. 

Success can take many forms, including:

  • Professional: Reaching a career milestone or status. 
  • Monetary: Making a certain amount of money. 
  • Network: Curating a high-quality professional network. 
  • Health: Reaching a certain level of physical fitness.
  • Hobbies: Becoming the best at your personal interests. 
  • Family: Becoming a better father, mother, husband, wife, sibling, etc. 
  • Charity: Donating a certain amount of time, money, or resources to a cause. 

None of these are inherently right or wrong; it’s all about what resonates with you. 

To complete your own goal-setting worksheets, we have created a free interactive North Star Strategy Template to guide you

Stop Setting Weak Goals!

The reason some goals don’t work is if people take the wrong approach; their ambitions are either too grounded or too lofty. The truth is, when it comes to setting effective goals, it takes a little of both. 

“You need long-term aspirational objectives and you also need tactical day-to-day goals.”

Now that you’ve defined success, you need a way to measure it to know when you have achieved your goals. That’s where North Star Objectives come in.

That’s what we’ll talk about today — the missing pieces to goal-setting mastery.

Setting the Destination: North Star Objectives

When people ask for an example of goal setting or what goal setting is and why it is important, we always point to North Star goal setting as a leading example.

Read on to find out what a North Star Objective is and what the meaning of North Star is in business. 

What Are North Star Objectives?

North Star Objectives are long-term, high-level, aspirational goals that motivate, inspire, and uplift you as the goal-setter.

You’ll know you’ve created an effective North Star Objective when the mere thought of it leaves you feeling excited, energized, and motivated; even if you don’t know how you’re going to make it a reality.

Think of them the way sailors view the North Star: A way to stay on course, no matter where you are. And if you don’t know where to go or what to do, all it takes is a quick glance to get back on track.

How To Create a North Star Objective and Achieve Your Goals

State your North Star Objective as if you have already achieved it, and be as specific as you can about the amount and time frame.

Let’s take a look at a few North Star Objective examples …

  • Professional: I am one of the top-ten venture capitalists in my industry in 2027.
  • Monetary: By December 2027, I have accrued a net worth of over $3M.
  • Network: I have tripled the number of referrals generated by my network from 2023-2025.
  • Health: I am the fastest cyclist in my Strava network in 2024, continuing to notice marked improvements in fitness and increased energy.
  • Hobbies: I am mastering my golf game and consistently score an average of 90 points or below between 2023 and 2025.
  • Family: I dedicate Saturday and Sunday entirely to my family.
  • Charity: I donate a total of $1M to causes I care about between 2023 and 2027.

Notice that the North Star Objective examples above don’t say exactly how those results will be realized; they just provide the direction with a clear deadline. That’s all that’s required.

What Makes North Star Objectives so Effective as a Goal-Setting Template?

Unlike goals outlined in other approaches, North Star Objectives aren’t necessarily pragmatic or utilitarian, and that’s okay; their strategic value isn’t in dictating exactly what needs to be done. It’s in their ability to empower their owner.

“Your North Star Objective must resonate uniquely with you.” 

Like true motivation, it shouldn’t be influenced by outside expectations or limitations.

What Are North Star Principles?

North Star principles are the coordinates for where you want to go in life; the driving force behind your thoughts, behaviors, and interactions.

North Star objectives are aspirational goals that have two defining characteristics: 

  1. A personally-motivating vision 
  2. A clear deadline

Create your North Star Goal Objective by combining your definition of success with a due date. 

Keep it top-of-mind by integrating it into Asana (or whatever system you use for task management).

“Like the North Star, goals are only as useful as they are visible.” Tweet this!

Plotting the Course: Goal Tests

North Star Objectives give you a clear picture of your destination but don’t tell you how to get there. For that, you need goal tests.

Goal tests are the tactical foundation for North Star Objectives. They’re specific, easy to understand, and, most importantly, easy to measure.

Goal tests look similar to the objectives you’d create with other goal-setting approaches, with one major difference — goal tests are always written in a clear “yes-or-no” format.

Think of goal tests as stepping stones toward your North Star Objective or actions you must take to turn your vision into reality.

“Turn your vision into reality.”

Setting North Star Objectives and Goals

Goal tests are tactical short-term tasks that move you closer to your North Star Objective. 

They have three defining characteristics: 

  1. An action item.
  2. A yes-or-no format.
  3. A completion date (even if it’s repeating).

What Is Your North Star?

People ask about the meaning of North Star in business, so let’s look at a few examples of goal-setting tests for the following North Star Objective: 

“I am one of the top-ten venture capitalists in my industry by 2028.”

Goal Tests:

Notice that none of the goal tests above leave any room for ambiguity. At the end of the day, week, or month, you either completed them or you didn’t. Yes or no. There’s no “maybe” or “kind of,” and you can’t say you didn’t know what you had to do.

Begin Your Success Journey Now!

If there’s one thing we’d ask of you, it’s that you do not close this article intending to follow through on it “later.” 

To put it simply, life is too busy for “later,” and even with the best of intentions, “later” usually means “never.”

“Later” means “never.” If you’re serious about your success, start now. Tweet this!

If you’re serious about your success, start now. Use your free North Star Objective Template, which includes video examples and an interactive template, to make the process easy, effective, and fun.

Grab a piece of paper or open a blank document and complete the following tasks:

  • Define your vision of success. What needs to happen in the coming months and years for you to feel truly successful?
  • Create your North Star Objective. Write down as many as you can, then choose the one that makes you feel most excited, motivated, and fulfilled.
  • Create your goal tests. Find at least three different tasks you can begin executing this week or, even better, right now.

“Success is the result of planning, and there’s no better planning than goal-setting.”

Your Next Steps: North Star Goal Setting …

  1. Click here to get instant access to your free North Star Objective Template.
  2. Use the goal-setting worksheet and video examples to create your very own powerful goals.
  3. Create at least three goal tests to move you closer to your North Star Objective. 
  4. Make these as visible as possible. Integrate them into your task management system, make them a screen saver, and review them at least once a day.
  5. Share your North Star Objectives and Goals with others to increase accountability and dramatically increase your chances of success.*

*Special Bonus: Share Your North Star Objective & Apply for a Free Coaching Session

Let us help you reach your true potential. 

Share your North Star Objective and apply for a free coaching session. More details are in the North Star Objective Template.

Please share this with anyone who you feel will benefit. What greater gift can we give than the tools and techniques to help someone achieve their ultimate goals and a better future? 

We look forward to hearing from you once you have set your North Star Objectives and Goals. Let us know how you get on, and remember that we have a select number of free coaching sessions available to help move things forward with the best possible support. 

Instant Access: Free Goal-Setting Template

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