Effective Goal Setting: The Benefits and How You Can Do It Successfully

Androniki Koumadoraki
6 min
Why You Should Set Goals for Your Online Course Business

Goal setting is a year-round activity. We set different types of goals on a daily basis without even realizing it. Small, easily attainable goals, like “I’ll cook my favorite dish for dinner,” or more… challenging goals, like “Today I won’t lose my patience, no matter what!”

In the same way, you make decisions about food and your personal life, you must also make important decisions about your online business, work on your team goals, professional development goals, online academy goals, and so on.

Most people set all their important goals every new year as part of what is known as “New Year’s resolutions.” Our advice is not to leave potentially life-changing goals that could impact your personal development and your business for the New Year.

There’s no better time than the present to start working on your future goals!

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This article is all about goal-setting. We discuss the importance of being goal-specific when it comes to your online business, why you should set outcome goals all year round, why you might be putting it off, and what you gain from achieving each goal, no matter how big or small it might seem. And, of course, we’ll share the secrets to effective goal-setting.

Why You Might be Putting Off Goal-Setting

Have you ever thought about why you’re postponing setting important goals? Perhaps one of the following will resonate with you:

You’re avoiding introspection

When establishing goals, you need to evaluate where you currently stand. Think about the following: “Where am I in relation to where I want to be?” “Why am I not there?” Be it business or personal life, it can be hard to face the truth and make changes.

You have a fear of failure

Goal setting is one aspect of the coin. The other is goal achievement. And it’s at this thought that the fear of failure creeps in (“It sounds hard. What if I don’t make it?”), even subconsciously. That uneasy feeling when you think about your goals that makes you “leave it for another time” is the fear of failure.

You’re reluctant to change

You can’t achieve anything unless you put some effort into it, which often involves new ways of working, thinking, collaborating, and so on. The thing is, change is rarely convenient. We are creatures of habit, after all, so if things are going relatively okay right now, you might get comfortable with that. But being comfortable in business rarely brings progress.

6 Reasons Why Setting Goals (Now) is Important

Setting goals is exciting. It gives you something to work for and anticipate. When it comes to business, it’s not just about the excitement. There are practical reasons too:

1. Goals give you purpose

You have built your online academy and want it to succeed. What does success mean to you, exactly? Do you want to make extra money? Build a huge following? Share your knowledge and passion with the world?

Translate your definition of success into specific, measurable goals. Talk about how you want to make 2,000$ per month, gain 100 new subscribers in two weeks, or release a new eBook in March.

Setting goals is energizing and will keep you focused on the big picture, motivating you to put your best effort forward.

2. Goals motivate you to act

It’s one thing to say, “I want my course to be successful!” and another, “I want to sell 100 courses in 3 months.” The first statement is more of a dream, something abstract. It sounds nice, but it’s so unclear that you don’t even know where to begin to achieve success.

Setting a specific goal is the first step to creating an action plan divided into smaller steps. This will affect your future decision-making and set you on the right path.

For example, you might decide to invest in email marketing tools to capture leads, launch paid ads, etc., to reach more people. Having specific goals in mind, you don’t waste your time, money, and energy on random activities that don’t have a clear scope.

3. Stay ahead

Why go with the flow and not take action now? Be proactive and start planning your next business moves while everyone else is waiting for the New Year to arrive. Calculate your budget for the next year, invest in tools, come up with new course ideas, and align with your collaborators and team members.

4. Beat procrastination

Like Nike’s brilliant slogan says, “Just do it.” Honestly, it all boils down to this. You might have X reasons to postpone goal setting, but procrastination only holds you back and makes you anxious.

If you move past this roadblock, you’ll take the first step to getting over this unhealthy habit and shift from overthinking and procrastinating to doing.

5. Identify issues

To set each one of your goals, you’ll need to know what’s happening in your online academy. You’ll need to assess reports and data and collect customer feedback through customer surveys. Doing so might uncover things that have gotten off the rail (people canceling subscriptions, ineffective email marketing, low engagement in the community) and fix them in time.

6. New Year’s Resolutions Fail

It’s a fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail. We set so many new goals once the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve that we’re bound to bail on most of our promises to ourselves and others.

Especially if your online course business is a side hustle, don’t wait till then to take it seriously. Chances are that organizing your business might be left behind among all the other exciting things you plan to do in 2024. Make your business a success by starting now!

3 Big-Time Benefits of Achieving Your Goals

What does it really mean to achieve a goal? Have you ever thought about it?

1. You develop a new mindset

Setting goals, putting in the hard work, and achieving them will help you create a whole new mindset. Once you start acting instead of sitting passively in the back seat, you set yourself up for success.

You develop agility, problem-solving skills, proactiveness, and resilience. And guess what, every time you achieve a milestone or a short-term goal, that keeps you motivated, and you keep aiming higher and higher.

2. You get a confidence boost

We’ve all felt that sense of pride when we achieve a goal. It’s proof that we can accomplish something once we set our minds on it and commit to it. And that makes us feel good and confident about ourselves.

Confidence has a massive impact on every aspect of our lives, so it’s essential to seize and create opportunities for you to boost your confidence. Even smaller goals can have that effect, so imagine how it feels to be successful in your business.

3. More reasons to reward yourself

Learn to reward yourself each time you achieve a professional or personal goal. This makes pursuing your goals even more worthwhile and gives you an extra incentive to do so.

Rewarding yourself also helps you develop a more healthy relationship with yourself in which you become your own source of motivation, the person who acknowledges and rewards your accomplishments. So as you’re setting your goals, remember also to set your reward!

How to Set Effective Goals

There are two prevailing theories, both tried and tested, to help you set effective goals that you can work towards:

The Goal-Setting Theory

Locke’s goal-setting theory of motivation says that people who set challenging goals, whether personal, business or performance goals, are more likely to succeed than those who set easier ones. Based on that theory, the only reason why some people outperform others is that they have different performance goals.
Here are the five principles of effective goal setting, according to Locke:


This method is so popular it’s synonymous with the goal-setting process, no matter how small or big goals you have. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound.

Let’s see how these would translate into your online course business goals.

🎯 Specific: “I want to gain 1000 new subscribers on my membership site.” (Instead of “I do want to build a successful membership site”)

📏 Measurable: 1000 subscribers is a measurable goal! Another measurable goal would be “I want to increase subscription rates by 10%.”

Attainable: Is it an achievable, realistic goal to gain 10.000 new subscribers in 24 hours? No, it doesn’t seem to be the case!

🤔 Relevant: The goal should be relevant to your broader, long-term goal of building a successful membership site with a large following and making money out of it.

Timebound: Now, let’s make a more specific goal by adding a time frame. This will also add an extra layer of accountability. Now your goal becomes, “I want to gain 1000 new subscribers within the next three months.” It’s smart, and it’s waiting for you to conquer it.

Ready, Set, Goal!

Still thinking about it? Let us give you some further motivation: LearnWorlds offers a 30-day free trial, so you can set goals and achieve them by creating your very own online business to build and promote online courses, coaching programs, training programs, and more! Try LearnWorlds to see how easy it is to build your own online academy with hundreds of options to customize and expand your online business.

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Androniki Koumadoraki
Androniki Koumadoraki

Androniki is a Content Writer at LearnWorlds sharing Instructional Design and marketing tips. With solid experience in B2B writing and technical translation, she is passionate about learning and spreading knowledge. She is also an aspiring yogi, a book nerd, and a talented transponster.