How Does Your Personality Type Impact Goal Setting?

We are all different, and these differences are reflected in not only the way we train, but in the way we set our goals. Whether on the roads or in the office, how we approach planning is very dependent upon the way we best operate mentally. Are we organized to a T? Or do we just go with the flow? How we function is critical to how we should set ourselves up best for success. 

No matter your personality type, one thing that remains a staple in goal setting is to follow the SMART model:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Timely


Let’s take a dive into goal setting and how you may want to either continue the path you are on or take a step back and perhaps recognize that for you there may be a better way to view your goals. Below will be 4 sets of questions (each contains 4 questions) that you can answer honestly (and it is important, to be honest with yourself!) and then review what these answers reflect about yourself. At the end of each section, you will add up the amount of either A or B answers you have selected.

What Type of Thinker Are You?

Are you: 

  1. A. logical/ thinking/ questioning type 
    B. more empathetic/ feeling/ accommodating
  1. A. candid/ straightforward
    B. tactful/ kind
  1. A. firm and tend to criticize
    B. tend to appreciate
  1. A. more tough-minded
    B. tender-hearted

Your answer responses:

If you answered more A’s: this indicates that you are inclined to be a problem/issue thinker first,

If you answered more B’s: this indicates that you are more of a people-first thinker.

So what does this mean for your goal setting?

If you are a problem-oriented thinker: consider thinking more about how others in your life may fit into your goal process. This can be family, friends, your coach, etc. These individuals are an important piece of your life and should be included in your goals. 

If you are more people-oriented: make sure that when you set your goal, you include parts there that are just for you. Make sure you are giving yourself something to look forward to, not just what is in it for others. 


Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

Are you:

  1. A. A person who expends more energy and enjoys groups 
    B. Prefers small one-to-one.
  1. A. More outgoing and think out loud 
    B. Prefer to think to yourself
  1. A. Likes public activities and interacting with others
    B. Quiet and like to concentrate
  1. A. Consider yourself more communicative and expressive
    B. More reserve and keep to yourself 

Your answer responses:

If you answer more A’s: then you are extroverted and gain energy by being around others. It is important for you to talk to others about your goal; this may be a coach, partner, or mentor. Take this knowledge of yourself and learn to share it with others. 

If you answered more B’s: then this reflects a more introverted personality. You are energized by a calm setting rather than chaos. You prefer to reflect and think about a goal independently. Be sure to take your time to create this goal for yourself. Time is important in being reflective and not coming to your goal too quickly. This does not mean you shut others out, but don’t want to be too quick to create your goals.


Follow Your Gut or Follow the Plan?

Are you:

  1. A. More practiced and realistic 
    B. More imaginative or innovative
  1. A. More standard and conventional
    B. Different or unique
  1. A. Tend to focus on the present moment and give a personal viewpoint
    B. Look to the future and think of a global perspective
  1. A. Rely upon logical facts
    B. Philosophical and dream a lot

Your answer responses: 

If you answered more A’s: You tend to create extremely challenging goals, to the point where you may not accomplish them. You are okay with this though because for you it is about the process of getting to the goal, not just the goal itself. Be sure that when setting goals, you are not overwhelming yourself to create something that is impossible. 

If you answered more B’s: You are an individual who really goes off of your gut instinct. You may create goals based on something that inspires you and are looking far into the future. You may not be thinking of the challenging nature of the goal because for you it sounds cool and fun. When approaching goal setting, try to encourage yourself to keep the challenging aspect of the goal intact. This can help you maintain motivation. 


Formal or Fluid Goal Setting?

Are you:

  1. A. Organized and orderly
    B. Flexible and adaptable
  1. A. Have a plan and schedule
    B. More spontaneous and unplanning
  1. A. More structured
    B. Easy going
  1. A. Like to be prepared and plan
    B. Prefer to adapt and go with the flow. 

Your answer responses:

If you answered more A’s: Try not to make your goal-setting such a formal process…you already live this way! Try to work on considering others’ advice and listen to those who are also invested in this goal with you. 

If you answered more B’s: You tend to treat your goal setting as a more fluid process, your plan is an outline that can be adaptable. Keeping this in mind: work on limiting procrastination. Consider asking someone to review your process before implementing it into action! 


Goal setting is not always easy. It starts with you having an idea and then watching this idea sprout into actionable steps. Utilize the tools of setting S.M.A.R.T goals. The key is to revisit your goal-setting steps along the way. It is also important that you revisit your goal every now and then. Being honest with yourself and others may seem daunting, but can ultimately help to set yourself up for success. 

Suzie is a Wahoo Sports Science Coaching Specialist, with a focus on expanding the resources and offerings for muti-sport and off-road athletes. Suzie earned a Master’s Degree from Springfield College in Exercise Science and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Cycling Level 3, USA Triathlon Level 1, and USA Track and Field Level 1 Certified Coach. Over the years, Suzie has coached an array of age group athletes as well as elite groups such as the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, Colorado Springs SWAT Team and K9 Unit, and the US Army 10th Special Forces Group. In addition to training others, Suzie is a professional triathlete with a full Xterra race schedule. As an amateur, she won multiple National and World Championship titles, and since turning professional in 2010, she has won 3 Xterra Elite National Championships, 14 International Xterra races, and finished in the Top 5 at five World Championship events, with her best finishes being 3rd at both the 2016 Xterra and ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.
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