In systems engineering you have the main product or system you are trying to build. That system is made up of sub-systems that have their own specifications. When you attempt to model the system you take all the sub-system pieces and their errors and add those errors up. This gives you the performance of the main system as a whole (I am simplifying this quite a bit but it is close enough for understanding my main point). If the final errors don’t give you the specification you need to sell the system then you have to reevaluate the sub-system errors and perhaps redesign or change some of the sub-systems.
This pattern is what one uses to evaluate your goals. We assume you are somewhat clear on your main overarching goal. Perhaps this is a big goal such as a 6 figure business. To make this happen you have sub-goals that have targets that support the main goal of a six figure business. What is useful is to evaluate how your sub-goals support your main goal.
For example, perhaps one of your sub-goals is to become a better short story writer. The next question is to ask how this sub-goal supports my main goal. If your business isn’t about writing it may be a stretch to believe it belongs as a sub-goal.
Now this example is a bit farfetched but I assure you that if you look at your sub-goals you will find some that don’t support your primary goal.
The reason this usually happens is that most people build their systems bottom up; in our case this means writing down the sub-goals first and shoehorning them into the overall structure.
The best way to do these kinds of goals is first top down. Start with your primary desire. Then break down this into the necessary pieces to accomplish the primary goal. Then specify how the primary goal is supported by the pieces. This second action is doing bottom up the right way. After you put the pieces together you analyze how the pieces support the top goal. This interaction between top down and bottom up shows where you are missing essential pieces and creating pieces that are extraneous.
Another advantage to this method is by doing this you become clear; on what you are striving for and by what means.