D5: An Insightful Approach to Setting and Achieving Goals

by | Jan 22, 2024 | Aha! Life, Career, Life Lessons

Goal setting is more than just charting a course for success, it involves a deeper understanding of who you truly are. Research indicates a significant relationship between our personality and our goals. In this article, you’ll learn about the D5 process and how your personality (self-assessment) influences the way you set and achieve goals, which can lead to greater success and fulfillment.

In the journey of personal development and goal achievement, understanding the relationship between our personalities and our aspirations is key. This is where the D5™ Steps to Setting & Achieving Goals and the Big Five personality traits creates an illuminating and transformative experience.

Through the D5 steps, we embark on a path not just to achieve what we desire, but to uncover the core of our being. Each step in this method is a unique opportunity to reflect on how our personalities shape our goals and the strategies we use to achieve them. As we dive into this process, prepare to gain not just success in achieving your goals, but also deeper insights into who you truly are.

Primer on the D5™ Steps to Setting & Achieving Goals

During my time in graduate school, a unique idea came to life: the D5 model. This model was born from blending various theories and concepts I was studying, all focused on improving individual and team performance. It’s been over two decades since then, and D5 has become an integral part of my life, both personally and professionally.

Remarkably, D5 has proven to be more than a tool for enhancing performance; it is a powerful method for setting and achieving goals. In recent years, I’ve had the rewarding experience of sharing D5 with others and coaching them in applying the methodology to their own goal-setting journeys. It’s a fulfilling transition, seeing a concept from my academic days evolve into a practical and valuable tool to support others in achieving their aspirations.

Imagine D5 as a path that leads you not only towards achieving your goals but also towards a deeper understanding of yourself. This is what the D5 method offers – a structured, yet highly reflective and personal approach to goal setting and achievement. Each of the D5™ steps – Define, Discover, Design, Do, and Document – plays a crucial role in the process:

  1. Define: Identify your goal with clarity and precision. This is where you articulate exactly what you want to achieve and why it is important. You explore and understand the motivations behind your goal, and how it aligns with your personal values and strengths.
  2. Discover: Gather information about the goal you intend to achieve. The more knowledgeable you are, the more confident you will feel.
  3. Design: Develop a plan or strategy on how to achieve your goal, considering potential challenges and opportunities. Detail specific actions and timelines. Identify partners or supporters who can help you.
  4. Do: Take action! Implement your plan with focus and determination. Mark milestones along the way.
  5. Document: Keep track of your progress, reflect on your journey, and adjust your plan as needed. Celebrate small wins along the way and goal success.

By following these steps, you’re not just working towards a target; you’re engaging in a process that reveals and respects your unique personality and approach to life and your goals.

The Big 5 Personality Traits

The Big Five Personality Traits (also known as the Five-Factor Model or OCEAN model) weren’t developed by a single psychologist’s theory but emerged from various research efforts that began in the 1800’s and continued throughout the 1990’s. The collective efforts of researchers over the years continued to refine the model to the framework used today. In goal setting and achievement, the Big Five Personality Traits offer a fascinating lens through which we can view and understand ourselves better. This insight can lead to greater success.

The traits include Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Below is a brief description of behaviors and tendencies of a person with high scores on the traits.

  1. Openness – often seen as adventurous, creative, curious, and open to new ideas and experiences.
  2. Conscientiousness – people who are high in conscientiousness tend to be meticulous, well-organized, responsible, and self-disciplined.
  3. Extraversion – people high in extraversion are typically characterized as outgoing, energetic, more assertive, and tend to gain energy from being around others.
  4. Agreeableness – reflects a person’s propensity towards cooperation, kindness, compassion, and harmony.
  5. Neuroticism – often experience mood fluctuations and are more prone to feelings of anxiety, worry, fear, frustration, envy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness.

D5 and the Big Five: Decoding Personality in Goals

Understanding these traits can profoundly impact how we approach the D5 process or any approach we use to set and achieve goals. Each step of Define, Discover, Design, Do, and Document can be influenced by our traits, from the conception of our goal to the execution and achievement.

Examples of how D5 and the Big Five Personality Traits work together in the goals process are:


A person high in Openness might define goals that are innovative, involve learning new skills, or exploring uncharted areas.

Those high in Conscientiousness often set goals that are structured and detailed. They might define objectives that involve career advancement or achieving high levels of proficiency in their skills.

The person high in Extraversion may define goals that involve social elements, such as expanding their social network, public speaking, or leading team projects.

Agreeable people tend to set goals that involve helping others or building relationships, volunteer work, mentoring, or improving team dynamics at work.

Individuals with higher levels of Neuroticism might set goals aimed at reducing stress or managing their wellbeing, such as practicing mindfulness or creating a more balanced lifestyle.


A person high in Openness may seek diverse and unconventional sources of information. They may explore new and emerging fields or seek inspiration from a variety of sources.

Those high in Conscientiousness are likely to approach this step in a methodical and organized manner. They might focus on gathering detailed and reliable information from reputable sources.

The person high in Extraversion might lean towards interactive ways of gathering information, such as networking, attending workshops or seminars, or actively seeking advice and insights from others.

Agreeable individuals may focus on gathering information in ways that ensure collaboration and positive interactions. They are inclined to seek consensus and advice from others.

Those with higher levels of Neuroticism might be more cautious and anxious in their approach, tend toward a focus on risks and challenge, and information that will help them build resilience.


Individuals high in Openness may design flexible and innovative plans. They are likely to incorporate creative approaches and be open to altering their plans as new ideas and opportunities arise.

Conscientious individuals typically design detailed and well-organized plans. They prefer structured approaches with clear steps and deadlines.

Extraverts might design plans that involve social elements, such as teamwork or networking, and collaborative projects or roles that require engagement with others.

People high in Agreeableness are likely to design plans that consider the needs and inputs of others. They might focus on collaborative efforts and team dynamics.

Those with higher Neuroticism might design plans with a focus on mitigating risks and managing stress – strategies for dealing with obstacles, setbacks, or stressors.


Those high in Openness are likely to be adaptable, embracing new challenges as they work towards their goals.

Conscientious individuals are likely to follow their plans closely, paying attention to details and maintaining a high level of organization.

Extraverted people might prefer action-oriented environments that involve others. They might thrive in team settings, drawing energy from the social dynamics.

Those high with Agreeableness are likely to seek consensus and work collaboratively, ensuring their progress is in line with their values of empathy and cooperation.

Individuals with higher levels of Neuroticism might approach this step with caution, possibly with anxiety or stress about executing their plans. They would benefit from having strategies to manage stress and emotional responses.


Highly Open individuals may approach documentation with a focus on creativity and exploration. They may enjoy capturing their journey through journaling, blogging, or completing a journey map.

Those high in Conscientiousness are likely to be thorough and detailed in documenting their journey. They may keep records of their progress, analyze data, and plan future steps with precision. Documentation will be systematic and organized.

Extraverted people might document their process in a way that involves sharing with others, like through social media or group discussions.

Individuals with high levels of Agreeableness may focus on the relational aspects of their journey in their documentation. They may reflect on teamwork, cooperation, and interpersonal relationships they’ve made or nurtured.

Those higher in Neuroticism may pay particular attention to the challenges in their documentation. Their reflections could focus on how they managed stress and anxiety.

In summary, when you have a clear understanding of your traits – whether you’re high in Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, or Neuroticism – you can tailor each step of the D5 process (Define, Discover, Design, Do, Document) to your personal strengths and tendencies. This self-awareness allows for a more personalized and effective approach to goal setting and achievement, ensuring that your strategies resonate with your inherent personality, and leading to greater success and fulfillment.

For more information on the D5 steps to setting and achieving your goals, email me at tonya@yourahalife.com. I have a D5: Aha! Goals System complete with a card deck of insightful questions, journal, and journey map that will guide you in applying D5 to setting and achieving your goals. It’s my gift to you!

If you want to learn more about the Big Five Personality Traits and take the self-assessment, click here.

#yourahalife #healthyachieving #selfknowledge #d5ahagoals #bigfive #goals


University of California – Davis. (2020, September 16). People’s life goals relate to their personality type. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 20, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200916135605.htm

Olivia E. Atherton, Emiily Grijalva, Brent W. Roberts, Richard W. Robins. “Stability and Change in Personality Traits and Major Life Goals from College to Midlife.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2020, DOI: 10.1177/0146167220949362.

Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you find this article informative and that it helps you to see how your personality plays a key role in how you successfully set and achieve your goals. Please share the article with your friends.

If you are not a member of the Your Aha! Life Global Community, I invite you to subscribe today. You’ll receive my monthly newsletter and other member perks.

Want to connect with me personally? I’d love that. Email me at tonya@yourahalife.com and follow me on any of my social handles. I look forward to getting to know you and continuing our journeys together.

This is the year of AWE!

Learn My Story


Search Posts by Topic

Search Posts by Date

Be Social

Share This