Background: Effective goal setting is a vital component of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs. Objective: The objectives of this study were to investigate the types of goals set by patients attending a CR program in a tertiary teaching hospital and the compatibility of the goals set with the patient's risk factor profile. Methods: A descriptive, cross sectional, retrospective audit of the medical records of patients who attended the CR program in a tertiary teaching hospital in Sydney NSW between January 2007 and December 2009 was undertaken. The medical records of 355 patients who attended CR within the stipulated time frame were audited. Results: Short and long term goals were set by 104 and 50 patients, respectively. Four themes identified in the analysis of the goal data were reducing behavioural risk factors for further cardiovascular events, improvements in physical symptoms, enhancing mental well being and return to normal life. The majority of the goals related to physical activity (82%). Conclusion: Collaborative goal setting and the need to establish goals that are attainable and correspond with the patient's health behaviours and clinical measures that require modification is vital.