How to Set Goals and What is Goal Setting

My goal for this article is to demonstrate how easy it can be for you to set goals so that you can achieve all those things you want to accomplish in life.  It is important to know that goal setting is an action that many people tend to put off, even though it is an extremely important principle in achieving real success.  The type of success to which I am referring consists of you being in charge of your own life and doing all the things that you want to do when you want to do them.  This type of success allows you to have peace. Am I saying that all of life’s problems will go away if you set goals?  No, but setting goals will allow you to handle them with more ease and efficiency.


So, start thinking about setting goals and about writing them down.  There are a few reasons that most people don’t write down their goals.  I believe the first is that they really don’t know what they want, and the second is that they don’t know how to set up a plan for achieving.  Writing a list of goals is not like making a New Year’s resolution.  For instance, just to say you are going to lose weight and not write down a plan of how you are going to accomplish it is a sign of sure failure.  To be successful at losing weight, you need to write down a list of exercises that you will do everyday.  You will have to list how many repetitions you are going to do for each exercise.  This way, in a couple of weeks, you can see if your plan is helping you accomplish the goal you have set for yourself.  Are you losing weight and inches, or do you need to change something in your plan?  If you are doing the same exercises for a month and you don’t see anything change in your body frame, you know for sure that you either need to up the reps, up your intensity, or find different exercises.  Writing down your workout keeps you focused everyday and allows you to check your progress.  The same is true for other life goals.

There has been some controversy about a study that was said to have been done by Yale University in the 1950’s.  It was suggested that Yale students had been given one last assignment before graduation – the graduates were to write out their career goals, although only 3% of the students actually did.  Twenty years later, Yale allegedly followed up with all the students; and found that the financial wealth of the 3% that did write their goals down totaled more than the entire combined income of the 97% that did not write down their goals.  Whether this story is true or just another urban legend remains to be seen; but there are people that I know personally who are very successful in their lives and careers, and it’s because they have had (and still have) a plan – a road map, so to speak, of where they are going.
Emmitt Smith, the running back for the Dallas Cowboys football team is a great example of this.  During his rookie season, he wrote out his goals, one of which was to be the all-time leading rusher in the NFL.  Today he is just that; even though some of his teammates thought that his goals were very lofty at the time and that he would never accomplish them.  What some people don’t understand is that there is power and promise in writing out your goals.
Successful people know where they are going, and they don’t have a plan “B”.   Thomas Edison never had a plan “B”.  He was focused on finding a way to make a light bulb shine.  Yes, he had failures; but he looked at them as having successfully found 1800 substances that would not cause a light bulb to shine.


There are trainers/consultants that teach that you should have a plan “B”, but I would never hire nor recommend for hire anyone who teaches or believes that you should have a plan “B” for your career.  That is double minded and a sure plan for failure.  You will not and cannot be 100% focused on your task at hand if you are spending time trying to figure out what you are going to do if it doesn’t work out.  I hope you will never have to have a brain surgeon working on you thinking about his plan “B.”  I’m quite sure you will want his undivided attention.


So when you consider your goals, think about your:

  • Needs: These are today’s needs (things like your apartment rent, your mortgage, utility payments, car note or notes, insurance, etc.)
  • Wants: These are tomorrow’s needs (a college fund for your children, building your retirement fund, your first home or a bigger home, a new car, or maybe a yearly family vacation, or the ability to give more to your favorite charity.)
  • Desires: These are in your future  (things that people may consider luxuries or things that you would like to have once you have met your financial obligations and other responsibilities.)


Let’s set some goals:

  • Brainstorm and write down all that you want.  To set successful goals you must spend time brainstorming and writing down what it is that you want to accomplish in your life.  If you are married, you need to sit down with your spouse and come to an agreement on what it is that you both want because there is power and promise when you are in agreement with your spouse regarding your future together. You should always have short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals.  I interview people for open job positions that our company is offering; and if the person I interview doesn’t have one-year and five-year goals, it is not likely that I will present him or her to my client.  Not having a goal indicates to me that a person has no focus or thought for their future.
  • Lay out your plan of how you will accomplish these goals like I discussed earlier regarding the exercise plan.  For instance, if you are in sales, figure out how many calls you will have to make weekly to accomplish the financial reward that you are looking for.  If you are in customer service, figure out what it will take for you to be recognized as a superior employee so that you can be promoted to a better financial situation.
  • Put a date on when you will accomplish your goals.
  • Write down those things that could keep you from accomplishing your goals and see if those things are realistic or just fears.  If they are realistic, find someone or something that can help you around it.  It may be your job – your job may not pay enough for you to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself.  Then your goal should be to find a job that will allow you to accomplish your goals.
  • Do not deviate from your plan.  No plan “B”.  It’s always plan “A.”
  • Pull out your goals daily and look at them so that you can stay focused.
  • Evaluate your progress weekly.
  • Hang around people who are excited for you and support you in accomplishing all your goals.  Never listen to people who tell you that “you can’t do anything” or to those people who think that you aren’t smart enough or talented enough to accomplish the thing you desire.
  • Watch what you say.  Stop complaining and start smiling.  No more telling yourself, “I’m not smart enough or talented enough to accomplish my goals.”
  • Spend less time watching TV or listening to trashy talk radio.  Listen daily to CD’s or download podcasts that teach and motivate you, which in turn will help you reach your goals faster.  Utilize YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and even websites of motivational speakers which will allow you download materials for free. You can also download a free Kindle app from Amazon which will allow you to download books through your public library.  New and fresh information is out there for the taking.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Pick a day, start, and never stop.


Good luck; you can do it.