If you don’t set goals in life, what is the reason?
Is it because you don’t know how, don’t believe in it, or are anti-goals?
We were never taught this in school, so you may not know how. If you don’t believe in it, it’s probably because you’ve tried and failed many times.
Some are anti-goals. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits says he doesn’t set goals anymore. He feels more liberated. He lets his passion guide him.
Is this a growing trend?
Just as there’s countless ways to exercise, and different ways to get to your destination, there’s different ways to live your life. If you don’t want to set goals, that’s up to you. It’s your life.
But I believe you feel stuck or want to achieve more in life, goal setting can benefit you. It’ll give you something to aim for instead of wandering through life. It’ll weed out the not so important goals with the ones that really matter.
I’m a on Team Goal Setting. My 2011 would not be the same if I didn’t have a system to start and finish my goals.
I knew what it had done for me, but I wanted to find other people who are Team Goal Setting. Where could I find them?
I went to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and posted my question. This is what I wrote.
I’m working on a post on the power of goal setting. There seems to be a movement where people don’t believe in goal setting. However, I believe in it and want to find others who have consistently used goal setting to achieve their personal and professional goals. How long have you been using goal setting? Why do you believe goal setting works? What are some accomplishments you’ve achieved because of goal setting? If I use your story, I’ll be happy to mention a link to your business or product if you’d like.
I got nearly 50 replies! Way more than I expected. It took so long to sort though them. I couldn’t list every single answer, so I’m sharing eighteen of them.
I really enjoyed reading what they were able to accomplish. Goal setting has helped people start their own business, become a CEO, author books, quit their corporate jobs, travel, work for Playboy and more.
After reading their stories, it convinced me goal setting is a powerful tool for life.
If you want advice on how to do it properly, learn from those who’ve done it with success.
Let’s get started.
I’ve always set goals, but I’ve been extremely proactive about my goal setting in the last year since starting my new health and wellness business (while still working full time!!). I quickly learned to set my goals, create actionable next steps and look at everything “5 at a time;” My 5 most important Goals for the year, my 5 most important goals for the quarter, my 5 most important goals for the month and my 5 most important goals for the day. It sounds tedious, but by breaking it down and only picking the 5 MOST important things for the year, quarter, month and day has helped my business grow hugely and kept me on track.
Goal setting is important because it gives you an outline for your overall “painted picture.” My first step was to create my painted picture which I learned from Cameron Herold, author of Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less, which is basically the vision of your business. Once you have that, it’s important to set goals to push yourself to reach your painted picture. Goal setting is like a map. Without the map, you can’t get to your end destination.
I started a health and wellness business last summer and it has grown exactly into the business I’ve dreamed it would be. It actually grew faster than I was prepared for, but goal setting will allow me to have my dream job in three short years (the original plan was five) and to leave my corporate job. To me, that’s successful goal setting!
Paula Burton, Founder, Urban Girl Wellness
There is a simple formula for success. You have to decide exactly what it is that you want. You set the goal(s), and write it down, post it up where you’ll see it every day.
Then you make the plan – getting help if/when you need it – write it out. Then you work the plan, staying open to opportunity along the way. Then you have to do what it takes to reach the goal, keeping yourself motivated to be able to persevere through the ups and downs.
It’s simple, but not always easy. And most importantly, realizing that you are already successful as soon as you begin to pursue what it is that you really want. It’s not just the achievement that makes a person a success, it’s in the pursuit of their worthy ideal when the success begins.
Wendy Kay, Life Coach
For the last two years, I’ve sat down at the beginning of each year and set 2-3 goals for that year, as well as one goal to achieve over the next five years. I’ve had huge success with it.
But prior to this, for years I would make a list of many goals or “resolutions” I’d like to achieve. It doesn’t work unless you are focused on just a couple goals and they are truly important to you. If you don’t really care about losing 10 lbs, don’t bother including it.
I keep my goals in an excel spreadsheet and at the end of the year rate my success with each one. I try to revisit them quarterly. Since starting this, I’ve achieved each goal, one of which was a life-long dream of starting my own business. I’m sure that 100% is not sustainable, but I’ll take it for now.
Jordan Linville, Founder of Buzzreferrals.com
There are some important elements in setting goals. Here are a few: You cannot control outcomes-only your choices on productivity and direction. You can set measurable goals. It’s good to identify your brand/direction so you can set appropriate goals and have a target to aim at.
Karen H Whiting, Author and speaker
The reason why some people don’t like goals is that they neglect to have a PURPOSE, which is how you benefit, how you grow and transform and become a better person through the accomplishment.
With a strong purpose, the goal-setting and achieving is fulfilling.
Without purpose, goals can be intimidating. People don’t like to fail. If you don’t set a goal, then you don’t risk failure!
We teach that the only failure is a failure to learn. So, with a purpose, the goal gives you DIRECTION. Goals are very important so that you know where you are going and you also know when you have arrived!
I have accomplished many things from setting goals: writing books, teaching, giving lectures, “breaking in” to the corporate world to bring metaphysics to business people, learning skills such as playing the piano, writing proposals which have been accepted at many conferences.
Without goals, I can do a lot of activity and never get anywhere.
Laurel Clark, President, School of Metaphysics
I attribute a large part of my success to goal setting. The majority of the benefit is in setting high, big, lofty goals for one’s self that seem almost impossible.
If I had not written, lofty goals, I would probably be working in a lab as a chemist instead of having started a successful business selling a product of my own invention or had the opportunity to move back to NC to be closer to my family. That is not to say that being a chemist is at all bad, but I feel I have truly accomplished great things in the past 2 years that have taken me off the traditional career path for a PhD Chemist.
Goal setting works for me because it makes me define my dreams and visions for myself. Setting written goals makes me focus on big goals I have for myself, my business, my family etc.
Sharing written goals with other, like-minded people who will support you is also an important piece because it ads an element of accountability. Setting goals and defining your vision makes you a good leader.
Why would anyone follow someone who doesn’t know where they’re going and what they want?
Katie Hughes, PhD, former chemist turned CEO/Founder, Slip-On Dancers: Dance In Your Running Shoes!
Ever since I started setting goals 18 months ago, I decided to resign from my cushy job in banking to pursue my purpose to coach creative professionals and be involved in philanthropy, I’ve lost almost 15 pounds, and wrote my book Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece which was released a few months ago (also available as a kindle ebook on Amazon).
My 3 biggest tips for setting and achieving goals are:
1. Write your goals down and make sure to review your goals at least once every day
2. Create a Plan for Action of major goals along with deadlines for major tasks
3. Find “accountability partners” for support (mentor, friend, Master Mind group of colleagues, spouse or family members)
Alexandra F. Figueredo, Motivation & Success Coach
Goal setting is key for me as it keeps my eyes on the prize and helps me focus on what needs to get done to accomplish my major and intermediate goals. When you have a small business, it is easy to keep yourself busy and get bogged down with the administrative aspects of running the business. However that work will get done, taxes will be dealt with, 1099s will get filed, the printer will get fixed. The bottom line is that finding and keeping customers is key for our success. So while I have a To-Do list that I swear by, the tasks that affect my intermediate goals take priority.
Jen Portland, Founder of Excel Rain Man (Excel outsourcing, customization and education)
I believe goal setting should be taught early and implemented at every age level. Having goals helps you:
- Identify what you want
- Visualize (key element of success!)
- Determine what it’ll take to get there
- Determine what obstacles will need to be overcome
- Measure success.
Without goals, in my opinion, you simply wander through life without direction.
Through the use of goal setting and visualization, I obtained the relationship of my dreams, a VP position of a profitable and growing legal service and the salary I wanted, have improved relationships with my family, and truly become the woman I want to be.
Life is short, so why not go after everything you desire?
Sara Schoonover VP of Ticket Kick (Get rid of traffic tickets in California)
I don’t think just setting a goal is good enough. You need a plan and you need action. When you have all three of those components, you’re more likely to achieve your goal. Figure out what you want to achieve through whatever methods you need to use. Set challenging yet attainable goals. Create a plan. How will you make sure you achieve the goals? Accountability works for me. I’m in a mastermind group.
I tell people about my goals, even if its just informally. Also, this year, some of my goals have inspired a handful of my friends to create similar goals, which is cool in and of itself. But that means, we’re all kind of unofficially checking in and seeing how the other person is doing. Knowing that someone is going to ask gives you that extra nudge to get things done.
Also helpful for me is writing the goals down in some sort of tracker. For a while, I was using the “Get Clients Now” tracker for business goals. Recently a friend gave me a Zig Ziglar inspired journal that I have to track my top goals in every day. Things like that help me stay focused.
[Through goal setting] I got a job. I traveled more in one year than I ever have before. I attended a slew of concerts, which was really terrific for me, because I’m passionate about music. I made a group of great new friends. I produced my first one-day conference, and I coordinated some of the largest networking events in Los Angeles. It’s pretty exhilarating to look back and think about all of those things.
Alaia Williams, Founder One Organized Business
Hello, I have used goals since I was 19 years old, you see I was convicted of a felony when i was 17 (1992) and was pretty much told I would never amount to anything.
However, by using goals I have been able to graduate with three degrees (no one in my family has a college education), I have been able to travel, my jobs have always been based through goals I wanted to achieve, and I have faced many fears also like skydiving and flying.
Now to top it all, I have opened my first small business and I have just finished a manuscript that I’m looking to have published.
Goal setting gives you a direction to go, a timeline to aim for and a prospective on what you might want your life to look like. The key is to realize that a goal need to be flexible, for example I wanted to have my manuscript completed on the 1st of January 2012, but I hope to have the last edit done actually this week now, its OK to be a little behind.
Lance Dzintars-Member, owner of Zaria & Bella’s a small gift and collectibles shop
I have been using goal setting for the last ten years quite successfully! Goal setting works because it causes us to focus in on what’s important in our lives and to look towards the life we want and who we want to be. We are all perfect just the way we are but we all have limitless potential that just remains untapped if we don’t strive to better ourselves.
Through goal setting I have lost over 90lbs, started a business, finished university and even ran a half-marathon.
Therese Lean, Personal health coach & goal-setting maven
I work with women to help them to launch or expand their business. I can’t imagine them not having goals. If you don’t know where you are going you will waste a tremendous amount of time and get nothing done.
I do find that people make “lists”. Perhaps the people who are against goal setting are thinking that a list is a goal?
I work with my ladies to have them develop lists that move their business forward. Just doing tactic list won’t get them very far. I also work with them to develop a vision statement. This helps them to think big and really have a clear set of goals.
Kathy McShane, http://ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct
I have used goal-setting in virtually everything I’ve done since the age of 14 (I’m now 37). Every major success that is “big” has come
from properly setting goals. Some of these accomplishments are:
Athletics – At age 14, I used goal-setting to accomplish my goal of becoming one of the best tennis players in the country scholastically, attending a major university for tennis, and then becoming an ATP Tour tennis professional with a world ranking.
Executive/Business – I used goal-setting to become and thrive at Playboy Enterprises, and then again when I became the Chief Marketing Officer for one of the largest online marketing companies in the world. I’ve just set a bunch of goals recently now, too, because I just launched my own marketing agency.
Author – It had always been a goal of mine to publish. I used goal-setting to get that done, and even wrote a whole chapter about it in The Greatness Gap.
Goal-setting works, quite simply, because it focuses you and keeps you on track. It also works because I happen to use a bunch of short-term goals, which gives me several benchmarks along the way to my long-term goal.
Mike Sprouse, President & CEO, Sprouse Marketing Group, Author of The Greatness Gap and Marketing Muscle
In the fall of 2008 I decided to pursue my jewelry businesses. I had been making jewelry since I was young, but wanted to take it to the next level. Everyone told me how difficult this was going to be, and reminded me how awful my timing was, since it was the start of the recession, so I knew I would have to be incredibly strategic, and that included mapping out all of my goals. My ultimate goal, to sell stock to stores, I knew wasn’t the easiest thing, so I broke those goals down into smaller, more attainable goals, and within 3 weeks I had 3 stores!
It’s of course grown and grown from there, but the biggest lesson I learned when it came to my goals was to break them down into more digestible morsels, and they were that much more attainable.
I’ve always used goal setting, and I believe it works because it creates focus and helps with visualizing the end result. But, like I said, I believe taking each goal and breaking it down into smaller, more attainable ones.
Liza Jayne, Founder of Liza Jayne Jewelry
I too believe in Goal Setting! I am a Personal Trainer, Club Owner, NLP practitioner etc and this request is right up my alley.
In January many decide to join a gym. But research shows that more than half the people will not make it to swimsuit season. Why? Because their goal was to join a gym, and once they signed up- they met their goal!
The clients I have seen get the best results spend time creating pictures of a new result. They write down their goals and they monitor what they are thinking about. They are the director of their own movie- the trick is to formulate, imagine and practice what this looks and feels like. Then, and not until then (at least long term) will the person take the appropriate actions to get there.
Marc Lebert, Founder of Lebert Fitness
I actually formed a goal group while I was in the corporate world and currently have a Mastermind Group for my current business. I talk about the importance of balance and setting goals with a “balance wheel” technique when I do my public speaking workshops for adults.
I have seen the results [from goal setting]. There is the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” If you are not clear on what is important, or what it is you need to focus on, it will be very easy to be pulled in many different directions and become totally out of balance.
[What are some accomplishments you've achieved because of goal setting?]
1. I became the author of an award-winning children’s book.
2. I started my own company.
3. I travelled to Africa and went on a safari.
4. I have taken time out to focus on my health and put myself first to keep that balance.
5. Raised fund in my Climb for a Cause . Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro this past summer with the goal of raising $5,895 for Sharing to Learn. I reached 88% of my goal which was $5,185. Although the actual goal itself was not reached, I am happy with the results that occurred.
6. My goal was to “Make a difference, not just a living”. I have raised over $20,000 through the sales of my books to worthy causes. I have had teachers say that “Susanne is a true ambassador of goodwill.”
Susanne Alexander-Heaton, CEO, Motivated by Nature
The longest goal I have set was five years. I became financially free at 33. I was just three months off my target date. But had I not made, reviewed, adjusted and kept diligent track of that goal there is NO way I would have achieved it.
A goal is just like a road map (or GPS): without your course clearly defined you’ll wander around and maybe never to where you want to be. Alternatively, you can accurately write down your goals thoughtfully, decide how to best reach them, and have an extremely high probability of reaching your goals.
I believe the better you know your target, the easier it will be to hit it. That is why I hone in on the ‘how’ we are planning on reaching our goals. Once we do that, we can then determine a realistic time-frame on achieving them. Our personal goals are a lot like a business plan for companies: what are you going to do? When? If it doesn’t work out what’s Plan B?
When I consult with people and businesses about goals the biggest regret I hear is, “I wish I had started soon!”
BIG TIPS TO SUCCESS: Write out your TOP 5 goals on the back of a check in past tense; make the check payable to you dated 1 year from now; say those goals out loud five times a day. Because most of my coaching students goal involve creating wealth, the check should be for five times their current yearly income.
An Accountability Partner: to really bend the nail in wall and make this work say the goals to someone as often as you can. And once you’ve hit your target once, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to hit it again and again and again. What I have seen recently is because goal setting has falling out of favor some look to a ‘quick fix’ to get then where they want to be. It’s not surprising that were they NEED to be is spending the time wood-shedding their goals. I recommend unplug from everything and everyone daily for just 15 minutes to look deep at where you want to get; how you’re going to get there and what’s stopping you right now from getting there.
Ya, its work. But so is a life of frustration because you know you’re better than what you’re getting.
Scott A. FladHammer, Personal Real Estate Coaching
Everyone has goals; just some are on purpose, a plan, are written down and have a completion date.
Other people’s goals may or may not include lunch.
I believe goal setting works simply because humans are wired to be goal setters. Watch a baby learn to walk or learn to talk they do it until they get it right because they want something, food, a toy, whatever the goal is at the moment.
Kids are natural goal setters.ask them what they want to be when they grow up and they’ll tell you, in great detail, exactly how they are going to be a firefighting police officer scientist president one day.
Goals allowed me to work with my wife from home in our own business, raise our kids together and amply provide for my family. That was probably my greatest goal and I accomplished the first step 18 years ago.
Everything else I’ve accomplished pales in comparison to the joy of being able to be with my family without being a slave to a corporation.
Goals don’t have to be about curing cancer or going to the moon, they need to be about you creating the life you want.
Michael Bremmer, CEO, Telecom Quotes
Use their stories to help you in 2012
I know many of you have big goals for 2012, and I hope reading their stories have given you some tips to finish those goals! Learn from those who have done it and have gotten results.
Starting is easy. Everyone does that. It’s getting through the rest and finishing that’s the toughest.
Haven’t written down any goals yet? It’s never too late to start.
How are your 2012 goals going so far?
Do you have any advice for others about achieving your goals?
In your experience, what’s the hardest part about goal achieving?
P.S. Want to know how I achieved my goals?
If you want to learn more about a system to help you start and achieve goals, my goal setting course starts soon.
Don’t want to miss out on it? The first class will only be for subscribers to my mailing list. Sign up below and you’ll get some content only for subscribers as well.