6 Proven Keys to Goal Setting Tested ‘Real-Time’

[Today is a guest post by David Moore]

Goal Setting?  

Do a Google search and you’ll find 89,100,000 results.  You’ll find S.M.A.R.T. goals, workbooks, workshops, tips, techniques, and tricks.  All of these CAN work if you DO the work.  Even with 89 million results, I’m about to share something different because it comes directly from my personal experience.

I think I enjoy the goal setting process, the writing, planning and scheduling, nearly as much as the achievement.  Have I achieved every goal I’ve set?  Of course not.  If anyone has ever done that the goals weren’t big enough.

Regardless of the goal setting methods you use, the following thoughts can help you refine and strengthen your process.  Combined, you improve the chances of achieving your goals.


Not that you don’t already know what you want to achieve, but so some research about others who have done the same thing.  You will see a trend in how long, on average, it takes to achieve this goal or something similar.  If the research indicates that most achieve this in 6 months, it doesn’t make much sense to set your goal for 6 weeks.

For example, I recently set a goal to complete a half marathon.  I have run several 5K’s over the last few years and just completed an 8K.  So I started entertaining thoughts of completing a half marathon.  As I did my research,  I found several training programs that lasted 12 weeks.  So now I know what kind of time frame I needed to be properly prepared.


This is my favorite part.  I go to the calendar.  I prefer using the Google monthly calendar and print out each month on a separate page.  I’m able to make notes on it and number the weeks.  I like to use different colored markers.  You can write in vacations or special events that might delay the goals progress.

Now that I knew the average time needed for my half marathon training, I was able to make detailed plans on my calendar.  I found an event that I wanted to run.  It happened to be 32 weeks out.  I took the 12 week training program and modified it for 24 weeks.  This gives me plenty of time to train and has plenty of “margin” for any emergency or injury that might occur.  This level of detail and the “extra” time for contingencies also helps with the positive mindset.  So if a setback occurs, you already know you have that built into your plan.


As you progress towards your goal, it’s nice to have some checkpoints along the way just to figure out where you are.  Look at it like a ‘mid-term’ exam.  But you need something as close to the ‘real world’ or ‘real-time’ as possible.  You find out where you stand, how far you have come and what it’s gonna take to finish.

For me, this is smaller races like the 5K, 8K, or 10K’s.  I don’t plan on “peaking” for these races.  They will substitute for one of the weekly training runs under “game conditions”.   When I used to play competitive golf, this would be weekend invitationals or even practicing under certain conditions.  You then use this ‘real-time’ feedback to make any needed adjustments in your planning.


Support of a “team” could mean the difference between success or failure.  You’ve got to have a support system.  It makes the process so much more enjoyable.  You don’t feel like you are climbing this mountain of achievement by yourself.

Hopefully, this support will come from your spouse/girlfriend, family and close friends.  Training partners (business partners) understand in an intimate way the struggles you face everyday as you press on.  Supporters can encourage, cheer for you and hold you accountable.  They can be that someone who gets in your face if you get lazy or just need a kick in the ass.


You may not be the smartest.  You may not be the richest.  You may not be the most talented.  But you can bet your sweet ass, that nobody can work harder than you.

Pete Rose was my childhood hero when I played baseball.  So much, in fact, my nickname was “Pete”.  I wasn’t the biggest, fastest or strongest.  But nobody could out hustle me.  And I knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that on THAT day and during THAT workout…nobody was working their ass off harder than I was.  No one was going to out hustle me.  Hustle doesn’t take talent.  And you can’t teach hustle.


There is a price to pay.  Expect it. Prepare for it.  There will be sacrifice.  Hopefully it won’t be something as important as a marriage or other vital relationships. But many times, you’ve heard the stories, relationships don’t get the necessary attention because that quality time has been diverted toward the pursuit of a goal.

The bigger the goal and the bigger the stretch, the more laser-like focus and tunnel vision required.  For me personally, during the pursuit of a major goal in the mid-80’s my marriage suffered.  It didn’t fail, but it was seriously tested.

Consider all the above…and answer this:

Will you enjoy the journey and the attainment?

What lessons have you learned from success and failure during goal pursuit?

Tim Ferriss talks about the benefits of “transfer”? How can you use this goal to transfer the benefits to other areas?

Lastly, Was it worth it?


This is a guest post by David A. Moore from Living a Better Story with davidamoore.com.  He writes about living a more adventurous and inspirational life story…starting today!  You can learn more About David and follow him on Twitter @davidamoore.


Photo by Air Combat Command
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18 responses to 6 Proven Keys to Goal Setting Tested ‘Real-Time’

  1. Being a visual spatial type person I like to keep my goals in frot of me at all times and enjoy the instant gratification of crossing them off as a job well done by me. As far as the support team my wife fills that roll and can provide the some times needed kick to keep me going.
    Like most I have short,medium ,and long term goals and review them monthly

    • Paul,
      I agree with you. There is something very satisfying in crossing off items on a goal list or ‘to-do’ list. It helps me feel like I’m gaining momentum after completing 2-3 itmes. There is no substitute for a supportive wife. When she is in your corner, you can’t lose. And when she has that skill to give you a kick in the ass, yet not be nagging, it can be magic motivation. Sounds like you have a great system. Thanks for commenting. – David

  2. People often say that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. This isn’t true for everything, but for most cases it’s pretty applicable. You have to want it – I can definitely say that’s where the sacrifice comes in. It should be a fairly even payoff: You give a lot of effort to achieve your goal, and once you get there the reward makes up for your sacrifice. Don’t sacrifice a lot of a small goal.

    I have a friend who keeps his goals near his nightstand so he sees them when he gets up to face the day and when he goes to sleep to restore energy to keep working at it. I think it’s a great idea.

    • Thanks for the input Steve. Sad thing is, we don’t know the level of sacrifice required going in. And sometimes many will quit just before the payoff. That would be a shame. I guess the key, it picking the right goal in the first place. Then the amount of sacrifice won’t matter. What do you think? – David

  3. an important thing – don’t just focus on attainment and forget the journey . i did just that for the past, errr 30 years… ?!
    i always achieved my goals and stretched further each time. but i just focused on achieving, and never really enjoyed the journey
    so much that i was addicted to achieving goals. after a while it felt empty and i didn’t know what I was doing anymore
    so smell the flowers while you hustle 🙂
    Noch Noch

    • LIke the old saying goes about success…it’s not a destination, it’s a journey. The real “growth” occurs in the process, not the achievement. Well said, Noch Noch

  4. David,
    Fancy seeing you here. As i read through your list i thought yes yes and yes. But my favorite part is the Hustle part. I’m not the smartest, fastest, bestest at anything actually. I’m actually quite ordinary and i have to work twice as hard as most to grasp ideas sometimes. But.. at work people didn’t know that because i always hustled and it can make a huge difference.
    You just need the fire becuase it’s not sustainable for long periods of time and you need to start seeing successes happen eventually if you are going to hustle otherwise burn out occurs..

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Anne,
      Everyone I’ve ever known who said “they had to work twice as hard” to keep up was always a successful overachiever. I hear travel helps with burnout, what cha think?

      Thanks for commenting – David

      • Yes travel really does help a lot. and i think it’s because when you travel, everything around you is new, interesting and differnt. It’s what life was meant to be right.

        Right now i’m working harder than ever at my little business on the net knowing full well that my success may not come for another year but quite literally i can hop on a bus to go to provence in 20 minutes. I can go to spain for the weekend. I can head over to a bistro in the after noon. Then i go back to my flat and keep working..

        When i was working at corporate i wasn’t travelling other than weekend getaway and our annual 2 week vacation but those vacations were stressfull because on a vacation you feel rushed to do it all and do it quickly.. But it was better than nothing and did have it’s benefits.

  5. This is a great post. Totally worth it. I loved reading through the entire thing. It is very well written.
    I loved how you summed up all those six points. I love the way you have written it.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. Nice personal touch on explaining goal setting. I saw a tweet come through on the Twitter Home feed and glad I read this.

  7. I love your idea about using the calendar. I use something similar on my iPhone but it’s always nice to have something in print and on paper.

    My dad says this phrase “heart and hustle beats talent any day”. Hustle is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools to accomplish your goals. Great tips here David. Thanks for sharing your methods.

  8. I love how you have listed calendar on there. Each and every goal and goal setting plan must have a timeline. You must have a start and an end to your goals. This can be in the form of minor goals within your goals or the end results themselves. Forcing yourself to set daily goals keeps you on progress.

  9. Support is one important factor why people achieve goals. Perseverance is impossible without the encouragement of people around.

    Spatch Merlin
    How to Blog Guide

  10. Research should definitely be the first step. Before doing anything, I always do some background check on it and see how others have fared, similar to buying an unknown product. After you take in the different perspectives, you get a much truer picture.

    Sacrifice is also important. Time and money are limiting factors for all of us at some point, so we have to decide to trim some fat occasionally as we cannot have or do everything we want and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.


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