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15 Inspiring Motivational Quotes on Setting Goals

Updated on August 6, 2014

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Ancient bust of Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Seneca offered some great gems of wisdom in connection to setting goals.
Ancient bust of Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Seneca offered some great gems of wisdom in connection to setting goals. | Source

Without Goals, No Wind is the Right Wind

  • "Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind." – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The following quote made by ancient Roman philosopher Seneca highlights the importance of settings goals. Here is another quote from a famous Hall of Fame Baseball Player which further emphasizes why goals are necessary:

  • “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up some place else.” – Yogi Berra

The quotes that we just considered indicate the importance of knowing where we are going in life's journey. On the journey of life our goals are like target destinations.

These are just two of the many quotes which help us make the link between success and goals. This is really no surprise since successful people are also goal oriented people.

Since many people reflect on motivational quotes as a means to inspire them, we will consider some well known quotes which connect to the importance of goal setting. Along with the Seneca & Berra quotes that we just considered, we will consider 13 other motivational quotes in connection with goal setting.

Motivational Quote Poll

Does reflecting on motivational quotes help inspire you to set and reach goals?

See results

Daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln

If you want to cut down a tree make sure that your axe is sharp!
If you want to cut down a tree make sure that your axe is sharp! | Source

Quotes on the Importance of Planning

A key element of setting and achieving goals is the planning process. Here are two quotes which emphasize the importance of making plans:

  • "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe." - Abraham Lincoln
  • “Four steps to achievement: plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, pursue persistently.” - William A. Ward

The quote from the 16th President of the USA, Abraham Lincoln is one of my personal favorites. It clearly highlights the importance of the planning stages. That being said it also emphasizes the need to execute the plan (cut down the tree). But you cannot cut down a tree with a dull axe.

The other quote from highly quoted inspirational writer Ward not only highlights the need for planning, but that there are multiple steps that need to be carried out in conjunction with planning. This will further be emphasized with subsequent quotes that we are going to consider.

Alexander Graham Bell

The famous inventor had some great words of wisdom concerning the setting of progressive goals.
The famous inventor had some great words of wisdom concerning the setting of progressive goals. | Source

Quotes on Goals and Progression

  • "The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion... It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider - and progressively better able to grasp any theme or situation - persevering in what he knows to be practical, and concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree." - Alexander Graham Bell

The following quote from the famous inventor highlights the link between success and progressive goals. Here is also a quote from a renowned motivational speaker & a noted philosopher which highlight the need for progression:

  • "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” - Earl Nightingale
  • “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” – John Dewey

Both of these quotes clearly show that a successful person never stops setting goals. In a sense our long terms goals are generally just a series of short term goals that build on each other.

Goal Setting Poll

Do you consider yourself a goal oriented person?

See results

Louis Pasteur

The famous microbiologist knew all about the correlation between achieving goals and hard work.
The famous microbiologist knew all about the correlation between achieving goals and hard work. | Source

Quotes Highlighting the Connection Between Goals and Hard Work

There is a clear correlation between achieving goals and hard work. The following quotes drive this point home:

  • “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” - Louis Pasteur
  • “Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth.” – Julie Andrews
  • “There is no point at which you can say, "Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.” – Carrie Fisher

The keyword in the first quote is tenacity. Concerning this quality, a great degree of Pasteur success as a microbiologist was dependent upon it. For example, writing about Pasteur's rabies vaccine research, author Axel Munthe in his book The Story of San Michele, made the following statement: "Pasteur himself was absolutely fearless. Anxious to secure a sample of saliva straight from the jaws of a rabid dog, I once saw him with the glass tube held between his lips draw a few drops of the deadly saliva from the mouth of a rabid bull-dog, held on the table by two assistants, their hands protected by leather gloves."

Concerning Julie Andrews her acting career has had highs and lows but she has continued to preserve. Star Wars actress and bestselling novelist, Carrie Fisher's quote highlights the importance of not becoming complacent.

Daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau

Visualize the finish line.
Visualize the finish line. | Source

Quotes on Visualizing the Finished Line

When setting goals it is good to look into the future and imagine yourself achieving your goals. Visualizing the finish line before you cross it can be a great motivator in reaching your goals. The following two quotes from a successful pop artist and a famous author emphasizes this point further:

  • “I really do live for the future, because when I’m eating a box of candy, I can’t wait to taste the last piece” – Andy Warhol
  • The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.” - Henry David Thoreau

Self portrait of Thomas Eakins

Enthusiasm makes it easier to reach goals.
Enthusiasm makes it easier to reach goals. | Source

A Quote About Goals and Enthusiasm

  • “Enthusiasm for one's goal lessens the disagreeableness of working toward it.” - Thomas Eakins

The following quote made by the influential artist, Thomas Eakins clearly highlights a fundamental truth in connection with setting goals. The best goals are goals that we can get excited about. Our enthusiasm will motivate us to put forth the necessary effort to achieve the desired results.

Quotes About Goals From the Holy Scriptures

  • “I don’t run without a goal.” - 1 Corinthians 9:26 (Contemporary English Version)

The following statement was made by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the first century congregation in Corinth. In the King James Version of the Bible the verse is rendered "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly". Just like a runner who knows where the finish line is and has clear objectives in mind, in the race of life setting goals is clearly important. This universal truth is one of the few things that both atheists and Christians can agree on.

A Quote About How Goals Can Help You Climb Mountains

  • "You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals." - Sir Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hilary was the first man to climb the summit of Mount Everest. As the above quote highlights having a challenging goal helped him accomplish that feat. Likewise goals can help us overcome mountain like challenges that we may face. Goals can help ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things.

Interview With Sir Edmund Hillary (Video)

Do you have any favorite motivational quotes that you would like to share? Feel free to leave any other comments.

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    • ChrisJBaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Baker 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Sorry goodnews for the slow response. I truly appreciated the read, comment and vote! Glad that you found the motivational quotes on goals to be interesting!

    • goodnews11 profile image


      4 years ago from CHENNAI

      This hub is really very interesting.. I voted.. Following..

    • ChrisJBaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Baker 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Thanks, Dan! I really appreciate the read and the comment and I'm glad that I helped fill your motivational needs.

    • Dan W Miller profile image

      Dan W Miller 

      4 years ago from the beaches of Southern California now living in Phoenix since 2000

      Excellent and different presentation method. Nearly each quote with it's own separate short story and picture. Genius, Chris. I needed this hub. Thanks.


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