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Why I Set Goals

Updated on August 23, 2017

Why Do I Set Goals?

...to avoid getting lost, obviously. You can't hit a target you can't see, and you won't reach any goals if you don't set them first.

Those aren't original thoughts, but that doesn't make them any less important. If you want to achieve anything in this life, you need to have goals. How? Learn how to develop goals that are meaningful to you, and discover what motivates you to keep trying until you get what you set out to achieve.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well...the idea may be simple and the process easy to understand. But setting goals isn't enough. And reaching your goals takes more than a little effort.

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What Are My Goals?

It's easy to talk about setting goals, the benefits and the process. But before the rubber hits the road, you have to choose those goals. What do you want to accomplish? What's your burning desire? What is so valuable to you that you'll keep climbing over obstacles to get there?

The goal-setting website 43Things.com has an interesting tag cloud with the most popular goals. Today, the number one goal is to lose weight, followed by "make new friends." Not long ago, it was "drink more water." All are fine ideals, with obvious benefits. These are starting points for true goals, as you'll see later.

Are these good enough for you? Only you can answer that question. If you have a consuming need (no pun intended) to lose weight, that's a great goal to have. You'll can probably think of other ideas like this that could help you achieve something you really want.

And there's the key. Start with what you want, what would make you happy, healthy, more secure, a better person, give back, or fill some hole in your life. Goals that start inside you have more fuel to keep you going when things get tough. Dig deep and listen to your inner voice to find your best and highest goals. They are the ones that are truly worth reaching.

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My Focus For Current Goals

Three lessons I've learned recently involved important aspects of life. I'm choosing to focus my current goals around these attitudes because I believe this is where the truth in life resides. They are:

Gratitude - being aware of the goodness that flows around us at all times.
Abundance - recognizing the unlimited potential in ourselves and our planet.
Respect - believing that all things are possible and honoring the perfection of the divine.

The books below serve as references for my continuing growth in these areas.


Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life You Have


Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think


A Course In Miracles

What Areas of Your Life Need Goals?

This list may help you brainstorm potential goals.

  • Career - the one you have, the one you want, the one you want to leave
  • Financial - get more, spend less, use it better, share more
  • Education - what you know, what you don't know, what you wish you knew
  • Family / Relationships - who you love, who you want to love, the love you want to find
  • Creativity - how you express yourself, how you'd like to express yourself, the talents you wish to develop
  • Attitude - the way you behave, the way you wish you behaved, the mental freedom you desire
  • Physical - the body you have, the body you wish you had, the body you need to love
  • Recreation - how you relax, how you'd like to relax, how to find the time to relax
  • Public Service - the resources you have to share, how you'd like to share your resources, how to make a difference anyway

My Favorite Quote

"You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."...the immortal words of the late Zig Ziglar

Goal Setting 101

...what are good goals?

Experts have developed elaborate systems for goal setting, mostly for businesses that need to quantify and document everything. Good for them...not so good for the common person. Fortunately, Paul J. Meyer translated all that corporate-speak into simple language to make goal setting more accessible. Both systems are based on the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

Specific - a specific goal will answer the five "W" questions (who, what, which, when, why)

Measurable - a measurable goal will answer the "How" question (how much, how many, how long)

Attainable - an attainable goal is realistic

Relevant - a relevant goal is worthwhile and provides valuable benefits

Time-Bound - a time-bound goal has a deadline

That's a simplistic summary of the qualities of SMART goals. In other words, the goals you set should have these characteristics. Basically, following this system prevents you from accepting a goal that's unreasonable or that you would never reach.

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Zig Ziglar on Goals

Zig Ziglar was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker who wrote many motivational books, and was a popular speaker at personal development seminars.

That's what the obituaries said in 2012 when Zig Ziglar died at the age of 86. But millions who heard him speak would tell you a lot more about Zig and his profound effect on each life that he touched. As a salesman, Zig learned a lot about motivation, and he passed on that insight with a style that was uniquely his. Setting and reaching goals was a cornerstone of his message, so here are some classic videos of Zig "preaching" about goals.

Motivation from the Master Himself

Here are some invaluable resources from Zig Ziglar, both audio recordings and books. I recommend all of them. Of course, listening to Zig is a treat in itself. And the books will be read and re-read by your entire family. Enjoy!


Born To Win: The Ultimate Seminar


How to Get What You Want


Goals : Setting And Achieving Them On Schedule


See You at the Top: 25th Anniversary Edition


Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can't Wait to Live


Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World

A Fork in the Road

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one." Dolly Parton

Goal Setting 101 - Part Two

...how to set goals

1. Choose a goal.

2. Write it down.

3. Work on it.

4. Cheer when you're done.

Okay, not the best plan. Can you see why? I'll give you a hint. Where's the motivation?

In order to visualize the process of achieving your goals, you need to see each step in a very concrete way. For this reason, it's best to break down each goal into bite-sized pieces, both in action and in time.

For instance, if losing weight is your goal, you would first refine that into losing, say, 25 pounds in the next year. That goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. To visualize this goal, you would define how many pounds you would need to lose each month, each week, and maybe each day, in order to reach 25 pounds in 12 months.

This allows you to measure your progress, visualize where you are on the timeline to your goal, and make adjustments to your plan so you stay on track. The motivation you'll gain in this process is huge - because you'll have a record of your accomplishments, feedback along the way, and a vision of the path to your goal.

Image copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

My Goals For This Year

(this is an ongoing process)

Goal setting is an organic process for me. I work on a goal, modify my expectations as time goes on, find new avenues to explore, and generally pat myself on the back for every step along the way. Yes, it's nice to absolutely achieve the original goal by the deadline. But life has its own agenda. And I'm not one to argue with the power of the universe.

Here I'll throw out five goals that may never change, or they may be different next month. Who knows? Life's like a box of chocolates...you know the rest.

1. Gratitude Journal - record at least five things every day for which I am grateful.

2. Abundance Journal - research at least one new discovery or invention each month and imagine how it will impact life in general.

3. Respect Journal - recognize at least one miracle each month and express gratitude to the source.

(notice how these are circular goals?)

4. Create abundance in my own life in the areas of income, relationships, and charity.

5. Allow miracles to occur that will improve my health and prolong my life.

Those last two have a long list of sub-goals that I may share as I sharpen my focus and define the processes that will achieve what I believe is being asked of me. I know...a bit obscure, but that's the way it works for me.

Three Bones of Life

"To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone."Reba McEntire

Related Topics for You to Research

Personal development includes more than setting goals. Use your favorite search engine to discover how these topics can make a difference in your life.

  • Manifesting
  • Law of Attraction
  • Motivation
  • Time Management

Brian Tracy on Setting Goals

Brian Tracy is one of the top professional business and personal success speakers and authors in the world today. A very prolific author and popular seminar speaker, his focus on achieving goals leads many to find success in all aspects of their lives.

"People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine."

Choose Sides...or not.

This question is a bit "out there" but it should make for some great debate. And since we're moving into a new cycle (according to the ancient Mayans, anyway), perhaps we should be prepared for the impossible to become...normal. Feel free to qualify your response if you don't totally agree with either option.

Do we have the power within us to affect the course of our lives?

Why You Need to be Passionate About Your Goals

Because most goals take more than an hour to achieve, you must have an investment in the goals you set for yourself. In other words, you have to want to reach each goal with your whole heart, mind, and spirit. The payoff has to be so cherished, so desired, that nothing will keep you from taking daily steps toward the finish line. If you're not obsessed with the outcome, the process will eventually defeat you. But if you have a burning desire to make those goals real in your life, you will keep climbing until you reach the top.

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." Zig Ziglar

Set goals so you know where you're going. Choose goals with high personal value. Enjoy your own excellent adventure, and celebrate when you reach those goals.

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To help others define their goals, feel free to share your goals here. Your comments and suggestions are welcome, too.

What are your goals?

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    • profile image

      dotcomdiva 4 years ago

      Excellent lens, very motivating and inspirational! I'll have my goals in place before the new year begins!

    • profile image

      Sojourn 4 years ago

      My challenge is always having too many goals. I need to do a better job of prioritizing them and focusing on a few at a time. Love the idea of your journal. My mother has done something similar in the past and found the process extremely rewarding. Good luck on your goals for 2013!

    • RadaFrancis LM profile image

      RadaFrancis LM 4 years ago

      Great lens! This is exactly where I am in my life right now. Setting goals always helps me and even if I don't hit the target I come very close. Without setting goals things are just floating up in the air and nothing is happening. Thanks for the reminder :) *Blessed*

    • profile image

      momideas 4 years ago

      Forgot to say. I really like your goals, they are different from the I want a new house, and $$ per month.

      Thank you

    • profile image

      momideas 4 years ago

      Thank you for this informative lens. I also love goals and have done a lens about it, but I really enjoyed yours.