Goal Setting - Plan Your Route To Success

Goal setting is one of the key to success in life. Setting goals is important; we should all be doing it - and achieving our goals, too. How can you achieve your goals and dreams if you don't know what you want? And, if you do know what you want, how you are going to achieve it/them if you don't think, plan, set targets (goals), and plan your effort. Setting goals is important in all aspects of life.

A winning (goal setting) formula to reach your goal

This goal setting formula has been used over and over the world over. From huge projects all the way to single events in people's lives. It works. Goal setting works. To get what you want in your life I would suggest you start using this formula (or one very close to it).

Make going for your goals and achieving them a reality in your life. Use goal setting to reach your potential.

And the steps in the formula

1 What

The first step of goal setting. What means knowing what you want. And I mean what you really want. Knowing what you want may seem easy. Let us say we want any or all of the following

  • xxx car - super car costing say $400,000
  • a big house in the country
  • ten holidays in the Bahamas each year
  • five top race horses
  • a 100 foot sea-faring yacht
  • etc

But if we 'only' having a few thousand dollars/pounds savings in the bank, and a regular job, most if not all of this list will be far beyond our reach - unless we win the lottery.

And while we may 'play' the lottery each week we cannot set a goal to win (unless we fix the result - and end up in jail), and so our list of goals (given above) is 'rather' unreasonable. We don't have any (real) chance of getting any of these in a year full of 'months of Sundays'...

We must be reasonable

Therefore, what we want must be reasonable. Given hard work and effort it must be possible; otherwise we are just fooling ourselves. And the goal setting process could fall off the rails.

For example

I have been a runner in my time - to keep fit. Twenty years ago I was pretty fit and I did run a half-marathon (13.2miles) in about 1 hour 40 minutes. Not too bad for an amateur. (You may have run it faster still - so well done you.) Recently I have rarely jogged let alone gone any real distance. So I could set a goal of running a marathon in 2 hours 10 minutes to qualify for the next Olympics. I could.

But would it be realistic? Would this goal setting aim be achievable? Even if I trained very seriously for the next three years what chance would I have? Please remember that I am now the wrong side of 56 years of age. So when the Olympics arrived I would be just over 60. What chance would I have of reaching my goal?

Not even 1 in 1 million I would say. Nil. Zero. Zilch.

But if I reset my goal to run a marathon in a year's time in say under 4.5 hours then that would seem reasonable. Would seem achievable, assuming I trained hard. And more important I could believe I could run a 4.5 hour marathon. I could visualize myself achieving that. Of crossing the line in 4 hours 28 minutes to beat my goal.

And that is one of the secrets - believing you can achieve and visualizing your achievement. And another of the secrets of goal setting is

2 Why

The second step of goal setting. Knowing why you want your goal - and I mean, why you really want it - not a whim, but really want it and willing to work for it. Goal setting is of no use without the why. We may have our own theory of motivation, and own ways of motivating ourselves - putting motivation into practice is crucial in the goal-setting process.

Actually this is probably the hard part. Referring to my fictitious 4.5 hour marathon goal, as I say, I could see myself achieving that. But would I now know why. Why would I want to put all that effort in?

Starting running and working up to jogging a few nights a week. And then getting more serious about my running as I got fitter. To get up to running 40-60 miles a week. All weathers. Whether I felt like it or not. Getting past injuries and strains. Getting past a bad day at the office and turning out for my evening run.

And then, once reasonably fit, enter some charity runs. First 10k (6.2 miles). Perhaps a 10 miler and then a half marathon, after 4-6 months or so, to see how things were going. And, in the last few weeks, running a 20 mile trial. To get past the marathon 'wall' everybody talks about, but each individual has to experience for themselves.

For me to accomplish this I would need some if not all of the following

  • application
  • dedication
  • commitment
  • desire
  • strong motivation
  • a 'I must reach my goal' attitude
  • . . .

But the big question remains - would I go for this goal - are the reasons important enough for me?

Would I go for my goal if my reason was

  • well it would be nice
  • that sounds like a great thing to try
  • maybe I could do that
  • I've got nothing better to do

Would they - any of them - really motivate me to run in all weathers, and whether I wanted to or not. Would it? Seems doubtful doesn't it.

But if I really wanted my goal - my 4.5 hour marathon - with

  • This is fantastic, it is great to be running again
  • I've always wanted to run a marathon and this is my chance
  • OK this is going to be a real effort, but I CAN do this, I will do this
  • I can see myself crossing that finishing line
  • I can taste my 'chocolate bar' for reaching my goal
  • And my wife has accompanied me all the way - it's brought us together so much more than before…
  • OR this is my goal, I have always wanted to do this and now I can, I'm so excited I cannot sleep (which would not help much with my training regime I know!)

Find your reason

Basically you have to find something that really rocks your boat. But it has to also be in proportion to the main goal. If the goal is small - to have tea tonight at 1800hrs and not 2000hrs, you don't need a big plan and timescale it out, and put in the steps involved, etc. Or if it is moving house then checking re mortgage, what can you afford, where to move to, what type of property, etc

But you get the picture

3 Setting Goals

The third step of goal setting. This stage is about planning your action and knowing when you'll achieve your goal. What are the steps involved? Are there intermediary steps on the road to the main goal. (Notice this is not the first step - you have to know what you are after first off.)

There is so much information available about setting goals that we could almost swim in it. Goal setting can be the whole process that we are talking about here or just the part where you have decided what you want 'and goals are set to enable you to achieve that'.

Stepping stones to your prize is a good analogy. You goal is to drive to place C. You are at A. How are you going to get there? You have chosen your car for transport

but what is the process?

  • is your car fuelled up for the journey, in good serviceable condition, etc - many times this sort of step is taken for granted and accepted as in the step 'get car ready, get in car and start journey'. But it is important not to overlook a step in the process - a little goal within the larger picture - and find that the bigger picture falls apart for the sake of a small element e.g. putting your 'make it yourself table together' but finding some of the screws or nuts are missing
  • which direction are you going in
  • which intermediate places (goals) will you be going through
  • what time of day are you going
  • are you taking the quick motorway route or the slower scenic route
  • will you need to stop for breaks and refreshments, if so where?

So there can be many smaller goals on the way to achieving your bigger goal.

To me the planning stage is very important. Do you plan your intermediate goals to get to your final goals? Or do you just set goals? To me the planning is key and can safe a lot of time and effort (and heartache). Of course, if you are repeating a previous journey (goal) your past experience can help enormously. Or if you know that someone else has gone before you - seek their advice and assistance.

4 Decision

The fourth step of goal setting. This is you making the decision to go for it. You have decided the goal you want and why. You have done your planning. All there now needs to happen is for you to start, to start the endeavor towards your prize (your goal). And how often is it that this stage is the real stumbling block?

And why is this so difficult?

At times you may question yourself

Or you may question yourself in a more general way

  • At times you need to give yourself permission to go for your goal
  • You have to decide if you have the time and energy
  • You not have to decide whether the time is right - yes or no, or later...?
  • You have to decide if this goal fits into your life and your plans for life?

Only you can answer these questions at the time. Decide on your priorities. And work your plan. If your plan is not now relevant, reformulate another plan going for a different goal.Progress without plans . . .

Or at times you are doing things, not quite plan less, not quite without goals, but things are happening for you and you are happy with the progress in your life. Just remember then that goals and plans are possible (and flexible), and that you can always return to them when you need to.

5 Acting

The fifth step of goal setting. Acting is putting in the action, time and effort in according to your goals and plan. This is utilizing your plan. Use your motivation, your 'why', to harness your energies. Seeing your success ahead of you and going for it.

Not believing the knockers, those people who don't think you will succeed, but believing in you. Having a sense of achievement already at what you are doing, and carrying this feeling with you along your journey. Be excited as you move along your path to your selected prize.

Put the effort in - you know it will be worth it.

6 Achieving

The sixth step of goal setting. Achieving - your goal, target, aim, call it what you will. A cause of celebration. You have made it. All the hard work was worth it. Well done. Your success will help propel you to bigger, greater and ever more meaningful goals and dreams. While you keep your feet on the ground, you will be able to live in the stars - live in the wonder and magnificence of your life. Make goal-setting a reality for you.



A winning formula to reach your goal - WWSGDAA

On the final stretch - some different perspectives on goal setting

Some random ideas and thoughts

  • set your goal - visualize success and when your will achieve it
  • remember that you can do two or more things at once - but don't overdue it
  • rewards for efforts – reward yourself but in proportion to the goal achieved - i.e. not a new car for your goal of brushing your teeth twice a day
  • goals with no why, with no motivation - are bits of paper with ink on them
  • it may seem obvious, but your personal goals must be personal to you
  • don't listen to other people who will say you cannot do it
  • equally don’t talk yourself out of it either
  • burning your bridges forces action, but may not be a real motivator
  • believe in yourself
  • and another important secret – when you have achieved, remember to reset your goal and go for the next 'thing'

To conclude

Goal setting is integral to living a productive life. It will aid you getting the most out of life and yourself. You have to decide when to set goals and how to use these techniques. There is no one standing over you - but you.

If you really want something you have to decide to go for it. Give it your best and have faith that life will assist your endeavor.

Building this website, for me is very real. I have had a long held ambition to be a writer and to help people at the same time ... So creating these pages is very real for me.

Similarly, what YOU do in life has to be real for YOU, no one else. If you take but one thing from this page away with you - what you do in life has to be real for you.

Go live it. May I wish you every success.
All best,
Martin