Successful Goal Setting

April 29, 2016

Goal setting is paramount for anyone who wants to be productive. Having goals (based on your values and mission) helps keep you focused and moving in the right direction. However, people often find that what they would like to do still seems out of reach for them. In my experience, the reason for this is simply because most people don’t actually know how to set set goals, or, at least, they don’t know how to set goals in a way that is meaningful, clear and actionable! Thankfully, there is tons of advice out there on this very subject. Today we are going to give you advice from the man everyone quotes about goal setting: Zig Ziglar!

Write it Down

If you want to go from turning a dream into a goal, the very first thing you have to do is write it down. What is it that you really want to accomplish? Putting it in writing gives you a road map to follow and allows you to keep your dreams on your mind and in front of you. This is a powerful, proven first step to reaching your goals. It’s not a goal till you write it down.

I always tell people that writing down an idea, or a desire, is powerful, because it brings something that does not yet exist into the physical world and gives it a form and a body that you can build on and interact with.

Put a Date on It

goals calendar

Photo by Dafne Cholet / CC BY

Your goals need to have an end date or else you will never really start them. I work well with a due date. It creates a tension, or accountability, for me, and I know I’m not the only one. My brother, for example, decided that he was going to start traveling when he turned 23. He turns 23 this year and is planning on going to Rome in the fall. If he had said 25, I imagine his trip would not be for another 2 years.

Identify Obstacles

After putting a date on your goal, the next step is identifying the potential and known obstacles. This is such an important step, because it allows you to formulate a plan to combat your excuses. Not enough money: Then how are you going to get the money? Not enough time: Then how can you make the time? No support: Then where can you find the support?

Identify Who You Need 

Do you need a trainer, a mentor, a travel agent, or a loan officer? No man is an island, and no goal can be reached without the right help. Who is going to help you? After identifying the obstacles, you need figure out who are the the people, groups or organizations you need to work with to accomplish your goal.

Spell Out Your Plan of Action

Is your goal dated, obstacles defined, and who you need identified? Now it’s time to write down in detail your plan of action, breaking it down step by step. How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time:

  • Step 1: Make a phone call (by what date?)
  • Step 2: Open vacation savings account (by when?)
  • Step 3: 

Make sure that your steps are specific actions you can take to help accomplish your goal. Try including these steps on your daily calendar to further ensure you will get them done.

Identify the Benefits

When I played football, my coach would make the team sit and visualize the game: completing passes, making touchdowns, running plays perfectly in our minds. Coach believed that you could not accomplish anything that you could not see in your mind. I think that he was right.

This is probably the most important step to staying motivated. Imagine what it will be like when you reach your goal. What do you look like? What do you feel like? What are you going to be able to do with your new degree? What is this new ministry accomplishing in your church? What does your Sunday morning service look like? If you are the leader and you can’t see it, how can you expect anyone else on your team to?


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