Goal Setting

Goal setting is a fundamental necessity

if you are in the search for better lifestyle.   The expectation of leading a long and healthy life is directly related to your long term plans and ambitions.  It’s no accident that people who lead long lives are still planning their future right up to their death.
Getting what you want out of life is no different.  It is just a series of steps that will eventually lead you to your goal.  Yes, you will need some faith, courage and a lot of determination, but these are all part of goal setting and most of us already have these qualities, we just never get around to putting them to the test.

goal setting spar

Goal setting is no more than looking forward and planning towards something that gives you a reason for living.  If you don’t plan your life, things will happen anyway. It’s just that you won’t have as much control over them.  If your life isn’t going in the direction you want, you need to sit down, think about what you want and start deciding what you are prepared to do about it.

It’s a sad fact that so many people sit around waiting for their big win on lotto to make their dreams come true when in reality what they need to do is get themselves into gear and make it happen anyway.  Decide what you want, draw up your plans and go for it; in other words goal setting.

People who enjoy their work or who are happy with their life are less likely to become ill or stressed.  The good news is it’s all down to you; you can take control of your life just by making some decisions and acting on them.  Goal setting.


Set aside an hour or so of your time, choose somewhere peaceful where you won’t be disturbed and sit down with a pen and paper.  Write down everything you would like to happen in your life.  For instance, if you dislike your job, what would you do given the choice?

Now write what sort of qualifications you would need to get that job.  Next work out how much cost is involved, how practical it is, what is the time factor involved?  etc. etc.  You can do this with any part of your life and it’s important to visualize the desired outcome, it is so much more powerful to have a picture in your head of what you want out of life


Now that you’ve made some decisions, set a timetable, write down the date that you expect to achieve your goal.  For instance, if you are saving for a trekking holiday in Nepal, allow the amount of time required to save the money.

To do this, work out how much you can save a month and put it on your calendar as monthly goals.  This means at any given time you can see where you are on your savings plan, and crossing off the targets is encouragement to strive for the next.


As an added incentive, cut out a picture of Nepal and put it somewhere you will see it each day, visualization is a big part of goal setting.

goal setting skiing

For Goal setting, you need to ask yourself some questions like:

  • What are my long term plans?
  • Where do I expect to be in five years time?
  • What would I like my financial situation to be in ten years time?
  • Do I want to spend the rest of my life in the same house, town, country?
  • Do I want to do this job until I retire?
  • Can I work from home?
  • Can I retire earlier than I thought?

This is the basis of goal setting and planning, it’s a very powerful concept, as you can see it’s not by chance that successful people are in control of their lives.  They have usually planned it all that way.


For a more in-depth look at goal setting you should follow this formula; follow this and you will be on your way to all you want out of life.

First Rule of Goal Setting.

Be prepared to know yourself better.  A serious appraisal of your life is essential to getting what you want.  If you need to get to Pittsburgh by Friday, you’ve got to know from where you’re starting.  A serious self-appraisal for your goal setting may take weeks to complete.

  • How well educated are you in the things you would like to know?
  • How much effort do you put into each aspect of your life?
  • What are your best and worst points?
  • How do you choose your friends, your home, your job and your hobbies?
  • How do you treat your friends, family and strangers?
  • How deep is your personal spirituality?


You have hundreds and hundreds of special traits, but how well developed is each of them?

  • Which of your traits are the worst?
  • What have you accomplished over the past, ten, five, two and in one year?
  •  In the past month?
  • The past week?
  • Today?
  • Who have you hurt?
  • Who deserves better than you’ve given them?

And most important, how close are you now to where you hoped you’d be when you looked ahead a year ago, five years ago, or even as a child?


Be prepared to cry a little as you make this appraisal of your life.  Humans are far from perfect, and sometimes even the minor goals we set for ourselves are not achieved.  Draw upon every bit of serenity you have as it can hurt to see exactly where you are when making this appraisal.

Always keep in mind you are on a fact-finding, not a fault-finding mission.  Whether your strengths match evenly with your weaknesses on paper is not important.   What you want is a written record of who and what you are, in as great a depth as possible, a blueprint of your life which you can use as a base for improvement.


Great people in every field start with such a deep analysis and revise it yearly to chart their progress.  The time and emotion spent in such an appraisal will be chicken feed compared to the value you will receive from it.

canoes on lake

Second Rule of Goal Setting.

Your second task for goal setting is to make a special report based on your self-appraisal and include in the report everything you ever did which you didn’t think you could do.  THIS IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL

It will provide you with enormous inspiration when faced with a problem you don’t think you can overcome.  These are not only real-life success stories, they are your success stories, positive proof that there’s more in you than you might think.

Your first reaction on reading that paragraph will be, “ I haven’t had any success stories.”  Wrong.  You’ve had several success’s, you just haven’t made too much of them that’s all.

Success doesn’t mean only the big stuff like winning at the Olympics or hitting a hole in one.  Get it into perspective and bring it to your level.  If you planned to get in shape and exercised until you did, that’s success.  If you gave up smoking, that’s success.  If you finally got the credit card paid off, that’s success


Write it all down and get excited about it. Start thinking of yourself as a success.  If you have had a success in one area, it stands to reason that you can do it again in another.  Most people focus on their failures or at least their perceived failures, this leads to negative thinking which stops them going forward.
These experiences are the batteries you’ll use to power the shovels that will move mountains in the future.  Remember, even an almost-dead battery will start a car.  Have this report in writing and keep it with your personal analysis. This will be a vital document in times to come.


Third Rule of Goal Setting.

Decide where you want to go.  For goal setting this must be precise.  Wanting a “nice lifestyle”  or to “travel overseas” is not good enough. To fly to Europe, you will not only need the country you are going to, but the city and even the airport before you can purchase a ticket.

The reason people are successful is because they planned it that way.  They knew what they wanted and went for it.  It is a sad fact that most people go through their lives without any idea of where they are heading, or at best they have only a vague idea and hope it might eventuate one day.

We have all heard people say, “We were going to do such and such but it never happened.”  What they really mean is, “We didn’t MAKE it happen.”

Here is a little known fact, but an obvious one, when you know it.  Start your goal setting at the far end! That’s right, start with the ten or twenty year goal first.  Why?  We compared this with a journey, so we know where we are now, the starting or departure point. The next step is to know where we want to go.

Where do you want to be in life in ten years time?  Now it is like making connecting flights.  Where will you have to be in five years time so that you will make the ten year plan?  Where will you have to be in two years to make the five and so on until you are asking. “What do I need to do today so that I make my goal at the end of the week?”

When you set your goals you need to feel that you can achieve them, you will have to stretch out and work, but they are achievable.  If you set impossible or unrealistic goals, you will soon become disheartened and give up.  If you set yourself a difficult goal it is important to break it down to manageable bits.

Get into the habit of setting daily goals, write down what you have to achieve that day then prioritise it. At the end of the day any jobs that you didn’t get done put on the next days list.

If the job is still on the list in three days time, give it priority one on the next day.  This ensures that jobs you hate doing don’t get put off and you will be surprised at how much more you get done in your day-to-day living.

Be very definite about what you want, write your goals using as much detail as possible.  If you have a goal of owning your own home, what style will it be? How many rooms will it have? What will the kitchen be like?  Where will it be?  etc etc.  Have fun with it, write it all down and really get a feel for goal setting.


Most people fail because they don’t set goals worthy of themselves.  If they do, they do not live each day in pursuit these goals.  This, and every other step outlined here, is absolutely vital to a truly successful life.

With goal setting, make them firm… for the moment.  You will find as you achieve certain things that some goals will have to change, and that’s fine.  Just don’t go around changing your mind every time the wind changes or you won’t know which way is up.

Set as many goals as you like, and include among them.

  • What you’d like to be doing.
  • Where you’d like to go.
  • What you want for your family.
  • What kind of person you’d like to be.
  • How much you’d like to be earning.
  • Your net worth.
  • Your health.
  • You personality, education and spiritual growth.

Keep your daily goals confined to activities that will lead to accomplishment of your long-term goals.  Don’t be afraid to set goals.  Mistakes can be corrected; doing nothing cannot be corrected.

goal setting cruise ship

Fourth Rule of Goal Setting.

The next step in goal setting is the simplest but strangely enough, it is the most difficult step for the average person to take.

Commit. Take action.  Make the decision to achieve those goals; to strive for the things you want which will make your life and yourself all that much better. Make that commitment from the heart, not at the lips!
It will take time to really feel that commitment, and regularly reviewing the goals you’ve written down will make it possible to truly feel that commitment.  You’ll go through agonies at first and wonder if any of this is really worth it, and that’s the point, most people give up.

If you are living independently, how you go about reaching your goals will affect no one but yourself.  However if you are in a relationship or a family situation you will need to discuss your goals, not only to ensure that you are moving forward together but also to get their support.


Attaining your goal might mean a drastic change in your schedules.  For instance you might want to attend night classes on two nights a week.  This will affect everyone else in the household and will require give and take by every one.

If your friends support you all well and good, but if you are spending time with people who want to hold you back you might have to consider moving on.

Peer pressure or pressure from other quarters such as relatives can be very influencing.  People often don’t follow through in something, because of fear of what other people might think.

This is not easy to over come but if you are determined, others soon lose interest or end up admiring you for your determination.


Fifth Rule of Goal Setting

The final step of your goal setting is tough.  The reality is that you are going to have to make sacrifices.  How far are you prepared to go to get what you want?  In most instances the greatest sacrifice will be time, especially if you are setting goals that require further education or you may need to take on extra work to fund your goals.

When you are really chasing a goal hard you will need to pay attention to your health, if you wear yourself out you will end up jeopardizing your goal and maybe even your current lifestyle.
Get adequate rest and pay attention to your diet. 


Time is like money, most people don’t know where it goes and they waste a lot of it, but unlike money, it can’t be replaced!
When you’re planning your schedules, be honest with yourself, how much time are you wasting watching TV?  Can you turn that time into something constructive?
Spend every moment of your life in the most effective, efficient way possible in the pursuit of your goals.  You’ll never be able to do this as well as you want to, but that’s fine.  Nobody spends all their time as effectively as possible.

The degree to which you can tune your desire to the things you want, then discipline yourself to do the things that will achieve them, will determine how successful you will be.



Regardless of how you feel right now, you will increase the value of your time and activities, there by gaining more happiness, if you’ll only keep you failures in perspective.  If possible review them objectively and see why you failed.

Imagine the same situation again and see what you would change to have made it a success.  Use your successes as a source of strength; draw on them when you are disheartened or feeling down.
These simple steps form the real basis of goal setting so that you may achieve what you want in life.  It’s true that sometimes luck has a part to play but you can’t afford to sit around waiting for it, you must push ahead under your own steam.



Learn to recognize opportunities that might help you fast track your efforts; be aware of what’s happening around you so that you can use even the smallest thing as an advantage. When appropriate, tell people what you are doing, they may know someone who can help.

Get some inspiration from people who become successful through their own efforts.  There are thousands of books written by people who all have a unique story to tell.  Find one that appeals to you, then as you read it, mark the paragraphs that really strike a cord with a highlighter, so that you can go back to them time and time again.  Amazing as it may seem, a single sentence can have a remarkable effect, it’s often the smallest things that make the biggest impact in our lives.  Use every tool at your disposal to get what you want and never be afraid to ask for information.

Remember when your setting your goals, don’t be afraid to think big.  In the beginning you might only want to take small steps but once you start to achieve your expectations you will grow bolder and begin to realize your true potential.

It is amazing how many successful people started out with a modest ambition then developed it into something beyond their wildest dreams.  Once you understand that discipline and determination are the keys to getting what you want through goal setting, then the sky’s the limit.


The Journey

The old Chinese saying “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” is so true and we proved it to ourselves a few years ago when we did just that.

We decided to sail our yacht, a basic affair with no electronics, an old fashioned rig with our little family aboard, on a journey of nearly seven thousand miles.  Some of it was in a remote area of uncharted waters, infected with sharks and crocodiles.

Apart from our charts we had a large map so that we could track our progress and when we looked at it, it was downright scary!  To make it seem easier we folded the map in to small sections and concentrated on getting from one fold over to the next.

We didn’t worry ourselves with looking at what was to come; we just plodded along one step at a time.  At the end of the trip it was so hard to believe we had really done it, even now several years later we wonder at our daring.


Wherever you are in your life it’s never too late to start changing direction, and if you are really unhappy with your life right now you will be amazed and delighted at how you can turn things around with some goal setting.


Good luck with your goal setting.

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