7 Golden Rules Of Effective Goal-Setting


With the New Year around the corner, now is the best time to start setting those big, lofty goals to help you make next year, THE BEST year of your life.

It’s a fact, that when you commit something to paper, there is a much higher probability of you achieving it.

I’m sure you’ve heard of about the study of Yale graduates in 1953. After 20 years, the study participants were surveyed and interviewed. Results show that 3% of the graduates, were making more money than 97% of the rest combined.

The difference was, those 3% had written goals.

written goalsAnother study of Harvard Business School grads in 1979 found that:

– 87% of the class had no goals at all
– 13% of the class had goals
– Of the 13% who had goals, only 3% had clear goals written and a plan of action

In 1989, the class was surveyed and the results were not surprising at all.

– 13% who had goals, on average were making twice as much as the 84% who didn’t
– But the more shocking part is that the 3% who had written goals and a plan of action were making TEN TIMES as much money as the 97% combined.

The mere act of setting a goal, and writing it down stacks the odds of success in your favor big time.

So all this begs the question…

WHY are most people still not setting goals and are not writing them down?

7 Reasons Most People Don’t Have Written Goals

confused about goals

New Your Times best-selling author Tommy Newberry, lists seven reason in his blockbuster book – “Success Is Not An Accident”.

1. Avoiding Responsibility

The mere act of setting a goal forces you to make a commitment. And it makes you responsible for success or failure.

Truth is, most people do not want to take responsibility for their lives. Oh sure, it’s easy to say “Yep, I’m responsible for my success” AFTER you achieve something. But what about when you fail? Do you still take responsibility for that as well?

FACT: You will never achieve anything great until you start taking 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you. And here’s the hardest part – especially if it’s not your fault.

Now here’s what’s interesting, the minute you start to take responsibility for your life and everything that happens in it, you instantly gain control and power.

2. Fear Of Criticism

Too often, we are criticized for many things we do from early childhood. This creates a number of limiting beliefs, which create a mental block in our head about what’s possible.

To avoid being criticized and disappointed, it’s much easier to just coast, instead of set big goals.

3. Don’t Know How

Silly as this sounds, many people simply don’t know how to set goals.

The mere act of writing them down helps, but that’s not setting goals. If you just write them down on a piece of paper, put it aside and never look at them again, there’s very little chance you accomplish anything.

In fact, it will only make you feel bad when you don’t.

4. Don’t Think It’s Important

Unless you were lucky enough to grow up in a home where goal setting was talked about and encouraged, you won’t give it much thought until you actually get around people who are driven by their goals.

5. The Curse Of Early Success

Some people experience success in spite of not setting goals. This is a dangerous place to be in. Because many later stop growing and think they can achieve a lot by just coasting. But unless you have goals that drive you and pull you forward, that success isn’t going to last very long.

Case in point – can you name one successful company that doesn’t have specific goals and a clear plan of action for achieving them?

Can you imagine a CEO of a Fortune 500 company get in front the board of directors and say – “Our goal is to make more money next year than we did this year” ?

Yet this is exactly what most people do. In fact, they don’t even go as far as saying it.

6. Fear Of Failure

Fear of failure is one of the two biggest fears holding people back from “going for it”. The older we get, the more we become afraid of making a mistake, and caring too much about what others may think or say. You can thank the public school system for that.

The other fear is – fear of rejection.

7. Fear Of Success

Yes, as strange as that sounds, many people are afraid of success. It could be because of negative feelings about money that were drilled into their heads. Or because they’re afraid of what other people might think or say about them, since they’re trying to be “above average”.

So the bottom line is, a combination of these 7 things are causing people to not set goals, and remain stuck where they are.

7 Golden Rules For Effective Goal-Setting

goal setting

Here’s a simple, not necessarily easy, but simple formula for setting and achieving your goals.

Rule #1: Write Them Down

This is the first and the easiest thing you can do. Simply write down what you want. The mere act of committing them to paper sets the energy in motion.

Don’t skip this step. There are neurological and psychological reasons for why this works. By the way, when you actually write down what you want, you can feel an instant boost in energy and enthusiasm.

Rule #2: Be Specific

You need to be crystal clear about what you want. It’s not enough to say that you want more money. Or that you want to lose weight.

If you made $60,000 last year, $61,000 is more money. But will that get you excited?

If you’re 30 pounds overweight, losing 2 pounds is losing weight. But that won’t make much difference, will it?

If you’re driving from Michigan to Florida (as we’ve done a few times), you don’t just put Florida in your GPS. And you don’t put Miami either. You need to give it a specific address, so that you can get clear, step-by-step directions.

Get specific.

Rule #3: Be Realistic

This is going to fly in the face of many “gurus” and self-help teachers, but here’s what you need to understand.

If you’re making $60,000 a year, and you set a goal of making $1 Million. That’s a good long-term goal to shoot for. But it’s highly unlikely you will go from $60k to a Million in 12 months. So setting that as longer-term goal is fine. But you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish in the short run.

Going from $60k to $100,000 or $200,000 is very realistic depending of course on what you do. And the skills and resources you have.

For example, if you come to me and say I want to start making $100,000 a year online, and you have no marketing skills, and limited resources, while it is possible to do it, the reality is that it’s going to take some time. Let alone making a Million Bucks. Yes it’s possible and you can do it over period of time. But highly unlikely to do it in the next 12 months.

Now, if you had $20,000 at your disposal it’s a lot more realistic to make money online to the tune of $100,000 or more very quickly, because you have access to money and resources we can put to work immediately.

So your short-term goals need to be congruent with the skills and resources you have at your disposal.

The point of goal-setting is not to get you all excited, without giving yourself any reason to believe you’re actually going to accomplish that. In fact, setting unrealistic goals will most likely work against you and damage your self-esteem when you don’t even come close to hitting them.

I’m NOT saying to limit yourself.

I think it’s perfectly fine to set a BIG 3, 5 and 10 year goals that are WAY OUT THERE. But short-term, give yourself something to shoot for that you can accomplish.

In my direct sales career I’ve met many people who said – “I’m going to make a Million Dollars”. And then just as many who quit before they even made their first buck.

Last point I’ll make about this is think of Shark Tank. Have you seen the looks on the faces of the sharks, when an entrepreneur comes in with sales of $100,000… and then say “We will do over a Million next year”? The reaction is always the same – WHY?

Which leads me to the next point…

Rule #4: Create A Plan Of Action With A Deadline

So many people say they’re going to do _______, but have no clue and no clear plan of action on how they’re going to do it. And no deadline to keep them on track.

A goal without a deadline and without a clear plan is nothing but a wish.

If you’re going to write a book, figure out how many pages it’ll be, and how many pages you will write on a daily basis to make sure you accomplish it.

If you want to lose weight – how many days and what exercises are you going to commit to? And what changes to your diet are you going to make?

If you want to make more money – how much? What are you going to do on a daily basis to move the needle forward?

Rule #5: Set BIG Goals That Energize You

Now this sounds a little contradictory to Rule # 3, but let me explain. As I stated above, I think short-term goals need to be more realistic and in line with what you have available. Your skills. And your resources.

But at the same time you need to have a bigger vision and loftier goals that get you excited about the future and what’s possible. You may be starting from scratch, but you can absolutely create a Million Dollar business over the next few years. And if that idea motivates you, than by all means put that as your BIG goal that will drive you.

Rule #6: Create Your Why List

Goals without meaning will not keep you energized.

You may think that a Million Dollars (or whatever the amount you want) will keep you excited. But only for a short period of time.

It’s NOT the money you want. It’s what the money can do for you and for the people in your life that’s going to keep you excited and motivated to move forward.

If you’re after weight loss, it’s not the weight loss you really want. It’s what being in good shape and looking healthy will do for your life.

So, you need to get clear about WHY you want to achieve these goals. And think about these reasons often.

Rule #7: Take Action

taking action nowThe last, the final, and the most important rule in goal setting is – TAKE ACTION.

This is where the rubber meets the road. You can have written goals, all your why’s and a very clear plan of action.

But until you actually DO IT, nothing will happen.

So set goals. think big. Dream big. And then – TAKE ACTION.

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Vitaly Grinblat has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and advertising. Including running his own financial services agency for over 10 years. Since 2005, he has created a number of information products online, as well consulted with and designed advertising campaigns for private clients, generating over $10,000,000 in sales. Currently Vitaly is involved in a number of businesses and projects including creating marketing campaigns for a large publication company, running an e-commerce business, a nutraceutical company and Success Thread.


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