Four Steps to Successful Goal-Setting

by Philip E. Humbert, PhD.


Successful people have always had clear, focused goals that guide them to greatness.

It took Thomas Edison thousands of attempts and thousands of failures over many years to invent the electric light bulb, but he knew exactly what he wanted, and his goal kept him going until he achieved it The rest, as they say, is history.

Michelle Kwan had a goal to be the best skater in the world. Oprah Winfrey was an abused child who determined to make a better life for herself.

Successful people always have clear goals. Great musicians, great athletes, successful salespeople and inspiring leaders know what they want in life, and they go after it. Great parents work at it. No one becomes an astronaut by accident!

And yet the great bulk of people continue to drift through life with no goals at all, or with only vague dreams, hopes and wishes. No wonder we achieve so much less than we could!

For those who have not yet experienced the joy of setting and achieving magnificent goals, here is a powerful set of principles that have worked for thousands of my clients. They will work for you, too. I call them The 4 Steps to Successful Goal-Setting:

  1. Decide what you want. Decide if you would rather have money in the bank, or that new car. Choose the life you prefer! You can't have everything in life; but you can have anything you choose, if you will focus, pay the price, and pursue it with all your heart.

  2. Clarify your values. Too often, people choose goals that are inconsistent with their priorities and daily behaviors. Do you value health, or comfort? Is financial independence a priority, or merely a wish? In a clash between your values and your wishes, your values will win every time. Be certain your goals are consistent with your most important values.

  3. Write them down! Have the courage to put your intentions on paper, in your own words. Be specific and describe your goals in detail. When will you achieve them? What will success look like? Write down the details and read your goals every day, even take a moment to summarize them every morning. Stay focused.

  4. Take action! To run a marathon, you must jog every day. Building a business requires that you make sales, every day. A loving marriage or happy kids require your time, your attention and your love, every day. Your daily actions need not be profound or heroic, but they must be consistent and persistent. Every day!

Success does not "just happen". It is built like a work of art. First, it is imagined, then the skills, tools and materials are gathered, and the artist sets about creating a thing of beauty. It takes time. It requires skill, determination, persistence and faith.

Just as an artist will make preliminary sketches and work out the details in her mind, so your success requires written goals, careful choices, clear commitments and daily persistence. You can do this. Make something magnificent of your life!


Visit Dr Humbert's website for over 250 pages of articles, Top 10 lists, humor, quotes, tips and tools for your success! There's a free book on making (and keeping!) more money, and a free motivational newsletter. Check it out at: www.philiphumbert.com

Copyright © 2001 by Philip E. Humbert, PhD. All Rights Reserved Email him at Coach@philiphumbert.com

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