Goal Setting 101

Goal Setting 101: 

A Roadmap for Getting What You Need and Want in Everyday Life

 By Lester Sanders

Imagine you’re going on a road trip, to a state and city you’ve never been before.  You have a great running car.  You have all the money you need for gas, lodging, food and any extras.  You have the hotel’s address. What’s the last thing you need to be on your way?  Answer please—a roadmap or GPS! With today’s technology you will most likely choose a GPS.  A GPS gives you turn by turn directions, for you to get to your destination.  Without a GPS (An Electronic Roadmap) the chances of getting lost and wasting valuable time is very high.  Sadly, this is the way most people (teens and adults) live their lives.

Most people will or have started life traveling without direction or purpose, leaving them unprepared for the “real world”.  No direction equals starting life off with no goals and plans.  Too many people are simply figuring things out as they go. 5, 10 or 20 years flies by and they end up broke, busted, disgusted, and frustrated with life.  And yet, everyday they live life hoping and wishing things will get better (that’s a great life strategy, LOL…just kidding).  Is or will this be you?

Why Should I Set Goals?

Simply put, the majority of successful people or achievers are disciplined goal setters and goal getters. They have a clear picture of what they want and will take the necessary action steps to achieve them.  Goal setting reduces the roadblocks between you and success.  A life with no goals causes you to just drift in life’s traffic.  Brian Tracy stated that, “A genius without a road map will get lost in any country; an average person with a good road map will go straight into their destination.”

I am often quoted for saying: “It’s not about where you’re at; it’s only about where you’re going.”   You solely determine your destination in life: your thoughts, your choices and your actions.  A clear, realistic and worthwhile goal boosts your confidence, raises your self-esteem and increases your levels of motivation.

The Benefits of Goal Setting!

Earl Nightingale stated that, “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.” Reaching your goals is a major part in fulfilling the greatest need of human beings—a sense of meaning and purpose in life.  Goals give you a roadmap to navigate the direction of change in order to achieve in everyday life.  Identifying goals, setting goals, taking goal action steps daily, and finally completing them is a key to happiness and joy in life.

One of my most favorite quotes is by Walt Disney: “The future is not the result of alternative paths offered in the present.  It is a place that is created—created first in the mind and will; created next in activity.”  Goal Setting provides a roadmap to create your future today by focusing your attention and daily action steps toward what you really need and want.  Many people doubt that goal setting works!  It really does! Discipline goal setting is still one of the most under utilized achievement tools in the United States and around the world.

Why Don’t People Achieve Their Goals?

Let’s get to the core of the goal setting cancer!  Life is hard! Achieving goals takes hard and discipline work, every single day.  If truth be told, most people give up before they really try!

A Goal Defined

Goal\ n: 1 : the mark set 2 : an area to be reached 3 : aim, purpose 4 : something that is longed for or to be accomplished.

Typical Goal Categories

  • Personal Goals
  • Physical / Health Goals
  • Family Goals
  • Career Goals
  • Financial Goals
  • Relationship Goals
  • Performance Goals
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Academic Goals
  • Educational Goals
  • Organizational Goals
  • Community / Social Goals

 Goal Timeframes

  • Short-Term – (0 – 6 months)
  • Mid-Term – (6 months – 3 years)
  • Long-Term – (3 years or more)

10 Questions We Must Ask Ourselves If We Want To Achieve Our Goal(s)?

  1. What is my Goal?
  2. Why do I want to accomplish my goal?
  3.  Is my goal(s) a short-term, mid-term or long-term goal?
  4.  Will this goal benefit me or hurt me?
  5.  Name the People, Places and Things that will help me accomplish my goal?
  6.  Name the People, Places and Things that will hinder or stop me from accomplishing my goal?
  7.  What am I willing to do to accomplish my goal?
  8.  What am I not willing to do to accomplish my goal?
  9.  What am I willing to sacrifice to accomplish my goal?
  10.  Who or what will benefit from my goal being accomplished?


There is no magic wand or single formula approach to achieving your goals.  Goals give turn by turn directions for what people need and want to achieve.  Also, goals help people stay focused when life’s detours and potholes pop up.  Goal setting is a tool for you to realize your limitless potential to be, have or do anything you truly want in life; if you want it badly enough and are willing to work long and hard enough to achieve it.  How bad do you really want it (your goal that is)?  So, what do you want out of life? What is your life’s purpose and mission?  What do you want to become?  What do you want to accomplish? These are questions that should be reviewed repeatedly in the next days, weeks, months and years ahead. Remember, in the words of Sandy Womack, Jr., “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not like where you end up!”