How to Set Effective Goals

By Tom Phelps posted 10-02-2017 10:27


Strategic Skills: Set Effective Goals

Where Are You Headed?

I truly enjoy the process of setting goals – from planning and implementation, to achieving them – I find that it is an inspiring and motivating way to live.  If you were to walk in my home today, you would see my book of goals sitting on my kitchen table, and a vision board I keep with images of my long-term goals hanging on one of my walls.  Included in these are things like finishing projects at work, running a 5K in under 20-minutes, acquiring my private pilot’s license, as well as some financial and family goals – they’re all there. 

I didn’t always do this, though, but was hungry for change a few years ago and started searching.  Since then, I have implemented what I’ve learned and taken steps to maintain a lifestyle of having dreams and goals in my own life. I schedule and take time to think about my goals, write them down and review them regularly.  I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on setting effective goals in hopes that it will inspire you to take action and help you move toward your desired results.


Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

Simple as it may sound, one if the first principles of setting effective goals is to think.  Take time to sit in a quiet, undisturbed atmosphere and consider the things you really, truly want. Do you want to finish a certain project you’ve been working on? Get out of debt? Lose weight? Maybe you’d like to take a vacation, learn to play the guitar, or obtain a new certification in your career field. You may not even know yet what you really, truly want – this may be an entirely new concept to you. I’ll even go as far as to say that the first step in setting effective goals is to actually have some!

No matter what the case for you, let this serve as a starting point for you!  You have probably heard the saying, “Don’t just sit there, do something!”  Well, I’m saying the opposite – schedule time in your week or month when you can step away from everything you’re doing, and “just sit there” and think.  Start with just 5 minutes and think of a list of 3-5 things in your life you’d like to see changed – that’s the first step.


Write Them Down

The next step in setting effective goals is to put them in writing. Let me suggest that, rather than typing them out or putting them on your tablet or phone, you actually get a pen and a pad of paper and write them down. Something happens when you move your goal from your head to paper – it’s as though you move it from something imaginary to something concrete.  I heard Brian Tracy, a motivational public speaker and self-development author, say that only 3% of adults have written goals, and that “Success begins with a piece of paper, a pen, and a few minutes of your time.” 

What have you got to lose? As a matter of fact, I watched a YouTube video of Mr. Tracy a few weeks back ago which he taught about “The Three Goal Method.” Using this method, you take 30-seconds to write your 3 most important goals in life right now.  The premise is that, if you only have 30-seconds, you’ll be more apt to write goals that really matter to you.

The point here is to get them in writing.  That is the next important step in setting effective goals.


Review Them Regularly

Once you have your list of written goals, schedule time on a regular basis to review them.  Ever heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”?  Well, this aptly applies to your goals – if you’ don’t keep them in front of you, the chances of you reaching them decreases significantly. 

I would love to hear your additional thoughts on effective goal-setting.  Do you have goals? Do you have a plan to reach them? If so, please share your thoughts – I’m always excited to learn and discuss more about the topic.

I’ll close with a quote from James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh”:

Cherish your visions.  Cherish your ideals.  Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment, of these, if you but remain true to them your world will at last be build.