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Goal setting is one of the most powerful ways you can get clear on the personal and professional goals you want to achieve in the future.

If you want to take control of your life and develop personal goals and business goals that matter to you, it’s essential to learn how to set goals and how to achieve your goals.

Without having clearly defined short-term goals and long-term goals it’s easy to lose focus and direction.  By using proven goal setting techniques you gain a powerful process for clarifying your future, and for motivating yourself to turn those goals into reality. 

The process of setting goals gives you a direction and focus and you become clearer about what you want and where you want to go in life.

In this article I’ll talk about what goal setting is and share different types of goal setting techniques.

I’ll also share the importance of setting goals and tips and strategies on how to set goals and how to achieve your goals.

This goal setting insight has been created from over twenty-five years in business working with global brands, national companies, individual entrepreneurs and small local business owners.  Read more about the benefits of goal setting

Why is goal setting important?  

Setting goals is important because it gives you a set of clear, specific benchmarks and goals to work towards everyday in business and life, which will help you determine whether you are being successful or not.

Setting goals that are specific and measurable harnesses your emotional energy and focuses your time and energy on the activities that matter so you can make progress towards your goals every day.  

Use the SMART goals system to ensure your goals are specific, measurable and achievable.

When you commit to goal setting and learn how to achieve goals, it creates powerful actions that will act as a guide to help you develop personal goals and business goals.

But, many people fall at the first hurdle when it comes to learning how to set goals.  

Want proven tips and strategies to achieve your goals in a more productive way?  Sign up to my Weekly Newsletter to get the best goal setting, time management and productivity tips and tools delivered direct to your inbox.

Goal setting definition

Goal setting is the act of setting clearly defined goals and then working towards goal achievement every day.

These clearly defined goals should be something you want to achieve in the future with a clear date to achieve the goals by.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about and creating your ideal future.

To set a goal think about something specific you want to achieve in the future – this must be a number or an event.

Then set a deadline for achieving the goals in. 

Goal setting process – how to set goals

Many people, be they entrepreneurs, small business owners, leaders or managers are focused on goal setting.

They talk about setting goals.

But many fail to follow through and take the action needed to achieve those goals.

The reason.

They’re not emotionally invested or intellectually engaged in the achievable goals.

Their goals are too broad, they are not clearly defined goals, so they become less motivated to achieve the goals.

When you think about the steps to goal setting, remember the goals must be specific, a number or an event, and have a deadline attached to the goal.  Read more about why writing down your goals is the key to goal achievement.

How to set goals and achieve them

When setting goals, your goals should be numbers or events.

They should be defined goals with a specific, measurable deadline.  Learn more about setting measurable goals.

When goal setting, the goals you choose must be emotionally compelling enough that you want to take action on achieving them.

Otherwise they will fall by the wayside.

Some people have goals in their mind but they’re not written down or committed to.

Want more goal setting tips and strategies to help you achieve your goals quicker?  Sign up here for the Time For What Matters newsletter.   

Goal setting theory 

The emotional and intellectual power you attach to each goal you set becomes the key driver of internal motivation and commitment to achieve your goals.

Imagine you want to lose some weight.

Having a goal of losing weight is too general, the goal is not clearly defined or measurable.

There is not enough emotional power to push you to achieve a generic goal.

To be more committed to goal achievement, ensure the goal is specific, measurable with a deadline.

For example, my recent goal was to lose 12lb in 90 days.

Goal setting quotes

I have selected a few inspirational goal setting quotes that have been very useful in my own goal setting journey.

“If greatness is your goal, it can only be achieved today.” – Dan Sullivan 


“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” – Earl Nightingale 


“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” – Michael Korda


“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar


“You can do anything if you set goals.  You just have to push yourself.” – RJ Mitte 


“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.” – Dan Sullivan

The importance of setting defined goals

If you want to learn how to set goals and achieve your goals, use this 8 step goal setting process to help you achieve your biggest goals in the next 90 days. 

These tips for goal setting will help you set goals that are important to you and achieve the goals much quicker.

1. Set goals by visualising your ideal future

Goal setting starts with seeing something in the future that doesn’t currently exist.

It is a future you that is your ideal, across your business and life.

To get a true perspective of what this future looks like, visualise it in as much detail as possible.

Get a sense of what it looks like, what it feels like.

Then be clear with yourself on what needs to happen to make that vision a reality.

Once you create a picture of this ideal future, this is where your mindset kicks in.

The more clarity you have around the details of what goals you want to achieve, the more your mind will take ownership of the result.

Steps to goal setting success 

A goal helps you gain clarity on your direction of travel.  They help you build a picture and articulate your biggest desires.

They are an anchor and guide that you can continually refer back to, ensuring you are heading in the right direction.

When setting goals be clear on exactly what you want.  Be clear on when you want to achieve them by.

Ensure you have clear measurements in place.  I also work with clients on setting specific, measurable 90 day goals that can be continually reviewed.

Your goal setting process becomes the framework for creating the kind of bigger future you are looking to achieve.

Ensure they are your goals.

They are not created or defined by anyone else.

When followed day after day, they can become the foundation of your personal growth and freedom.

2. Know what goals you want to achieve

If you don’t know where you’re going how will you know when you get there?

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs will build a business and personal vision 3 years into the future, 5 years into the future.

Some will look 25 years into the future.

Through goal setting, they lay out exactly what goals they want to achieve and then work backwards setting defined goals that are timely and measurable.

The importance of short-term goals  

In my experience setting quarterly or 90 Day goals is the key to achieving your goals, and constantly reviewing is a cornerstone of success.

They are a clear ‘stepping stone’ towards the bigger vision but feel very achievable.

Many of the clients I work with will have 5 specific ‘outcome goals’ they want to achieve in 90 Days.

This will be a mixture of financial goals, strategic goals, relationships goals, personal goals, goals to free up more time etc. but they focus the mind.

Once achieved, set a goal for the following 90 days.

3. Write down your goals

Do you still use a pen and paper to make notes or write down your latest idea?

People who actually write down their goals are more likely to have success getting to where they want to go.

There is a personal commitment at play when we physically write down our goals.

A goal is embedded in your mind and subconsciously your brain is looking for every opportunity to work on achieving the goal.

The written goal also gives you a place to refer back to if you are having a challenging time.

This can help you reset, get more focused and motivate you to push on towards achieving the goal.

4. Set clearly defined goals  

With goal setting, it’s essential that you set realistic deadlines and metrics to measure success.

Your mind needs a realistic deadline to take the goal seriously.

It also makes you more accountable to actually achieving the goal you’ve set.

Otherwise you may feel “you’ll get to it when you can” and you won’t be properly emotionally invested in the outcome or result.

The deadline you set for each goal should be challenging, exciting but also feel achievable.

Think about the impact of achieving each goal will have on your business and personal life.

5. Hold yourself accountable when setting your goals

This is a big one.

If you are an individual entrepreneur you feel the weight of total responsibility on your shoulders, then holding just yourself accountable can be difficult.

From my experience as a Business Coach working with successful individual business owners I understand that accountability really is the key to success.

Working on achieving goals with a business coach or sharing your goals with peers, your family or team members provides real incentive and motivation to push forward, do what you say you’ll do and really take action.

You really feel accountable and committed.

It also motivates you to up your game still further and reach for things you didn’t think were possible.

Being held accountable pushes you further and gives you the added incentive of making things happen.

It also pushes your creativity.

You will come up with new ideas, new thinking because you’re surrounding yourself with someone or people you trust and respect.

6. Achieve your goals by breaking them down

We all know that learning how to goal set is just the start.  It is not the end result.

The process of setting goals and achieving your goals should be enjoyable, stimulating and drive you forward every day.

On the journey to goal achievement you should learn something new about yourself, should push yourself further.

You will learn really important lessons.

Emotionally invest in working on goals

The more powerful your goal setting and the more emotionally invested you are in achieving them, the greater the end result.

Your progress and motivation gives you the ability to transform every aspect of your business and life based around your desired outcome.

If one of your goals is to leverage time to focus on bigger activities, then you can tangibly measure progress towards the goal every day.

Through goal setting and goal achievement, you will see the transformation in every area of your life.

7. Own your future through goal achievement 

We are personally responsible for our future and must take ownership of what we can become and have belief in creating the ideal future.

When you are not in control of where you spend your time and what you want to focus on others will happily distract you.

By setting goals you are clear on what has led you to this moment.

You understand your past and have learnt lessons, both positive and negative.  This helps with goal setting.

There is a vision of your future with desired results so you become more in control of where you are right now.  In this present moment.

By sitting in the present with a clear view of your desired future you can take complete control of every aspect of your life.

Through goal achievement, you’ll have more freedom in every area of your business and life.

8. Use goal setting in all areas of your life

Goal setting and learning how to achieve goals is not just about your business.

It can be the fuel for achievement in every aspect of your life, be that health, finances, relationships, fitness or personal growth.

The key to goal setting and achieving goals is to understand your motivation and desire for achieving them.

Why are they important?

What will it feel like when I achieve them?

How will it really make a difference?

When you have this clarity it will play a significant role in aligning you with your goal and getting you to change some habits that are required to fully realise the goals.


The process of setting goals helps you determine exactly what you want to achieve in life and gives you a framework for achieving your goals.

Setting clearly defined goals is the cornerstone to effective goal setting. 

Develop goals that are specific, measurable and with a deadline will ensure you are emotionally invested in achieving the goals.

This article lays out the foundation for successful personal and professional goal setting that everyone can follow to reach their goals quickly and more enjoyably.  

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What’s your best goal setting tip?

What area of goal setting do you struggle with most?

Let me know in the comments.

Read also:

How to achieve goals: 8 tips to achieve your goals

SMART Criteria: How to set smart goals 

Productivity: Tips on how to be more productive

The importance of writing down your goals 

8 time management tips to manage time effectively

A simple guide on how to be more productive 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a small business coach to business owners and entrepreneurs who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results. 

If you want to achieve bigger and better goals, get more articles, tips and tools to help you simplify your time, be more productive and  multiply your results on the blog.

Sign up to the ‘Time For What Matters’ newsletter to get the best tips and strategies to help you free up more time to achieve your goals quicker. 

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Productivity Planner by Mark Pettit of Lucemi Consulting

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Have a productive, focused and satisfying day, every day, by filling out this 1 Page Productivity Planner every morning. 


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