My 5 Simple Steps to Goalsetting


Photo © Angie Torres

A lot of people don’t set goals. They think it is too difficult, or too time-consuming.

I think they are wrong.

I am a big fan of the late Jim Rohn. Jim Rohn was one of America’s foremost business philosophers. One of the things Mr. Rohn taught me was that goalsetting is not a laborious, difficult and time-consuming activity. In fact, it is dead simple and a lot of fun.

Jim Rohn’s course on goal setting consisted of two steps:

Step 1: Decide what you want.

Step 2: Write it down.

That’s it. You can do this in 5 minutes. You can really go for it and take 10 or even 15 minutes.

If you would stop here you are already light-years ahead of almost everyone else. But you can refine this process and make the resulting list even more powerful.

Step 3

For each goal on your list, write down a 1, 3, 5 or 10. This is the number of years you want to take to achieve that goal. If you want a goal to happen within the next year, write down a 1. If you want to achieve your goal in 5 years, write down a 5, and so on.

The goal of this step is to narrow down your list. The best lists of goals contain dozens and dozens of goals. That’s very inspiring but it can also be a bit overwhelming when you are trying to decide which goal to work on next. After this step, you’ll have a much smaller list of one-year goals you can focus on.

Step 4

From your list of one-year goals, pick a handful of goals that you are really committed to making happen in the next year. Put an asterisks next to them, or an exclamation mark, or whatever. Pick the ones that you feel really excited about achieving.

Again, we’re narrowing down our list. By selecting the goals you really want to go for, you’re making your chances of achieving them that much greater.

About 6-9 goals is a manageable number but you need to come up with a good number for yourself. If you have a lot of time on your hands you can go for a full dozen. If you are a single parent juggling two kids and a full-time job, chances are you have less time to spend so pick a smaller number.

Step 5

For each of the goals you marked, write down a paragraph or two on why you are committed to achieving that goal.

This is the real fun part. Come up with all the reasons, great and small for why you are going to make this goal a reality. What will achieving this goal give you? How will you feel? What will it give others? How will they feel? How will your life be different when you achieve this goal? What will your days look like? What kind of person will you have become?

This is where you really “get into” your goals, where you really align yourself with your goals and with the future you will be creating by achieving them.

If you cannot think of anything, if you cannot think of a why that really excites you I suggest you pick a different goal you can be excited about.

Once you are happy with the result, copy your goals and their why onto a piece of paper and put it next to your bed. Or copy them into your journal. Then make sure you read your goals at least once a day (preferably more), just before you go to bed. This causes you to even further internalize your goals and engages your subconscious mind to think of ways to achieve them.

So this is goalsetting. Does it still seem difficult? Do you still think it is too time-consuming?


There is actually a bonus step that will take you away from the realm of goalsetting and into the realm of goalachieving.

It is great to have a list of goals to get inspired by every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. And believe me, your subconscious mind will be working its butt off to make sure you are set up to achieve them.

But how about we give our subconscious mind a hand and really improve our chances of making our goals a reality?

Step 6

For each of your goals, come up with as many ways as possible to make this goal a reality.

This will be your action plan. Come up with at least a dozen (much, much more is better) different ways you can work towards achieving your goal. What can you do? Who can you talk to? What should you learn? What big things can you do? What little things? Come up with as many as possible.

Then pick one and start implementing it.

Why write down as many ways to achieve your goal as you can come up with?

Here’s what will happen. Some of the things you wrote down won’t work.

But because you wrote down a dozen more ways you can go about achieving your goal, the only thing you need to do is pick the next one. And if that doesn’t work, you pick the next one. And so on.

Where most people will get stuck because they think they have only one or two ways they can achieve their goal, you can just keep going. And going. And going.

Each time you will learn something. And because you learn something, each time you will get closer to your goals.