Amazing post, and very timely! I agree 100% with "create your "big picture" of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years)" - so many people (me included) just don't do this and then struggle with staying on track. I found that by using SMART goals and especially by identifying my emotional attachment (the big reason WHY) behind my goals, I could start to actually achieve them. Now I am hooked!
To open your own business, after completing the first goals of taking a bookkeeping class and finding a location, you may set new goals to obtain a business loan to purchase a space and to apply for the proper business licensing through your local government. Afterwards, you can move towards buying (or leasing) the space, then obtaining the books you need, hiring staff, and opening your doors to business. Eventually you may even work towards opening a second location!
A positive relationship between goals and performance depends on several factors. First, the goal must be considered important and the individual must be committed. Participative goal setting can help increase performance, but participation itself does not directly improve performance. Self-efficacy also enhances goal commitment. For goals to be effective, people need feedback that details their progress in relation to their goal.