Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced. By following the Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.

The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls "fear-setting." Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.


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!
Goal displacement occurs when the original goals of an entity or organization are replaced over time by different goals. In some instances, this creates problems, because the new goals may exceed the capacity of the mechanisms put in place to meet the original goals. New goals adopted by an organization may also increasingly become focused on internal concerns, such as establishing and enforcing structures for reducing common employee disputes.[24] In some cases, the original goals of the organization become displaced in part by repeating behaviors that become traditional within the organization. For example, a company that manufactures widgets may decide to do seek good publicity by putting on a fundraising drive for a popular charity, or having a tent at a local county fair. If the fundraising drive or county fair tent is successful, the company may choose to make this an annual tradition, and may eventually involve more and more employees and resources in the new goal of raising the most charitable funds, or having the best county fair tent. In some cases, goals are displaced because the initial problem is resolved or the initial goal becomes impossible to pursue. A famous example is the March of Dimes, which began as an organization to fund the fight against polio, but once that disease was effectively brought under control by the polio vaccine, transitioned to being an organization for combating birth defects.[24]
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans  for more on how to do this.

Step 6: Remember that your prosperity and success will benefit others, and that no one lacks abundance because you've opted for it. The supply is unlimited. The more you partake of the universal generosity, the more you'll have to share with others. In writing this book, wonderful abundance has flowed into my life in many ways. But even more significantly, book editors and graphic designers, the truck drivers who deliver the book, the auto workers who build the trucks, the farmers who feed the auto workers, and bookstore clerks. all receive abundance because I've followed my bliss and have written this book.
Tahoe seemed like the perfect place to achieve that goal. — Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Getting around the Bay Area with Chanell Fletcher," 21 Dec. 2018 Since that’s the point of the cause, and since that goal is best served by staying vague, vagueness will likely continue to be the order of the day. — Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The $21 trillion Pentagon accounting error that can’t pay for Medicare-for-all, explained," 3 Dec. 2018 But a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives a grim prognosis about reaching that goal. — Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Trump Administration Forecasts 7 Degrees Fahrenheit of Global Warming by 2100," 28 Sep. 2018 The goal by year’s end is develop new rules setting noise standards for the test aircraft, and new standards for operational airliners in 2020. — Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Supersonic Airliners Are About to Take Off. Again.," 7 Jan. 2019 Although the police force hit a minor snag in October when one of the cameras caught on fire, the stated goal has been to provide one camera for every officer by the end of 2019. — Shannon Liao, The Verge, "New York City cops will fly a drone over the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square," 30 Dec. 2018 The goal here is to identify the places where mortar is sufficiently damaged and/or missing, and mix new mortar to replace it. — Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "So You Want To Fix Your Chimney," 21 Dec. 2018 Our goal is to continue to foster a powerful community and sisterhood of likeminded women who are passionate, driven and kind. — Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "It Brand Dannijo and the Return of the Scrunchie," 20 Dec. 2018 The goal is to deliver comprehensive care that helps to ease a person’s life in a multitude of ways. — Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Different End-of-Life Care Options to Know if You or a Loved One Is Sick," 18 Dec. 2018
2. Don’t get too caught up in ‘big’ things. A lot of the time when we think about goals, we think they need to be really big – and this can be overwhelming. Change how you think about goals. A goal can be anything you want to do or achieve – big, small or completely random, such as learning how to tell a great story at a party, or taking part in a fun-run dressed as a stormtrooper.

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.
Before an individual can set out to achieve a goal, they must first decide on what their desired end-state will be. Peter Gollwitzer's mindset theory of action phases proposes that there are two phases in which an individual must go through if they wish to achieve a goal.[9] For the first phase, the individual will mentally select their goal by specifying the criteria and deciding on which goal they will set based on their commitment to seeing it through. The second phase is the planning phase, in which that individual will decide which set of behaviors are at their disposal and will allow them to best reach their desired end-state or goal.[10]:342–348
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