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4 Easy Steps For Goal Setting That Will Guarantee Your Success (With Real-Life Examples)

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Those brilliant words were spoken by the late great Zig Ziglar. You’re an aiming creature, whether you realize it or not. As a result, it’s critical to fixate your aim on a target you actually want to hit. This is the first out of five easy steps for goal setting that you need to take.

In this article, I’ll share with you the four goal-setting steps that will guarantee your success in any goal you’re working toward. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Understand Goals And The Goal-Setting Process

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

~ Earl Nightingale

Everyone needs a goal. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your cultural background, or your religious beliefs. You need a target to aim at in life. Earl Nightingale, a pioneering figurehead in self-improvement, said it best in the quote above. There are many definitions of success. However, Earl Nightingale’s definition is the most accurate and empowering.

It conveys the most important aspect of goal setting: striving. I’ll explain why striving is so critical to your confidence and development in a moment, but first, let’s clarify what goals actually are.

What are Goals?

Goals are “bridge-builders.” They are the connecting link that bridges the gap between your desires and their fulfillment. They are targets to hit, ideals to live up to, and improvements to strive toward. For this reason, having goals in life—in my opinion—is an essential element of quality living.

Without a target that’s constantly moving you forward, you become a casualty of circumstances rather than a creator of conditions.

Importance of Setting Goals

Many people are confused about goals. They assume that having ambitions is about crossing arbitrary items off a bucket list. However, there’s a much more vital element to goal setting that is often overlooked or forgotten. And it’s this: goals give you direction.

Other important shifts that take place during the goal-setting process include:

  • Character and skill development
  • More determination
  • Greater capacity to achieve greater goals
  • Ability to push through discomfort
  • Grit and persistence
  • Improved self-image and outlook on life

The true value of goal setting comes from who you become as a result of the experiences your goals give you. This is not to say the goals themselves are unimportant—not at all. They’re just not nearly as important as the determination, discipline, and character you develop from accomplishing them.

Benefits of Goal Setting

Okay, so you now have a foundational understanding of the importance of goal-setting. But what are the advantages? After all, setting and accomplishing goals takes time and effort. As a result, you want to ensure there’s a payoff that makes it worth it in the end. Here are a few benefits of goal setting:

  • Continual self-improvement: If you didn’t have to improve anything about yourself to reach your goals, you’d already have them. For this reason, I believe one of the most significant benefits of goal setting is personal development. By striving in life, you become more self-aware, more confident in your decisions, and a better person overall.
  • Accumulation of momentum: When you accomplish one goal, it gives you determination to accomplish the next. And then accomplishing the next goal strengthens your resolve to accomplish the one after that, and so on. As a result, you begin to generate momentum, setting bigger and more audacious goals as your stock in yourself grows. This is when your goal-setting begins to take on a life of its own.
  • Strengthened resolve: One of the major steps in goal setting is commitment. Nothing gets achieved without it. Big goals are difficult and time-consuming. I liken this to Dave Ramsey’s philosophy on business: things take twice as long as you think, cost twice as much as you think, and you’re not the exception.

How to Set Goals

So, how do you set goals? There is a proven framework you can use, and I’ll share it with you in a moment. But first, you need to know that of all the steps for goal setting, this is the most important: Decide what you want. You can’t make any progress toward a goal if you don’t clearly define it. Yet, ironically, this is what trips most people up.

However, let’s assume you know what you want. How do you begin making progress toward it? Here is an actual goal-setting process I’ve used to achieve some of my biggest aspirations:

  1. Write it down: Until your goal is written down, it’s nothing but a vague dream, a concept floating around in your head. However, the moment you write your goal on paper, you give it life and animation. Write every desire you have down. The power that pen to paper has on goal achievement has been scientifically proven. A study by Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California concluded that people who write their goals on a sheet of paper compared to those who don’t are 42% more likely to reach them.
  2. Create a plan of action: What good is a goal without a plan of attack to make it a reality? Ambitions can’t accomplish themselves. They require planning. And here’s the thing: the plan doesn’t need to be perfect. Many people get hung up on drafting every meticulous detail until they have a comprehensive, step-by-step blueprint to achieve their goals. This is unnecessary. Create a simple plan and take daily action. You can make adjustments along the way; the important thing, however, is to get started.
  3. Practice infinite patience: One of the most important steps for goal setting is to practice infinite patience. Your goals will almost never happen on your time. For this reason, be okay with not having what you want. As long as you take consistent action, it will come eventually. But in the meantime, you must be patient and persistent.

2. Choose The Types Of Goals You Want To Accomplish

“Get serious about your goals. There are all kinds you can set: business goals, financial goals, family goals. With so many things to work on, if you don’t get busy, sure enough, the time will pass.”

~ Jim Rohn

One of the most important steps for goal setting is choosing the right type of goal. There’s no right or wrong answer here—only what you currently want or need in your life. The only caveat is this: you have to genuinely want it.

When you know what you want and, more importantly, why you want it, you can move on to the next step in goal setting, which is…

Confidence-Builder Goals

Confidence-builder goals are essential. In fact, I would say they are non-negotiable. Think of these goals as the milestones that help you develop the self-belief to go for your more audacious goals. These help you develop what I call the milestone mentality. Here’s a big mistake people make when setting goals…

They’ll think they’ll be happy when they achieve them. And they probably will—for a moment. However, the novelty will soon fade, leading you to a feeling of restlessness once again. So, the secret is to find contentment in the journey. And you do this by applying the milestone mentality.

You set little milestone goals that align with your bigger goals. Each time you achieve one of these milestones, you celebrate. The little wins matter. Honor them.

Audacious Goals

This is where things get exciting. Audacious goals are your dreams; they are the ambitions that may take 3 to 5 years (or even longer) to attain. However, an extended time frame is not the only attribute of an audacious goal. An audacious goal is any ambition that scares you and pushes you out of your comfort zone.

It should challenge your preconceived notion of what you believe you’re capable of. They are the ambitions you get to tell stories about and that, for the rest of your life, serve as examples of what’s possible for you.

An example of this would be my good friend Oscar Chan.

A YouTuber and globetrotter, Oscar recently returned from a whirlwind adventure. He traveled throughout Central and South America, even making a pitstop in Antarctica! During his travels, he competed in the Machu Picchu Marathon, one of the world’s most challenging marathon runs.

Completing the goal of running the Machu Picchu Marathon

This was one of his biggest long-term goals. I still remember his enthusiasm when he first told me he was going to complete this run. When Oscar returned to Canada, I noticed he had a new level of confidence and maturity. His posture had more swagger, his voice was a little deeper, and every word he spoke dripped with conviction.

What can you learn from my friend, Oscar? Setting and accomplishing audacious goals builds self-trust, self-worth, and self-respect.

Personal Goals

What do you want to achieve personally? Do you want to buy your dream home? Write a book? Travel the world? Whatever personal goals you have, these are essential aspects of your goal-setting journey. In truth, every goal is a personal goal. Even accomplishing professional ambitions has a personal payoff.

Nothing is more satisfying and rewarding than accomplishing a personal goal you’ve been striving toward for a long time. I did that in 2023 when I ran my first spartan race.

spartan race

I first set this goal in 2021, but it wasn’t until two years later that I finally accomplished it. In 2023, I traveled across the world to Abu Dhabi, UAE, to compete in this race. It was one of the proudest moments in my life.

It instilled in me the attitude of “I can do anything.”

So, what’s the key takeaway? Personal goals can boost your self-confidence, self-image, and self-trust. You can literally become a new person from a mental and psychological point of view by accomplishing your personal goals!

Professional Goals

It doesn’t matter whether you want to start your own business or climb the corporate ladder, you need some professional goals. Your work will occupy a large percentage of your life. As a result, it’s important to invest in your work, whatever it may be. And you can only do that by setting and working toward professional goals that excite you.

My coach and former boss (I used to teach the kid’s kickboxing classes at his martial arts academy), Andell Alexander, is a perfect example of this. He’s an engineer, a BJJ black belt, an entrepreneur, and a business owner.

martial arts academy

He [Andell, pictured in the front row on the right] has been a martial artist his whole life. His love for Brazilian jiu-jitsu has led him to open two successful academies. Working for him has been a whirlwind of learning experiences.

During my time there, I got an inside look at how a business is run, the way company goals are set, and how to accomplish them efficiently and effectively. The key takeaway from my BJJ coach, Andell, is the importance of working toward goals that advance you professionally.

Your career or business will grow in proportion to the goals you deliberately set for it.

3. Realize The Importance Of Effective Goal-Setting

There’s a method to the madness when it comes to goal setting. You can’t just go at it haphazardly. A shotgun approach doesn’t command command success. However, all you need to remedy this scatter-brained methodology is a system.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to things or people.”

~ Albert Einstein

Set Compelling Goals

The whole point of a goal is to aim at a target you actually want to hit. This is not about going after goals you think you can get; it’s about going after goals you genuinely want. Many people set “safe” goals: ambitions well within reach that don’t require them to stretch. The problem with this strategy is twofold…

First, you’ll never learn what you’re truly capable of; as a result, the potential that resides within you will remain dormant and untapped. What a tragedy. Second, you’ll never actually get what you want. You’ll settle for “good enough” every time.

I don’t know about you, but I want more than “good enough” in my life. Of all the steps for goal setting, setting compelling life goals is the most important.

Align Your Goals with Your Personal Values

Here’s the deal… You probably have the opinions and expectations of others firmly planted in your consciousness. We all do to some degree. However, you can’t let these opinions and expectations dictate how you should live your life. You have to listen to YOUR internal guidance system. And doing this requires you to respect and adhere to your own desires.

This is not selfish; get that thought out of your mind. The truth is that you should NEVER do something just because everyone else is doing it. In fact, if the majority of people are unanimous on a topic or idea, that’s an indicator that you should do a 180 and head in the opposite direction.

4. Ensure You Have Accountability Toward Your Goals

“In order to succeed at an exceptional level, there must be accountability and high expectations present in the midst of your circle”

~ Unknown

I used to subscribe to the “lone-wolf” mentality. Truthfully, I just never saw the value in having others help me with my goals. That brand of thinking held me back for years. Today, I’m a firm believer in the power of accountability. More specifically, having an accountability partner.

How an Accountability Partner Can Help with Goal Setting

I’ve had a few accountability partners over the years, so I speak with confidence when I tell you about the validity of this kind of relationship in accomplishing your goals. My most recent and longest-lasting accountability partnership is with my good friend, Charlie. As of this writing, we’ve been accountability partners for almost a year. 

We share our daily goals, set concrete deadlines, and check in with each other on a regular basis.

accountability partners for goal setting

The power of accountability comes from having someone else to answer to other than yourself. We, as humans, are the biggest bullshitters. It’s so easy to lie to ourselves; it’s easy to sugarcoat the truth. That’s a lot harder to do when you have someone else to report each week.

How to Make the Most of an Accountability Partner

As one of the most significant steps for goal setting, an accountability partner has many advantages. But before I get into the benefits, I first want to talk about how to get the most out of this kind of setup. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Weekly check-ins: Set a time that works for both of you for a weekly check-in. This weekly meeting will quickly reveal if you’ve been falling off and if changes are needed. If, for example, you’re falling short working your action plan, discuss possible solutions. These weekly check-ins are to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
  • Make losing painful: This is critical. You’ve got to have some “skin in the game.” Or else, what incentive do you have to follow through when things get hard? So, be sure to put something sizable on the line if you fail to hit your targets for the week. For example, if you are a salesman and you tell your accountability partner you’ll make 200 calls the next week, and you only make 100, you should donate $200 to charity. Make losing painful.

The Benefits of an Accountability Partner

Accountability partners are invaluable. They incentivize your motivation and give you support in the areas where you feel your commitment wane. Think of an accountability partner as a pillar that stabilizes your ambitions, turning them from a house of cards to an impenetrable structure. Here are some other benefits you can expect:

  • Act as a sounding board during a difficult time
  • Offer advice and support for how to improve
  • High-quality friendship with someone you trust
  • Contribute to your growth and development
  • Provide insightful tips for goal-setting
  • Help you develop an actionable plan
  • Help you set more meaningful goals
  • Motivate you to be more consistent in your life
  • Inspire you to make better and healthier lifestyle choices

While it’s not a necessity, an accountability partnership is one of the steps for goal setting that can make a significant difference. They can help you align your daily habits toward actionable objectives and serve as a crucial aspect of success. For this reason, this suggestion is one you shouldn’t overlook.

What’s Next? Take Action on the Steps For Goal Setting

The steps for goal setting are simple, and anyone can take them to begin making progress toward their ambitions. And the best part? I’m here to help. After years of setting, striving toward, and achieving many of my most significant goals, I reveal the knowledge I’ve gained in a weekly newsletter.

So, sign up below for The Motivated And Disciplined newsletter to receive engaging stories, powerful life lessons, and proven strategies to help you on your self-improvement journey.

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