The Secret of Goal Setting and Planning

The Secret of Goal Setting and Planning

Goal setting and planning is a very popular topic of discussion. The saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. In plain simple English, you will never arrive at a destination you don’t have. With modern day technology, it is normal for people to use navigation systems whenever they need to get to a new destination. goal setting and planningBut the fact is that as soon as you want to start your journey, you have to enter the destination which you are heading for into your navigation system. You cannot get into your vehicle and start driving, waiting for the GPS to start navigating you, without you entering any data. And you have to be specific with the address.

Know Where You Are.

Before you can determine your end destination and the time you’ll need to get there, you also need to determine where you are now. It is impossible for your navigation system to calculate your best route and how long it will take you to get there, if you don’t enter a starting point first.

It is exactly the same when setting your goals. In order to set achievable goals, you need a well thought-out action plan. It is good to know what you want to achieve in life and to set your goals accordingly. But to make those goals realistic and achievable, you also need to take into consideration where you are now. This is where proper goal setting and planning comes in.

What resources do you have available (if any)? Do you have any capital available? Can you work fulltime on achieving your goals? Do you need to keep your day job first, and if so, how much time do you have available to work on your goals. How much support will get from your spouse or your family, especially when you need to put in some extra time to work towards achieving your goals? Do you have the necessary skills or do you need some extra training?

Once you have asked yourself these questions and more, you can determine where you are now, and calculate more accurately how long it will take you to achieve your ultimate goal.

Plan Your Journey

After you have analyzed your strengths and you have determined where you are now, you can start working on an action plan.

It is good to think big, and that is where you need to start. Don’t limit yourself. Dare to dream. But once you have that big dream in your mind, and you have a burning desire to achieve it, it is necessary to stay in touch with reality. Once you have a clear vision of that ultimate goal and you can see it clearly in your mind, start breaking it up in smaller, more achievable goals.

This is where I have a problem with many of the goal setting advice that we get bombarded with everyday. Everybody tells you to THINK BIG. They would even talk about the smaller goals as steps in your action plan, but the emphasis is so much on the “think big” part, that you lose focus on reality and don’t pay enough attention to the smaller attainable goals to achieve them.

This often ends up in people not even achieving the smaller goals. They become negative and just give up all together. It is because their focus is in the wrong place.

Does this mean your main goal was un-realistic, and not achievable? No, you can – and should – think big and your goal is achievable. But once you have determined your ultimate goal – this is where you THINK BIG – you know what your end destination is. This allows you to create a proper action plan.

Start Your Action Plan

This is where you stay in contact with reality. If your dream is to own your own home and be debt free, that is your end destination. Or maybe you want to have $100 000.00 in savings or in an investment portfolio.

It is only when you have determined that you currently have $500.00 in a savings account, and you need to attend some courses to learn about investing, that you know where you are now. But how long will it take you to achieve that $100 000.00 balance in your investment portfolio? If you don’t know this, you will start working on goals which are unrealistic, because your focus is on the $100 000.00 and it is easy to become de-motivated.

But do you think it is realistic and achievable for you to find a way in which you can make another $500.00? That means you will increase your balance to a total of $1000.00. Yes, that’s realistic and you can see yourself doing that in six months, or a year, or however long you feel comfortable with. Now determine exactly what you are going to do to make that extra $500.00, and create an action plan with specific steps that you will take to get you to the goal of making $500.00 (leaving you with a balance of $1000.00).

Then determine follow-up goals, each taking you closer to your main goal, with an approximate time to achieve each goal. Now you can determine approximately how long it will take you to achieve your main goal, and you can set more milestone goals. Just be sure that every goal that you set will bring you closer to your main goal.

Now start working on the first step in your action plan, which is to make $500.00. Keep your focus on achieving this goal. Because it is achievable from your current situation it will be easy to stay motivated. As soon as you have achieved that first goal, celebrate and find a way to reward yourself.

Then start working towards the second milestone goal. Working in this way, achieving each goal will bring you a step closer to your ultimate goal. It becomes easier to stay motivated working in this manner, because you feel successful in achieving all your goals. At the same time you are developing a healthy habit of setting goals and achieving them.

In his book “Making Money Made Simple“, Noel Whittaker gives a great example of how to break a main goal into steps to make it achievable.

While he goes into detail in his book, I’ll give you an example of what he’s talking about. With a goal of making $1 000 000.00, he breaks it up into ten steps:

  1. $2000.00
  2. $4000.00
  3. $8000.00
  4. $15 000.00
  5. $30 000.00
  6. $60 000.00
  7. $125 000.00
  8. $250 000.00
  9. $500 000.00
  10. $1 000 000.00

It’s Time for Goal Setting and Planning. But Remember; It’s Your Goal.

goal setting and planning

Remember, it’s your goal. You are not working to please anybody else. As you start working through your goals and you see your estimation of time to achieve your goals were not accurate, you can move your deadlines. There is no sense in beating yourself up about it. Be realistic and enjoy the journey.

The secret of goal setting lies in believability. To become a millionaire is not an unrealistic goal. Many people have done it and many more will. But is it realistic for you within the next 5 years or even ten or fifteen years? Do you know what you are going to do to achieve that goal? Why do you want to achieve it? What is your purpose for achieving such a goal and how are you going to do it? Not knowing the answers to these questions, and only focusing on such a big goal, you are at risk to become de-motivated and give up on your goals because it doesn’t feel real and realistic to you. This is when you start chasing the “pie in the sky”.

When you break your main goal into smaller steps, it becomes easier to remain focused and motivated, because these steps are realistic and achievable.

Now it is over to you. How do you stay motivated long enough to achieve your goals? Tell me about it in the comment section.

16 Responses to The Secret of Goal Setting and Planning

  1. Hi Jaco

    This is a very informative posts helping your readers to learn the secret of goal setting and planning. The analogy you used at the beginning with the GPS and setting the course of your destination is quite fitting. One truly do not know where they are going without first acknowledging or knowing where they are in the present moment and establishing a plan of how to get there. And as you referenced, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

    I think many times people set goals and do not even believe in the goal they have set and that in itself is a red flag that failure is imminent. Therefore, goals have to be SMART and no matter what they are, like you said, ‘it’s your goal.’

    For me to stay motivated long enough to achieve my goals, I take everything one step at a time, one day at a time. I reward myself when I am able to stick to my plan and the goal is accomplished within the time frame that I had established. From there I can now move on to the next one and the next until they are all accomplished.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for your comment and your input. It is highly appreciated.

      It is so important what you say about taking one step at a time, one day at a time. I also appreciate your statement about rewarding yourself when your goal is accomplished within the given time frame. That adds an element of fun, but not only that, it also builds self-confidence, don’t you think?

      What I also like to do, is to keep record of all my goals that has been achieved successfully. Then, when things are going slow and doubt starts creeping in, I take out those goals and look at all my successes in the past. That helps a lot to get the motivation levels back up again.

      Thank you for visiting my blog, Yvonne.

      Enjoy your day.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Jaco what a fine and realistic post. I love the antidote of the navigation system. It smashes home your point. I am at the starting stages of my ‘dare to dream big’ and I have researched the hell out of it. I was looking for tools in the trade to stay focused when disillusioned. I know I have, say one or two years where I just have to remain persistent and work slowly, without reward. I don’t mind knowing this. But I am also a realist and know throughout that time there will be moments of doubt, times when I question is it all worth it and I have been preparing for those. While researching this topic, I found most advise was about the big dream, never going into details about the times when it feels like you are driving for days on one straight road feeling as if you have made no progress at all and yet everyday waking up and doing my thing, I know I am knocking down barriers. All I am saying I really appreciated this sound advise. Once again and one more time for the road, thank you.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for your enthusiasm. I really do appreciate that. I’m so glad to see that my post brought you some clarity. Some more recommended reading on the subject of keeping your momentum in quite times that I can recommend to you is a post by Michael Hyatt about “What to Do When There’s No Wind in Your Sails

      Thank you for visiting my blog, Rachel.

      Enjoy your day.

      • Oh my Jaco! I’m keeping my sail up that is for sure. And signed up to ensure that sail does not come down half mask. Oh that got the wind up me. Thank you for that bit of reading. I have not even begun to start marketing or platform-ing. It is funny because I have so much to do and sometimes I feel overwhelmed but I find that I am in the perfect storm, I love being out of my depths because it is never permanent. Might see you out on your yacht while I am paddling past on my raft.

        • I’m so glad to see you’ve got your sails up and that you got some extra wind from that reading. That makes my day. And don’t limit yourself to a raft, you won’t have enough space on that raft to entertain everybody that you are taking along with you on your journey of success.

          I also feel overwhelmed sometimes as you say, but I take that as good sign….we can only get overwhelmed when we are busy with something bigger than ourselves. So let’s grow into it.

          Thank you for that feedback Rachel. I do appreciate it.

          I’m looking forward to see you around often. I enjoy talking to you.

  3. Hi Jaco,

    Good to be over at your blog 🙂

    That was indeed a wonderful post, and I loved the apt picture you used as you mentioned the navigation system that one uses to reach a destination.

    Your post reminds me of one I’d written sometime back on my blog about planning and goal setting, which is so important. Without a direction, how can one really proceed?! One comes across so many people, especially bloggers, who have started blogging without any aim (I was one of them too as I started off as a hobby blogger!) – only to realize the time they wasted, later. Thus, my first advise to any blogger is to always know your purpose of blogging, where you wish to go, what you want to achieve, and how you plan doing that – these are such important questions!

    Oh yes…people just talk of “thinking big” all the time…lol…but they forget that we all have our own pace of working. What matters most is that you progress, without burning yourself out, which happens if you put achievable and realistic goals in front of you. Take baby steps, one at a time and you go from one step to another. Give a pat on your back for your accomplishments too (one tends to forget that!) 🙂

    Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Things take time, and so will your making money from your business or blog, or anything else that you wish to achieve. You need to enjoy the process, the journey, more than sit and wait for the end result or destination. Some people achieve success very quick, while others take time. And what works for you, wouldn’t work for others, and vice-versa. So, take it easy!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Hi Harleena,

      Thank you for such a great comment. It is always so valuable to get such input from someone “who’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt”, and better even, who is still practicing what they preach, as is the case with you.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and valuable advice with us. As you say, it is so important to remember that the journey is different for every individual, and everybody has their own pace.

      Thanks for visiting my blog, hope to see you around often.

  4. Hi Jaco
    Visiting your blog for the first time. I really love the positive vibes of your blog.
    Coming back to the post, I really love your GPS example in the beginning. Ya, we have to take the initiative to move forward in life. If we are not acting, there is no use of the resources also.
    It’s really important to understand your real aim. It’s very easy to project something. But, the most important part is to understand where we are heading towards. While planning, we can easily deviate from our real path. So, it’s always better to have a right plan.
    You are absolutely right about the thinking big part. While framing the big portion, we usually forget the importance of all the small elements in our life. These small steps are essential for realizing our true goals.
    Thanks Jacob for this wonderful post. I am going to have a look at the book you have mentioned in this post.

    • Hi Yatin,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your input and as you say, it is very important to understand your real aim. And yes, it’s all well to think big, but we need to be clear about what to be focused on, which is the task at hand.

      Talking about the book, it is a very practical book, and I enjoyed it very much. It contains information that I can apply in every day life. Once you had a look at it, let me know what you think as well.

      Enjoy your day.

  5. Hi Jaco

    I love absolutely your concept of goals using the GPS and it made me ponder what it would be like if you tried to get the GPS to guess where you are going simply because you did not know where you are going.

    Goals are really important especially when one has a dream he wants to achieve. Plans are necessity for destination to be easily attained. You are right that without planing people fail.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post. Have a nice week.

    • Hi Ikechi,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, that can become quite funny when you find someone sitting there waiting for the GPS to guess where his going. That almost sounds like a type of a “Mr. Bean situation”, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for visiting my blog, hope to see you around often.

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

  6. Hi Jaco

    Perfect goal setting and planning is very much important to get succeed in any work.

    Here you have explained everything properly. When we are setting our goals, we must have to know that where we are currently exist.

    When we do this, we came to know that what are our weaknesses and which qualities we need to improve in our-self.

    When we have the right plan and we will be working hard in the right way then definitely we could achieve the success.

    Indeed a great article, Thanks for sharing it. 😀

    • Hi Harleena,

      Thank you for your input.

      As you say, only when we know what our weaknesses are, can we know where to improve ourselves. Then we can put the right plan in place and work productively towards achieving success.

      Have a great day,


  7. It is very important to put into action the idea or dream, having completed the action plan, to be in operation, and it will be only with the efforts made by us to succeed.

    • Hi Mourad,

      Thank you for visiting my site and giving your valuable input. As you say, dreams will stay dreams, unless we make the commitment to take action. As soon as we put the action plan onto operation, we will succeed by our efforts.

      Have great day,


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