by Craig Lock

'...There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is- definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to possess it.' - Napoleon Hill

'Nothing happens, no forward steps are taken until a goal is established.' - David J. Schwarz (author of ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’- an excellent book by the way!)

' Your life is controlled by your thoughts. Your thoughts are controlled by your goals.' - Earl Nightingale

'When we have no personal goal which we are interested in, and which means something to us, we are apt to go round in circles.' - Maxwell Maltz

'The key to peak performance is not potential or skill, but motivation and dedication...having clear performance goals and putting in the training effort to achieve them.' - Dr Sven Hansen

' I would like to repeat the critical importance of committing your plan to writing. It cannot be over-emphasised!' - Paul J. Meyer of Success Motivation Institute

'Learn how to set your goals- a. Write down your goals b. Give yourself a deadline c. Set your standards high.' - Napoleon Hill - W. Clement Stone

I touched on the importance of setting goals in the previous chapter. Dream high, then write them down. Lots mo


The energy of motivation should be harnessed by being transformed into clear goals and a plan to achieve them. Goals are dreams which come true- they are easier to achieve once they are focused. Goals therefore help to fulfil one's purpose in life by giving expression to your core inner values. Psychologists have found that helping people to develop personal goals has proved to be the most effective way to help them cope with personal problems by:

1. Crystallising one's purpose in life.

2. Helping make difficult decisions.

3. Giving direction to your life and keeping you on track by concentration.

4. Resolving conflict

5. Building confidence

6. Adding to your self respect (or sense of value)

The power of imagination

In goal setting, have big hopes and dreams. Because I believe too often we underestimate our capabilities. Visualise your dreams actually coming to pass. Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected." Sorry ladies!

"Be true to your ideals, no matter what may happen now. Then things will take a turn and the very things you wanted to happen will happen." That one has just inspired me as I write this.

Set realistic, yet achievable goals. Ones that stretch you...because we are all different, what is achievable for one person might not be so easy for another. We all have different desires and dreams.

Goals are the first step in a positive plan of action. And every journey starts with a small first step.


What is really important to you right now in your life? In other words, what do you really value? The main headings are: PEOPLE- THINGS- OTHER, e.g.. career. Also finances. That word money.

Areas of goals- These can be divided into short, medium and long-term; these respectively being six months, one/two years and five plus years. Also divide them into balanced components, being: personal, family, social and work goals. Then break them down further into:

* Spiritual

* Mental

* Physical

* Financial

* Family

* Community/School

Remember that over-concentration on one of your goals will not ensure success. A car can only run well if all the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure...and if it has four wheels!

The art of goalsetting is to balance all of these areas. If one area is out of proportion in your wheel of life, it affects everything else. Your wheel of life should be rounded evenly and balanced, so that it gives a smooth ride. Unlike ours. Currently our social life is pathetic, so we are joining “rent-a-friend”!


1. Give yourself permission to dream and desire.

Put aside (as much as you can) all reason and logic. If you don't have a goal, you have nothing to aim for and no plan of action. Without a goal you are just kicking a ball around. Think creatively by using your imagination in setting targets.

2. Make a master dream list.

It is important to write down everything you want and need. Every place you want to go and everything you would like to become or achieve. These need not be high ideals, but genuine wants, e.g.. food on the table, swimming pool, yacht, new car, beach house. A “proper job” perhaps!

3. Aim high

Stretch yourself to your limit and you will achieve more than you believed possible. The higher the level of conscious goals, the greater their motivating power.

4. Prioritise your Goals.

Start off with some easy goals to get you in the 'habit of achieving'. Know where you are now and how you got there. (“ How the f...did I get where I am). Look at yourself and learn from others. These goals must be compatible with your inner values. Values are what we hold to be important at the deepest level of our being. Doing this will make them far more likely to be achieved.

5. Set a time limit for achieving them.

It’s important to set a deadline...but it doesn’t have to be “set in concrete”. Don't let something drag on for three years that could have been achieved in one year. Set short-term goals: tomorrow, next week, next month. Also set long range goals which will require vision, courage and foresight.

Finally, set your ultimate goals like becoming an All Black or Springbok (these are rugby football players from New Zealand and South Africa for “ignorant Americans”), a Judge, or some grand purpose, etc.... as long as that is what you really desire. List the steps needed or smaller goals required to be achieved on the path to your ultimate goal. By breaking them down they will seem more attainable and once each minor goal is attained will bring you closer to the ultimate goal. List the skills, qualifications or traits you will need to achieve them.

6. Be inspired.

Receive regular inspiration and enthusiasm through reading and other motivational material (like this book). Also helpful is frequent contact with a person or people who inspire and enthuse you.

7. Focus on your goal like a laser and go after it every day

Don't be discouraged- sometimes “one step backwards comes before a leap forward". "Dare to be different to others” if that is just being YOU.

Don't allow the future to act on you. Act on the future. Don't see yourself as a powerless victim of circumstances, but rather as one having a choice.

Goals should be written down and regularly reviewed.

Write each goal on a list and as you achieve it, tick it off and enter a new goal. Act immediately on your short-term goals, as only ACTION will get you there. Have balance in your dreams and be honest and realistic with yourself. A goal is either meaningful in itself or as a means to an end.

More Goal Tips

* Start first with longer term goals and break them down; if you start with short term goals you will end up with more of the same.

* Focus first on the overall outcome, not how you will achieve the goal or you will limit yourself.

* Don't be obsessive about goals- let them happen, don't force them.

* Be flexible and be aware of the unexpected which may be a stepping stone to your goal in disguise.

* Involve your spouse/partner/those “nearest and dearest to you” in goal setting. Shared family goals have more meaning and the commitment to achieving them is greater.


"We should all be concerned about visualising the future, because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there."- anon

Visualisation is the technique used by top sportspeople to achieve results.

"There are those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who don't even know it happened."


Successful people make things happen and use the process of Goal Setting. Ask yourself whether you are a goal-setter or goal-getter? You are not as stuck down in a rut as you may think. You have far more choices than you could ever imagine.

GOALS- the 5 key questions

"The important thing is to identify what you need to do AND THEN DO IT!"


What do you really want? Break down into needs and wants, e.g.. yacht, pool, new car, beach house, holiday. Also set tangible and intangible goals.

* Why?

If it is not planned, it doesn't happen.


Goals must have a time frame. Long range goals should have checkpoints and a completion date.


Goals involve others- # Business (the boss, manager) # Personal (wife/husband/partner)


What is the blueprint? You can't build without plans. The reason why you must have specific goals.

Don't Forget:

A. Involve others.

B. State goals in terms of measurable results.

C. Set target dates.

D. Be specific.

Criteria for Effective Goals

# Should make you enthusiastic and excite you.

# Must be truly your own goals- meaningful to YOU only.

# Must be based on real desires.

# Must be consistent with your values and be purposeful.

# Must be written down.

# Must lift our sights, yet be realistic and attainable.

# Must be specific and measurable.

# Must be compatible with your other goals.

# Must have a starting and completion date.

# Keep written goals in front of you.

# Should be dynamic, but not set in concrete.



- list possible goals

- don't analyse at this stage


- personal/family/work (use headings from the Wheel of Life).


- relate to what you value and rank.


- make specific and clear, use the KISS principle (“keep it simple, stupid”). Oops, sorry my dear reader!

Remember that goals are dreams which come true. Most people give up on their dreams too soon or, like me in the past, don't aim high enough and achieve them too easily and quickly. Except in writing!

N.B: The essence of goal setting is:




I really believe that. This entire planning process might take a few days.

PART FOUR. Summary of all that’s gone before and winding up.


1. If it's not in writing, it is not a goal. It is a New Year resolution.

2. If it's not specific, it's not a goal.

3. 'Goals must be believable, inspirational and expandable'.

4. An effective goal is an exciting challenge.

5. Goals must be adjusted to new information.

6. Dynamic goals guide our choices.

7. Don't set short-term goals for longer than ninety days.

8. Maintain a balance between long-term and short-term goals.

9. Include your loved ones in your goals.

10. Set goals in all areas of your life.

11. Your goals must harmonise with your life.

12. Review your goals regularly.

13. Set vivid goals.

14. Don't chisel your goals in granite/set in concrete.

15. Reach out into the future.

16. Have a set of goals for every day, and review results every night.

17. Train yourself to crave your goals.

18. Set activity goals, not production goals (salespeople).

19. Understand luck, and make it work for you.


If you don't break your yearly objectives down into first quarterly and then monthly/weekly/daily activity targets, you cannot keep on track.

Marathon runners keep going not by focusing on the whole course, but on the next drink station, the bottom of the hill, and when the pain comes, the next lamp post.

The plans we make to achieve our dreams are the blueprints for success. A written plan focuses the mind on goals. Intermediate steps move one step by step closer to success.

You should regularly review whether you are on track (e.g.. monthly, quarterly, yearly). Goal setting must be an ongoing process. Goals that are no longer meaningful must be replaced by ones that are.

" A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." Mao Tse Tung

I really like that one. No wonder I repeat it so often.

Mark Spitz, the American swimmer, won nothing at the Mexico Olympics in 1968. Bitterly disappointed, he dreamt of winning 7 goal medals at the next Olympics in Munich in 1972 and set a target of the times he would achieve in each event. He won those seven medals with times within 100th of a second of what he had said he would do. He developed his plan and a rigorous training regime. His goal became an obsession which overcame everything else... yet he achieved greatness.

Thomas Edison tried 2000 times to invent a light bulb. He didn't see it as 2000 failures, but rather as a process to be gone through. He didn't take it personally, but saw his efforts as 2000 ways that did not work. Every time an idea didn't work, it got Edison a step closer to his ultimate goal- SUCCESS. That is what kept him going. In a word, PERSISTENCE.

Even countries have set goals. After being defeated in World War II, Germany was totally devastated. However, Germany is now one of the economic giants of Europe. Another defeated nation, Japan, which only had .3% of the world's land and 3% of the population now has 10% of the global trade. The nation's leaders set goals for these countries after the war which seemed impossible at the time, but were achieved.

The motto: Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Remember that setting a new goal is the first step towards a positive plan of action; because without a goal you have no target, nothing to aim for.

"Challenges are a chance to boost motivation, seize them like gold dust."


There is nothing more exciting and inspirational than new goals. Our attitude to ourselves determines our ability to set and achieve goals. Whatever your self-image, you project it to other people and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

With positive attitudes (subject of the following chapter) and a good self image, your enthusiasm for challenges will be heightened, as well as for life in general. This results in greater job satisfaction.

Remember, negative attitudes in other people can easily block your goals. Raise your sights high and dare to be different. In our society we are conditioned to follow the leader.

N.B.: If you've set goals, but have had difficulty with your goals in the last 3 months, it may be because of the following:

1. Your goals were not realistic.

2. Your goals were not clear and specific.

3. Your goals were not written in the present tense. E.g.. 'I have now cleared all my short term debts and I have saved X$ (or pounds')...'I now weigh my ideal body weight of...' Well done “Jumbo”!

4. You weren't really committed to your goals and/or they were not appropriate for you.

A final few words of wisdom (even if I say so myself) to end off this chapter...




"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." J W Goethe

So, as the Nike ad says,


Authors Note:

Craig Lock has written extensively on the subject of personal growth, as well as many years of study in the field of self help. This extract is from his first published book HANDBOOK FOR SURVIVAL IN THE NINETIES (which has been updated and renamed HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM) . These books are available at :  

“HANDBOOK TO SURVIVE THE NINETIES AND THE NEW CENTURY A collection of writings on various subjects to help every man or woman survive in a rapidly changing, uncertain world. HANDBOOK is written in a simple style to help the ‘everyperson’ make the most of themselves and their lives easier. It takes an introductory look at what motivates us and how to set goals... to find our true purpose for being on this planet. Also how to handle the stresses life throws at us. I found it very helpful for my own life.” - Birgitta, Minerva Press (UK)  Craig's Personal Site

Creative Writing Course:   Money management course : 

PS: Dear Americans, please excuse my British English spelling. Very Colonial! I am quite happy for these articles to be used and distributed by other electronic and other magazines (as long as credit is given). If they help others out there in any way, then I’m happy.

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