What you will get from this article:

  • Understand what makes a compelling goal
  • Learn the 2 questions you need to answer before goal setting
  • Discover the 5 principles of S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Access a brief goal-setting workshop that Tony Robbins himself uses
  • Uncover the driving force that propels you toward your goals

If you’re having trouble following through after completing your goal-setting process, it’s tempting to just stop trying to make any changes. People say things like “Maybe this is just it,” or “I should settle for what I have.” But frequently what’s getting in the way of achievement is the actual goal. If your goal is “lose weight,” well, when do you know you’re done? When you’ve lost 1 pound? 5? 40? Without a clear target, it’s difficult to know when you’ve hit your mark.

Here we’ll cover how to set goals. You’ll learn what makes for compelling goals as well as the steps you need to take to see them through.


Why have goals anyway?

Having goals is the fundamental key to success. Goals let us create our future in advance of it actually happening. Setting goals help us grow and expand, pushing ourselves to transform in ways that, just maybe, we never imagined. We’re willing to bet if you’re reading this page you’ve set a goal or two in your life — but are you setting goals effectively? Will your goals transform your life in the ways you want?

Many times people think they understand how to set goals, but then they never quite achieve what they were after. One common reason is that their goals aren’t compelling or inspiring. You’re much more likely to put time and energy into something that excites you. We’re talking makes you leap out of bed in the morning ready to go. Think of a goal as a dream with a deadline. So how do you create a compelling goal?

The two key questions for compelling goal setting
  1. Identify your goals: What do you want? Something almost magical happens when you take generalized desires and start defining them more precisely through goal setting.
  2. Identify your purpose: Why do you want it? What will it bring you? If you know what you’re moving towards, you’ll find ways to make it happen. Remember: reasons come first, then the answers.

Oh, and if this all sounds familiar to you, great! Repetition is the mother of all skills, so you’re on your way to becoming master of your goals, and, thus, your future.


Create and maintain momentum with S.M.A.R.T. goals

When setting goals, make sure they follow these principles. We use the acronym S.MA.R.T. to precisely map out measurable, attainable goals. A S.M.A.R.T. goal should be:

  • Specific: The more detailed you can be, the better. How specific can you be if your goal is to lose weight? “I want to lose 20 pounds” is a good start, but “I want to lose 20 pounds so that I can wear my favorite clothes again this June” makes it easier to visualize and achieve what you want.
  • Measurable: Precision is your friend when it comes to goal setting. When you can measure, you’ll actually see your progress and know when you achieve it. Concrete criteria helps everyone stay on track. For example, “get better at money” is not a measurable goal; it’s unclear what “better” means here. You need to have solid metrics in mind! Have the goal to understand your current spending patterns, pay off your credit cards and start saving 25% of your income per month by the end of the year — now you have benchmarks that you can use to check your progress on the way to success.
  • Achievable: If you can’t actually attain your goal it will only serve to frustrate and dishearten you. You’re not going to create a billion-dollar business or become a world-class concert pianist overnight. Many times when we’re creating big goals we get too lofty, making them seem impossible. This leads us to the next element…
  • Realistic: Perhaps in an ideal world you’d have 6 hours a day to work on your golf swing or tennis game. You live in the real world, not an ideal one, so make sure you’re setting goals that match up with reality.
  • (In a) Time frame: Having a clear idea of your timeline creates a sense of urgency. You’ll be working toward what you want more quickly. Perhaps your goal is that you want to learn Spanish because it will help you communicate better with your clients. What’s a realistic time frame for yourself? Do you have a trip to Spain coming up in six months for which you need to be prepared? Set a timeline for your goal so you can check in with yourself along the way.

Having this level of clarity puts power behind your goals and ensures you can measure your progress more often and take new actions. As Tony says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

Ready to try making some goals of your own? Click below to start your very own goals workshop, Tony-style. You’ll need some paper and a pen or pencil, so grab those before you click.


Goal Setting Step 1: Take 6 minutes and brainstorm a list of anything you’d like to achieve, create, do, have, give and/or experience in the next 20 years. Write as many things down as fast as you can in this time.

Goal Setting Step 2: Now go back through your list and write 1, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years next to each goal to indicate how long it will take to achieve them. You have a minute and a half to get this done, so be quick and go with your gut.

Goal Setting Step 3: Review your list. Choose your top four 1-year goals. These are goals that make you really excited. Write a paragraph for each goal explaining why you will absolutely achieve this goal within the next 12 months. This should take you about 15-20 minutes total.
Now, if you have the chance to share what you’ve written down with a friend, family member or other person you trust, do so. If not, just say them out loud to yourself.

Final concept? There are 3 steps in Personal Power — put your goals where you’ll see them daily, write down and take at least one action towards achieving your goals, and the rocking chair test: Visualize yourself older and looking back. What’s the pain from not achieving, and what is the pleasure from having achieved your goals?.

Ready to take the next step?

Learn which driving force moves you the most and you’re on track to your own compelling future.