Goals are visions and dreams with work clothes on.

-Dave Ramsey

Work Boots

During my studies I became very interested in goal setting.  I will never forget an ISU alumni and entreprenuer who came in and gave a brilliant talk on goal setting.  “Write your goals down” he said.  “I’ll give you the secret to achieving all your goals” he said.  Yeah, I was listening – and that day, that speaker, that talk – changed my life.

After that talk I became very, very interested in goal setting.  I wanted to learn everything I could about it so I got some help from a couple professors.  Professors are trained researchers.  They hunt for, consume, and analyze information and data at an incredible rate.  They are particularly good at doing meta data analysis, a high level summary of all the research and publications on a given topic.  I was lucky enough to have taken a class with an entrepreneurship professor named Dr. Terry Noel who made a study of goal setting.  Dr. Noel also condensed his findings into a year long online course on setting and achieving goals that I was fortunate enough to take.  About a year or so after I finished Dr. Noel’s course, Dr. Doan Winkel also helped me research goal setting.  If you are looking for more of a DIY approach, Doan and I took what we learned up to that point and wrote a series on goal setting.

If you do not have the time to check out either of those, I must give you the summary.  Great goals are;

  1. measurable and time bound,
  2. written down, and
  3. read daily.

Now the secret I learned a few years back that changed my life. If you want to achieve every goal you set this is the secret:

Do at least one thing each day to move you even just a tiny, little, almost laughable bit closer to achieving your goal.  Everyday.

In my experience, goals are not mythical, ever elusive things that are just beyond our understanding.  Goals are quite simple.  Let me restate that.  Great goals are quite simple, but they can require hard work.  And it is typically not the kind of hard work that makes us say “I am not going to get off this treadmill until I lose 5 pounds.”   More often than not it is the kind of hard work that persistence and discipline over time affords.  It leaves us saying “I will spend 30 seconds to track the calories that I consume every time before I put anything in my body, and I will not consume more calories than I burn in a day, everyday.”  If this sounds like hard work, perhaps this particular thing is not so important to you.  In my experience it is much better to start with fewer goals that you are passionate about.  When you do not care so much, goals become the hardest of things you set out to do.  When it is something you are passionate about, really passionate about – it becomes easy.


A takeaway from Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.


As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned about this stuff would be the coolest but anything is cool.  Does anyone else have any tips or lessons learned on setting great goals?