Sat | Jan 20, 2018

The Art of Setting Smart Goals and Getting Things Done

Published:Monday | February 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Setting goals literally allows you to design the life you want to live. Setting goals (and achieving them) gives you a greater sense of control over your life, a sense of moving with purpose which contributes to overall happiness, satisfaction and well being. And what's the purpose of life if not to live with deep satisfaction and joy? According to international thought leader Brian Tracy, most people don't set goals because:

1. They don't understand the importance of setting goals, so it doesn't occur to them as being useful or necessary.

2. They don't know how to set goals or where to start.

3. They fear failure - one of the single greatest obstacles in the way of success for most adults.


Create a vision for your Life. Consider the things you enjoy doing. What gets you excited? What activities make you come alive? If there were no limits, and all things were possible, what problem in the world would you want to solve? What impact would you want to have? Spending time on the activities that we enjoy (our passions) will lead to the discovery of our purpose.

Consider the WHY. I have found it useful to deeply consider the why of the goals I set for myself - why do I really want this? What does achieving this mean for my life? What will NOT achieving it mean for my life? After I ask myself these questions I may discover that the goal simply does not mean enough to me - it looks good on paper, sounds good in theory, but it does not mean enough to me or my life to warrant or drive the action required to achieve it. Be clear about your WHY.

Write it down. Ninety per cent of people don't have written goals. Writing down goals reinforces your commitment to them, helps you to focus and holds you accountable. Write down your vision, and write down your goals.


I read that talented and energetic people struggle with achieving goals because they want to do too much, so they lack focus on the key goals. In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth describes an exercise Warren Buffet encourages:

1. Write a list of 25 career goals.

2. Circle the five highest priority goals.

3. Cross the rest of them out and avoid them at all costs

I love to think that I can do it all, but the truth is that time, attention and energy are all limited resources. Successful people prioritise their most important goals and avoid distractions.


Most people don't take the time to think about the steps involved in achieving their goals. Highly successful people set micro-goals - the smaller goals that together lead to the realisation of the larger, macro-goal.

Goal setting takes time and effort to put into daily practice. Give it your best shot and get started on the life that you want to enjoy today!