The Ten Commandments of Goal Setting

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.   If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to do three things: 1) become a lifelong learner; 2) set and achieve high goals; and 3) get organized.

Gary Ryan Blair is The Goals Guy.  He helps business owners, corporate executives and sales professionals manage their time, set priorities and stay focused so they achieve their goals, grow their business and be more successful.  His website is

I was on Gary’s site the other day and came across his Ten Commandments of Goal Setting.  Gary presents some great common sense advice in these Ten Commandments.  Take a look for yourself…

1. Thou Shall Be Decisive
Success is a choice. You must decide what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. No one else can, will, or should do that for you.
2. Thou Shall Stay Focused
A close relative to being decisive, but your ability to sustain your focus from beginning to end determines the timing and condition of your outcomes. 
3. Thou Shall Welcome Failure
The fundamental question is not whether you should accept failure. You have no choice but to expect it as a temporary condition on the path way of progress. Rather, the question is how to anticipate failure and redirect resources to grow from the experience.
4. Thou Shall Write Down Thy Goals
Your mind while blessed with permanent memory is cursed with lousy recall. People forget things. Avoid the temptation of being cute. Write down your goals. 
5. Thou Shall Plan Thoroughly
Planning saves 10 to 1 in execution. Proper planning prevents poor performance. 
6. Thou Shall Involve Others
Nobody goes through life alone. Establish your own "Personal Board of Directors", people whose wisdom, knowledge and character you respect to help you achieve your goals.
7. Thou Shall Take Purposeful Action
Success is not a spectator sport – achievement demands action. You cannot expect to arrive at success without having made the trip.
8. Thou Shall Reward Thyself
Rewards work! Think of what you will give yourself as a result of your hard work, focus and persistence – you deserve it! 
9. Thou Shall Inspect What Thy Expect
The shelf life of all plans is limited. No plan holds up against opposition. Everything changes. Therefore inspect frequently and closely, it’s an insurance policy on your success. 
10. Thou Shall Maintain Personal Integrity
Maintain your commitment to your commitment. Set your goals promise yourself that you will achieve them. Eliminate wiggle room and excuses. That’s personal integrity! 

Pretty good stuff, don’t you think?  Please leave a comment telling us which one or two of these ten commandments resonates the most with you.

Personally, I like number 2 – stay focused.  I like it because Gary is right on here.  You have to remain focused on your goals.  That’s why I suggest that you write them and review them daily.  I keep mine in a Word document that I can easily access.  A friend uses his goals as his screen saver.  That way, they are never far from his consciousness. 

Milestones are another way to stay focused on your goals.  When you break your goals into manageable accomplishments they are easier to achieve.  I like to set annual goals with quarterly milestones.  I have found that three months is short enough to help me maintain focus, and long enough to give me time to meet my milestones.

We’re coming to the end of 2008.  Where are you on your goals for this year?  Gary can help you achieve them.  His new campaign, the 100 Day Challenge kicks off on September 22, less than a month from today, and 100 days prior to the end of 2008.  I did a supplemental post on Gary’s program yesterday, and I’ll provide you with more information as we get closer to the program’s launch date.

The common sense point here is simple.  You need to set goals if you want to be successful.  Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results oriented, Time bound.  You need to focus on your goals.  Keep them with you.  Review them every day.  Milestones help you stay focused on your goals.  Set quarterly milestones for your annual goals.  Don’t worry if you are behind on your 2008 goals.  You have more than 100 days to meet them.  Focus, work hard and achieve your goals.  It’s not too late.

That’s my take on goals and goal setting.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your best tips for setting and achieving your goals.  Thanks for reading – and writing.


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  1. Bud,
    I occasionally get caught up and find time to read your blog entries – good stuff.
    One of the keys to a brighter future is what you refer to as “lifetime learning” and I would heartly agree.
    Another – get rid of books that are gathering dust. Books become friends and they are hard to let go. My collection is far smaller than yours yet the shelves are packed.
    Keep up the good work!

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