The One Powerful Secret to Goal Setting

When the why is powerful enough, you can figure out the how.

Most of us have heard all the rules about goal setting. Goals must be specific. Goals must be measurable. Goals must have a deadline. These guidelines are useful. 

But I have found the most powerful practice in goal setting is writing down the ‘why’ behind the goal. This element is strangely missing in most of the literature around goal setting.

We, as humans, are purpose-driven beings. We are engineered and function best when we are on mission. But the fuel behind effective goal setting is understanding, first and foremost, the why you want to achieve a certain goal. Let me give you some examples. 

Right now I am working on three goals. I will share them with you, along with the ‘why’ behind them.

Goal #1: 
Write a book on Employee Engagement and finish it by August 31st.


  • My content gets distributed to a wider audience.
  • My content lives beyond me.
  • I gain greater credibility in my field.
  • It leads to more and better opportunities.
  • It helps crystallize my thinking on the subject.

Goal #2:
Lose 20 pounds by May 31st.

(I started on January 1st. I’m halfway there but slightly behind schedule.)


  • Health - help prevent diabetes, have more energy, live a long and vibrant life for my family’s sake and, hopefully, enjoy grandkids in the future.
  • Increase self-confidence - increased self-discipline leads to increased self-confidence. (Internal Reasons)
  • Look better. Clothes fit better. Increased credibility in my field. (External Reasons)

Goal #3:
Learn to play piano


  • It will be a healthy, emotionally replenishing hobby.
  • It will tap into my creative side.
  • It will challenge me intellectually.
  • It is a hobby I can continue throughout the rest of my life.

I have done a lot of goal setting in my life. But only recently did I discover the importance of being clear on the why. The 'why' is the fuel that powers the how.

I have created a simple Goal Worksheet that includes three sections, 

  • The Goal
  • Why? Reasons for the goal
  • How? Actions to take to achieve the goal

It’s a simple, but powerful tool that can help you in your journey to live life with intention, purpose and power.

What's your why?

Download it here.