Setting Goals

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.


Living on Purpose: 5 Powerful Reasons to Set Goals

“The world makes way for a person who knows where they are going.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nobody ever wanders into greatness. Successful people live with intention and purpose. They decide what is important and go after it. They are proactive. 

Setting and moving toward a goal works in harmony with how we are built as humans. We are innately purpose-driven beings. 

The first step to living on purpose is setting goals.

Here are 5 reasons you should set goals:

1. Goals Give Clarity.

It’s been said if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. When you set a clear goal, it is like putting a destination in your GPS. You decide exactly what your destination is. When you take the wrong road while using your GPS, it will steer you back in the right direction. Goals also let you know when you get off course so you can get back on track.

2. Goals Give Focus.

Light diffused is not very powerful, but light focused becomes a laser that can cut through steel. There is power in concentration. Being single-minded helps you accomplish things faster and with higher quality.

3. Goals Give Motivation.

Goals create a structural tension in the mind. Once you set a goal, your mind wants to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be. Right now I have a specific weight goal. I may not always make the right choice regarding exercise or eating, but that goal is always ‘top of mind’ and tempers my behavior.

4. Goals Give Feedback.

If your goal is specific, as it should be, it will give you feedback on your progress. If you have a goal to exercise 4 times a week and you are actually working out 2 times a week, that is pretty clear feedback. You know exactly where you stand in regard to your goal.

5. Goals Give Fulfillment.

We function best and are happiest when we are moving toward a goal. There is nothing more rewarding than deciding what is important in life and then using our time, talent and energy in pursuit of what’s important. 

Research indicates that only 8% of people have clear goals and only 3% have them written down. Be the exception.

"Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets." - Nido Qubein

I have created a very simple goal worksheet. It has three elements:

  • What? A place to write the goal.
  • Why? A place to list the reasons why you desire to achieve the goal.
  • How? Action steps to take in order to achieve your goal.

Download it for free here.