Setting Goals For Growth And Happiness

Most of my career was spent in the book publishing industry and now I’m an author and involved with my new business. I’ve also been married for 40 years and I have 5 daughters and 8 grandchildren so I always have a full plate of things to do. That’s why goals and productivity is so important to me. In my business I teach entrepreneurs how to become more intentional in their goal setting.

Nothing inspires me more than the deep sense of confidence and satisfaction that arises when someone begins achieving goals beyond their perceived limits. Ultimately we’re setting goals to achieve growth and pursue happiness. The real truth I’ve found is that the greatest happiness isn’t found in the achievement, but rather in the pursuit and the growth it requires.  

Many people, nearly everyone, have gone through the ups and downs of goal setting in the past. Maybe it’s your New Year’s resolution that you gave up on in the second week, or a goal to quit a bad habit you can’t shake. Wouldn’t it be great if when you set a goal for yourself you could just stick with it?

There’s actually an incredibly simple technique you can use to dramatically increase your odds of achieving your goals. Are you ready for it? Here it comes.

Write Them Down

You may have heard this a million times before, but it works. There’s something about writing down your goals that gets you clear on them that doesn’t take effect when you just keep them in your mental notebook. However, there’s another piece to the puzzle that I think is just as important.

Make It Personal

We’re naturally predisposed to take care of ourselves first, but we often find ourselves having to take on goals given to us by other people. You may be assigned a task by your boss that you have no interest in doing. The chances are you’re going to let this one slide to the bottom of the pile and not give it your full attention. In a situation like this, I recommend you reexamine the goal until you find your own powerful reason for achieving it. Can you connect it back to your purpose or your family? Extrinsic motivation isn’t enough, you need an internal reason that helps you define what’s at stake. I call this your “Key Motivations.”

When I was working on my book, I was totally in a rush. I was about to give up and quit. I was even going to return my advance to the publisher. That’s when I returned to my Key Motivations and reviewed what was at stake. I framed the conversation with myself in terms of what the consequences would be for giving up. I wouldn’t be able to take my career to the next level, I wouldn’t be able to help the thousands of people my book would reach, and the book would never become my vehicle for the future success I had envisioned.
When I re-engaged with my Key Motivations I began to connect emotionally with what I was doing again. It was no longer a slog to the finish, but work I was once again delighted in, and came to with intention.

Action Steps

  1. Write down your goals for greater clarity and intention.
  2. When goals aren’t motivating you look to your internal reason for completing them.
  3. Review your Key Motivations, what you want to achieve in the greater picture, and what’s at stake.
  4. Review what you won’t be able to achieve going forward without completing your goal.


Result You Will Achieve

Make goals that don’t inspire you more personal by reviewing your Key Motivations and what’s at stake.

Mentor: Michael Hyatt

Founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm specializing in transformative live events, workshops, and digital and physical planning tools. Michael helps overwhelmed high achievers win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. Michael is also a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of several books, including Your Best Year Ever, Living Forward, and Platform.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.