7 Keys to Setting Goals That Move You to Action

Now is the time to set your course for accelerated success. One of the challenges that many encounter on the pathway to goal attainment is a sluggish start. In the process of success, there are times when progress seems non-existent. We may even feel like our feet are stuck in “quick sand”. There are several ways to counteract this feeling of inertia.

One of the tools that we can use to break negative inertia is to “clean house” when it comes to our motives and goals. Sometimes your goals need an audit. Having too many goals can be stressful. Having goals that are too big can be discouraging. Having goals that do not mean anything to us can cause a feeling of mild depression.

One way to stir your inner fire for achievement is to take a closer look at your goals. Focus more attention on how you set goals. Be attentive to eliminating goals that are ineffective and unnecessary.

Completing this exercise will be like pouring fuel on a fire. You will experience more accomplishment. You will feel happier, lighter, and more effective. You will have more fun.

In your quest to setting goals that move you to action, consider the following keys:

1) Stop following goals that don’t motivate you.

“It’s not what a goal is that’s important; it’s what a goal does.” –Steve Chandler

This is one of the most liberating experiences you will ever have. If you realize a goal no longer moves you to action, stop following that goal! Don’t do things that you are not passionate about. Following goals that don’t motivate you can cause you to lose ground through inactivity. Some goals may have made sense at the time. But what about now? Take time to re-evaluate the goal. We must live in the “here and now”. How does the goal serve you now? If the goal does not move you, then it ceases to be a goal and becomes an obstacle. Meaningless goals are like statues in the middle of a race track. They are needless roadblocks that are hindering your progress. It’s time to put a stop to the madness. Stop following goals that don’t motivate you.

2) Set goals that have bigger rewards.

Another reason why we often experience sluggishness on the way to reaching a goal is, the reward for the goal we are pursuing is not big enough to move us to effective action.

When you set significant goals for your life, business, or career they should strike excitement inside of you. High achievers set goals that have high stakes. Your body language, vocabulary, appearance, and activity are much different when a goal has a big enough reward attached to it. Some individuals that were never serious about fitness and nutrition got real serious when a health professional told them, “If you don’t make some changes now the results could be life threatening.” In the blink of an eye, they instantly had a goal with a big enough reward. Figure out what kind of reward you really want and the goal that will help you get there will naturally emerge. Set goals that have big enough rewards to move you into action.

3) Set goals that benefit others

Virtually everyone on the planet longs to make a difference in the lives of others. Have you ever overheard someone ask another person for directions to a certain location that you were familiar with? If you were like most people, you probably couldn’t contain yourself and blurted out the answer. They were not even talking to you. It didn’t matter. Why? The desire to make a difference was so strong! Set goals that will provide solutions to someone else’s problems. When you set goals, use the desire to make a difference in the lives of others as a goal setting tool. Ask yourself, “Who will this goal benefit besides me? What could I do to have the greatest impact on others, while doing something that I really enjoy?” You can probably already feel the wheels of creativity and motivation turning inside of you. Your desire to help others will help move you to action.

4) Set goals that make you feel like all of your gifts and skills are being utilized.

The more you use the gifts you have, the more you will enjoy your life. The more goals you have that require your specific gifts, skills, and expertise, the more likely you are to have sufficient motivation to reach those goals. This is another tool that helps you filter out unnecessary goals. You can ask yourself, “If my core gifts and skills are not being used, then why am I pursuing this goal?” Set and pursue goals that use your gifts, talents, and skills and your success rate will likely increase.

5) Set goals that require the assistance of others.

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” –John C. Maxwell

When you involve others in achieving your goals there is accountability. When others are helping you, things get done faster. When others are helping you it is more fun. There are many benefits to setting goals that are so big that you cannot accomplish them on your own. This also helps others to fulfill their need to make a difference. Set goals that require others to get involved and a lack of motivation is less likely to be a problem. Motivation is contagious.

6) Decide what you want to create.

Some people have achieved so much success in their lives, businesses, and careers that they struggle with goal setting because they feel they have nothing else to accomplish. One of the best questions you can ask yourself in this situation is, “What do I want to create?” Whether you are age 9 or 109, you can draw uncommon motivation from this powerful question. Whether you have had exceptional success or exceptional failure, this question is appropriate. Creating something that has never existed before or doing something in a way that only you can do it is extremely motivating. Deciding what you want to create can move you to action.

7) Stop comparing your goals to the goals of others.

“The only reason men fail is broken focus.” –Mike Murdock

One of the most dangerous activities you can engage yourself in, is comparing your goals to someone else’s. You can feel your heart sink when you allow yourself to be distracted by what someone else is pursuing. You begin feeling like a colossal failure. This is a waste of creative energy. Stay focused on your race and your lane. It’s ok to look to others for ideas, motivation, or admiration. However, the moment you start feeling bad about your own goals because of being captivated by someone else’s, there is a problem. Simply refocus your attention on your own goals and refuse to compare yourself to others. Your goals are worthy of your full attention. If you feel you can’t focus on your goals because of someone else’s goals, then you probably need to set more compelling goals.

Use these 7 keys to setting goals that move you to action and surprise yourself with the results.

Question: Why do you think people follow goals that don’t motivate them?

I look forward to reading your answers.

I wish you uncommon success!

Craig L. Sanders
“The Comeback Specialist”

To inquire about Craig's coaching packages or to have Craig speak for your company or organization, please visit his website: http://www.craiglsanders.com/

Copyright 2010 Craig Sanders Unlimited, LLC


  1. Craig - great post again! I think that when someone follows these steps they also stay more congruent and can pass up opportunities that may not suit their ideals. Rather that leaves room for something bigger and better. (aka in alignment with goals)

  2. If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile.