How To Set Goals That Predict Success


Want to be more successful, achieve goals, be a winner? Setting and achieving goals is formulaic—the details may change, but the process is the same. Once you know your WHAT (goal) and WHY (motivation), you’re ready to take a step closer to the finish line.

My forty-plus year career is a case-study in setting goals and achieving them. I don’t know how I learned the formula, but I suspect the reason is connected to God’s plan. Most of my jobs in corporate America fell into one of two categories: create something from scratch or fix something that was wrecked.

The way I succeeded in a variety of industries, management positions, and three decades as an entrepreneur in business, speaking, writing books, the horse industry, and seven years in ministry was the result of applying the same process.

The Simple Success Formula

  1. Identify your Goal.
  2. Establish the reason why it matters.
  3. Acquire any skills or knowledge needed.
  4. Take the next best step.
  5. Repeat and achieve.
  6. Set a new goal.

Most of us rock back and forth between steps three and four, consistently becoming more able and refining what the next best step looks like.

The formula is easy but not always a cinch to apply. Even the best need objective eyes and ears occasionally, including me.

It Starts With A Vision

In my workspace, the vision comes from God. I believe that there’s a unique purpose and vision for you. There are no duplicates, do-overs, or reused identities. God is the Master Innovator and King of Unique. The dreams and ideas within you are there by design—to bring God’s kingdom to earth.

What mountain have you seen that you intend to climb? Do you know what it is, where it is, and why you’re willing to do the work?

My Success Formula is the Same As Yours

My purpose is to help you accomplish the plans or visions God gives you. I do that the same way you will, by identifying What He asks us to do and then internalizing the Why. My goal (What) is helping Kingdom Leaders achieve their goals. My motivation (Why) is moving the kingdom forward and enjoying the beauty, power, and peace of living in God’s will.

This article is one tiny step in my process of moving toward the top of the mountain the Lord showed me. Each social media post or comment, article, teaching moment, or meeting with a client or colleague moves me one step closer to my goal.

Good Goals Attract Others

The way you define your goal affects the likelihood of achieving it. Good goals boost you forward while bad goals often leave you wallowing in the dust wondering what went wrong.

Asking others to work with you is easier when the goal is specific, attainable, and the motivation clear. If you can’t communicate the precise nature of your vision it’s difficult to get others to come aboard.

Consider these characteristics of good, smart, and useful goals. Think of your goal as an equal partner and let it carry the weight it should.

Characteristics of Effective Goals

Effective goals are:

  • Attainable.
  • Specific: anyone should be able to read your goal and know if you succeeded or failed.
  • Dependent on what YOU do, not what someone else does or doesn’t do.
  • Scheduled: structured for hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly completion.
  • Incremental: each accomplishment opens the door to the next.
  • Partnered with commitment: the bigger the What the bigger the Why.
  • Material: the goal must matter.
  • Loners: good goals don’t run in packs because switch tasking is self-defeating.
  • Reason for celebration.
  • Purposeful: without purpose there’s no value.
  • Self-affirming.
  • Structured: they have to lead somewhere.
  • Documented and shared.
  • Costly, with a recorded cost of both succeeding and failing.

Most goals are achieved one small step at a time. The best way to become predictably successful is to finish what you begin even when movement is painfully slow. Progress is a direction, not a speed. Keep moving forward.

Simple Formula to Achieve Great Goals

Great goals are precisely defined by people with motivation to spare because they have a big Why. Here’s the simple formula to close the gap between where you are and where you want to go —and enjoy every day of the journey.

  • Take one step.
  • Celebrate.
  • Take another step.
  • Celebrate.
  • Repeat until you accomplish your first goal.
  • Set a new, bigger goal.

When you work for the Lord, remember that the power, purpose, and limitless potential are His. It doesn’t matter if your purpose today is raising faithful children, serving an international ministry, launching a new business, or monetizing a creative gift the Lord gave you, the path toward the finish line begins with a clear What and runs on fuel provided by your Why.

Have a question, comment, or observation? Drop a comment here or contact me using the CONTACT tab.

Related post: How Small Dreams and Vision Create Powerful Influence

Another related post: Preserving Your Passion and Control in the Midst of Change

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

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