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Setting SMART Achievable Personal Goals

Goal-setting is the framework for personal achievement. It is the backbone of becoming the person you desire to be. Setting and achieving personal goals will guarantee you success because it is success.

Most who set goals have little-to-no understanding of goal-setting – and so fail to become or get what they want. We frequently hear of people’s goals (I should say “hopes”) to find a perfect partner, lose weight, or help people in need. Many have hopes yet few achieve them. Why is this and what can you do to get what you want unlike the 95+% of people who fail to achieve their ambitions?

Being an expert in setting and achieving personal goals is the greatest skill to master. It allows you to create more in your life and in the lives of others you touch. By setting and achieving personal goals you can: communicate effectively, have the partner you want, have the friends and relationship with your family you want, look your best, feel great about yourself, no longer have self-imposed limitations such as poor confidence, and generally become the person you want to be. A personal goal constructs a pathway for self development, but doing it correctly builds a superhighway to success.

6 Reasons People Do Not Set Goals and Fail

You would think that if goal-setting was the ultimate secret to success, everyone would develop goals and learn to achieve them. The world is imperfect.

I know with certainty that everyone will experience a more successful and enjoyable life if they learned to effectively communicate. Anthony Robbins, who in my opinion is the greatest modern day personal development coach, said, “The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” Effective communication determines the quality of your life with others while self development determines the quality of life with yourself. Self development forms your inner communication and progresses you towards building interpersonal relationships. There are several reasons people fail and do not set goals that are similar to why people do not learn effective communication.

The first reason people do not set goals is they fail to see its importance. Like people that avoid developing their communication, they see little point in taking the time to set goals. I have met people unbelievably resistant to developing their communication. They were actually insulted to hear their communication can improve! We all can communicate more effectively no matter how good we are.

The second reason people do not set goals is they fear criticism. People criticize for many reasons. In the first chapter on criticism in Communication Secrets of Powerful People, you learn the most common reason for criticism is a desire to improve people. Other reasons include a habitual perception of faults in people, anger, a belief that greatness cannot be achieved, and a hidden agenda to hold people back from reaching their goals.

A person can fear setting goals because each time they have set goals in the past, others have criticized them for dreaming big. Others impose their self-limiting beliefs through criticism instilling fear within the person. The remarks of criticism buried within the person’s memory controls them from achieving anything remarkable. Average people do not want others to go beyond average.

To overcome the fear of criticism, put bluntly, screw what people think. Do not allow people to destroy your life with their beliefs. You would not tie a one tonne boulder to your leg when swimming so stop tying people’s limiting words to your mind. If you want something, get it by setting and achieving personal goals with the directions given in this article.

Average people do not want others to go beyond average.

The third reason people do not set goals is a fear of failure. This category of people might think success is the absence of failure. The opposite is true. Success comes from failing a lot and failing fast. “I haven’t failed,” said famous inventor Thomas Edison. “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Being an inventor, Edison knew that failure was the nuts and bolts that constructed his success.

To be powerful, remove the traditional meaning of failure from your reality by altering its meaning. You do this by breaking down what failure means to you. How do you know that what you feel is failure? You are most probably frustrated with not getting what you want. You mistake frustration for failure.

A failed attempt shows you took action. You overcame stagnation by stepping towards your goal. Knowing this helps you enjoy failure. That’s right! Enjoy failure!

The fourth reason people do not set goals is a fear of success. People who fear success believe success is bad. The fear is common in wealth and wanting an attractive partner because the fearful individual is afraid of negative results if one gets what he or she wants. Wealth becomes evil or a certain type of partner is categorized as unfaithful. The fear does not let them achieve what they want.

The fifth reason people do not set goals is they do not know how. This reason relates to a fear of failure where the person has set goals in the past, but has not achieved them. The failure discourages further attempts. These people become disheartened from failure and think failure is imminent. They do not learn from past mistakes and move towards personal growth.

The classic example of this is weight loss as a New Year’s resolution. A temporary motivation inspires the person to lose weight in January, but no further progression is made with the goal. They bounce back to their initial state as their behavior follows the path of least resistance. If you do not set and work towards a goal now, what makes you think you will achieve it as a New Year’s resolution? There are techniques such as SMART goal-setting, which I will discuss below, that you can use to set and achieve goals rather than wishing a result based on temporary motivation too common around New Years.

You mistake frustration for failure.

The sixth reason people do not set goals is they lack deep desire to want something greater than their present circumstances. For them, the ordinary or even sub-ordinary is sufficient. If you are in this category, you have been tricked to believe you are an ordinary person who should expect ordinary things. A lack of desire can also be aroused by failure, criticism, and other reasons that explain why people do not set goals.

4 Most Common Goal-Setting Mistakes – And How to Overcome Them

Once you have identified any common reasons you fail to set goals, you need to identify common problems in setting goals. There are four common problems people make in goal-setting. These mistakes are dangerous enough to prevent you from accomplishing what you set out to achieve:

#1 The goal is too vague. A vague goal is general. It contains uncertainties. Set a specific goal. The more specific a goal, the more likely you will achieve it. What exactly do you want to achieve? Maybe it is an intimate relationship with your partner. Saying, “My goal is to have more intimacy with my partner” is too vague. Convert it to a specific goal such as: “In 30 days, I will able to come home from work then talk and cuddle with my partner for 30 minutes everyday”. This is a great goal as it is specific and measurable. You need to be specific and define exactly what you want. (I’ve written a complete article I recommend you read to truly define what you want.)

#2 The goal is impersonal. A great leader knows he must inspire his team to take on an organization’s goals as if the goals were the team’s own. This is easy to achieve if the team has goals congruent with the organization. You are more likely to reach a goal that is personal instead of it being someone else’s desire.

#3 The goal is too hard or too easy. If a goal is too hard, you will not achieve it. If it is too easy, the goal is unchallenging, your journey to success will be slow, and you will lack a significant feeling of accomplishment. The correct level of difficulty is one that is challenging yet achievable. It energizes you because you know it is reachable. Alter your goals until you feel this state.

#4 The goal is made public. You can avoid several reasons people do not set goals by keeping your goals publicly hidden. While it can be good to let others know of your goals, if they may knock you off your pedestal through criticism, keep your goal quiet. Let a coworker know you aim to double your income within one year, and your goal could be shot down with criticism about the company, the lack of opportunity in society, or the impossibility of increasing your income. Only let a supportive person know of your goal to help you stay motivated. If you aim to build more intimacy with your partner, tell your partner the goal and work towards it together. The right person can redirect you on the path of success.

SMART Goal-Setting

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable,” said motivational speaker and productivity expert Denis Waitley. “Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”

Get Personal

Managers cannot motivate employees on an ongoing basis, just like people or circumstances cannot keep you motivated. Research shows that when your goals are personal and mean something important to you, the following occurs:

  1. Tasks are filtered through the goals. You do the activities aligned with your goals while you ignore irrelevant activities.
  2. You work harder towards the end result. Effort becomes more effortless.
  3. You use knowledge that otherwise would be wasted to deal with difficulties.
  4. Persistence is increased to endure challenges.

There are several techniques to set and achieve goals that complement each other so you can use multiple techniques to increase the likelihood of achieving your goal. One goal-setting technique that has been effective for me is SMART goals. SMART is an acronym with minor variations:

Specific. As discussed earlier, a good goal is specific. Make a goal as specific as possible so expectations are developed, clarity is formed, and the path towards success is evident. A specific goal gives you excellent awareness and understanding of the requirements to achieve it. Develop an exact long-term goal, then break it down into goals for one year, one month, one week, and day-to-day activities.

Measurable. Another common problem discussed earlier is people do not set measurable goals. How can your progress be tracked so you achieve the goal in a set time period? Do your best to quantify your goal. Let’s say your goal is to overcome shyness. Set a measurable goal where you aim to meet and briefly converse with 10 new people next week. The number “10” within 1 week makes this goal measurable and specific. This makes it easy for you to track your progress in becoming a socially confident person.

Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have or can develop the necessary skills to achieve. You have no doubt heard the saying: “You can achieve anything you want if you set your mind to it.” In other words, if you align your attitude, ability, thoughts, and emotions towards your goal, then it is attainable. An attainable goal is within your potential.

Realistic. A realistic goal is one you believe is reachable. It is related to “Attainable”. An example of a realistic goal is one reached by someone. It is realistic if you have the time and chances to gather the resources to achieve it. (Do not underestimate your ability to gather required resources.) Realism will lead to belief, motivation, and action.

Tangible. Too often goals stay in our minds. Create many tangible forms of your goal then witness an amazing affect as your goal manifest. Write your goals on paper to create tangibility. Hear, see, feel, taste, or smell your goal. Use your five senses to stir a powerful, inner desire to hunt down your goals. Your emotions will intensify with tangible goals. Track your progress not based on an uncertain feeling of development, but on tangible changes. Look for solid evidence that you are progressing towards your goals.

When you set a SMART goal, you create a map for success. You give yourself a challenging yet achievable goal. Master SMART goal-setting and you will have the ultimate skill to get what you want.

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Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to


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It was said once that knowledge is already into us, but we are not always aware of it, or we are simply looking to the wrong direction, or repeatedly hitting the wrong key… you’ve got it.

This stuff you wrote seemed so damn obvious when I finished reading it and noticed I wasn’t being “S.M.A.R.T.”, but vague and unclear about my goals. Dammit! You hit the fly again!


This was very Motivating Joshua!
I learned that I was living in the world of uncertain feelings of my self development, but now I know I should have solid evidence of my progress!


This is pretty good, Josh.
I like it and it has made me to realize some things I need to know about myself to realize my dream!



Good work Josh. You really have done it man…you have put it in the simplest of writings and in the most effective way! I would love to read more of you.


hey josh,you exactly told about things that I think and have big problem with them now,..but in my opinion there is no way to success in my life even small light of hope,..I knew all those you mentioned here and had tried it several times but I faced failure,…my society and circumstance always effect on me , can n’t say we should ignore in which country we live or which people we meet,now days all of these factors make me so disappointed and poor !I hate where I live and sorry for myself !there is no sense of responsibility in people..I have decided to start and write down my goals!alas ,I got disappointed soon,josh I knew you about 3 years.I believe on your articles.but,all those did not change my life..I failed to lose weight,I lost some pound but after a while I don’t have that motivation that I had first so again I gain weight..I am always in a hurry and realation ship with my parents has spoiled..I become so nervous in contrast I used to be so happy and cheerful girl.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

“I knew all those you mentioned here”. Gisso, knowing is unhelpful. You want to learn, but you don’t learn through the accumulation of knowledge. You learn and really “know” once your behavior changes. I cannot change you.

Yes, culture and the people you meet with influence you. Very much so! It takes a degree of humbleness and acceptance to acknowledge. Such facts, however, is not sufficient to alleviate yourself from responsibility.

You say there is no sense of responsibility in people. That to me is a projection of an inner quality. Ask yourself these three questions: 1) Where do I play the victim in my life? 2) What role do I play in the outcomes I label “failures”? 3) How can I be more responsible?

Read this other article I wrote to solve the problem of problem solving and returning to an original state.


hey josh,this is definitely a powerful message that will help me grow this year and i will surely achieve my goals because they will be smart.thank you for your help!


i’ve learnt the importance of goal setting after reading this article…..
this is truly informative,inspirational,and astounding stuff man 😯
a must read….
last but not the least thanks for everything ur providing.

[…] Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have or can develop the necessary skills to achieve. You have no doubt heard the saying: “You can achieve anything you want if you set your mind to it.” In other words, if you align your attitude, ability, thoughts, and emotions towards your goal, then it is attainable. An attainable goal is within your potential. A goal within your potential is key to setting SMART goals. […]

Daniel Jones

Excellent and thought provoking article! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up. I will be changing how I set my goals.

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