by | Jun 5, 2013

In my last article I shared with you the idea that successful people plan a journey towards success and follow it and that there are five essential elements in any success journey:

  • A clear goal
  • A plan
  • The desire to achieve
  • Confidence in your ability to achieve your goal
  • Determination to keep going regardless of obstacles. 

The theory is simple but the reality less so as to plan and commit to a success journey is challenging. It requires a change in attitude and behaviour which take time to develop and effort to pursue. On my journey I have experienced successes and set backs and there have been times when I have felt tired and low and wondered if I can be as successful as I aspire to be. The answer is, of course, yes I can. 

Paul J Meyer defines success as;

‘the progressive realisation of worthwhile predetermined personal goals’. 

So, each day that I review my goals, monitor my progress and then revise or stick to my goals and plans I move towards the success I aspire to achieve. 

What I have learnt is that the most important and most difficult step is to set clear goals. According to Paul J Meyer 

‘if you are not making the progress that you think you should or are capable of making, it is because your goals are not clear enough’. 

Harsh but true. 

During my career I have written many business goals for projects and performance appraisals. Consequently, when I started my new success journey I thought I would find goal setting for my future success easy. I was wrong. After a number of false starts and set backs I have learnt a lot which I thought would be useful to share. 

Are goals worthwhile?

First of all you have to believe that a programme of goals is worthwhile. There is a plethora of evidence, advice and training material in support of goals but if you:

  • hear but don’t believe it then a goals programme will not work for you. Without belief you won’t be able to put      in the effort that is required so don’t waste your time starting.
  • hear it, don’t believe it but are prepared to give it a go then be prepared for a long journey during which you will need to learn how to change your attitude and behaviour towards goal setting en route to your success
  • hear it and believe it, congratulations, enjoy your journey and your inevitable success.

A goal setting analogy that I like is one of Jim Rohn’s success philosophies 

 ‘the same wind blows on us all, it is not the wind but the set of the sail that determines your destination’. 

If I think of my goals as the set of the sail it helps me to visualise how I control my journey. I like to be in control so this helps reinforce why goal setting is important for me. 

Goals are personal

For a goals programme to work it has to mean something to you and you have to own it. You create the goals, you set the dates and you take responsibility for achieving them 

Personal goals are not set in stone. 

As you learn you can revise them, delete those that are not working for you and write new ones. The possibilities for success are endless but so are the obstacles that can derail you. If you believe that personal goals are worthwhile you will pursue them, if you don’t you will give up. With personal gaols there is no need to fear mistakes. Consider every alteration a sign of progress. 

I have found writing and pursuing personal goals different to my previous experience of writing business goals which often were about the achievement of organisational standards and targets. 

Personal goals support personal leadership and the purpose of a personal goals programme is to enable you to use more of your potential, stimulate your motivation and achieve continued success in all areas of your life: family and home, financial and career, social, spiritual, physical health and mental development. 

I recently came across these inspirational words from Jose Ortega y Gassett (Spanish Philosopher) 1883- 1955 that I find particularly inspirational 

‘Life is a series of collisions with the future, it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be ‘.

I firmly believe that a personal goals programme is the way for me to achieve my dreams. 


This article is based on the Personal Leadership theories of Paul J Meyer