How to Set Goals and Start Achieving a Better Life

If you want to grow as a man you've got to set goals. This part you've been hearing since 4th grade. Unfortunately, most of us think, "lose weight," or "get a better job," are effective goals. If you actually want to start getting things done you've got to learn how to establish your goals in a way that will guarantee a path to success.

It’s a new year and a new decade. Tons of people are starting new diets, joining gyms and making lots of resolutions. Despite all the good intentions you might have, with no direct plan to keep you on track your resolutions may simply become well worded promises that go unfulfilled. You might get discouraged early on and by March you are no longer at the gym.

Yet, you honestly want to make a fresh start in the New Year in various areas of your life. What is a man supposed to do? Well, let’s look at how to set goals and how to stay with and accomplish them.

Resolutions are things that you resolve to do. Goals are dreams with a deadline. Goals must have vision. You must visualize yourself accomplishing the goal ahead of time to understand what needs to be done to get there.

For example, if you want to set a goal to get out of debt, you must understand that you'll have to write checks to pay off each balance — picture this. Now that you have a vision, you must have a plan to follow it through. You might cut down on money spent eating out. If you bring lunch into work at least once per week for one month, you will see some extra money show up in your pocket. Next month you can bring your lunch in two days per week and save even more money to help you start chopping away at debt. It all starts with a vision to see the goal come to pass.

Goals should be written down.

You should write your goals down.  They should be plain enough to understand so you can run to them and run through them! What gets written down gets done. It makes you and holds you accountable to what you have written. This also helps you to stay focused so you can stay the course.

Goals should be annual, short-term (5 year goals) and long term (10 years or more), and should have three components: what it is, why you want to accomplish it, and the plan to get it done. There are many things that we want to have or even become in our lives. Goals push us to a point where we move from mediocre lives to exciting lives that are filled with purpose and excellence.

Article text - Goals push to a point where we move from mediocre lives

Having goals will separate you from nonsense, as well as gossip. You will become more life focused and less self centered. How can this be possible if the goals are focused on me? Simple. If the goal is big enough, then you will need all types of resources to help you accomplish it. It may require other people, money, and all types of assets to accomplish it.

You might be saying to yourself: “Why do I need goals? My life is just fine.” Maybe it is fine, but can’t you imagine life being better? Do you think you’ve arrived? Are you complacent living in your comfort zone? Many men live life aimlessly with no direction. When a man has no goals or direction, then life chooses the direction for him. Trouble can start since your time has “no assignment.” Goals keep you productive and not just busy.

The 6 Areas of Goal Setting

There are at least six areas you should consider when setting goals. They are Physical, Financial, Career, Social/Relational, Mental/Educational, and Spiritual/Ethical.

Physical. Everyone starts with this. Set a simple goal of exercising 3 days per week and then work your way up from there. If you really want some direction on this, then please read “Fit to Lead” by Christopher Neck, Ted Mitchell and others from the Cooper Wellness Institute. In 8 weeks you can get on a simple fitness regiment that will not force you to stop eating what you love.

Article Text - Run all your goals thought the smart matrixFinancial. Have you set a goal for the money you want to earn this year? The amount of money you want to save? How about the amount of money you will donate to a cause or organization?

Career. Is there a promotion in your plan for this year, or do you need to change jobs? What about the company you have wanted to start for the last 10 years? Goals will move you towards your dominant thoughts.

Social/Recreational. It can’t always be about you! Set a goal to spend time with your family consistently each month. Plan special date nights with your girlfriend. Develop solid friendships with your buddies. Maybe you can mentor a young teenager who has questions that only you can answer.

Mental/Educational. Take time to read at least one book per quarter and then work your way up to a book per month. Read books that will help you reach your goals include at least one biography to get started.

Spiritual/Ethical. Far too many men are running a rat race. They’re up early in the morning, off to work and then repeating the cycle daily. A man must take time for some solitude. Take 5 minutes in the morning when you wake up and just spend some time in silence. Before you do anything else, be thankful for everything you have. Then visualize everything you need to do that day as going well. See yourself succeeding at everything you do. Start the day by saying “Today is a gift and I will enjoy it!” You will see your stress level decrease and you will recognize that life is better than you think.

Run all your goals through the S.M.A.R.T matrix. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,

Realistic and Timely). When you write a goal down, make sure that it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If not, re-think the goal to make sure that it fits the acronym.


forget this part.  Buy those golf clubs that you wanted, purchase tickets to that sporting event, celebrate with your girlfriend or wife. Goals are to motivate you, but you need to reward yourself when you do hit them.

REMEMBER: Goals are dreams with a deadline. What are you dreaming about?

Sanford Ashley (“The Men’s Coach”) is an author and speaker on men’s issues. His book “Sex…The Seductive Addiction”(Authorhouse) is available on Visit his website at to find out more.