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How To Achieve Your Goals – Hint #1

Posted By Darren Rowse 23rd of August 2017 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

How To Achieve Your Goals - Hint #1

Friend – ‘Darren, I never seem to reach any of my goals.’
Darren – ‘What are your Goals?’
Friend – ‘…ummm….. ‘
Darren – ‘Do you have any goals?’
Friend – ‘Yes – at the start of the year I worked some out’
Darren – ‘So what are your goals?’
Friend – ‘….ummmm…. I don’t remember them exactly – there was one about making more money…. I think there was another one about going on a trip overseas….’
Darren – ‘Did you keep a record of your goals anywhere?’
Friend – ‘No – I thought I’d remember them.’
Darren – ‘Did you remember them?’
Friend – ‘Sort of…. Not really….’
Darren – ‘Do you think that remembering your goals might help you achieve them?’
Friend – ‘Hmmmm…..’

“Only goal setters who are goal writers are truly goal achievers.” – Darby Checketts’ Leverage: How to Create Your Own “Tipping Points” in Business And in Life (aff).

Update: Hint #2 for Making Goals a Reality

This post was originally published 11 years ago (almost to the day) after I had a conversation with a good friend. After I posted it (with his permission) I promptly forgot about it until a few days ago.

Earlier this week I was speaking with the same friend – someone who since that time has gone on to become very successful with his career (offline).

I was reflecting back to him that I was amazed how well he’d done and asked him what his secret was.

He reminded me of this blog post and told me that the secret was to get serious about identifying goals and writing them down.

After I published the post and shot a link to it to my friend he decided to take action and set aside half a day to think about and to write down his goals.

He decided to buy himself a dedicated ‘goals diary’ in which he would record the goals he set – so that he would be able to keep track of what he decided to do.

In the goals diary he records ‘life goals’ (his big ones), ‘medium term goals’ (his goals for the next 12 months) and ‘short term goals’ (his goals for the coming month, weeks and even days).

He now sets aside time at the start of each year to look at his ‘life goals’ and time at the start of each month to assess his medium and short terms goals.

I asked my friend what he’d add to the original post above and he mentioned one thing that he thinks the post was missing – he called it ‘hint #2’.

Hint #2 was to go beyond writing down the goals but also to write down action items that would move you toward the goals. To quote my friend:

“Having your goals written down is so important – but more important is knowing what you need to do to achieve them.”

A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

How To Achieve Your Goals - Hint #1

So each time my friend sits down to identify and write down his goals he now also starts mapping out the a plan of what he needs to do in the short and medium term to make those goals a reality.

In practical terms this means he’s plugging such action items into a to-do list on his phone and assigning deadline dates of when things need to be done which then also come up in his calendar.

So every day when he sits down to work he’s got things to do already in front of him that he’s 100% satisfied will take him towards his goals.

I love this and hope it helps you make your goals a reality too!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Freaky… I’m just sitting here with pen and paper jotting down goal type information as it applies to some of my online excursions… went to take a break and see what’s on the feed and WHAM… there this is.

    But I’d have to suggest one thing… If you want me to click the aff link, then something more than “so far it’s making some sense” is needed.

  2. true true Graydon – but of course I’m only at page 30 so anything more glowing at this point would be hype. I’ll wait until at least page 42 for that! :-)

  3. One idea I picked up earlier this year was to write down 100 goals.

    By the end you are struggling for some ideas, which could be a useful mind extension excersize.

    I was in the realm of:

    78.. Discover a new species
    85.. Travel on board an aircraft carrier
    92… Develop a planned community

    and so on..


  4. My goal Is Make money with blog not website.. And noboss
    Adsense Is god :)

  5. […] It’s always nice when others agree. Darren Rowse has a post on ProBlogger about the importance of keeping a written record of your goal (and, I would add, each day’s success or failure). He has a nice quotation from a book he’s reading, Leverage: How to Create Your Own ‘Tipping Points’ in Business and in Life, by Darby Checketts: Only goal setters who are goal writers are truly goal achievers. […]

  6. Hi Darren,

    You and Darby Checketts are exactly right, but I would take it one step further. Successful goal-achievers keep a daily written record of their goal-setting activities. Without this, it’s all too easy to let it slide for a few days, and then . . . forget it. The Number 1 reason my students fail to reach a goal is that they fail to keep a daily record.


    Eric (http://GoodHabitsGoodStudents.com/blog)

  7. Darren, I agree with Graydon, we need more, feed us please … :-)

    How about giving us “Darby’s 25 keys to leveraging one’s world” …

    … because they “are timeless principles creatively written with the imperative of a world-class coach and trainer.”

    Ok, yeah, I did click on the link … but it looks like a perfect list to share to me.

  8. Yeah, goals are sooo important! And its so important to write them down instead of just “thinking” about. But i never plan more than 6 month in the future because my work is “the web” and it changes so fast that a period longer than 6 months is not worth the time.

  9. I often set myself short term goals, things like exercise mainly and managing day to day workload.

    I have never really considered writing down longer term goals. I will certainly try it this evening.

  10. cat….Darby already provides them on his site:


    They’re not very detailed….maybe Darren will fill them out a little for us :)

  11. You know, I’ve always been bad about writting down my goals. I know that I should, but I don’t. This inspires me to do so.

  12. Not knowing exactly what I should do or when I should do it is a huge non-point source energy drain on my mind. I first encountered this idea in Paul Allen’s Getting Things Done (which has a huge following on the web) and it went off like a bomb in my head. I had always felt stressed out about things I had to do because I had only the vaguest notions about my goals and tasks.

    Now I write everything down and it greatly eases the psychological pressure I feel from have some vague sense that there’s “stuff” to do. Knowing exactly makes everything more manageable and less stressful. Not letting that list of uncompleted goals build up is a great motivator.

  13. Someone told me a long time ago that if you don’t write it down it didn’t happen. Writing down your goals is the first step in taking them from your mental world to the physical world.

  14. This is exactly what I cover in financial counseling as well.
    Write it down, read it, breathe it, and live it.

  15. Aren’t we all struggling with this? The dreaded and sometimes revered “to-do” list.

    I am very hit or miss with my to-do lists, and it usually just happens when there are a lot of items that need to be done immediately. I like the idea of setting up a more long-term list and following up with action lists each day or each week, as Eric suggested above.

    Now let’s see if I do it. Maybe my first list should start with “#1 Make a to-do list”.

  16. Point taken.

  17. So true! This is why we do family goals every month together. We’re starting our kids early learning how to set, follow-up and achieve goals. When I was teaching, I also used to make my junior high students write goals each quarter. It’s amazing how the brain subconsciously begins trying to make things happen once you write them down!

  18. I have just two goals: Get more traffic and get more links without compromising the quality of my writing. I have leanrt one thing that with each passing day, I am getting more skilled as a blogger.

  19. I agree. Goals are important. It gives you motivation to work harder. It is great to see that you have reached previous goals so that you can focus on getting those new goals.

  20. Although I haven’t written down my goals in a while, it really does make a HUGE difference. Even if I don’t meet every single goal (which I never do), I find that I made more of an honest effort at that goal than if I didn’t write it down.

    There’s something about putting pen to paper when it comes to goals that really solidifies it in one’s mind. Yes, it can appear to be a “nerdish” thing to do, but some of the most successfull people in the world got to where they are because they wrote down their goals and stuck with em’!!!

  21. Darren – reminds me of a recent conversation –

    Blogger: My boss doesn’t see the value in our (corporate) blog.
    Toby: It was his idea to blog.
    Blogger: He wants me to stop. He thinks it’s a waste of time.
    Toby: What did you define as success?
    Blogger: What do you mean?
    Toby: Did you set any goals?
    Blogger: No.
    Toby: Hard to determine value without a success vision/goal.

  22. good one Toby (might send some people to this comment in a presentation I’m doing on business blogging this week)


  23. very true, scary true. in fact, blogging the goals also gives you impetus to pull the proverbial finger out and get to work on making them happen. :D

  24. […] Pronet Advertising – Stupid MarketingProBlogger – How to Achieve Your GoalsGoogle Coupons – GooponsTECHCrunch – AmateurIllustrator nails niche social networkingShoeMoney – A Sale is Made on Every Website […]

  25. *nods* I had a conversation like this with a friend about his business. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with it, but he DID know he wanted to make more money. (The how somewhat elluded him though.) Sadly, his business ended up taking on many guises, (selling art, then selling hats, then not selling anything..) and then went *poof*. *shakes head* If only he could have made one achievable goal and went with it. Sometimes having TOO many goals can be as bad as having none.

  26. […] Pronet Advertising – Stupid Marketing ProBlogger – How to Achieve Your Goals Google Coupons – Goopons TECHCrunch – AmateurIllustrator nails niche social networking ShoeMoney – A Sale is Made on Every Website […]

  27. I have several friends with such goals :) Thay are professionals, they own perfect websites. But they have no money from them… And of couse they don’t achive they goals :)

  28. […] Have Goals or Are You Flying by the Seat of Your Pants – want to know how NOT to Achieve Your Goals? Then read this little account between Darren and friend. […]

  29. I recently began writing down my goals and it’s absolutely phenomenal the changes that are occuring in my life just by simply taking the time to write down some words! Many of my goals have been accomplished already and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the rest of the year ;) Thanks for the reminder, Darren.

  30. Here are some simple Goal Strategies I use to create an amazing life:

    1) Decide exactly what you want (write it down)
    2) Affirm why “you” want it (the bigger the reason the more internal motivation you are giving yourself) (write them on paper)
    3) Define the actions you will need to take to achieve it (on paper)
    4) Schedule the actions (in your calendar)
    5) Do It! (Follow through and carry out your plan)

    It helps if you find images or photos that represent your goal and put them in places you’ll see often (bathroom mirror, briefcase, in your car, on your screensaver, on the refrigerator)

    If your goal is a long term goal, break it into smaller goals. Schedule at least one thing to do each day (A Goal A Day). Doing one goal each day will add up and you will create enough momentum to carry you through!

    Define your top 10 goals for the year
    Define your top 10 goals for the month
    Define your top 10 goals for the week

    One last thing… rewrite your top 10 list weekly, daily if you can.

    Live Your Dreams!

    Jill Koenig

  31. Perhaps it’s wise to write down one’s goals in a blog post.
    This way you won’t lose the peice of paper they’re written on and all of your readers will be able to see and call you to account if you’re neglecting them.

  32. […] How to achieve your Goals by Problogger […]

  33. I think organization is absolutely key here. The question becomes… how do you organize your goals in an effort to prioritize what is most important to you?

    For this, I’d suggest using a vision board. A vision board is a powerful tool that anyone can use to shape an ideal future through the power of intention and visualization. Learning how to vividly imagine your desired results — attracting your perfect soul mate, radiant health, abundant career opportunities, or building personal and community relationships to give back — is the first step on the path to making them happen.

    A vision board – which is a collage of images that represent your goals, dreams, and intentions – allows you to break through unconscious, self-limiting beliefs that have been building in your subconscious mind for years, and really focus only on your important goals. In essence is helps separate your goals (your focus) from the background noise.

    Go to http://www.TheVisionBoardKit.com to download a free 8-point power tips guide to creating and using a vision board to achieve your goals.

  34. I have a goal and try to take note the next step to take to achieve it but sometime I feel that something still missing.

  35. When creating/making goals it’s hard to remember that there’s so much that needs to be done to get there. So when we start planning, we should also start writing, as these kinds of things can get extremely complicated.

  36. I’m surprised you didn’t include hint #3 – something you say often – take (imperfect) action! (This is where I usually fail.)

  37. Lucas Smith says: 08/23/2017 at 4:00 pm

    Listing down goals and action items are really helpful. It gives you that feeling of “taking the first step” so to speak. It’s pretty much like riding a bike, once you start pedaling, keeping the bike running will be a lot less easier. Thank you for this article Darren, I’ll definitely keep these in mind.

  38. Subraa PD says: 08/24/2017 at 7:05 pm

    I don’t think Goal Diary alone works!

    “Having your goals written down is so important – but more important is knowing what you need to do to achieve them.”

    Well Said!

  39. Rajesh Chandra Pandey says: 08/25/2017 at 3:59 am

    I take this occasion to make a confession that I never am serious about the goals. Though I plan meticulously I don’t find myself seriously involved with implementing it. But now having read your post I know I have got to make a workable plan to achieve the desired result. Done DARREN, DONE. Now I know the steps. Thanks a million.
    R C Pandey

  40. This is such valuable information! I work with written goals and have for many years. Knowing where you want to be at a certain point enables you to reverse engineer that goal into doable smaller steps. In helping people successfully complete their writing projects, I find it endlessly helpful in freeing the writer’s mind from clutter, stress, and drama–a great setup for success! Thanks so much for sharing!

  41. Thank you do much… I needed to read something to get me off my lazy excuses… I just realized I’m no better than your friend 11 years ago… I asked myself and I’m uhmming!

  42. Grandma says: 08/27/2017 at 2:00 am

    This post is a reminder to me to get back to making my lists. I’ve found the most productive times in my life were when I wrote my goals and actions to achieve them. For the life of me, I don’t know why I didn’t keep it up. Thanks for the reminder…I’m back to writing my goals again.

  43. Tijana Jak says: 08/30/2017 at 5:28 pm

    I use the SMART analogy when working on goals. It really makes you think about what it is you really want to achieve and can help you itemise smaller chunks to see visible progress.

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