I bet that you have heard the word “goal setting” countless times in your life. But what exactly is goal setting? And how can it impact your life? Does it really work? Well, you are about to discover the secrets of setting goals in this article.

Goal setting is both the most overrated and underestimated method in achieving what we want in life.

It is overrated because people talk about it too lightly. They treat goal setting as a promise. And all they do is to either think about their goals or to write them down according to what most experts suggest.

The problem is that writing down your goals is just the first part of the equation. If you’re not planning and taking the right form of action, guess what, your goals will remain as dreams.

It is also underrated because a lot of people neglect its effectiveness due to its simplicity. Do not take goal-setting lightly. When you set the right goals that empower you, your life will change and you will progress forward and achieve outstanding success in life.

If you are serious and truly committed to your goals, you will achieve them. On the other hand, if you treat them lightly like nobody’s business, you will fail to achieve them.

So, what is goal setting?

In my opinion, goal setting is the process of identifying the things or the results that you want to achieve in your life, be it in your career or personal life, within a determined timeframe.

In short, goal setting is the act of finding out what you truly want to achieve in your life. It can be a relationship goal, a financial goal, a career goal, a fitness goal, etc.

When you set goals, you are crafting and making a plan to live the life you desire.

The Difference Between Someone Who Has a Goal and Someone Who Doesn’t

When you set goals, you are giving orders to yourself. You are telling yourself what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there.

This means that you are living an intentional life. Meaning, when you have clear and specific goals, you are living your life with intention. You know what to do and when to do it.

For example, if you have no goals and no plans over the weekend, highly likely, you will sleep longer hours and wake up late. And you may spend your time reactively according to what comes to you during that time.

When your friends ask you for a drink, you will agree because you have no plan and you are free.

Now, imagine if you have a crystal clear goal on what you want to do on the weekend. Let’s say that you want to write a 3,000 words article to publish on your blog.

On Friday night, you set your alarm to wake up early because you need to work on your article. In the morning, when your friends call you out for a drink, there is a possibility that you are going to reject them because you have something to do. It depends on how committed you are to your goals.

Can you see the difference between having a goal and no goal?

The differences between living life reactively without clear and specific goals and living life with crystal clear goals are apparent.

When you have no goals and no plans, you become reactive. You go through life reacting to what happens at the moment.

On the contrary, when you have clear goals and plans, you become proactive. You know what you need to do, when to do it, and thus, you live life according to your own terms.

In short, goal setting is about setting your intention. You are living an intention-focused life when you know what you want to achieve.

Of course, knowing and doing are 2 different things.

Most people have crystal clear goals, but still, they choose not to act on their goals and live a directionless life.

What I want to tell you is that goal setting may or may not determine your success in life, but it is the fundamental and the first step to living an extraordinary life.

I strongly recommend you take my course: Goal Setting Formula. You will learn how to find out what you want to achieve, take charge of your life, and achieve real success through setting empowering goals.

Why It is a Good Idea to Set Goals


You may have heard about the 1953 Yale University study on goal setting. The study said that the 3% of graduates with written goals achieved far more and earned a combined income of 3 times more than the 97% of graduates who did not write down any goal.

As much as I want to tell you that goal setting is powerful because of this study, but the truth is that this study did not exist.

Fast Company published an article some time ago and stated that the Yale University study about goal setting did not exist.

So, does this mean that goal setting does not work in helping you to achieve what you want in your career and life?

No, the study only shows that the 1953 Yale University study did not exist, not that goal setting did not work.

We all know that goal setting is one of the most powerful methods that we can use to achieve outstanding success in life, and Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor from Dominican’s Department of Psychology has proved this.

Dr. Gail Matthews recruited 267 participants from a wide variety of businesses, networking groups, and organizations from all over the world for a study on how goal achievement influenced by writing the goals, committing to the goals, and accountability for those actions.

You can read the full study from this article here.

Here’s how Dr. Matthews carried out her research. She assigned her participants to one of the following 5 groups:

  • Group #1 – Those who were in this group were asked to simply think about business-related goals they hope to achieve within a 4-week period and then rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, and other measures.
  • Group #2 to group #5 were asked to write down their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to group #1.
  • Group #3 was asked to write down their goals and also write down action commitments for each goal.
  • Group #4 has to write down their goals, action commitments, and also share the commitments with a friend.
  • And group #5 was asked to do everything from group #1 to group #4, plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.

And here’s what Dr. Matthews discovered from the study:

“At the end of the study, only 43% of Group 1 either accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there. 62% of Group 4 accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there. However, 76% of those in Group 5 either accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there.”

76% of the participants in group #5 achieved their goals. Meaning, when you write down your goals, action commitments, share them with a friend and also commit to sending a weekly progress report to your friend, your chances of reaching your goals will be much higher.

Therefore, as you can see now, goal setting works. It is just a method of how you do it.

You can learn how to set empowering goals that drive you and make a workable plan to achieve your goals using my Goal Setting Formula.

How Setting Goals Can Impact Your Life

As I said, you may have underestimated the power of goal setting and never thought about how it can affect your life.

Even when you don’t reach all your goals, they can still enrich your life in many ways. Goals are like lighthouses that not only show directions to ships in the dark, but also prevent the ships from hitting rocks and grounds underneath the water.

When you set goals, you are engineering your life as to how you want to live it. Besides, your goals also serve as a reminder of what NOT TO DO so that you will never waste time and got lost in the wrong direction.

Below are the 7 reasons how goal setting can impact, change, and transform your life for the better:

1. Living life with a clear direction

This is common sense. When you have a goal, you know what to do. Your goals give you a clear direction in life. They give you the aim and tell you where to direct your efforts.

When it comes to making decisions, you know how to decide because you know what you want and how to get there.

Not only that, goals give you a sense of purpose in life.

Think about it, why do you go to work or wake up in the morning? If you say that you go to work because of your salary, you are right. It means that your goal is income and you pursue money and that’s why you go to work.

However, for many successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson, their aims are not just money. Money is not their priority. They choose to work because they love what they do and they want to fulfill their dreams of creating and leaving something remarkable behind.

This is why most people hate to go to work because they are working for money rather than their passion. They quickly lose their motivation when the money isn’t their priority anymore.

Hence, set goals that you truly want, not due to your life circumstances or what others want for you.

Goals give your life a clear direction, a sense of purpose, and also help you when it comes to making decisions.

Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.

Les Brown

Read: How to Find Your Purpose in Life

2. The key to creating remarkable success

Goal setting is the key to creating and producing remarkable success. Without having a clear goal, there is no way you can create outstanding success in life.

It is only when you know exactly what you want that you can work productively toward it.

How can you know if you are working on the right thing or if you are making progress when you don’t know what you want, right?

And when you have a goal, you can measure your progress, understand if what you do is right, and able to make adjustments to reach your goal.

Success isn’t going to happen through accidents. Success happens because you decided on what you want, set it as a goal, and then work diligently to get there every day.

This is why you need to have a goal in order to be successful.

Read: Specific Goal Setting: How to Set Crystal Clear Goals

3. Gives you better chances of living the future you desire

Setting goals give you a glimpse of the future that you want. Without goals, you will live life like a lost sheep, going where the crowd is going and drift aimlessly.

When you have a clear goal, you are able to come up with a plan and identify the actions you need to take to get there.

In other words, setting goals gives you more control over where you are heading and how to get there. You are taking control of your life instead of letting others decide for you. You are creating the future that you want.

For instance, if you set a goal to build a successful blog, all your actions and the way you live your life each day will change. You will spend more time on your blog instead of on Facebook. You will read and learn about the topic than to watch Netflix. Everything you do will be based on your goal – which is to build a successful blog.

That’s how your life will change when you have a goal.

Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.

Jim Rohn

Read: 55 Useful Tips How To Set Goals And Achieve Them

4. Goals can motivate you

You may already know about this, goals give you motivation. When you have a goal, it gives you hope and something to aspire to.

If your goals are what you truly desire in life and they are exciting, simply thinking about them can inspire you and drive you into taking action.

Imagine you are living your dream life right now. You are successful and financially free. You don’t have to worry about having not enough to pay your bills. You are enjoying life while driving your dream car. You live in your dream house by the mountain overlooking the Mediterranean sea. You are happily enjoying life with the people you love.

Now, how do you feel when you think about living your dream life and achieving all your goals? You feel good. You are inspired by your goals.

This is why goals are important. It can alter your mood and transform your life. Your goals don’t just serve as a lighthouse to show you direction in life, but also give you constant motivation and keep your momentum going.

People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals, that is, goals that do not inspire them.

Tony Robbins

Read: Set Your Goals in These 6 Important Areas of Your Life

5. Goals gives you a sense of personal satisfaction

Goals can make your life challenging, especially if they are beyond your current ability to achieve. However, they also give you a sense of personal satisfaction as you work and make progress toward them.

Setting goals help you understand your capabilities and potential. Goals tell you your weaknesses and where you need to improve when you are not producing the results you want.

Not just that, goals improve and increase your level of confidence. When you are making progress and taking actions, you feel good because you know that you are doing the right thing and are slowly moving toward your goals.

You can never tell how much potential you have until you do. And setting goals is the first step in understanding yourself better.

We have seen ordinary people went on to achieve extraordinary results in life because they have big goals and they trust their capabilities. You, too, can achieve amazing success in life when you choose to believe in your own potential that you can do it. But you must start with a goal.

Read: 7 Examples of How Successful People Set Goals and Achieve Them

6. Goals improve your focus

Another great benefit and impact that goals have on your life is that they improve your focus.

When you set goals, write them down, create actions plan to achieve them, and share your progress with other people, you are telling yourself that these are important things in your life. Your goals give you a clear focus on what you believe is important in life.

Your life will be different because you organize your life around your goals rather than the other way round.

People who go through life without a clear goal live life according to what comes to them and are often affected by their surroundings. They let their surroundings change them rather than taking control of their surroundings.

Things will be totally opposite when you have clear and specific goals. When you organize your life around your goals. You change your environment because you have a plan and you know what you need to do.

When you have a goal, you will not be affected by your surroundings, instead, you will be the one to shape your surroundings.

The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals.

Og Mandino

Read: 15 Common Challenges You May Face When You Set Goals

7. Goals boost your performance

Another huge impact that goals can have on your life is self-mastery. Goals allow you to improve your performance and build better characters.

When you involve in the process of achieving your goals, you discipline yourself to do what is necessary, you learn to overcome the difficulties in the journey, and as a result, you learn to become a better person with better characters and habits.

For instance, when you set a goal to build a successful internet business, along the journey, you are developing your skills and knowledge about internet marketing and everything that involves. Your goals develop you to become the person who you want to be.

Arnold Schwarzenegger once set a goal to become the best bodybuilder in the world, he did, and he also successfully built a bulky and macho body on his way to his goal.

When you play games, you level up your characters because you want to beat the boss and beat the game. You grow your characters in the game to a higher level.

And the same is true in real life.

When you set a goal and make progress to achieve it, you increase your performance, become better at doing it, and develop a stronger character.

Hence, having a goal promotes self-mastery.

Read: Should You Set Goals? The Pros and Cons of Goal Setting


I bet that by now you should understand what is goal setting and how it can impact your life.

Remember that goal setting is about living an intentional life. When you have a clear intention, you become proactive rather than reactive.

There are many ways how setting goals can change your life…

  1. Goals give you a clear direction and a sense of purpose in life.
  2. Setting goals is the first step to creating a remarkable success in life.
  3. Goals give you better chances of living the future you desire.
  4. Goals motivate and inspire you.
  5. Goals give you a sense of personal satisfaction.
  6. Goals help you focus better on getting what you want.
  7. Goals promote self-mastery and improve your performance.

So what are you waiting for? Set goals that help you live your dream life right now. Learn how to do that using Goal Setting Formula.

This article may contain affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As always, I only recommend products and services I trust.

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Reach Your Goals? Don't forget to do so. Cheers. :)


  1. Pingback: Should You Set Specific Goals? The Answer Will Surprise You

  2. Pingback: Specific Goal Setting: How to Set Crystal Clear Goals

  3. Bobomanbobo Reply

    I love your article. It is very detailed. But you never explained how we become a goal setter, a go getter. I understand the advantage of goal setting. but How do become somebody who always set goals. I do it for 2, 3 days. Then, I fall back. what would be your advice for somebody like that.

    • Shawn Lim Reply

      Hmm, it happened to me before too. But what I did is I turn it into my habit.
      Every morning, before I start my day, I write down my goals. And I have been doing that every day since months ago.
      I found that writing down my goals every morning before I start my day creates clarity for what I want in life.
      I know what to do for the day and it motivates me. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Ultimate Goal Setting Guide: How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

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