Norton: Don’t just ‘wing it’; discover the power found in goal setting (column) | VailDaily.com

Norton: Don’t just ‘wing it’; discover the power found in goal setting (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

Here is the challenge: Find someone who has achieved greatness, excellence or has completed the pursuit of something worthy and meaningful. And when you find them, ask them if it was by pure luck or if they had set a specific goal. Or maybe ask them if they had planned and prepared on their way toward realizing their dreams.

I spend a lot of time reading business books, biographies and personal development books, articles and blogs. I probably spend even more time listening to podcasts and watching motivational videos to keep my mind focused on the pursuit of elevating my own game. Meeting and speaking with other successful people from all walks of life is also part of my cookbook when it comes to my own personal and professional development.

The topic lately has been goal setting. Not just goal setting, but goal setting and the achievement of our goals and dreams. And just like I challenged you at the beginning of this column, I challenged myself to see if I could find anyone who has met with success and who did not have a goal or plan in advance of the realization of their dreams and goals.

Whether I spoke with a very successful CEO, a top-performing sales professional, a husband and wife, a teacher, a doctor, a student or a local entrepreneur, everyone with whom I spoke who had experienced success had planned for that success, prepared for that success and set goals for themselves along the way. It was in 100 percent of the conversations.

Many people I spoke with about goal setting said they had goals, but when I dug in deeper, they could not clearly define them. Others I met argued that goal setting just wasn't for them; they would rather wing it, as winging it has gotten them this far in life.

Think about the people you know who may have lost weight recently. Maybe it was only 10 pounds or so, and maybe it was significantly higher. They will share with you that they needed or wanted to lose that specific amount of weight.

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The husband and wife who set a goal for early retirement set a specific savings goal and had a supporting plan to get them where they wanted to be. The owner and CEO of a start-up company didn't just go out and quit his job, he had a very clear vision and plan for what he wanted to do, set goals around it and then executed against those goals.

There are so many great books and programs around the setting and achievement of goals. There are quotes and other short-form motivational materials to help us become and stay focused on our goals; all we have to do is Google "goal setting" or "goal setting quotes," and we will find the sources that really connect us to the concept. Here are a few of my favorite quotes on the subject:

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." — Jim Rohn

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." — Zig Ziglar

"Review your goals twice every day in order to be focused on achieving them." — Les Brown

"I don't focus on what I am up against. I focus on my goals and ignore the rest." — Venus Williams

And although there are many great books on goal setting, if I were going to recommend one book on how to achieve my goals, then it would be Michael Hyatt's book "Your Best Year Ever."

So how about you? Do you have clearly defined goals and are you well on your way to achieving your dreams? Do you take more of a "wing-it" approach? Do you need help with a goals program? As always, I would love to hear your story at gotonorton @gmail.com, and when we can realize the true power found in goal setting as we pursue our dreams, it really will be a better-than-good week.

Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.