How Do You Set Goals?

By: Dan Kennedy on: November 15th, 2010 4 Comments

That’s what Gold/VIP Member Darin Garman asked me, With hindsight, I could have given a better, more complete answer.

One thing I said, that I always do, is re-consider remaining and new items on my “ugly list”. The things about my business or life I don’t like, that perpetually bug me, create stress, waste time, get in the way. Their resolution or elimination equals goals. It is easier to pull weeds than to grow flowers.

One thing I didn’t say, that I do, is consider my own behavior, from the Pogo list: “we have met the enemy and they is us.” What can I do better to be better? Equates to goals.

Some people attempt the blank slate, blank page, fresh, unblemished blanket of white snow approach. Beginning with: what they want. Personally, I’ve never made that work. I have lots of carry-over from month to month and year to year. Work in progress, projects in progress, goals I haven’t hit on time. As I write this, the countdown-to-retirement clock reads: “7 Days, 17 Hours, 10 Minutes, 29 Seconds.”

But it will hit 0 and I won’t yet be ready for the celebration. In fact, I’ve extended 365 days. There are a few lingering frustrations. Unmade decisions. So I have a carry-over list. Fortunately, there’s a really big ‘Done’ list too. And I am determined: no carryover at 372. By ‘retirement’, by the way, I really mean “next life” not “doing nothing.”

Some people use the calendar heavily, as I do. First of all, there are lots of dates blocked off way in advance, all the way through any given year.. This leaves a limited number “loose”, to be thought about. Then I divide by months, quarters, the halves, to note the goals to be accomplished by each end-point. I might add, I rely very heavily on ‘deadlines’ to get myself motivated to work, to write, to produce.

Some people categorize: Business, Personal, Family, Money, Health, etc. I used to use this as the overriding structure; it’s the first approach I learned, from Paul Meyer’s ‘Dynamics Of Goal Setting’ SMI course. I subsequently taught a similar approach in my own, original ‘Money/Business/Success Course’ (out of print). I still use this, too, but secondarily.

Most successful people I know make and constantly modify lists, one way or another. I’m mostly a legal pad guy, although I also use little cards and wall and portable storyboards.

Most significantly, this isn’t a once a year exercise, like ‘new years resolutions’. It is an on-going, continuing, nearly daily process.

Be Sociable, Share!

    Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

    4 Responses

    1. Paul Serwin says:

      Whenever I set my goals, I always envision myself after I had accomplished the goal. How do I feel about reaching my goal? What’s the best part about accomplishing them? What steps did I take and what challenges did I overcome?

      Answering these questions in the past tense (as if they all ready happened) give me more clarity when I set my goals.

    2. Len Ferrara says:

      Great insight. I’ve had great luck with David Allen’s, GTD.

    3. […] by Dan Kennedy on November 16, 2010 var fbShare = {url: '',size:'small'} Yesterday, I taked about how to set goals. […]

    4. Blocking of dates on a Calender way ahead is a great way to see the year ahead, and achieve ones goals. This year I blocked of dates till the end of the year, only to have to make a slight course change around the middle of the year, but it wasn’t too difficult getting back on track.

    Leave a Comment