Goal Setting – The Really Effective Way

To live a purposeful life, we must be able to imagine what we want to do and how we are going to achieve it. Efficient planning involves knowing what our target is. So we must ask: What do we want to accomplish? What is the desired end result? What is our goal?


The practice of goal setting is not new, though it has taken a few twists and turns over the millennia. The ancient Egyptians for example built grand monuments such as The Great Pyramids of Giza. Vision, planning, management combined with literal deadlines (it had to be completed before the Pharaoh died) were used to improve efficiency and success.

Military campaigns were designed with similar approaches to schedules, resources, and the goal of victory.

In a more pastoral way, farmers would take time during the winter months, to reflect on past farming efforts and prepare for the upcoming season. Implicit goals around planting and harvesting were tied into seasonal and geographic conditions.

In business, goal setting seemed to really take off after World War II. For example, the Japanese  employed American management techniques to rebuild their economy and country. Using Peter Drucker’s, Management by Objectives approach, many Japanese companies rose to dominance and transformed the country from a completely crushed economy to a world leader within 40 years. A remarkable turn around by all standards.

So we know goal setting works. Today, there are many approaches and systems to help in this task. One of the more common approaches involves setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. In this approach, criteria is used to ensure the goal is clear and well defined i.e. (S) Specific (M) Measurable (A) Attainable/Achievable/Assignable (R ) Relevant/Realistic (T) Time Based.


For example: I choose to improve my business by setting a marketing goal to build a website that has the main categories and structures in place within one month from now.

This is a useful approach for many goals, especially in business. The problem is that humans have to achieve these goals and SMART goals often become lifeless because they use strictly business criteria. For a goal to be effective, it should relate to the Human Needs of the people striving towards it. For this reason, additional criteria need to be added. The two additions I believe are most important are 1) Ecology and 2) Revivify


An ecological goal should be defined so that it accommodates basic human needs. While there is much research into Human Needs Psychology, I believe Tony Robbins summarizes it well in his definition of the Six Human Needs that all people need to fulfill at all times. According to Robbins, the six needs are:

1)   Connection, Friendship, membership, belonging, Love, Appreciation

2)   Independence, Uniqueness, Solitude, Privacy, Being Special, Detachment

3)   Certainty, Knowing in the ability to avoid pain and gain pleasure.

4)  Variety, Mystery, Intrique, Uncertainty, Spontaneity

5)   Growth, Progress, Advancement, Development, Improvement

6)   Contribution, Fulfillment of Main Purpose in Life, Helpfulness, Giving, Service to others

For instance my goal to build a website within one month can be further defined by noting that:

1)   Friends, colleagues, peers, family, clients, suppliers can now connect with me online (Connection).

2)   I can make contributions to the site in solitude. I can control what information I upload ensuring privacy. The site can be custom designed to reflect my uniqueness (Independence).

3)   I am certain that more people will have access to the information. I am certain I will reduce the number of repetitive conversations about some matters because it will be available to all online. (Certainty).

4)  I don’t know what response I will get from the postings, contributions and uploads. (Variety/Uncertainty).

5)   This is a bold step forward for my business. Which will lead to growth, progress, advancement (Growth).

6)   I can serve more people using online resources and services. (Contribution).


For a goal to really come to life, we need to be able to imagine it as accomplished and having great positive effects on our business or life. To be able to imagine its completion and impact, we want to sense the image using as many of our five senses as possible (sight, sounds, touch, taste, smell). See the past blog post: Tips on how to improve your imagination with Revivification.


The ability to create an image in our minds is a skill that most can improve upon. The practice of remembering the image (goal) and its’ positive impacts is the best way to stay focused on it. So make the image inspiring and memorable. The key is to remember that the goal will allow you to meet your six human needs in a better way thus fulfilling your main purpose in life.

Final thoughts

Before you start the Goal Setting process, take a moment to get grounded or centered and note how you are currently fulfilling your six Human Needs. Adjust this awareness so you are fulfilling your needs in an optimal way. The quality of your creative visioning will be improved if you start with a feeling of resourcefulness and fulfillment.

Once you have your goal set, take a moment to commit to action. Select one thing that you can commit to that would be easy to accomplish. Be sure that it is pleasurable. Keep it simple and easy. Commit to it and upon completion note the feeling of accomplishment, achievement, growth and progress. Allow these observations to inspire you to take even more actions on your path to achieving your goal.

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