How to Set Goals Like a Pro: Tips from Zig Ziglar

September 6, 2022

How to Set Goals Like a Pro: Tips from Zig Ziglar

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” — Zig Ziglar

We all have things we want to achieve; small goals, big goals, important, life-changing goals, and in order to achieve them, we need a game plan of sorts. As Brian Tracy said, “A goal without a plan is only a dream.”

How do we plan our goals in order to achieve them? Zig Ziglar has plenty of powerful advice we can all benefit from being reminded of from time to time.

He has 7 steps to setting goals, and most of you are probably familiar with them by now.

  1. Identify the goal

Be specific in the details of what you want to achieve. Is it to lose weight? By how much? Is it to live in your dream home? Where is it, and what kind of home is it? Is it to grow your business? What does growth look like? Is it a 10% increase in bottom line revenue in the next year or an expansion to a different city?

Capture those goals succinctly and clearly. You can write it down to make sure you don’t forget it, and you can revisit it regularly to reflect on it.

It helps to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Results driven, and Timely), but it would be fine as long as they are specific and clear.

  1. How does it benefit me?

Why is it important to achieve it? Why do you want to lose weight? Why is that your “dream home” and why move now? Why are you going that way in growing your business?

Examining your “why” helps you gain more clarity on your goals and gives you a reason, or motivation, to stick to them.

List them down as well, so as to remind yourself when you get discouraged or frustrated about achieving your goals.

  1. What are the things that will be in my way?

List down the possible obstacles that might come your way that you need to overcome to achieve the goal. Understanding these challenges helps you prepare a plan for overcoming them.

Of course, you won’t be able to predict every possible obstacle that you will encounter; there will always be something unexpected that will come along. But, for those obstacles that you’ve identified and that did come, you’ll be more confident in surpassing them, knowing that you’ve prepared.

  1. What tools, knowledge, and skills will I need?

It is important to know what is required to make this goal a reality. Do you have all the tools and equipment you need? Are there new knowledge and skills you need to learn ahead of time or along the way? Do you need to attend specific training? What are they?

  1. Who are the people I need to work with?

Is it a solo project, or does this goal require collaboration? Do you need to assemble a team? Maybe hire a coach or a specialist? Are you working on this goal with your spouse or your friend?

Knowing who are the people you will need, how they can help you, why they would want to help you, and how you will engage and work with them helps you prepare as well. If you are hiring, you will need to allocate time and resources for that. If you were working on something with a friend or your spouse, what would their roles be? How will you collaborate with them?

  1. Now that you have the details, it is time to write a detailed action plan.

This includes all the action steps and stages you will need to accomplish the goal, as well as steps on overcoming the obstacles you’ve defined, preparing the tools you will need, acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary, and recruiting the people you need to work with, as well as their roles.

  1. Set a deadline.

Having a timeline set will help motivate you to stop procrastinating on your goal. There are many variations of Parkinson's law, but work expands to fit the deadline. If you are serious about achieving your goal, you need a timeline to hold yourself accountable throughout the process (and progress). That is why open-ended goals tend to not get done. Of course, when setting deadlines, you have to be realistic about them.

This includes timelines of specific stages of the goal if it is a big, long-term endeavor.

These seven steps serve as the framework for setting goals with the intent of achieving them.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” — Zig Ziglar

Now all that is left is to achieve them.

It takes commitment and accountability to follow through and have a strong foundation of character and values: You wouldn’t set this goal and plan it this much if it wasn’t important to you. Now it’s up to you to keep working on it.

Along the way, you might feel discouraged or disillusioned with the goal, so it also helps to have a vision of what “reaching the goal” looks like. Write it down, draw it, keep it in a tangible place to remind you of why you wanted to achieve it in the first place. It also helps to record your achievements and milestones along the way, so you can reflect on your wins and get that confidence boost of self-confidence to keep pushing forward.

And when unexpected obstacles come, keep your sights on that vision, but be willing to improvise and change direction to get there.

Remember that whatever you get from arriving at your “success destination” isn’t nearly as important as what you learn and who you become on your journey to get there.

Keep moving forward towards your goals, and thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.