11 Common Mistakes Most People Make When Crafting and Pursuing Goals

Common Mistakes Most People Make When Crafting and Achieving Goals

“To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch

As we consider moving forward into the process of becoming more intentional and purposeful with goals, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss some very common mistakes that are easy for anyone to make when getting started constructing their goals. By taking a few minutes now to discuss some of the pitfalls that can derail us in the goal-crafting process, we can save ourselves some heartache, discouragement and disappointment in the near future. You may even recognize some of these pitfalls as hurdles that you have struggled to overcome in the past on your personal development journey. However, be encouraged! Today is a new day.

Thinking about the destination and not the journey.

It has been said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. When crafting goals, it can be easy to set a very long-range goal and not address the 1,000 miles and many steps in between that it takes to get there. When tackling a long-range goal, we need to think about small steps that can be taken this day, this week, this month and this quarter and plan around those first.

Juggling too many goals at once.

You need to stay focused on your highest couple of priorities at the most, if not just the #1 priority (depending on the size and scope of the goal). You will need to work toward that smaller target with high intensity focus, then repeat your process and efforts with lower priority goals as is reasonable and doable for your situation. Take the necessary steps to identify and focus on your highest priority and highest potential goals.

Not calculating extra time for the process of changing habits.

Oftentimes our goals are not only about adding or changing actions, they are actually more about changing the way we think about our lives and priorities. You will need to give yourself the extra time and space needed to form new habits and then put those practices and habits into place to support your goals. Think about literally changing who you are, not just what you do. Our outward habits simply provide us a glimpse into our inner values and a reflection of our priorities.

Focusing on past mistakes instead of future possibilities.

Now is the time to let go of the things that you wish you would have done up unto this point in your life. It is much more productive to look forward toward new possibilities than it is to succumb to the guilt or weight of past failures. You are not trying to catch up; you are trying to move forward. Any progress from this day forward needs to be celebrated. This mentality will also hold true in the coming days as you journey ahead. Always take time to celebrate the wins along the way!

Not being true to yourself.

Be doubly sure that your goals are about what you want and need to reach your own personal best and to fulfill your unique calling and crafting from your Creator. Don’t set goals that will only fulfill the purposes or plans of those around you. Embrace your personal uniqueness and pursue it. Take the time to explore personal values and personal convictions. Personally meaningful goals get much more attention and foster greater perseverance and endurance.

Setting goals that are too hard or too easy.

Taking it too easy on yourself or expecting too much of yourself both have an equally negative effect on your progress. Asking too little of yourself won’t truly move you forward to where you want to be. Asking too much of your self, too soon, will ultimately leave you discouraged and defeated. Setting a realistic, but challenging, pace that fits where you are today is crucial.

Not taking into account what influences on your goals are out of your control.

Remember to focus your goals on the things that you can control. You may be able to leverage some influence on others or a situation, but ultimately you will only be able to fully control yourself and your reactive or proactive responses and actions. Shape your goals around you and what you can control. The change that you want to see in your life must begin with you.

Framing your goals from a “stop this” as opposed to a “start this” perspective.

Psychologically and emotionally speaking, it is much more motivating to frame your goals around a better and more positive future. You may want to lose weight, so it seems logical to set a goal of “stop eating high-calorie meals” and granted, that is an accurately stated goal. However, a better and more palatable and encouraging goal may be “start tracking my calories in a mobile app daily.” The focus is on progress, not restriction or deprivation.

Being too vague about what the next best step looks like.

One of the greatest questions that you can ask yourself as you craft goals and then begin to move toward them is “What is the very next small step that will make a really big difference?” Stay focused on small next steps. Once you have defined the small next steps, be as detailed and determined as possible about defining what those next steps look like. You want your next steps to be very descriptive with exacting directive terms.

Not enlisting an accountability partner or coach to keep you on track.

If at all possible, don’t travel this journey alone. You need someone in your life who knows that you are trying to make progress and that can check in on your progress and motivation often. I personally get the privilege of coaching many people in many contexts who can attest to the fact that having a partner on the journey has an undeniably positive and influential impact on the actual results over time. Invite others to help you be successful.

Giving failure or lack of progress too much power.

Remember that failure and setback are a normal part of long-term progression. There is a reason that a batter in baseball gets three attempts when swinging the bat and an offense on the football field has four opportunities to progress down the field. It is because failure is just as integral a part of true growth as success is. Learn from your failures; don’t allow them to throw you off track. Be prepared to fail and give yourself the permission you need now. Failure is an opportunity, not an identity.


Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of the potential mistakes that we can easily make, or may have made when it comes to crafting and pursuing meaningful goals. But, it is enough to begin helping you get in the right mind-set toward setting up some preventative guardrails that will keep you between the ditches as you travel this road today and in the days up ahead.

I want to be honest with you. There will be more obstacles in your path toward success than you can predict today. Sometimes you may find that the best offense may be a good defense. It will depend greatly on your particular goals and objectives. So be smart, be dynamic and be ready to exercise creativity and flexibility in the process. It is absolutely normal and necessary to make course corrections along the way as you travel this expedition of pursuing your personal potential. Don’t get discouraged by it; expect it. Being prepared today will help you be successful tomorrow.

What goal crafting mistakes have you made, or seen others make, that you would add to the list?

This post content was taken as an excerpt from my new e-book: Build a Better Future – A guide to crafting and achieving meaningful goals. – scheduled for release in early 2014. Subscribe via email – facebook or twitter to  get a free pdf copy when it is released.

201 Quotes about Crafting and Achieving Meaningful Goals – Build a Better Future

201 quotes about setting goals

We can all use a little extra inspiration sometimes. Especially when it comes to crafting and achieving our most meaningful goals in life.

I love collecting and sharing impactful quotes and comments. I hope you will find some encouragement, inspiration, confidence and a big shot of motivation in the following 201 goal oriented quotes from some famous, and not so famous people who know how to make it happen.


  1. A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

  2. A goal is an objective, a purpose. A goal is more than a dream; it’s a dream being acted upon. – A goal is more than a hazy ‘oh, I wish I could.’ A goal is a clear ‘This is what I’m working toward.’ – David J. Schwartz

  3. A goal is not the same as a desire, and this is an important distinction to make. You can have a desire you don’t intend to act on. But you can’t have a goal you don’t intend to act on. – Tom Morris

  4. A goal properly set is halfway reached. – Abraham Lincoln

  5. A good archer is known not by his arrows but by his aim. – Thomas Fuller

  6. A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration. – Kurt Lewin

  7. A winner is someone who recognizes his God- given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. – Larry Bird

  8. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. – Francis Bacon

  9. All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. – Norman Vincent Peale

  10. An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding. – Robert Louis Stevenson

  11. An average person with average talents and ambition and average education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals. – Mary Kay Ash

  12. Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another. – John Dewey

  13. As you reach your goals, set new ones. That is how you grow and become a more powerful person. – Les Brown

  14. Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. – Chinese Proverb

  15. Be sure to take the most direct route to your dreams. Never take your eyes off your goal, or you will lose course. Never look back in sorrow, or you will trip. – Joe Brown

  16. Begin with the end in mind. – Stephen Covey

  17. Big goals get big results. No goals gets no results or somebody else’s results. – Mark Victor Hansen

  18. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

  19. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:26

  20. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own. – Mark Victor Hansen

  21. Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life. – Herbert Otto

  22. Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything. – Scott Reed

  23. Choosing goals that are important to you is one of the most essential things you can do in order to live your dreams. – Les Brown

  24. Concentrate on finding your goal, then concentrate on reaching it. – Michael Friedman

  25. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

  26. Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek. – Mario Andretti

  27. Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. – William Jennings Bryan

  28. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

  29. Do not be discouraged by the difficulty to accomplish a large goal; break it into smaller goals and tasks and create a timeline for finishing them. – Jerry Bruckner

  30. Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. – Howard Thurman

  31. Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. – John Wooden

  32. Dreams are free, so free your dreams. – Terri Guillemets

  33. Dreams seldom materialize on their own. – Dian Fossey

  34. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers

  35. Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. – Doug Firebaugh

  36. Every single life only becomes great when the individual sets upon a goal or goals which they really believe in, which they can really commit themselves to, which they can put their whole heart and soul into. – Brian Tracy

  37. Everyone has a success mechanism and a failure mechanism. The failure mechanism goes off by itself. The success mechanism only goes off with a goal. Every time we write down and talk about a goal we push the button to start the success mechanism. – Charles Jones

  38. Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Effie Jones

  39. Failures do what is tension relieving,while winners do what is goal achieving. – Denis Waitley

  40. Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want. – Robert Allen

  41. Focus on your potential instead of your limitations. – Alan Loy McGinnis

  42. For me, goals are my road map to the life I want. They have helped me accomplish things I once thought were impossible. – Catherine Pulsifer

  43. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

  44. Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk. – J.C. Penney

  45. Give yourself something to work toward — constantly. – Mary Kay Ash

  46. Goal setting is the core of existence that defines life. – Joanne Bonomi

  47. Goals are as essential to success as air is to life. No one ever stumbles into success without a goal. No one ever lives without air. Get a clear fix on where you want to go. – David J. Schwartz

  48. Goals are dreams with deadlines – Diana Scharf Hunt

  49. Goals are not dreamy, pie-in-the-sky ideals. They have every day practical applications and they should be practical. – Les Brown

  50. Goals are not only absolutely necessary to motivate us. They are essential to really keep us alive. – Robert H. Schuller

  51. Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. – Brian Tracy

  52. Goals determine what you’re going to be. – Julius Erving

  53. Goals give you a compass in order to direct your path through life. Goals focus your thoughts and actions on areas that have precise purpose and meaning. – Catherine Pulsifer

  54. Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life. – Harvey Mackay

  55. Goals give you the specific direction to take to make your dreams come true. – Bob Conklin

  56. Goals must never be from your ego, but problems that cry for a solution. – Robert H. Schuller

  57. Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy. – Denis Waitley

  58. Goals that are not written down are just wishes. – Author Unknown

  59. 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. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them. – Jim Rohn

  60. God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them. – Author Unknown

  61. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh

  62. Growth is the only evidence of life. – Cardinal Newman

  63. How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to? – Anthony Robbins

  64. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

  65. I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants. – Zig Ziglar

  66. I feel that the most important step in any major accomplishment is setting a specific goal. This enables you to keep your mind focused on your goal and off the many obstacles that will arise when you’re striving to do your best. – Kurt Thomas

  67. I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry Thoreau

  68. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14

  69. I’m a big believer in growth. Life is not about achievement, it’s about learning and growth, and developing qualities like compassion, patience, perseverance, love, and joy, and so forth. And so if that is the case, then I think our goals should include something which stretches us. – Jack Canfield

  70. If I’ve got correct goals, and if I keep pursuing them the best way I know how, everything else falls into line. If I do the right thing right, I’m going to succeed. – Dan Dierdorf

  71. If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves – Thomas Edison

  72. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. – Anthony Robbins

  73. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

  74. If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere. – Henry Kissinger

  75. If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. – Lawrence J. Peter

  76. If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. – Jack Dixon

  77. If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes. – Andrew Carnegie

  78. If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. – J.M. Power

  79. If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing. – Saint Augustine

  80. If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals. – Lou Holtz

  81. In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia. – Author Unknown

  82. In achieving your goals, you may run into roadblocks. Don’t let that stop you, go around, over, or under. If you are committed to your goal you will find a way. – Catherine Pulsifer

  83. In all things that you do, consider the end. – Solon

  84. In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are. – Arnold H. Glasgow

  85. Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then. – Diana Ross

  86. Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire. – Dale Carnegie

  87. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. – Brian Tracy

  88. It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done. – Samuel Johnson

  89. It is necessary to try to surpass one’s self always; this occupation ought to last as long as life. – Queen Christina of Sweden

  90. It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  91. It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is a sin. – Benjamin E. Mayes

  92. It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. – Eleanor Roosevelt

  93. It’s not enough just to set goals – you must ingrain them into your thinking. – Vadim Kotelnikov

  94. It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny. – Anthony Robbins

  95. It’s where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we are. – Joyce Carol Oates

  96. Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal. – Elbert Hubbard

  97. Know your limits, but never stop trying to exceed them. – Author Unknown

  98. Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives. – Viktor Frankl

  99. Life’s ups and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want. – Martha Sinetar

  100. Living without an aim is like sailing without a compass. – Dumas

  101. Look to the future, because that is where you’ll spend the rest of your life. – George Burns

  102. Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals. – Aristotle

  103. Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal. – Elbert Hubbard

  104. My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose — somehow we win out – Ronald Reagan

  105. No matter how carefully you plan your goals they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto. – W. Clement Stone

  106. Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. – Henry Ford

  107. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. – Henry Ford

  108. One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. – Abraham Maslow

  109. One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter. – Carroll Lewis

  110. One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams. – Jim Rohn

  111. One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals. – Michael Korda

  112. Our goal should be that we’re going to live life to the fullest, pursuing our passions and dreams, and when it comes our time to go, we will have used as much of our potential as possible. – Joel Osteen

  113. Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. – Seneca

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

  115. People who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying that they themselves have no personal goals which are worthwhile. Get yourself a goal worth working for. Better still, get yourself a project. Always have something ahead of you to look forward to — to work for and hope for. – Maxwell Maltz

  116. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. – Earl Nightingale

  117. Please understand my friend, that where you find yourself tomorrow is a function of the positive decisions and actions you take today. – Akin A. Awolaja

  118. Setting an exciting goal is like setting a needle in your compass. From then on, the compass knows only one point – its ideal. And it will faithfully guide you there through the darkest nights and fiercest storms. – Author Unknown

  119. Shallow men believe in luck, strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  120. Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before. – Polybius

  121. Sometimes the path you’re on is not as important as the direction you’re heading. – Kevin Smith

  122. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. – Earl Nightingale

  123. The basic goal-reaching principle is to understand that you go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will always be able to see farther. – Zig Ziglar

  124. The capabilities of the human mind are enormous. There is usually no inherent reason you cannot accomplish whatever goal you set for yourself. – Michael J. McCarthy

  125. The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. – J.P. Morgan

  126. The future does not get better by hope, it gets better by plan. And to plan for the future we need goals. – Jim Rohn

  127. The goal you set must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that you break. – Rick Hansen

  128. The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose. – Michel de Montaigne

  129. The higher goal a person pursues, the quicker his ability develops, and the more beneficial he will become to the society. – Maksim Gorky

  130. The important thing in life is to have a great aim, and the determination to attain it – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  131. The important thing is to strive towards a goal which is not immediately visible. That goal is not the concern of the mind, but of the spirit. – Antoine de Saint

  132. The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. – Jim Rohn

  133. The more goals you set – the more goals you get. – Mark Victor Hansen

  134. The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment. – Earl Nightingale

  135. The more specific and measurable your goal, the more quickly you will be able to identify, locate, create, and implement the use of the necessary resources for its achievement. – Charles J. Givens

  136. The most important thing about goals is having one. – Geoffrey F. Abert

  137. The number one reason people don’t get what they want is that they don’t know what they want. – T. Harv Eker

  138. The one step, choosing a goal and sticking to it, changes everything. – Scott Reed

  139. The only way to reach your long range goals is through achieving your short range objectives. – Author Unknown

  140. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstance they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw

  141. The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication. – Cecil B. DeMille

  142. The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5

  143. The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream. – Harry Kemp

  144. The real pleasure of one’s life is the devotion to a great objective of one’s consideration – George Bernard Shaw

  145. The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them. – Denis Waitley

  146. The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it. – Charles DeLint

  147. The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them. – Denis Waitley

  148. The successful person can answer the questions: what are your ambitions, aspirations, goals, plans, and vision? – Jerry Bruckner

  149. The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach. – Benjamin E. Mayes

  150. The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. – Bill Copeland

  151. The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. – Og Mandino

  152. The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. – Author Unknown

  153. The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

  154. Their is nothing so terrible as activity without insight. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  155. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills

  156. There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams. Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they’re still there – Erma Bombeck

  157. There are those who travel and those who are going somewhere. They are different and yet they are the same. The success has this over his rivals: He knows where he is going. – Mark Caine

  158. There is no sudden leap into the stratosphere. There is only advancing step by step, slowly and tortuously, up the pyramid towards your goals. – Ben Stein

  159. There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. – Napoleon Hill

  160. There must be a goal at every stage of life! There must be a goal! – Maggie Kuhn

  161. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. – David J. Schwartz

  162. This one step — choosing a goal and sticking to it — changes everything. – Scott Reed

  163. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending – Carl Bard

  164. To achieve happiness, we should make certain that we are never without an important goal. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  165. To become fully alive a person must have goals and aims that transcend himself. – Herbert Otto

  166. To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to. – Kahlil Gibran

  167. To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action until the goal is reached. The key is action. – Michael Hanson

  168. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

  169. Unless you have some goals, I don’t think there’s any way to get above the pack. My vision was always well beyond what I had any reason to expect. – John Fuqua

  170. We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile. – Earl Nightingale

  171. We are either progressing or retrograding all the while; there is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life. – James Freeman Clarke

  172. We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal. – Robert Brault

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

  174. What’s talked about is a dream, What’s envisioned is exciting, What’s planned become possible, What’s scheduled is real. – Anthony Robbins

  175. Whatever you do, do it with intelligence, and keep the end in view. – Thomas Kempis

  176. When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible. – Nido Qubein

  177. When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life. – Greg Anderson

  178. When you determine what you want, you have made the most important decision in your life. You have to know what you want in order to attain it. – Douglas Lurtan

  179. When your purpose is animated by burning desire, it does not mean that the path becomes easy; it just means that it becomes certain. Burning desire ensures that you will continue trying, continue getting up after a fail, continue being creative and continue your commitment to see your purpose through. – Danea Horn

  180. Whether or not you reach your goals in life depends entirely on how well you prepare for them and how badly you want them. – Ronald McNair

  181. Who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it. – Burmese Proverb

  182. Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps. – Helmut Schmidt

  183. Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination. – Fitzhugh Dodson

  184. Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it — ink it! – Author Unknown

  185. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

  186. You are not likely to get anywhere in particular if you don’t know where you want to go. – Percy H. Johnson

  187. You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can’t catch a fish unless you put your line in the water. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t try. – Kathy Seligman

  188. You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when. You can decide how you’re going to live now. – Joan Baez

  189. You get what you set out to do. – John Hanson

  190. You have to know what you want to get it. – Gertrude Stein

  191. You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential. – Steve Garvey

  192. You may not accomplish every goal you set — no one does — but what really matters is having goals and going after them wholeheartedly. – Les Brown

  193. You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretsky

  194. You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures. – Charles C. Noble

  195. You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals. – George S. Patton

  196. Your ability to set and achieve goals is perhaps the most important skill you can ever develop. – Brian Tracy

  197. Your current conditions do not reflect your ultimate potential, but rather the size and quality of goals upon which you are currently focusing. – Author Unknown

  198. Your current situation in life is the result of your current goals or lack of goals. If you want to change your circumstances, change your goals. – Jerry Bruckner

  199. Your goal should be just out of reach, but not out of sight. – Denis Waitley

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

  201. Your life can’t go according to plan if you have no plan. – Author Unknown


Do you have a favorite quote about crafting and achieving meaningful goals that I missed on my list? Feel free to leave it in the comments below. I would love to see the list grow larger.


Also – I can’t guarantee that every quote and credit on my list is 100% accurate. If you see a misquote or mess up, please let me know so I can correct it. Thanks.


Lastly, including a person on my list of 201 quotes does not mean that they have my full endorsement –  it just means that I like their particular thoughts as quoted.

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