Goal Setting

by Arielle Essex

Getting goals

If you want your goal, you first have to decide to go for it. This decision is crucial. People, and the world at large, will sense when you have not made the decision, have not committed.


The word decision comes from the Latin decisio which means ‘I cut off’. Until you have cut yourself off from other options, you have not really decided – have not really committed.

If you are not committed to your goal, why would anyone want to help? Who wants to waste their time on somebody who is not committed? On the other hand, if people sense total certainty within you, are they not more likely to pitch in and lend a hand?

True commitment is doing the things you said you would do, long after the mood in which you said it has left you.

George Zaluki

The same thing can happen internally within you. Think of your mind as a multi-tasking computer. What percentage of resources will it commit to a task you have given it with the thought ‘Run this task for a while to see if it works, but stop if it gets too difficult’? On the other hand, what percentage of resources would it give to a task which is initiated with the thought ‘Run this now’?

Two levels of activity

Have you ever noticed that once you really commit to doing something, it seems as though the laws of coincidence get stretched beyond their limit. It is well put by William Murray in his book about the Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect of one of Goethe’s couplets:

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’

William H Murray

There are countless examples of this fact: providence lends a hand once you are committed to a goal. This is not to say that you do not need to do anything; quite the contrary. You still need to do whatever you can with whatever you have from where you are. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Start with the first bite, even if it looks insignificant next to the goal. Just get going.

When you are really going for a goal, there are actually two levels of activity going on. One is all the stuff that you can do, but for your BIG goals, this will seldom be enough on its own. What this activity does do, however, is to bring providence into the game. Once providence is batting on your side, what are your chances of winning the game?

The key here, of course, is to ensure that providence does join the game. If you sit at home and wait for it, you will get nothing. You need to be active doing what you can that is relevant. You have to pitch the ball so providence can hit it out of the park. You have to keep pitching, because you don’t know in advance which one will be the home run, but one of them will be.

This is why you do not need to know how a goal will come about in order to embark on its achievement. You simply don’t know ahead of time what providence will provide in the way of people you will meet, ideas you will wake with and things that will just seem to fall into your lap.

If you were told, with a cast-iron guarantee, that tomorrow would be the luckiest day of your life, what would you do? Would you sit at home waiting for something to happen, or would you go out and buy a lottery ticket, go fishing, go out on the town to meet someone special, or arrange that meeting to close the big sale?

So, get active meeting people, trying new things, doing research and being awake to any synchronicities that come your way. There are many paths between where you are now and your goal, and you don’t know them all. This means that you need to be flexible in your approach to getting the goal in case providence provides a better route than you have thought of. Be ready to change plans.


Make a plan to progress towards your goal.

You can plan by imagining a path to the goal and the things that need to happen along the way. Think of the first few steps that are needed. Steps that you can do. Then you can make a start on the path. You will almost certainly deviate from this planned path, but you have to have a plan in order to make a start.

If you have no plans, you effectively have no direction, you have no actions to take, no place to start and providence won’t enter the game. No plans will lead to no goal.

Hold your plan loosely.

If you have a tight plan, you are effectively saying that you know best how this has to happen. You will find this is much harder work. It will be like swimming against the current. You simply won’t notice the synchronicities that come your way unless they fit perfectly into your plan.

So hold your plans loosely. Imagine holding a butterfly in your cupped hands. Too tight and you will crush it. Too loose and it will fly away.

Some think of this as ‘letting go’. Let go of needing to be right, and proving your way is best. Let go of your need to have it, your desire for immediate results, your plan for how it should go. Know what you desire; hold onto that and keep moving in that direction, keep taking steps, but let go of exactly how it manifests.

Keeping on target

It has been said that the conscious mind is the goal setter and the unconscious mind is the goal getter. As part of setting a goal you really focused on what it will be like to have your goal, and especially feeling the emotion that will be associated with having your goal. This is analogous to the conscious mind feeding the targeting coordinates to the unconscious.

You might like to think of the unconscious as your conduit to providence. By attuning your unconscious to your goal on the level of emotion, you are communicating your goal to providence.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

Albert Einstein

And just to make sure it is all still on track, you need to reinforce the targeting coordinates on a regular basis. Go back to the Step 4 of the Goal setting steps and practise it every day, just for a couple of minutes. Do not do it when you are also doing something else, such as driving. Give it its own time, and do it properly. On each occasion you can imagine the goal from a different perspective. The more information you can give the targeting mechanism, the better.

If there was just one thing I could tell you about living the life of your dreams, knowing that if you understood it, it would be ‘enough’...

I would ask you to realise that you already are.

Mike Dooley

Monitor progress

Keep track of your progress so you know whether or not you are making progress. If not, look at the page on When goal setting does not work. This covers all the reasons why your progress might be stalled, and gives you some tips on what to do about it.

Many people choose to keep a journal of their progress so they can clearly see how far they have come. You can often lose sight of the changes you have accomplished when you are close to them.

Simply getting started, however timid your first steps are, and consistently moving in the direction of your dreams day after day, will eventually create such unstoppable momentum, you’ll find it nearly impossible to believe that there was ever a time when you wavered.

Mike Dooley