Goals (How To Get Everything You Want ― Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible) contains the distilled essence of accumulated years of insights on success and achievement. It helps the readers to move to the front of the line in life.

Written by Brian Tracy, the book has 290 pages and was published in 2003 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco, USA. The edition used for this review is the first edition.

About the book

The book is meant to be a road map and guide to help the readers get from wherever they are to wherever they want to go.

The author presents a simple, potent and effective system comprising twenty-one strategies for setting and accomplishing goals―an approach that has been deployed by several persons and organisations to attain extraordinary feats.

The book teaches the readers how to determine their personal strengths, determine their values, and focus on the things they desire to achieve in the future. It shows the way to increase one’s self-confidence, solve arising problems, overcome hitches, deal with challenges and attain every set goal come what may.

Key ideas and learning points

Any plan is better than no plan at all. Success is goals, all else is commentary. The average person has huge potentials. The ability to set goals is the master skill of life.

Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement ― Tom Hopkins.

Clear goals increase your confidence, develop your competence and boost your levels of motivation. You become what you think about ― most of the time.

By simply deciding what it is you want, you will begin to move unerringly towards your goal, and your goals will start to move unerringly towards you. At exactly the right time and in the right place, you and your goal will meet. 

There are four reasons people don’t set goals: they think goals are not that important, they don’t know how, fear of failure, and fear of rejection.

A goal is clear, written and specific. It’s measurable as well. The top 3% have clear written goals and plans. Happiness is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal or goal. Clarity is everything when it comes to goals.

Goals give a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction. The greater the clarity you have regarding your true goals, the more potential you will unleash for good in your life. The starting point of all goal attainment is desire.

Know the exact thing you want, determine the price you have to pay to achieve and then get busy paying that price ― H. L. Hunt.

The greatest enemies of success and happiness are negative emotions of all kinds. Negative emotions are mostly caused by four factors: justification (an entitlement mentality), rationalisation (making excuses), over-concern about what others think, and blaming others.

Without the acceptance of complete personal responsibility, no progress is possible.  Once you accept total responsibility for your life, you become unlimited. Positive emotions empower; negative emotions disempower.

To keep your mind positive, refuse to criticise, complain about or condemn other people for anything. You are where you are and what you are because of what you have done or failed to do. You are the architect of your own destiny.

Leaders have a vision. Non-leaders do not. The further you think into the future, the better decisions you will make in the present to assume that the future becomes a reality. The biggest single obstacle to setting goals is self-limiting beliefs.

Men and women who achieve tremendous deeds in life are intensely action-oriented. The clearer you are about your long-term future, the more rapidly you will attract people and circumstances into your life that will make that future a reality.

Your values determine your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. Your beliefs determine your expectations. Your expectations determine your attitude. Your attitude will be an outward reflection of your innermost values, beliefs, and expectations on the inside.

It doesn’t matter where you are coming from, all that really matters where you’re going. For your desire to be intense enough, your goals must be purely personal—chosen for and by yourself. Get going. Get busy. Develop a sense of urgency.

The simplest and most direct solution, requiring the fewest number of steps is usually the correct solution to any problem — William of Ockham.

Asking the right questions about your goals in each part of your life begins to clarify your thinking and make you a more focused and better defined person. You move from being a wandering generality to a meaningful specific — Zig Ziglar.

Some of these salient questions include:

  • What will I do if I win a million dollars cash, tax free, tomorrow?
  • What have I always wanted to do but have been afraid to attempt?
  • What do I most enjoy doing in each area of my life?
  • What do I really love to do?
  • What kind of difference will I like to make in my world?
  • When do I want to retire and with how much in the bank?

Break down your goals into smaller iterations. Know where you are today and where you want to go in terms of network, net worth, and skills. An ordinary person with a plan of action will run circles around a genius without one.

There are three keys to performance: commitment, completion, and closure. A task at 99% is not yet completed. Concentrate solely on a priority task and take it to 100% without any distractions. You eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Build a professional network. Give of yourself and invest in relationships. Fly with the eagles—associate with the right people who will help you get better and go higher. Make a list of the most important people in your life and determine how to improve your relationship with them.

Think on paper. Put your action plan in written form. The faintest pencil is more reliable than the sharpest memory. There’s no such thing as I don’t have time, you have just not created time for that task.

Cut out unnecessary activities that add nothing to you and do not take you closer to your goals. Unsuccessful people are always killing time on tasks of low value. Successful people focus on high-value tasks and activities.

Each night before you sleep, visualise your life and imagine how you will be if you have achieved your goals. Visualisation helps us think about where we want to be in the short term and long term. It motivates us.

Set deadlines and avoid procrastination as you work towards your goals. Live above the average and charge positively towards your goal. Review and re-evaluate your goals every day, week and month to see how closer or farther you are to achieve them.

Have the courage to start, be persistent until you succeed and stay disciplined. Be rapid and agile in your flexibility. You might need to change plans and other things on the way to achieve your goals. Take massive actions according to the plans you have made.

Do something every day that moves you significantly closer to the achievement of your goals. No amount of knowledge can substitute for action. Nothing happens until something moves.

Making the mind connection

It’s satisfying that one can easily relate to the insights and stories shared in the book. The language is simple and easy to comprehend for the average reader, and the frequent use of subheadings makes for a convenient read. The book is recommended to anyone who seeks to succeed.

Action points

  • Write clear goals and action plans, and then get busy implementing the action plans.
  • Make a dream list of 100 lifetime goals.
  • Break down large goals into mini-goals and track progress.
  • Set clear benchmarks, measures, and scorecards for yourself on the road to my goals.
  • Do something every day that moves me significantly closer to achieving my goals.
  • Desist from rationalising, justifying, blaming others or thinking too much about what others think about you.
  • Think of your ideal future most of the time, knowing your best days are yet to come.
  • Set a minimum specific amount daily, monthly and yearly, and consistently put away that amount.
  • Set priorities before you begin and then concentrate on the most valuable use of your time.
  • Always do what’s important with the background mindset of what if you had just six months left to live.
  • Review and re-evaluate your goals every day, week and month to see how closer/farther you are to achieving them.

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