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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

14 Great Setting Goals Books To Read This Year

14 Great Setting Goals Books To Read This Year

There are all kinds of skills out there to allow us to live a successful life. The only problem is that so many people struggle with starting and even maintaining that momentum.

My suggestion for solving this issue is simple: start with setting goals that you want to achieve and doing it properly.

Goals are the foundation for many of our achievements in life. When we first learned to walk, we likely created a goal of sorts to develop our muscles. We did that through crawling and eventually getting up on our feet.

Goals as adults are not that different from learning how to walk. We focus on the basics and various steps before getting up to achieve the desired results.

So how can you set goals properly? Reading some good setting goals books is a great place to start.

Every author has their own perspective on setting goals, and learning about the various systems can help you to set goals and follow through with them.

1. Creating Your Best Life

    Written by Caroline Miller, MAPP, she takes the standard SMART formula for goal setting and goes beyond that approach. She makes a point of giving you specific exercises while also sharing related stories.

    It’s a great book to consider as we connect better with stories and can find more motivation to set goals in the manner that Miller outlines in her book.

    Get the book here. 

    2. Your Best Year Ever

      Michael Hyatt is the author of this book, and he takes a research-based approach to goal setting. The end result is to setting goals that are meaningful. To do that, you must first look at your own purpose.

      The book applies to any kind of goal that you can think of. It also helps that Hyatt has field-tested his theories and results on people. This ensures that what Hyatt is talking about will help you in getting unstuck and setting up quit-proof goals.

      Get the book here. 

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      3. The Book of Mistakes

        Skip Prichard is a wonderful storyteller and weaves that skill into this book. This book takes a figurative person who discovers nine mistakes that highly successful people never make.

        One example is where Prichard talks about the mistake of living someone else’s dream. He tells that story while explaining to the reader the importance of being able to think about who they want to be.

        Even though the character is a young person, it’s surprising how much these mistakes can still apply to older people, too.

        Get the book here.

        4. 9 Things Successful People Do Differently

          Written by Heidi Grant Halvorson, this book drives home that what you do is more important than what you currently have. This book is backed by plenty of research and goes into detail about what the title of the book states.

          The idea of this book is to improve goal achievement. The book encourages you to have a long-term and can-do focus.

          Get the book here.

          5. Big Potential

            Shawn Anchor is the author behind this and stresses the difference between small potential and big potential. The general concept is that small potential refers to things that you achieve alone while big potential is all about achievement with others.

            Every person is influenced by the people and events around us. Therefore, when we help others improve around us, this lifts us up to big potential.

            Get the book here.

            6. The Desire Map

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            The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by [Danielle LaPorte]

              Written by Danielle LaPorte, this book takes a different path than other setting goals books. LaPorte’s perspective with this book is to bring the reader through a goal-setting program that focuses on feelings and letting outer goal achievements grow from that.

              The idea is to let purpose play a role in your motivation for completing goals that you are setting.

              Get the book here. 

              7. Hard Goals

              Written from the perspective of author Mark Murphy, this book takes his experiences as an executive coach and puts it in a book. His belief of goal setting is that goals should be more than goals you put together quickly.

              To him, the great potential of goals stems from inner desires. If you want to change the world around you, you have to set goals that lead you to them.

              It sounds simple on paper, but so often people struggle with setting these goals and achieving them.

              Get the book here.

              8. How To Win Friends and Influence People

                An iconic book written by Dale Carnegie, the title implies the purpose of this book. While you’d think this isn’t about goal setting, several of the chapters talk about mastery within goal setting and overall achievement.

                Even though it was written in 1936, the wisdom this book shares still holds today.

                Get the book here.

                9. The Power of Positive Thinking

                  As implied above, there are many aspects to enhance goal setting and achievement. While books don’t always talk about goal setting directly, the methods and knowledge can help you find success.

                  This is the case with The Power of Positive Thinking, where Norman Vincent Peale explores what it means to pursue and achieve life goals while living a fulfilling life.

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                  The book focuses on the important and development of a positive mindset. Peale pulls examples from various famous people, including many past presidents.

                  Get the book here.

                  10. The Art Of Setting Smart Goals

                    As the title of this book implies, this is about setting SMART goals. Written by Anisa Marku, the book explains the structure of this goal-setting system. Even if you’ve read articles or other books talking about this ground-breaking system, you could learn a few other pieces of information here.

                    Get the book here. 

                    11. Goals!

                      For those looking for more details on goal setting, look no further than Brian Tracy’s book. This book is on the longer end with almost 300 pages, but it’s a very handy guide.

                      Tracy covers steps before setting goals in the first place, placing emphasis on being clear about your values and beliefs. From there, he teaches how to determine which goals you want to work on.

                      Get the book here. 

                      12. The Magic Lamp

                        Written by Keith Ellis, this book takes a unique approach to goal setting by using the acronym LAMP to guide you on setting goals.

                        LAMP stands for: Lock on, Act, Manage your progress, and Persist.

                        Ellis explores these topics through various aspects. For example, for the lock on part, Ellis talks about choosing your goals, planning, and making sure you’re willing to pay the price for those goals.

                        It’s an interesting take on goal setting and covers other areas you might not have considered.

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                        Get the book here. 

                        13. The 4 Disciplines of Execution

                          For the more entrepreneur oriented people, this book focuses on business goals rather than personal ones. These are important to entrepreneurs as many businesspeople set goals only for them to fail and go nowhere at all.

                          While part of the goal process is to experience failures and learn from them, this book explores four disciplines to find more success and push your business forward.

                          Get the book here.

                          14. Measure What Matters

                            The last book to cover is John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters. It’s another business goal-setting book, but the examples and theories presented can be used in personal life as well.

                            The book stresses the namesake of this book and points to companies like the Gates Foundation and Google who use this system and have become massive successes.

                            The reason these theories work is that it touches on a lot of what The 4 Disciplines of Execution is about.

                            It goes about it in a different way using a system called OKR. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.

                            Get the book here.

                            Final Thoughts

                            Even if you’re not an avid reader, self-improvement books help in so many ways. The timeless and evergreen knowledge ensures you can apply this with little worry about whether it’s the best method around.

                            Even if it isn’t, goal setting is all about exploring ideas and testing to see what works for you. That, and of course having a solid system to achieve your goals again and again.

                            More Tips on Setting Goals

                            Featured photo credit: Joel Muniz via unsplash.com

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                            More by this author

                            Leon Ho

                            Founder & CEO of Lifehack

                            How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success how to start over How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide) Do You Know Your Motivation Style? How to Move Forward After Achieving Goal Success

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                            Last Updated on June 16, 2021

                            What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

                            What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

                            If you are making slow progress on a goal you’ve set, maybe it is the wrong goal in the first place. Perhaps factors, including your attitude or environment, do not allow you to make your desired progress. However, it is easy to blame timing and luck; if you set a goal, you and only you are accountable for achieving it (read the achieve my goals guide). The question is, how?

                            Start With Why

                            On my career path, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and learn things practically. After a successful corporate career, I spent two years trying to establish an entrepreneurial consultancy, only to realize marginal success.

                            The consultancy formed based on my core values, candor, curiosity, and collaboration, but unfortunately, my customer base and projects were seemingly random and disjointed. While I understood I needed to establish a consistent and repeatable approach to content marketing to drive my clients’ results, that approach was not apparent in the brand I had built. Things got so rough that I had to resort to collecting unemployment at the onset of the pandemic.

                            At the beginning of the pandemic, I delivered a webinar called earning trust in uncertain times: coronavirus edition. Afterward, I received an email from a participant. He shared some thoughts on a campaign for his jewelry company and asked for feedback. When I read his email, I realized I could quickly help him to gain clarity, so I sent him a note with an offer to get his message on track. He offered to pay me for my time, and I said to myself,

                            “I am adding value, and I can charge for this!”

                            This first client needed to shift my offerings from general marketing consulting to a more diversified career that focuses on personal brand building.

                            It took a global pandemic to realize I needed to shift my goals to align with the change I was trying to make in the world, to a new business, coaching that applies my skills in an authentic way to me and valuable to prospects and customers.

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                            Start With Your Identity

                            James Clear discusses identity-based habits as deeply rooted in a person’s outlook toward life.[1] As a businessperson, identity-based practices are what impact business goals and your approaches towards achieving them. Identity is what you believe in, and outcomes determine what you seek to achieve. A permanent change comes from transforming the who part of behavior—the character.

                            Whether it is a coaching program I develop, a class I teach, or a marketing campaign I create, I always start identity. According to The Brookings Institute:[2]

                            Identity is a unique, inherited collection of assets, history, traits, and culture that distinguishes it internally and externally and can unite people and places.

                            But this logic also applies to personal goals. If losing weight is your goal, your focus is on an outcome rather than an identity-based plan, and you may lose motivation. Think, “Why am I trying to lose weight?”

                            • Is it to be more healthy?
                            • Did you get some lousy test results at the doctor?
                            • Are you at risk of severe health problems?

                            It may help reframe your goal around a positive statement like, I am working to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Motivation has to come from a place of confidence and belief in yourself. You know what they say about the air mask on the airplane – put it on yourself first.

                            It is ok to set goals for others; for example, “I am losing weight so I can live for my kids;” however, if you don’t set goals around themes that you can own, and you don’t do it for yourself first, then the people in your life will not receive any benefit.

                            Think about what you achieve from your efforts — the outcomes. The reality that you are looking at right now must also allude to the fact you promise to create for your clientele, and that is not possible unless you believe in it and make it believable for others.

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                            Be Specific About What, How, and When

                            Your values need to align with other people and systems to engage in meeting your desired outcome, so make sure to put in place a process that accounts for what motivates you, that you can reliably complete until you achieve your goal.

                            If you are not specific and clear about how many pounds you are trying to lose and when you will lose then, then how will you know if you met your goal in the first place?

                            BJ FOGG, the author of Tiny Habits, suggests that you start small. In the Tiny Habits method, you always start with a tiny behavior. Some examples:

                            • Floss one tooth
                            • Read one sentence in a book.
                            • Take one deep breath.

                            According to Fogg, an excellent tiny behavior has these qualities:

                            • takes less than 30 seconds (even better: just 5 seconds)
                            • requires no real effort
                            • doesn’t create pain or destructive emotions

                            Make sure it’s a habit you want to have in your life. Don’t pick something that’s a “should,” choose new behaviors you wish to.

                            The next thing to learn is where to place the further tiny action in your life. Just like planting a seed, you want the right spot for it, a place where it fits naturally and where it can thrive.

                            Be flexible and adaptable. We are in a complicated and volatile world, and things change on a dime, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to change how you go about achieving your goal or even what goals you are trying to accomplish first place.

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                            Be aware of bias. As you set out to achieve your goals, it is critical to be aware of the bias that can sneak in and sabotage your thinking. Yes, it is essential to collaborate with others to achieve your goals, but you need to understand yourself and make sure you are not getting in your way before doing that. Here are some common forms of bias.

                            • Confirmation bias: People tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have.
                            • Selection bias: Selecting individuals, groups that do not provide diverse perspectives for you to consider.
                            • Self-serving bias: People tend to give themselves credit for successes but blame failures on external causes.

                            What about serendipity? Many of us believe that the great turning points and opportunities in our lives happen by chance, that they’re out of our control.

                            Dr. Christian Busch, author of The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck, spent a decade exploring how, if acted upon, unexpected encounters can expand our random social encounters can enhance our worldview, expand our social circles, and create new professional opportunities.

                            Serendipity is usually about connecting dots that have previously remained elusive. Busch’s findings suggest that Good luck isn’t just chance—it can be learned and leveraged. When you are perceptive, curious, open-minded, and eager to see opportunities, others might see only negatively. If you notice something unusual but can connect that bit of information with something else, you are in the right mindset for achieving serendipity.

                            Motivation and a Realistic Plan

                            Only you can choose the goals you set. Motivation is critical in meeting your goals. But choosing goals is not enough; you need to select the right goals and define a plan that keeps you accountable for meeting your goals.

                            Author Gabriele Oettingen defined a methodology you can use to get better at achieving your hopes and dreams. It’s called WOOMP![3]

                            WOOP stands for:

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                            • W = Wish
                            • O = Outcome
                            • O = Obstacle
                            • P = Plan

                            WOOMP, there it is! WOOMP will force you to be hyper-realistic about your goals and be action-minded in your approach to achieving them.

                            Show up Consistently

                            In order to turn your vision into reality, you will have to regularly show up by consistently organizing, leading, and building to get to your goals.

                            “Some people show up when they need something. Some people show up before they need something, knowing that it will pay off later when they need something. And some people merely show up. Not needing anything, not in anticipation of needing something, but merely because they can.” — Seth Godin

                            Final Thoughts

                            While I would be happy to be your trusted advisor and coach, the answer has to start with you. My process will help you to define and document an ownable set of values and marketing frameworks that will make you more appealing to clients/ employers, especially on LinkedIn. These values will translate beyond work, as well.

                            More on Making Progress

                            Featured photo credit: Aj Alao via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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