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goal setting quotesWhat causes you to get up out of bed in the morning? To go to work? Maybe it’s simply a sense of obligation that drives you to do the things that you do each day. For many people, however, goals are what drive them to make the choices they make and take the actions they take. Goals are an important part of living a truly successful and focused life. Everyone has hopes and dreams, but goals are hopes and dreams with an intentional focus and plan for making them happen. When people set goals, they do whatever is necessary to make them become a reality.

Goal Setting Quotes

There are many important thinkers who have communicated some important insights when it comes to goal setting, and below you’ll encounter some goal setting quotes that teach us some important lessons about setting goals.

Without Goals, You’ll End Up Anywhere

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else” – Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra is famous baseball player who played for the New York Yankees from 1946 to 1963 and spent many years after that as a baseball team manager. Berra was involved in 21 World Series as either a player, a coach or a manager.

Berra captured one of the most important ideas about goal setting when he said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Too many people go through life without any plan for where they want to be. Most people have hopes and dreams, but the hopes and dreams often stay as something imagined, but never intentionally pursued. Berra was capturing the idea that if you don’t have a clear goal in place of where you want to be, you’ll end up somewhere where you never wanted to be. Maybe you’ll end up doing something you like, but it won’t be what you’ve dreamed of. If you don’t aim for something, you’ll hit anything.

Make Ideas Happen

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” – Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is an important leadership thinker who has coached many people to be better leaders of their organizations through his book Start With Why and his TED Talk over the same ideas. Like Yogi Berra, Sinek captures the idea of making a goal something you intentionally pursue. Ideas don’t make a difference until they become something more than ideas. Many people neglect to pursue their goals for fear of failure. If they don’t try, then they don’t have to deal with the negative consequences of having tried and failed. Sinek tells people that goals are meant to be ideas that we put flesh onto. You might fail, but you’ll never know for sure whether you’ll fail  or succeed until you try. Even if you do fail, you should learn from it and try again.

Pursuing Without Regret

“I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘OK, I’m looking back on my life. I want to minimise the number of regrets I have.’ And I knew that when I was 80, I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that. But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day.” – Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, and the quote above describes what was going through his head when he decided to start Amazon.com. It was a goal that he had, and it was one that he could fail quite easily. The Internet was fairly new at the time, and although there was great potential, there was also great risk. Bezos knew that he needed to try to reach his goal, even if he ended up failing. The quote by Bezos should encourage you to try things and consider how much you would regret something if you never tried it.

The Bridge to Goal Accomplishment

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn was a motivational speaker and entrepreneur. So far we’ve seen that goals are important and should be something we should pursue, but what gets you from where you are to where you want to be? Jim Rohn gave a brilliant answer to that question when he said, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” What makes Rohn’s quote so compelling is his use of a bridge as a metaphor for what connects goals and accomplishment. Discipline, a commitment to doing what it takes to get to where you want to be, is a vital component of your journey to making your goal a reality.

How Not to Set Goals

“A note of caution: We can never achieve goals that envy sets for us. Looking at your friends and wishing you had what they had is a waste of precious energy. Because we are all unique, what makes another happy may do the opposite for you. That’s why advice is nice but often disappointing when heeded.” – Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a leadership coach and motivational speaker who focuses on the idea of people living out of their strengths. What Buckingham says about goal setting above is important to keep in mind when you’re setting goals for your life. Unfortunately, it can be very easy to look at what other people have and develop our goals based on that. It’s not authentic to who we are, however. It’s important to discover what’s important to you and what you want to accomplish with your life. It’s never a good idea to let the circumstances of someone else’s life determine what your goals are.

Starting a New Goal

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

John Dewey was an American philosopher and an important voice in educational reform. Goal setting is one thing, but what happens when you achieve a goal that you set? John Dewey communicated an important idea about goal setting. When you achieve one goal, it’s merely the place from which you begin pursuing your next goal. Goals should be about growth that occurs over a lifetime. When you reach one goal, don’t stop pursuing something important just because you’ve already achieved on goal. Don’t think that you’re finished.

A Vision of What Doesn’t Exist

“Great leaders must have two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate that vision clearly.” – Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek speaks a lot on leadership, and even if you’re not a leader of an organization, everyone is a leader of their own personal life. Stephen Covey, another important voice in the area of leadership, speaks on the concept of personal leadership. Sinek’s quote about great leaders is a great quote for goal setting as well. Goals exist in the realm of imagination. They are something that does not currently exist in the real world. If they did, they wouldn’t be goals. Sinek believes that goals should be visualized by those who set them. The goal setter should have a clear vision of where they want to be. A vague goal isn’t one that we’ll pursue with all of our hearts. Not only do we need to be able to have a clear vision of our goals, we need to be able to communicate that goal, both for ourselves and those closest to us. When we can clearly see in our minds what it is we’re pursuing, we’re more likely to press on in our pursuit of the goal.

Guidance Through the Journey

“Poor leaders push us towards the goal. Great leaders guide us through the journey.” – Simon Sinek

One last goal setting quote from Simon Sinek touches on the idea of the journey that people take to reach their goals. Though this quote is another that is geared toward leaders, it’s again important to remember that you are the leader of your own life. You might have goals, and you might do things that you hope will push you toward your goal, but truly great leaders of their own lives know how to guide themselves through the journey. What this means is making the wisest choices about what to do in order to reach your goal. It isn’t just about the goal. It’s also about the things that make that goal become a reality.

Being Intentional About Goals

Goals are the difference between a mediocre life and a life that’s truly worth living. Few people arrive some place great in their lives on accident. The most successful people in the world are those that have a clear idea of something they want to accomplish with their lives and shape their life around the activities and choices that will make that goal become a reality. 

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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