How Can I Create a Compelling Future?

By Tony Robbins

Do you know how to set goals? How often do you achieve the large objectives that are really important to you? If you’re having trouble following through with your goal planning, you may be tempted to just stop trying. People say things like, “Maybe this is just it,” or “I should settle for what I have.” But frequently what’s getting in the way of achievement is the actual goal. If your goal is to “lose weight,” how will you know when that goal is complete? When you’ve lost 1 pound? 5? 40? Without a clear target, you’ll never hit your mark. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to set goals that are clear, measurable and actionable.

Here we’ll cover how to set goals to ensure you achieve them. You’ll learn what makes for compelling goals as well as the steps you need to take to see them through.


Effective goal setting is the fundamental key to success. Whether it’s increasing your intelligence, taking up a new hobby or rekindling a relationship, setting goals lets us create our future before it actually happens. Setting goals helps us grow and expand, pushing ourselves to transform in ways that, just maybe, we never imagined. In order to feel truly fulfilled, we need to know and feel like we’re working to achieve something. Tony Robbins says, “Progress equals happiness,” and setting goals is what gets us there.

We’re willing to bet if you’re reading this page, you’ve set a goal or two in your life. But did you see them through? Are you setting goals effectively? Will your goals transform your life in the ways you want and help you unlock something extraordinary?

Many times people think they understand how to set goals, but then they never quite achieve what they were after. One common reason is that their goals aren’t compelling or inspiring.
You’re much more likely to put time and energy into something that excites you, so your goals should reflect that same level of momentum. We’re talking goal-setting that makes you leap out of bed in the morning ready to go! Think of a goal as a dream with a deadline. Now, all we have to do is create a blueprint to achievement.


⦁ Identify your goals: What do you really want? What is the exact objective you desire? A promotion at work? To take up daily meditation? In order to set achievable goals, you need to have a clear outcome in mind. Something almost magical happens when you take generalized desires and start defining them more precisely through detailed goal-setting.

⦁ Identify your purpose: Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it bring you? Will that promotion give you the⦁  financial freedom you desire? In order to keep your goals, you need to⦁  ask the right questions and seek real change in your life. If you know what you’re moving toward, you’ll find ways to make it happen by learning how to set goals. Remember: Reasons come first, then the answers.


To further identify how to best create your goal-planning process, you need to know what type of goals you have. There are a number of different types of goals that you can divide into categories such as relationship goals, health and fitness goals and career goals. However, you also need to identify them based on their timeline and how they relate to each other.

Short-term goals can typically be achieved in less than a year and include things like losing 10 pounds, getting a promotion at work or finishing the deck on your home. When looking at short-term goals in the goal-planning process, try to think of them as “enabling goals” –as soon as you complete them, you can move forward toward achieving long-term goals. If you get a promotion, for example, it would lead to more money, an impressive résumé and could put your further on the path to achieving financial freedom.

Long-term goals are more extensive and will take longer to achieve (think “years” versus “a few committed months”). Examples of long-term goals would be starting your own business, taking a cruise around the world for you 35th wedding anniversary or going back to school to get an advanced degree.

Lifetime goals are exactly what they sound like – your most important goals that you want to accomplish during your lifetime. It could be retiring at 60 so and your partner can participate in mission trips and make an impact on the world. Goal planning for lifetime goals will include setting “capstone goals,” which are similar to enabling goals. For example, a capstone goal for early retirement would be saving a certain amount of money by a specific date.

If this goal-setting process all sounds familiar to you, great! Repetition is the mother of all skills, so you’re on your way to becoming the master of your goals.


There are a few guiding principles for effective goal setting that can help keep you on track. There is no shortage of goal-setting tips out there, but none have gained as much acceptance (or as many results) as SMART goals. A SMART goal must be:

⦁ Specific: The more detailed you can be, the better. How specific can you be if your goal is to lose weight? “I want to lose 20 pounds” is a good start, but “I want to lose 20 pounds so that I can wear my favorite clothes again this June” makes it easier to visualize and achieve what you want. This puts a reason behind your aim, which will enable you to persevere with the plan you developed during goal setting when things get challenging.

⦁ Measurable: When it comes to effective goal setting, tracking your progress is critical. Setting clear parameters and identifying waypoints will allow you to track your progress and know when you have achieved your goal. For example, “get better at handling money” is not a measurable goal; it’s unclear what “better” means here. You need to have solid metrics in mind when learning how to set goals. Have the goal to understand your current spending patterns, pay off your credit cards and start saving 25% of your income per month by the end of the year – now you have benchmarks that you can use to check your progress on the way to success.

⦁ Achievable: If you can’t actually attain your goal that you set forth during goal planning, it will only frustrate and dishearten you. You’re not going to create a billion-dollar business or become a world-class concert pianist overnight. Many times when we’re creating big goals we get too lofty, making them seem impossible. This leads us to the next element.

⦁ Realistic: Perhaps in an ideal world you’d have six hours a day to work on your golf swing or tennis game. You live in the real world, so make sure your goal setting matches up with reality. Can you realistically become a concert pianist having never played an instrument in your life? Does this goal fit with your current lifestyle? This doesn’t mean you can’t dream big or go after something outside your comfort zone. But it does mean you should be focused on goal planning that you can realistically work toward. If your goal takes a certain time or monetary commitment, make sure you have the means to do so. Sometimes, that requires breaking down your goals even further. You may not become a world-famous pianist, but you could take lessons with the goal of ultimately performing in a concert.

⦁ (In a) Time frame: Having a clear idea of your timeline during goal setting creates a sense of urgency. You’ll be working toward what you want more quickly. Perhaps your goal is that you want to learn Spanish because it will help you build better rapport with your clients. What’s a realistic time frame for yourself? Do you have a trip to Spain coming up in six months for which you need to be prepared?

⦁  Set a timeline for your goal so you can check in with yourself along the way. Try to set a goal that can be realistically achieved in one year. For long-term goals, focus on the enabling or capstone goals that will help you achieve the larger one. Set yourself up for goal planning success by concentrating on what can be achieved in the short term.
Learning how to set goals that are SMART puts power behind your goals and ensures you can measure your progress more often and take new actions. As Tony says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

Goal Setting Step 1: Give yourself six minutes to brainstorm a list of anything you’d like to achieve, create, do, have, give and/or experience in the next 20 years. Write as many things down as fast as you can in this time.

Goal Setting Step 2: Now go back through your list and write 1, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years next to each goal to indicate how long it will take to achieve them. Be realistic when assigning time estimates. You have a minute and a half to get this done, so be quick and go with your gut.

Goal Setting Step 3: Review your list. Choose your top four 1-year goals. These are goals that make you really excited. Write a paragraph for each goal explaining why you will absolutely achieve this goal within the next 12 months. This should take you about 15-20 minutes total.

Now, if you’re able to share what you’ve written down with a friend, family member or another person you trust, do so. If not, just say them out loud to yourself as this helps make the goal-planning process less of a concept and more of a reality.

Final concept?  put your goals where you’ll see them daily, write down and take at least one action toward achieving your goals and then start the rocking chair test: Visualize yourself older and looking back. What’s the pain from not achieving, and what is the pleasure from having achieved your goals?



Tony Robbins: Use this 4-step strategy to achieve any goal