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The 7 Goal Setting Secrets all High Achievers Know

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails - Dolly Parton

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Greg was feeling really pleased with himself. He had just completed the London Marathon.

Okay, he didn’t come first or anywhere near the head of the pack. In fact he was one of the last to come in. But for Greg it was a huge achievement. It was the first Marathon he had ever run. Crossing the finishing post was his only goal on this occasion.

The reason it was such a huge achievement and meant so much to Greg was that, 12 months before, he had been struggling with health problems caused by being very overweight. He had spent many years developing a business empire and his sedentary lifestyle had now become a health risk.

Greg didn’t go from zero to exercise hero without a lot of effort. But he also used the proven strategies, skills and techniques which had helped to make his own business such a huge success.

Greg knew he had to set himself a goal and then start working systematically towards it using all the goal setting secrets which had worked so well for him in the past.


Richard Branson is certainly somebody who knows all about goals and how to move an idea forward.

In fact he is one of the most successful UK businessmen ever  with Virgin records, Virgin Atlantic airline, Virgin Mobile and Virgin trains all to his name. His latest, and some would say most ambitious, goal is Virgin Galactic which he hopes will one day become the first space tourism company.

Branson has been interviewed many times about his tips for success. He says it’s important to follow your dreams. Get involved in life and follow the things that are of real interest to you. Once you have your idea, he says, you need to set goals and it’s important not to give up.

‘There have been situations in my adventures, like crossing the Pacific in a balloon, where the odds were stacked very heavily against us surviving. Being an entrepreneur is not that dissimilar to being an adventurer. You have plenty of situations where your back is right up against the wall and you’ve just got to work day and night to make sure you overcome the difficulties a particular company finds itself in. Brush yourself down the next day and move on into something else.’

Branson makes lists and carries a notebook everywhere with him. They are, he says, a source of inspiration to him. ‘The beginning of the year is a great time to write down your goals for that year. Unless you actually organise yourself and write down the kind of things you want to change there is a danger that as time slips by you don’t achieve a lot.’

Goal setting secrets

So goal setting is the important first step. Success is never actually guaranteed but, there are many proven ways of making success much more likely.

#1 Focus

If you don’t define your goal, dream or desire, if you don’t form a detailed picture of it in your mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived there? All successful people have very clear goals, and vision. They allow themselves to dream big and they also have big plans about how to get there.

With the goal established, they set their sights and focus forward. What you focus on is what you get, a bit like playing golf, the ball goes in the direction you are looking.

#2 Feel Driven

High achievers don’t procrastinate. They know that some of the things need we need to do to meet goals or achieve dreams might not be that much fun. But, because they have set their focus on the goal and have the end product in sight, they can move forward with motivation and drive.

#3 Create a Positive Mental Attitude

Research shows that high performers are those who enjoy life most. Enjoy what you are doing and remember that any setbacks are just temporary. Stay positive. Negativity simply holds you back and weighs you down. When you are goal driven, focused and positive, motivation provides its own energy.

#4 Harness Your Passion

High achievers will often say how much fun they are having in pursuing their goals.

Most of them would do the work they are doing whether of not they are getting paid…..and in the beginning, they probably weren’t!

Passion fuels the fire of motivation, which drives you forward faster.

#5 Staying power

High achievers are tenacious. They stick to their goals and their plans as long as they have to in order to get where they want to be.

Sometimes you can feel as though you are moving forward fast and at other times it’s just about placing one foot in front of the other. Baby steps can feel frustratingly slow, but progress is still progress if you’re moving in the right direction.

#6 Pace Yourself

Even high achievers take time out. They work hard, multitask and dream big but they also know how to take care of themselves. Getting ill slows you down.

They understand the need to eat well, exercise, get enough rest and take time to recharge their batteries. They balance their work and play and know that, by pacing themselves, they are in for the long haul.

#7 Finish what you Set Out to Do

Reaching for a goal, especially a goal you feel passionate about, can have its challenges. Many people fail because they simply do not stay the course and give up when the going gets tough or they suffer a set back.

Reframe ‘failures’ as feedback. We are hard wired to learn from mistakes. They are simply a way of telling us how not to do it.

Next time you will do it differently.

And every ‘next time’ takes you closer to your goal.

Greg knows that. So does Richard Branson.

And so do you…..

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.