The other day, I came across a succinct statement on goal setting and goal achievement from Denis Waitely…

“The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them.”

I really like what Denis has to say. Let’s break it down.

  1. Your goals need to be clear. 2. Your goals need to be written. 3. Your need to focus on your goals several times a day. 4. You need to visualize yourself achieving your goals.

While all four of these points are important, I think number three is critical — and the one lacking for most people. Too many of us treat goal setting as a once a year process. Some of us set quarterly milestones and check out progress then. Few of us review our goals daily to make sure that what we do every day brings us closer to achieving our goals.

I always suggest that my coaching clients stop at least four or five times a day and ask this simple question: “Is what I’m doing right now helping me achieve any of my goals?” If not, I suggest that they should stop what they’re doing and move on to something goal related.

Here’s an example. I was on a plane reading a novel — something I enjoy very much. However, long ago I realized that airplane time is found time — free of distractions and time that can be very productive, if I choose to use it that way. So, I closed the novel, opened my laptop and began writing a blog. Blogging brings me closer to achieving my goal of being a successful internet information marketer. Reading a novel doesn’t.

I wrote the first draft of one of my books on a trip to Hong Kong. That was two 15 hour flights (there and back), plenty of time to think and write — and to get to achieve the goal of publishing a book on what it takes to run a successful organization.

I’m not saying that you should spend every waking hour working. I am saying, however, that by focusing on your goals and asking yourself if what you are doing is bringing you closer to achieving them, you can make a conscious decision to work your goals or take some time for yourself. I have spent more than one plane trip reading a novel. Sometimes recharging my batteries is the best thing I can do to achieve my goals.

The common sense point here is simple. Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers. They set high goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them. Focus on your goals every day. Stop for a minute several times a day and ask yourself if what you are doing is bringing you closer to achieving at least one of your goals. If it isn’t, stop what you’re doing and start doing something related to achieving your goals.

About Bud Bilanich 

Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is an executive coach, motivational speaker, author and blogger. He is the Official Executive Coaching Guide at He helps his executive coaching clients succeed by applying their common sense.

Dr. Bilanich is Harvard educated but has a no nonsense approach to his work that goes back to his roots in the steel country of Western Pennsylvania.

Bud is a cancer survivor and lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Cathy. He is a retired rugby player and an avid cyclist. In addition to helping people succeed in their lives and careers, Bud likes movies, live theatre and crime fiction.