31 Days

Presented by

The Motley Fool
Day 4

Set Your Goals

Achieving goals illustration

Whether you want it to or not, the future is coming. And it will either be the same, better or worse than what you know right now in the present. The only way to ensure that it will be better is to set long-term goals to strive for in the long-run.

Of course, that's no guarantee that life with work out exactly as planned—it rarely does, right? But nonetheless, it's important to set long terms goals to work towards. Otherwise, we're just wandering aimlessly through life without a plan.

Successful people love setting goals. They'll announce bold intentions and then go back to breakdown large plans that could take years into a series of smaller, more manageable short-terms goals that keep them focused and motivated.

Achieving goals illustration


Elite athletes have been using the practice of visualization for decades. They mentally put themselves in the place they want to be (on top of an Olympic podium, holding the U.S. Open trophy) and work their way backwards to achieve it. Jim Carrey famously wrote himself a $20 million check before he ever scored a leading film role. And Tony Robbins wrote down a game plan for his legendary career on the back of an old train map while traveling as a student.

“Effective goal setting focuses your brain and activates the reticular activating system, a network of neurons located in the brain stem that mediate behavior and program new patterns, which can set you up for the year ahead in a positive manner,” says executive coach and author of Vicious Cycle Jim Rees.

These days, much of our life revolves around instant gratification—our information is immediate, our entertainment is binged and our deliveries are expedited. But the downside is that their pleasures are almost always just as short-lived. The effects of delayed gratification, however, usually last much longer. The achievement of a long-term goal will have a much larger impact on your life that lasts far beyond tomorrow or even next year. So write a few down immediately and get started.

Write Down
Your Goals

A Dominican University study found that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals simply by writing them down.