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Goal Setting: How to Successfully Set and Achieve a Goal

Setting goals are important for progression, achievement and growth in life. This could be anything from an athletic endeavors to life decisions. However, often the process of setting and planning for a goal is not thought out and is randomly approached. To be successful in setting and achieving goals, it is best to take a conscious and systematic approach.

Setting and achieving a goal is essentially understanding the art of problem solving. The better you are at problem solving the bigger and more complex problems you are able to tackle. This vital life skill stretches into every aspect of our lives. But to be good at solving a problem you first have to understand the problem and all the variables surrounding it. When setting and achieving goals we like to take the following approach of asking and answering a series of questions.


Over the years we have learned that the first, and by far the most important, question to address is “why?” You must understand why you are going to set and work towards a goal before you take the necessary steps towards it. The reason is because if you don’t understand why then there is no meaning behind it and in turn, the desire and drive to achieve that goal will diminish over time. Notice I say desire and not motivation. You need to have a conviction and internal passion because if you don’t when times get tough on your path to achieving that goal, and they will, you will question why you are going through so much suffering. It is then that you need to fully embrace and trust why you are doing what you are doing. Trust the process.


Once you understand why, then you need to know who will be going on this journey. Is it you as an individual? Is it a team that you are part of? Is it an entire organization or body of people? Regardless of who or how many, once you know this first variable, you can then start to gather many other known variables that will play into how you will reverse engineer the process on your road to success. For example, if I am going to tackle a goal as an individual then I can look at both internal and external factors that will surround only me. These factors could be but not limited to how much time, money and energy to I have to allocate towards this goal? What type of support will I receive? What base line am I starting from and how much work do I need to put in to properly prepare for the level I need to be at to reach for my goal? Once you have determined all of these known variables then you will know what you are working with and why. You can then move into determining the specifics of your goal or problem you will need to solve.

What, Where, When

Typically the what, where, and when aspects of the goal setting process can be answered congruently. You will then ask yourself a series of questions to determine what other variables and demands will be asked of you while attempting to reach your goal. For example, if I am choosing a race to run then I might ask myself what terrain do I want to run in? What time of year? What distance? Where in the world would I like to race? And so on. Eventually you will be able to select your goal or event. Once you have your goal event, then you can analyze what other known variables and demands will be asked of you. How much elevation gain and loss? Will it be cold? Will it be hot? How long do I have to prepare? What will the terrain be like? What support will I have, etc.? After understanding every demand that you will face and knowing what exactly you have to work with, you are ready to reverse engineer your plan on how you are going to solve the problem.


If you have properly accomplished the previous steps leading up to this point then knowing how to address the problem becomes much clearer. I can simply take all of the data that I have gathered and reverse engineer a process that will systematically build on itself from where I currently am to get to where I need to be in order to achieve my goal. This very systematic and specific process leaves nothing to be random, which will in turn give you confidence that you have left no stone unturned in your analysis and preparation. You should be able to fully trust the process and know that your goal is realistic, achievable, and, most of all, have a clear understanding of why you are spending significant resources to solve the problem.

In conclusion, by approaching the goal setting and problem solving process in a systematic and conscious way, any issue can be solved. This can be for athletic endeavors, but is also a useful skill set for tackling life’s problems. To learn more and to get customized coaching, check out the Ultra Expeditions website:

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