How to Set Personal Goals That Inspire You to Take Action
Remember when you thought you could do and be anything? The
innocence of early childhood is perhaps the last time you were
unencumbered by perceived limitations and labels. Personal goal
setting was simple, and there was no doubt you could achieve
When asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” you would
have responded with whatever struck your fancy that day,
whatever you were “in to.” You did not concern yourself with
how you would do it, if you could do it, or if you should do
it. Your dreams were based on what you wanted, pure and simple.
You set personal goals based on wonder and curiosity, not
The dreams of childhood were big dreams. Travel into space, win
a medal at the Olympics, become a rock star. Soon enough the
dreams become modified to reflect what is practical and
expected of us. This is precisely when most people start having
trouble setting personal goals. The dreams are no longer larger
than life, so why take steps to achieve them?
Big dreams inspire big action. When you set personal goals, they
need to have huge payoffs for you in order for you to take
consistent steps to achieving them. You need to feel excited –
even giddy – at the prospect of seeing your dream come true.
When you aspire to something that is less than what you really
want, procrastination sets in. With a big dream in your sights,
procrastination is a lot less likely to occur.
You may have heard of making a “life list” of places you would
like to see, things you would like to try, and dreams you would
like to see realized. Instead of making a list of goals based
on what you think is attainable or would fit into your life,
start your personal goal setting with a life list of the big
stuff that really gets you going.
Here again, draw on the feelings of childhood for inspiration as
you set personal goals. Remember the annual letter to Santa
Claus? Even if you did not celebrate Christmas, you can imagine
the wish lists sent to the North Pole were not full of
realistic, practical requests. They included the biggest, best
gifts a child could think of, because there was always the
possibility that Santa would bring you exactly what you wanted.
Dreaming big has the added benefit of inspiring others to come
to your aid in your pursuit of the goal. If your personal goal
setting is limited, or “small,” why would anyone want to help
you achieve them? People want to be part of something special.
Big goals motivate friends, family, and even complete strangers
to help you reach them.
When you set personal goals, go back to those childhood
aspirations. Sure, you may not want to be an astronaut anymore,
but the old dreams can spark new life goals. Perhaps you would
like to go to a grown-up space camp or become an amateur
astronomer. Whatever goal you set, make it big. As the ancient
emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “Dream big dreams; only big
dreams have the power to move men’s souls.”
Copyright © 2006-2008 Vic Johnson
Vic Johnson is a popular motivational speaker, author and
Internet Infopreneur who has created some of the most visited
personal development sites on the Web. To learn more about the
power of big dreams in goal setting, download a free copy of
Goal Setting Secrets of the World’s #1 Acheiver at