Whether you find goals motivating and focusing or restricting and pressure-filled, they likely play a role in your life in some form. Personally, I have been a fan since childhood and often wonder how (if?) I would get anything done without setting goals!
For example, I can tell myself I want to run every day – but until I sign myself up for a race or identify the number of miles I want to run in a month, that ‘idea’ keeps me company while I do pretty much anything but run. With the power of goals, however, I have run two half-marathons, a marathon, and several other shorter races – things I certainly don’t believe I would have done without first creating goals.
Goals, of course, play a significant role in my coaching work as well. Here are some of the goal-related books I often return to and/or recommend to clients that you may find helpful, too:
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
This quick read offers great examples of how small steps, performed consistently over time, lead to big results. Instead of relying on willpower, which research shows us is in limited supply, Hardy makes the case for setting goals and realizing that the tiny, conscious decisions we make in favor of them each day can eventually, like minor adjustments to a plane in flight, change the trajectory of our lives. Very practical with numerous examples in business, relationships, finances, and health.
Succeed by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.
When it comes to goals, I consider Dr. Halvorson among the masters. This book is supported by sound research and written in a very applicable and entertaining way. Although I have researched goals extensively throughout my education and career, Halvorson’s book is one of the few (and, in my opinion, the best I’ve found so far) to include helpful insights on when to view obstacles as tests of persistence vs. signals that it may be time to let go of that goal. With a forward written by Dr. Carol Dweck (author of Mindset and another mentor-from-afar of mine), you know it’s going to be a worthwhile read!
Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D.
I love the simplicity of focus with this book: If you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. You may wonder how an entire book stems from that premise, but Dr. Klauser elaborates beautifully with how to generate goal ideas, ways to write them so they inspire and affirm rather than prompt dread or guilt, ways to stay committed, and the importance of engaging your whole being into goal creation rather than just setting slight increases from last year or, even less motivating, going by ‘shoulds.’ Useful, practical, and motivating.
Goals! by Brian Tracy
Tracy, a prolific author with over 70 titles to his name, is known for offering simple, pragmatic, and useful tips. From identifying and removing roadblocks to surrounding yourself with the right people to reviewing and visualizing your goals frequently, he shares suggestions that you can implement immediately. I also appreciate his emphasis on linking goals to the bigger picture: “Goals give you that sense of meaning and purpose, a clear sense of direction,” Tracy writes. “Goals enable you to instill meaning and purpose into everything you do.”
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
Though mostly a book about minimalism, when I read this for the first time nearly ten years ago, I really resonated with the chapters on simplifying goals, tasks, routines, and time. Babauta’s own story is quite compelling: He has used his methodology to quit smoking, start running and complete triathlons, eliminate debt, lose 40+ pounds, quit his job and work from home, and simplify life with his family (he’s a married father of six). From what I have seen of his more recent writing, his practices have changed quite a bit over the years, but I still flip through this gem for a quick motivational boost.
Another goal-setting book appeared on my radar a few months ago and will be included in the newsletter I mentioned above; in addition, it is one of our 2019 ASPIRE Success Club picks (which will be revealed next week)!
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