5 Minute Read: Goals! Book Summary – Brian Tracy

Thousands of successful people have been asked what they think about most of the time. And the most common answer is that they THINK about what they WANT – and HOW to get it – most of the time. 

On the other hand, unsuccessful, unhappy people think and talk about what they DON’T want most of the time such as:

  • their problems
  • their worries
  • who’s to blame for their situation

Living without clear goals is like driving in a thick fog. No matter how well engineered your car is, you’ll drive slowly, making little progress on even the smoothest road. 

Deciding on your goals immediately clears the fog and allows you to focus and channel your energies and abilities toward what you really want. 

In this article, my (goal) is to help you clear the fog by highlighting the best book ever written on goal setting, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Bryan Tracy. 

He’s taught his twelve-step goal-setting methodology to millions of people.

And if you decide to follow his approach, you’ll accomplish more in a few weeks or months than the average person might accomplish in several years which will help you reach your goals for a better life in the shortest amount of time. 

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Why Don’t People Set Goals?

If goals are so important to people getting what they want out of life, why do so few set them in the first place?

It’s actually 4 reasons per author Bryan Tracy:

4 reasons people don’t set goals

#1. They don’t think they’re important

Most people don’t realize the importance of goals. If you don’t grow up around the right people (parents or others) that teach about goal setting, then you could reach adulthood without knowing that your ability to set and achieve goals will have more of an effect on your life than any other skill.

#2. They don’t know how

The second reason is that most people don’t know how to set goals in the first place. Even worse are those that “think” they already have goals such as:

  • I want to be happy
  • I want to make a lot of money

According to the book, these aren’t goals but merely fantasies common to everyone. 

A goal is something distinctly different from a wish. It’s clear, written, and specific. 

#3. They have a fear of failure

I get it, failure hurts and is no fun. Each time we fail at something, we resolve to be more careful and avoid failure in the future. 

Many people then make the mistake of unconsciously sabotaging themselves by NOT setting goals at which they might fail.

A perfect example is when I began investing in real estate syndications and loss $50k on a crowdfunding deal. 

I could have quit as it was a HUGE failure, but I set goals to learn from my mistakes but continue down the path to real estate.

Related article: What I Learned From Losing $50,000

#4. They have a fear of rejection

People are afraid that if they set a goal and aren’t successful, others will criticize them. Tracy recommends we keep our goals confidential.

Let others begin to see what we accomplish but don’t tell them in advance

It’s All In Your Hands

The starting point of goal setting is for you to realize that you have virtually unlimited potential to be, have, or do anything you really want in life if you want it badly enough and are willing to work long and hard enough to achieve it

The second part is for you to accept complete responsibility for your life, and for everything that happens to you, with no blaming and no excuses

With these two concepts clearly in mind – that you have unlimited potential and are completely responsible – you’re now ready to determine your financial future.

Create Your Own Future

There’s a special quality that stands out in successful leaders:

  • Leaders have vision
  • Nonleaders do not.

You become what you think about most of the time. Leaders think about the future and where they’re going and what they can do to get there. 

Nonleaders think and worry about the past and what’s happened that can’t be changed. 

Practice no-limit thinking

When you answer the questions below, imagine that you have no limits and everything is possible. Don’t underestimate your potential. 

Idealize your perfect financial life 5 years from today. If your financial life were perfect, what would be your answers to the following questions?

  • How much would I be earning?
  • What sort of lifestyle would I have?
  • What kind of home would I live in?
  • What kind of car would I drive?
  • What kind of luxuries would I be providing for my family?
  • How much would I have in the bank?
  • How much would I be saving and investing monthly and yearly?
  • How much would I want to be worth when I retired?

You can also answer these types of questions about your perfect family life and health and fitness goals. The primary difference between high achievers and low achievers is “action orientation.”

Those who accomplish tremendous deeds in life are intensely action oriented. They’re busy and moving all the time. If they have an idea, they take action on it immediately. 

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

What this means is that if you lack an exciting vision for your future, you’ll “perish” inside in terms of lacking motivation and enthusiasm for what you’re doing.

But the reverse of this is that with an exciting future vision, you’ll be continuously motivated every day to take the actions necessary to make your ideal vision a reality. 

12 Steps to Set and Achieve Any Goal

Here’s the 12-step process on goal setting Bryan Tracy teaches in his book:

#1. Have a Desire: What Do You Really Want?

The first step is that you must have an intense, burning desire for your goal. The intensity of your personal desire will determine the amount of energy and determination you put behind any goal you set for yourself. 

When I speak with new Passive Investor Circle members, most have vague financial goals such as, “I’d like some passive income because it’s what other people are doing too.” The likelihood of achieving this goal is low as there’s no burning desire involved. 

#2. Believe That Your Goal is Achievable

You must believe that you deserve the goal and that you’re capable of attaining it. Belief is the catalyst. You must set a goal that is reachable, and then set a series of goals after that. That way you won’t be overwhelmed and quit.

Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

#3. Write Your Goal Down

A goal that’s not in writing is NOT a goal at all. The book recommends that we write and rewrite our goals on a regular basis including daily, weekly and monthly. 

This programs them deep into our subconscious mind to give us the right mindset where they’ll take on a life and power of their own. 

#4. Determine Your Starting Point

Before getting started, you’ve got to consider your current situation.

One of the first questions you should ask yourself when setting goals is, “Where am I now?” For instance, if you want to lose weight, the first thing you do is weigh yourself to determine your baseline or current weight. 

If you want to achieve a certain level of financial worth, you put together a personal financial statement for yourself and determine how much you’re worth today. 

#5. Determine Why You Want It

Make a list of all the ways you will personally benefit by achieving your goals. The more reasons you have for wanting to achieve the, the more intense will be your desire. 

Reasons are the FUEL in the furnace of achievement. 

#6. Set a Deadline

Setting a deadline will allow you a “best guess” of when you’ll potentially attain the goal. It’s like aiming at a target. You may hit the bull’s-eye, or you may hit to one side or the other. 

You’ll achieve fully half of the goals that you set for yourself before the deadline, and half of them after the deadline.  But you MUST have a deadline like a scheduled departure time for a flight, whether or not it leaves on time, it’s written on your boarding pass. 

Also, if your goal is big enough, consider breaking it down into sub deadlines. 

#7. Identify the Obstacles in Your Way

The next step is to determine the obstacles that are standing between you and your goal.

Questions to be answered are:

  • Why aren’t you at your goal already?
  • What’s blocking you?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What’s the single BIGGEST obstacle?

#8. Determine the Additional Knowledge and Skills You Need

Determine the additional knowledge, information, and skills you’ll require to achieve your goal. 

To go beyond your current level of accomplishment, you’ll have to acquire knowledge and skills you’ve never had before. 

Ask yourself, “What one skill, if I developed and did it excellently, would help me the most achieve this goal?”

Whatever the answer, write it down, make a plan, and then work on developing that skill each day until you master it. 


A perfect example is this blog that you’re currently reading. When I initially started it, I quickly realized that if I wanted to attract people to read it, then I’d have to acquire a knowledge for a new skill that I didn’t have….writing blog articles. 

I can attest that this decision alone changed my life. And 95% of what I’ve learned was free online. 

#9. Determine the People Whose Help You Will Need

The next step is to determine the people whose cooperation and assistance you’ll need to achieve your goal. 

I can’t stress this enough…relationships are EVERYTHING. I firmly believe you can get anything in life with the right connections. It’s all about who you know, right?

The more and better relationships you develop, the faster you’ll achieve your goals. Who are the key people in your work and personal life? What can you do to gain their help and cooperation?

#10. Make a Plan: Put It All Together

Now it’s time to put it all together with a plan. A plan is an organized list of tasks that you’ll have to complete to get from where you are to where you want to go. 

In goal achieving, you decide exactly what it is that you want and write it down. You analyze your starting point and determine the reasons you want to achieve the goal. You set a deadline and subdeadlines. You list the obstacles you’ll have to overcome and the problems you’ll have to solve.

You determine the skills, knowledge, and information you’ll have to learn or acquire to achieve your goal. You decide upon the people whose help you’ll need and what you’ll have to do to get their help and support. You then take all these things and combine them into a plan of action. 

Next, you figure out what to do first, second, third, etc. What’s more important and what’s less important? What must be done before other things can be done? Of all the things you must do what are the activities that are more important in achieving your goal than anything else?

#11. Visualize Your Goal Continually

Step #11 is to visualize your goal each day as if it were already attainted. See your goal vividly in your mind’s eye. Imagine what it would look like if you had already accomplished it. 

Many of the professional athletes practice this strategy. I first heard about it when Tiger Woods was in his prime. Before each shot, he visualizes the ball trajectory to go exactly where he’s aiming. 

And finally, we must learn to…

#12. Never Give Up

That’s right, we must never give up. Make sure you back everything you do with persistence and determination. Resolve in advance that you’ll never give up. 

Make the decision, long before you face any obstacles or difficulties, that no matter what happens, you’ll persevere until you finally reach your goal. 

Take Action Today

Here’s some great ways that brings everything together into a simple process. Are you ready?

Take out a sheet of paper and label it “Goals” with today’s date.

Next, make a list of at least 10 goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months. Write these in the present tense, as though a year has passed and you’ve already attained them. 

For example, if you want to attain a certain amount of passive income per month, you’d write, “I make $1,000 a month in passive income.”

Once you’ve written out the 10 goals, review and analyze your list. Then ask yourself this question: “What one goal on this list, if I accomplished it, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?” 

After this goal has been identified, it then becomes your major definitive purpose for the foreseeable future. It’s the one that you write out using the 12-part goal setting process previously discussed. 

Apply the 12-Step Process Today

Now that you’ve selected a goal that you really want and believe you can achieve, write it down and set a deadline.

Analyze your starting position and write out a list of reasons why you want to achieve it.

Identify the obstacles that stand between you and the attainment of this goal. Identify the knowledge and skills that you’ll need to achieve the goal. Identify the people whose cooperation and assistance you’ll require.

Make a plan to accomplish this new goal. Then act on your plan and do something every day that moves you toward your goal.

Visualize your goal continually as if you’d already achieved it and resolve that you’ll NEVER give up until you’re successful. 

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