We know you have big goals and that hitting them can be an uphill climb; that’s where these quotes about goals come in. Because even for the grandest of go-getters, there are times when you find yourself off course, lacking the fire needed to keep going. That’s completely normal. So instead of letting frustration fester, we selected seven quotes from some goal-setting gurus to inspire you to keep at it.
7 Quotes about Goals for Anyone Who Needs a Push
If you’re sitting down for some goal planning, or you need that extra push to keep you going, these wise quotes about goals can help you work toward, and reach, the goals you’ve set for yourself.
How to set yourself up for success
1. We can’t jump into quotes about goals without getting into what goals work in the first place. Let’s start with some goal-setting theory; don’t run away yet. We need to understand not only that goals help us, but why and how. Locke and Latham, goal-setting theorist extraordinaires, led the way on goal research. Here’s a recent study summing up their findings on how easy or challenging our goals should be:
Among the core findings of research on goal setting theory is that a specific, high goal leads to higher task/job performance than a specific, easy goal, a vague goal such as to do one’s best, or no goal. Moreover, the theory asserts that there is a linear relationship between degree of goal difficulty and performance.”
2. How often do you sit and think about everything you want to do? K, now how often do you write down everything you want to do? If you’re anything like us, you’re doing it a lot. Guess who else is on board? Sonja Lyubomirsky, positive psychology researcher, author, and expert we reference a whole lot. Here’s Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness on how reaching your goals takes more than internal reflection.
How to know if your goal is right for you
3. We’ve got an insider tip for you: There’s a way you can give yourself a better chance of accomplishing your goals. Want to know what it is? Angela Duckworth, researcher on grit, tells us how sticking with a goal is partially about what that goal means to you in the first place.
How to take on big goals without losing it
4. Big goals are awesome. They can also be a little scary. But that’s no reason to back away. Charles Duhigg, habit and productivity researcher and author, calls the big ones our “stretch goals.” Here’s Duhigg in his book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business on making stretch goals work:
The reason why we need both stretch goals and SMART goals is that audaciousness, on its own, can be terrifying. It’s often not clear how to start on a stretch goal. And so, for a stretch goal to become more than just an aspiration, we need a disciplined mindset to show us how to turn a far-off objective into a series of realistic short-term aims…Stretch goals, paired with SMART thinking, can help put the impossible within reach.”
5. Remember those big goals? They take time and effort—a lot of time and effort. In order to feel like we’re on track, we need to see some progress. Shawn Achor, happiness and positive psychology researcher, and his wife, Michelle Gielan, tell us how to make reaching your big goal a series of smaller ones in a recent article.
Research shows that while it is good to have big goals, it is best to break them down into small, specific goals. That gives the brain more opportunities for ‘wins’ as we achieve those milestones, which can act as fuel for the future.”
How to think about the goals that got away
6. Raise your hand if you’ve accomplished a goal. Okay, but have you ever set a goal and not accomplished it? Us too. Sometimes we set the goal but we don’t take action on it. Ari Wallach, advocate of thinking about the long-term, says in his TED Talk:
So it’s important that we remember, the future, we treat it like a noun. It’s not. It’s a verb. It requires action. It requires us to push into it. It’s not this thing that washes over us. It’s something that we actually have total control over. But in a short-term society, we end up feeling like we don’t. We feel like we’re trapped. We can push through that.”
7. What if you don’t accomplish your goal? Then what? Hide in shame? No way. We need to keep goals, and the role they play, in perspective. Javy Galindo, Professor of Positive Psychology, tells us how goals fit into the bigger picture:
Keep in mind, however, that attainment of goals is not necessarily the source of your life’s enjoyment. Setting intentions and goals are simply a way to give yourself direction, to give your life focus so that you can experience a sense of purpose and an internal locus of control: a sense that your actions really do matter in your life.”
Now that you’ve read our seven quotes about goals from the experts, are you ready to get out there and make your big dreams happen? Or maybe just your little dreams? We all start somewhere.
Your turn: Which of these quotes about goals hits home for you? Tell us more in the comments.
If you liked this article, you’ll also like: Get Inspired to Reach Your Goals with These 11 TED Talks
Author: Sara Robinson
Sara Robinson has a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology, though her passion is for the psychology of performance rather than an actual interest in sport. She’s a writer, content manager, project manager, and mom of 2 young boys, which means she’s constantly managing something or someone. If you’re a busy working mom, find out how to create more balance over on her blog, Get Mom Balanced.