I remember my first experience in real goal setting.

Her name will remain a secret, but she was the cutest girl in the 6th grade – at least in my opinion.  She had the prettiest red hair, a great smile and freckles.  Oh, how I loved those freckles.

I was already quite the “lady’s man” at that point.  Well, “lady’s man” if you define that term in the following manner:

  • Lady’s Man: (noun) male who cannot speak to, interact with, or otherwise communicate with anyone of the opposite sex without getting dry mouth, sweaty palms and looking anywhere except directly into the eyes of said female.  His perception is heightened to the fact that she is of the opposite sex.  His speech however becomes completely incoherent in her presence.”

Yes, I was a lady’s man indeed.  Sorry if I sound like I’m bragging too much.

My goal was simple.  I wanted to ask her to the school dance.  I really didn’t think she would say yes, but I wanted to work up the courage to ask.  So I set the goal – ask her the big question.  I made the plan – ask her in the hallway before science class.   I executed the plan – as she walked up, I said very quickly, “Do you want to go to the dance with me?”

I felt very relieved to get the question out.

I was already turning to walk away when she said, “Yes.”

Wow!  I hadn’t planned on that.  I had no response.  I looked at her and said, “Okay” and then I walked away.  There was no further discussion.

Then the panic began to hit me.  What the heck was I thinking?  I had no way to take her to the dance because I couldn’t drive yet – I was 11 years old for goodness sakes!  I had no money for admission into the dance.  And I wasn’t even old enough to date!  My mother was going to have a fit!

Actually, it all worked out just fine.  My mother actually took us for a hamburger and then to the school dance.  My sister was quite miffed by it all – especially since my mother didn’t let her date until she was 15! 🙂

I would never have had my first date if I had not set a specific goal.  The simple process of goal setting changed my behavior.

In his book, 25 Secrets to Sustainable Success, Phillip C. Richards writes about how goal setting changes behavior.  He gives the following suggestions in your goal setting:

  1. Define Your Goals:  Clearly defined and written goals increase your chances of reaching them.
  2. Put Your Goals in the Public Domain:  Others can support your efforts and celebrate your successes.
  3. Accept Outcomes:  If you do not accomplish a goal, make the most of your circumstances.
  4. Nurture Your Relationships:  Hang on to relationships with people you want to emulate.  You will become more like them.


If your success this year were dependent on the written goals that you could actually place your hands on right now – would there be anything there?