The Four Levels of Goals Setting That Most People Don’t Know

The third level is probably the MOST important and missed.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” — Lawrence J. Peter

A few weeks ago I wrote about how my focus on life was changed dramatically when I made the decision the decision to write my goals down daily.

The premise behind this was that writing them down one time was just not enough. There are huge benefits to writing them down each and every day.

In this article, however, I wanted to touch on the four different levels of goal setting and why most people miss out on the most important one.

Many people think that just because they set goals and may have written them down, then they should be well on their way to success, and there is some truth to that, as those who write goals down are 42% more likely to achieve them.

What they don’t quite realize, however, is that they need to go through all the various levels of goal setting to themselves the best chance of realizing them in their lives.

What are the different levels of goal setting

There are four different levels of goals setting. We will discuss levels one, two, and four right quick and then spend time talking about the third level that most people don’t do but which is probably the most important.

The first level is to just think about what goals you have in life and have a sense of where you want to go. Most people do some frame of that when they daydream and think about all the things they would like to accomplish.

The second level is to actually write down your goals on paper and to be specific on the time frame in which you want to achieve them. This is the level that most people who consider themselves as achievers get to.

As shared, it has been scientifically proven, those who write down goals are 42% more likely to achieve them, so why not take the extra time to put pen to pad and increase one’s chances of success greatly.

There are many people who only get to these two steps of goal setting and then wonder why they haven’t been successful in life. As it relates to success, they have put in the minimum amount of extra effort possible and want the maximum amount of extra success possible.

Life just doesn’t work that way. You can’t want what most people don’t have by only doing what most people are willing to do.

There last two levels to goal setting are extremely important to one’s success and the majority of people will just NOT go through with them because of either 1. the amount of extra work they will require (level three) or 2. the consistency that they will have to commit to it (level four).

If you would allow me to skip ahead a bit for the effectiveness of the focus of this article, the fourth level is what I shared a few weeks ago and this is to begin to write your goals down daily.

By writing down our goals daily, we create a great deal of more focus and accountability for ourselves in regards to daily looking at how our actions are matching what we write down that we want to achieve.

If we say we want to be at a certain weight and a certain body fat percentage, but this is the fifth day in a row that we have written that down without having any semblance of a workout in our vicinity, then we have to ask ourselves how serious we are about that goal.

Each day we write it, it will sting a little bit more to the point that either we’ll be forced to stop writing it or kick our butts into high gear and actually put in the work to achieve it.

The number of people who will commit to doing this daily is a very small percentage, as it will take consistent commitment and focus to not allow this to slip through the cracks, but the benefits will be huge to keep you on track and focused.

However, this level is probably NOT the most important, as it relates to being able to achieve your goal. It is instead the previous step that most people miss that makes all the difference in the world.

What is the third level and why is it so important?

The third level of goal setting is the one that will truly make a HUGE difference, as it relates to upping your game and building out your future for success. That step is taking the time to SPECIFICALLY write down the actions of HOW you will achieve your goal.

This is not something that you need to do every day but rather something that you should do once a year or once a quarter to put a fair amount of specificity around the specific things you are going to do to actually achieve your goals.

This is something that so many people just forget to do and don’t realize how large of a step it is for us to have a chance to realize anything that we are thinking about accomplishing in the future.

We can say what we want to do all the time, and we can even put it down on paper, but until we are specific in identifying what are the daily, actionable tasks and behaviors that we are going to implement or demonstrate to achieve said goal, that goal has no anchor on which to stand.

The third level is the most important step in the goal-setting process because this is the step that really gets our mind working and processing the HOW behind the goals that we set.

The book The Secret began a world phenomenon because people began to feel that they could control the trajectory of their lives by just being positive and believing good things will happen to them.

And while having a positive mental attitude is so important for one to be able to have any chance of success in the future, The Secret turned a lot of people off because it seemed to fall into the realm of airy-fairy, “if-you-see-it-you-can-do-it” type of living.

There is no doubt that there is little chance for us to be able to succeed at anything in life if we don’t first believe in ourselves to be able to do it, so it would make sense that this would be an important step on our road to achievement.

However, none of this means anything, if we have not taken the time to walk through the SPECIFICS of how we are going to achieve said goals. We have all heard the analogy of how likely you are to get somewhere if you don’t have the directions of how to get there.

How to do it

To realize this level of goal setting, you have to set aside time to think through what you want to achieve beginning with the end first and then working back through all the various steps it’s going to take to get there.

By doing so, you will begin to understand what are the sequential steps you will have to take to build upon each other to give yourself the best chance to be successful. This will then give you specific, actionable tasks that you can start taking TODAY that will put you on the track to achieve your goal.

For example, one of my goals for 2022 is to write and self-publish a book. To do so, there are a number of steps I will have to follow. Beginning with the end in sight would look something like this:

Self publish my book…before that?

Take a course/workshop on how to self-publish a book…before that?

Research how to self publish a book…before that?

Write a book of at least 300 pages…before that?

Write at least 300 words per day…before that?

Outline the chapters of the book…before that?

Come up with the title, premise, and general goal of my book…already done.

Therefore, what can I do TODAY to begin working on this goal? — Outline the chapters of my book.

By outlining each individual step, I will then begin to think of roadblocks and issues that may arise with each step that I wouldn’t have considered had I not thought through this.

For example, while doing some cursory research on self-publishing, I learned how important it is to have a general audience already built up to be able to support your efforts, so that is another step that I need to think through and add to my focus to ensure that all my bases are covered to increase my chance of success.

By not doing this, you could miss out on key important steps that you should be doing early to increase your chances of success down the line.

It’s this level of detail that helps one truly understand all that will go into achieving one’s goal and taking one from being a casual goal-setter who “hopes” that their dreams will come true to a professional goal-setter who MAKES their dreams come true instead.