Honest & Realistic? Not when it comes to Goal Setting!

Get inspired to set goals

Goal setting starts not with being honest or realistic!

I have so much fun when I speak to audiences about getting out of their comfort zone and get a Front-Row Seat in Life.  Like a lot (probably most) of motivational speakers on the circuit, I talk about the importance of goal setting.  When I ask my audiences what they think my first ‘must’ is when I talk about the ‘4 musts of goal setting’, inevitably they shout out ‘you must be honest!’ and ‘you must be realistic!’ To which I reply – NO!  I don’t want you to be honest or realistic when you start your list of goals.  Not at first anyway.  Think about it.  You have a clean slate and you want to create your goal list. I encourage making a list of 101 goals to really get you excited! If you start by what you honestly think you can accomplish, or what you can realistically accomplish, you actually limit yourself to what you have done in the past.  I actually want you to do the opposite.  Be creative!  Dream!  So, here are my 4 musts of goal setting, in order on purpose!


Imagine you had no obstacles, no excuses, no boundaries.  What would you want to accomplish?  Take 20 minutes and write out 101 goals.  I got this idea from my friend, Mark Victor Hansen.  He and his partner Jack Canfield have sold over 100 million copies of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and almost all of those titles are 101 stories to open the heart and re-kindle the spirit. So if Mark tells me 101? I don’t question that success, I do it.  By the way, if you are forced to write 101 goals, you start to get creative, then really creative, then outrageous, then eventually STUPID outrageous!  That’s when you are stimulated into action.

2. Be Specific

Now, it’s time to be specific.  What do you want? What does it look like? How can you measure it? State your goal in such a way, that by a certain date you will either have accomplished it or not.  Now is not the time to be vague or ambiguous.  Our brains work better on specifics.  It’s much better to say “I want to wear a size 10 suit by April 23″ than to say “I want to get in shape”.

3. Think ’em and Ink ’em

After making your list, narrow it down to what’s important to you now. Write them down or put them into a goal board or vision board.  I’m a visual person, so I have a poster size goal board with pictures and affirmations representing goals in all areas of my life.  My work life, personal relationship, stewardship, physical, etc… Word of warning!  If you live with someone who is typically sarcastic, negative, and basically non-supportive, DON’T POST YOUR GOALS ON THE FRIDGE!  You open yourself up to ridicule.  You don’t need that.

4. Make them believable to yourself

There are people out there who claim they know you, but really don’t know your heart.  When you create your goals, make them believable to you without worrying about approval from others.  In fact, when you have others in mind and what they would think as you make your list, you are no longer living in your comfort zone, but you’ve jumped into someone else’s.  Start to hang out more with other people who believe in the power of goal setting and you’ll get inspired by their journey as well.

These 4 musts are not just suggestions in my book ‘Whose Comfort Zone Are You In?’ but personally proven techniques.  I decided after seven years of being single, I wanted a decent, front-row relationship.  So, I made a list of what I wanted in a man that was not only outrageous but then specific.  I really looked at what I wanted, and came up with 356 traits!  Then, I took the most important traits that became my top ten.  I was specific.  You see, in the top 10, my man had to speak fluent French!  Yes, it sounds outrageous, but hey, it was my list so I could do anything I wanted with it.  And, this stuff works.  I wrote this list in 1998, and for those who don’t know me, here’s an update.  In 2005 I married Yves de Boisredon who speaks fluent French! (It’s no surprise as he is from Paris.)  He rocks my top 10 list!!!

Yes, there is a time to be honest and realistic, but not when it comes to sitting down and writing out your goals.  Give yourself a chance to let loose and break free from what you have done in the past.  You just may surprise yourself at what you can accomplish!

From your happily married outrageous motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman.  C’est Magnifique!



Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at http://www.MarilynSherman.com

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Marilyn, what a great post encouraging people to dream big! The power of limitless thinking in action rocks. Thanks for the inspiration — no wonder you’re a motivational speaker!

  2. I’ve made goals before, but never 101 of them!  This will be fun getting outrageous…and then getting specific!  Thanks for reminding me it’s time for a vision tune-up!

  3. Oh, Marilyn, this is soooo valuable. You have taken the impossible – a big old giant dream – and made it possible – by showing us how to put it into action steps. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Even motivational speakers need to be reminded of this simple brilliant truth. I had a friend tell me that she doesn’t want to dream big anymore because it just makes her feel even worse about herself – because she can never get there. I don’t agree. The “feeling worse” part is because we don’t take action on any of it. Nothing wrong with dreaming. Plenty wrong with all dreaming and no action. 101 goals does not equate to 101 things to do tomorrow. It equates to one thing to do tomorrow. And an endless amount of things over the rainbow.

    And when we’re out there, motivational speakers or not, reaching for our dreams – let’s not forget how important it is to develop a strong network of people to help us. Here’s an article I wrote about it:  http://ezinearticles.com/?What-I-Learned-at-the-Gym-Today—Besides-the-Fact-That-Eating-Chili-and-Working-Out-is-a-Bad-Idea&id=3816346

  4. Great ideas, Marilyn!   As a motivational speaker I have often repeated that great adage in the field of creative thinking, “If you want to get A good idea, first get LOTS of ideas!” Great reminder!

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