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To become an unbeatable and permanent master of your mind, you need to learn the art of goal setting. Goals are the very driving force behind our motivation, determination, and willpower. They are the beacons on the horizon beckoning us forward to accomplish the tasks we have set before ourselves and the milestones that validate our dexterity within that quest. They are paramount to our prosperity.

Problem is: normally goal-setting is taken as a given and not a skill that needs to be trained. This leads to poor goal selection and failure. The act of choosing and setting goals, then creating a timeframe for their completion is something that takes careful preparation, self-evaluation, and an understanding of how each goal interacts with the others you’ve set for yourself.

When it comes to goal setting, I always tell my SEAL candidates that it first begins with an internal dialogue. This dialogue should be rid of negativity and pessimism and welcome pure positivity and confidence. Yoda implores: ‘do or do not, there is no try,’ and that is the mantra I try to impose upon every young mind surging up in the world.

Properly selected goals integrated with your One Thing (your chief aspiration) are going to be the waypoints that navigate you to success. But goal setting can be a tricky, fickle business, as sometimes the goals we set for ourselves actually stray us off our main path.

As a starting point, I like to highlight a few key points that assist with goal selection, before continuing to touch on its overall importance. If you’re currently trying to set goals for yourself, this ‘thought process’ is an excellent place to start.

  • There is no place for pessimism. Rid of it entirely. Whatever the goal is, expect to achieve it, no matter what obstacles are put before you.
  • Ensure that the goal you’re setting motivates you and your peers. In other words: make sure it’s productive and beneficial.
  • Discern between your general know-how and skillset versus that of which you’ll need to achieve your goal. This is particularly important as it helps deter goals that are too difficult with the timeframe allotted, in which failure is imminent.
  • Self-evaluate and make sure you’re in both the physical and mental condition to achieve this goal. If you are, evaluate this goal in comparison to other goals (be sure they do not inhibit one another).
  • Lastly: never quit. That simple. Once you’re committed, there should never be an excuse to stop.

Importance of Goal Setting

Goal-setting is an integral piece of the Big Four of Mental Toughness incorporated in the Navy SEAL’s program. It’s that important. We’ve developed an all-inclusive umbrella model for goal-setting and we take it as seriously as any other facet of mental toughness.

Without goals, it becomes difficult to measure success. The other aspect to goal-setting importance is the fuel it grants the warriors as they grow winded on their journey. The road to success—any success—is usually one filled with obstacles, difficulties, and setbacks.

Efficient goal-setting mitigates some of the stress, volatility, and doubt that marries parts of the journey. By setting certain waypoints, ensuring that those waypoints align with your purpose and objective vision of success, then ensuring that the path to achieve those waypoints (goals) is realistic, you can create a measurement of your journey that will effectively propel you forward.

The overt point A to point B needs to be filled with a series of different point A’s to point B’s threaded throughout the journey – otherwise progress will be difficult to gage. If progress becomes difficult to measure, then I know from personal experience that it’s easier to feel discouraged and allow negative thoughts to take control.

Lastly, goal setting allows you to be an architect with your vision. A trait that allowed me to thrive within the SEALs program is my ability to visualize success. However, I didn’t just wake up one morning knowing that I was going to fulfill my ambition and achieve what I coveted… it took careful training to solidify that vision.

One of the building blocks of envisioning success is accurate and efficient goal-setting, as the right targets allow you to align your purpose and lay the blueprint for what your future is going to look like.

To reiterate the essentials, the importance of goal setting falls in three categories:

  1. It helps reduce stress and improve performance on your journey
  2. It creates a sense of progress measurement, which then provides motivation to continue
  3. It helps solidify your vision of success, and works as the architect for your One Thing (that which you covet most).

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