This blog discusses Zig Ziglar's steps for successful goal setting. The image shows an illustration of a mountain with a path curving upward, representing reaching your goal. All of the colors are blue, except for a red flag at the top.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

Are you having a difficult time sticking to your goals? Does it feel like January 1 was 10 months ago and you never lost any of that extra weight, started a meditation practice, or increased your income? There might be a reason why. Zig Ziglar has 7 steps for you that have profoundly helped many business leaders throughout the years. Find out if you have what it takes to manifest destiny.

Zig Ziglar’s Seven Steps of Goal Setting

Paraphrased from the Born to Win Workbook

    1. Identify the goal. If you want specific success, you must set specific goals.
    2. List the benefits: what’s in it for me? Your goal requires personal motivation.
    3. List the obstacles. Anticipate obstacles, and develop strategies to get through them. Learn how to improvise and be flexible if you aren’t prepared.
    4. List the skills and knowledge you need. Knowledge and skill will be required to successfully complete any goal.
    5. Identify who to work with. Who can help you be more successful?
    6. Develop a plan of action. The devil is in the details.
    7. Set a deadline. Make deadlines and stick to them.

Apply Zig’s Steps to Your Goals

The first step might seem obvious: “identify the goal,” except many people set out to do something without any specifics, such as “I want to travel more” or “I want a better paying job.” Ziglar is asking you: What does that mean? How will you stay motivated? Are you aware that obstacles will arise, and are you prepared for them? These are essentially the first 3 steps that Ziglar laid out in his book. What does this look like in a real world scenario? Let’s look at the goal of getting a raise at a current job.

Specific success in this instance requires a specific range or number. For example, if you were making $45,000, maybe you want a 20% raise after successfully increasing profits for your product over a period of a few years. This means you want to make at least $54,000 annually, which is a $9,000 increase. This is a specific goal.

Next, Ziglar wants to know for Step 2: “What’s in it for you?” The benefits of a higher income are plentiful but Ziglar wants you to be specific. Perhaps you currently live in a crowded house with noisy roommates, and a higher income would allow you to rent on your own in a quiet apartment. “If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal is diminished,” Ziglar wrote.

Learn to Be Prepared

So, you know how much more money you want to make, and you identified your personal motivation. Most people stop there, and then if any obstacles hinder their progress, they give up. Ziglar wrote for Step 3, “if you can anticipate something, you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it.” You need to figure out what your obstacles will be. Perhaps you asked for a raise, and you are a woman (gender matters in pay negotiations, according to The Muse), which means they gave you less than you wanted, without an opportunity to negotiate. You might also be told you have to wait 6 months before your next performance review to be considered for a raise. Before going into the conversation, be prepared, and find sources that will help you be both professional and assertive.

Work Better and Smarter Where You Are Now

Steps 4 through 7 require more reflection and detail-oriented planning. What skills and knowledge are required? If you cannot get your raise today, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what skills you need to get there. Or instead, you could try the enlightened approach: how can you increase your value for your company? Huffington Post has several suggestions for you for developing soft skills, and their writer Jonha Richman offers another post to inspire you to cultivate a more positive attitude. If you leave a job because you feel undervalued, Richman warns:

“the sense of fulfillment may only be fleeting in your next job and the very same feeling will start to creep in over and over again because you’ve only tried to escape the problem which lies within you. Instead, focus on how you can work better and smarter and be able to bring in more results for your current company.”

There is always room for improvement. If the obstacle to your goal for a raise was to wait 6 months, then you can adjust accordingly and still work on sharpening your saw.

Network, Network, Network

As for Step 5, you need to ask yourself: who in my network can help me be more successful? Think about possible mentors or business organizations where you can network with others. Local Chambers of Commerce often have mixers and lunches for local business leaders and newbies alike. Websites like MeetUp and LinkedIn could be places to start to identify contacts and resources to help you become the best version of yourself for your career and life. These people have been where you are now and can help you avoid the pitfalls.

The Devil is in the Details

What exactly do you need to achieve your goal? Step 6 is all about focusing on the details to attain the big picture vision. If you are looking for career advancement, then you need to come up with a calendar of the classes you plan to take and the books you want to read, in order to reach your next level of professionalism. Be concrete about this, such as twice a week you will focus on your classes, and on the other days you will read a few chapters from your books. Find out if your employer will sponsor any of these activities if they are relevant to your current role. Your boss may let you use one hour a week to work on your online courses or reading. They may even be willing to pay for all or part of them.

Success Starts with Accountability

Last but not least, step 7 says: “Set a deadline!” You could be planning to take classes and researching indefinitely — but “forever” is not a deadline. When do you want to see results? What is a measure of success for you? For example, one person might say, “I set a deadline for 6 months from now when I have my next review. I will complete 3 online courses on entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and coding. I will also read 5 books on areas that my mentors and boss recommended. These skills will help me be more valuable to my company, and in 6 months I will be better prepared for my review.” Setting a deadline is about accountability.

By following these 7 steps for each of your goals, you are bound to find success in all areas of your life. If you need any additional help, go back to Zig Ziglar’s work for further inspiration.

CEOs with high stress and time demands must still have a robust exercise regimen to improve health of business leader and company

Why is it especially important for a CEO to stay fit? The health benefits of a robust exercise regimen are clear for anyone. CEOs, though, have high amounts of stress and limited amounts of optional time. Health experts strongly associate these proportions with high health risks.

Goodbye Cortisol, Hello Endorphins

First of all, increased fitness decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. Though helpful in a physical trauma, fight, or flight, cortisol can be otherwise harmful. Overproduction of cortisol has been associated with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and disruptions in cognition and sleep. Some physical ailments associated with cortisol are headaches, heart disease, and weight gain. A daily, vigorous exercise regimen releases endorphins and hormones associated with reduced pain and increased pleasure that may improve mood and health.

If all exercise did was to increase endorphins and decrease cortisol, that should be enough to catch any business leader’s attention. But, wait, that’s not all.

Exercise is also beneficial for executive functioning of the brain. Just as a business executive monitors and coordinates various departments, the executive function of the brain moves body and mind efficiently forward. With improved diet and fitness, the brain produces cells and neural pathways, called neurogenesis. More than anyone, CEOs need to be at the top of their game, and neurogenesis, improved by exercise, will give them a needed advantage.

In addition, sweating releases toxins that have accumulated in the body, moving heavy metals and harmful microbes out of the system. With these toxins removed, skin glows, tightens, and exudes radiance. The entire organization will feel the positive vibe emanating from a CEO’s fit and detoxified presence. 

Heart Health

Finally, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes rates, which have been ravaging Americans for years, are becoming global health threats. Cardiovascular disease is on pace to become the primary cause of death and disability in India by 2020. Studies have shown that three hours of exercise per week can positively impact heart health.

There is a reason that more and more entrepreneurs have life coaches. Running an organization is highly demanding and requires so much attention and focus that less pressing needs easily recede to the background. A life coach can look at the bigger picture and will definitely encourage their clients to maximize performance by having vigorous workout plans.

Being fit isn’t just a competitive advantage. It also creates long term health benefits which increase both focus and confidence. This might mean having the edge needed to lead an organization that is as healthy and vibrant as its leader.