How to achieve goals

How to achieve goals in 12 steps by Brian Tracy

I have recently come across world’s bestselling book on how to achieve goals by Brian Tracy: Goals! How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible.

Goals! by Brian TracyIt’s probably the most comprehensive book on the subject I’ve read. What I loved about it is how deep into various areas Brian goes to help us design our lives around achieving goals we most desire.He takes you through a 12-step process that will allow you to excel in anything that you want to achieve. I found this process very interesting and immediately put it to use. And now I wanted to share it with you.

Here is the “12-step program to Personal Excellence” according to Brian Tracy with my personal comments and add ons based on various research and other books on similar topics.

How to achieve your goals in 12 steps by Brian Tracy

How to achieve goals in 12 steps

1. Have a desire

What is that one thing that you truly desire? That one thing that makes you excited, keeps you up at night, makes you feel butterflies in your stomach?
This is not the moment to be logical and think what you should want in your life. Put your logic aside and listen to your heart. Allow yourself to desire whatever you want. You know the saying think big? Well, desire big, too!

2. Believe

You have to absolutely believe you can achieve your goal. If you start by doubting your possibilities one thing will happen for sure – you will fail. It’s been even proven by scientist and it’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy: what you expect, eventually manifest itself in your reality.
On the contrary, if you really believe you can do it, you wil start seeing all the possibilities to make it happen, you will have more courage and energy to chase your dreams.
It is not always easy to have that kind of faith. We have all failed more than once and we fear that we can fail again.
So what can you do to help yourself believe you can achieve your goals?
Set smaller goals for yourself first, so you can see and enjoy your small successes. Slowly, increase your goals. The worst thing you can do is set too big of a goal, something unrealistic. You almost force yourself to fail and prove to yourself that you are not strong enough. So start small. Build your faith and courage.

3. Write it down

There is something magical about writing things down. Psychologists have proven that we become more committed to what we write down versus what we say. So write down your goals.
Brian suggest a 3P formula for writing down your goals: use present, positive and personal statement.
That means that if your goal is to earn USD 500,000 by the end of the year, you should write: I earn USD 500,000 by the end of this year. You use verbs in present tense, you use positive language (you write what you want, not what you don’t want) and you write in 1st person: I.

4. Analyze your starting point

You know where you want to get. Analyzing where you are now allows you to understand what you will need to do. If your goal is to be 55kg then you need to know your current weight to know how much you need to lose and plan it accordingly.
Be honest with yourself. This is not the moment to allow your ego sabotage your efforts. Whatever your goal is, do a thorough analysis of your strengths and weaknesses in this area.

5. Determine why you want to excel in this area

Knowing why you want to achieve a particular goal will help you stay focused on it in moments of difficulties and doubt. Usually when we start working on a new project, we are very excited and super motivated. But those feelings don’t last forever. They usually come and go.
So take some time to write down at least 5 reasons why you want to achieve your goal. How will your life improve once you get it? How will your relationships look like?
Make a list (yes, write it down!) and keep it always available to you.

6. Set a deadline

Setting deadlines for your goals is one of the main rules for achieving them. Having a deadline helps you in 2 ways. Firstly, it allows you to plan. You start by deciding when you want to achieve your goal, and plan backwards. This way you will know how much you need to work on your goal every month, ever week and every day.
Secondly, it adds a pressure. Humans are lazy by nature. Setting deadlines adds a pressure that motivates us to work.
Think of any assignment you had to do at work on in the university. Have you ever procrastinated on it until a deadline came and you had no other choice but to do it?
Your deadline is your best guess about when the goal should be achieved. Don’t worry so much about not meeting it. In some cases, you won’t. But it doesn’t mean you failed. Deadlines are there to help us achieve our goals, but by no means are they determinants of our success.
Once you know a deadline for your goal, set deadlines for all the steps you will need to accomplish beforehand.

7. Identify the obstacles

I can guarantee that you will encounter difficulties on your way to achieving your desired outcome. But don’t let that discourage you. Everybody who has achieved great goals in their lives, had to overcome some kind of obstacles.
Think of what could be an obstacle for you. Knowing what the worst case scenario can be, allows you to be prepared. So if the obstacle does appear (though it doesn’t always have to), you will know exactly what to do.
Brian gives a very interesting theory on obstacles. He uses a famous Pareto rule of 80/20 and explains it this way: 80% of all obstacles comes from within us, and only 20% are due to external factors. This is a good news. It means that you have control on 80% of what could stop you from achieving your goals. these are usually some traits in our personality or lack of skills. And you can work on all of them.

8. Determine the additional knowledge and skill you need

You have a goal. Now ask yourself why is it that this goals is not yet a reality? You probably need to get some new skills and knowledge to achieve it. identify them. Understand what new skills you need to pick to become an expert in the field and to help you get where you want. Create a list of books, events and courses you will need to take to get there. This is how you work on that 80% of obstacles – the part that lies within us.

9. Determine the people you’ll need

At more than one time you will need help from somebody. Identify key people for your success. Who can teach you what you need to know? Who can help you stay focused and motivated?
Once you have that list, start working on relationships with these people. Offer then your help first. Don’t expect them to help you if you are not willing to do the same for them. Be genuine and honest. Don’t use anybody for your goals, but create real relationships beneficial for both of you.

10. Make a plan

You’ve probably heard the saying that what doesn’t get planned doesn’t get done. Or as Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Having a plan for achieving your goal is essential to your success. Without it, how will you know what to work on? We have limited resources (like time and energy) and you need to make sure you put them to the right use.
Make a plan. This is your roadmap. But stay flexible. Observe how the environment changes. You might need to adjust your plan more than once. Be open for it. Planning itself is a part of your success.

11. Visualize

This is a very important part for you to achieve your goals, unfortunately often ignored. Visualization is a great tool to help you get where you want to get. And its powers are almost limitless.
Create a habit of visualizing what you want. If you want to lose weight, see yourself with the body of your dreams. If you want to have your own business, picture yourself as a successful businessman. By doing so you activate your subconscious, or as Brian calls it – your supermind.
Here is how the magic works. Your external (the world you live in) is a reflection of your internal (your imagination, beliefs). If you want to change the external, you need to first change the internal. In an almost magical way you will see how the world changes to fit your internal.
It works because of the 2 laws.  First one is what we’ve already discussed: self-fulling prophecy. Visualizing having achieved your goals makes you behave in a way that helps you notice all the possibilites and dismiss any obstacles. That keeps you focused and motivated.
The second law is called the Law of Attraction. It states that whatever it is that you mostly think of, whatever it is that you are always focused on and truly desire, will be attracted to you. You will suddenly notice that the right people and the right opportunities come to your life.

12. Never give up

The key to achieving your goal is persistence. No matter how much talent you have, if you don’t persist, you might just give up right before your big breakthrough. Don’t let any failures discourage you. You already know that obstacles will happen. Whenever they do – work ont hem and keep going forward. Once you decide you want to achieve a goal, make a decision to never ever give up.


You can apply it to any goal you have in life: be it your financial or career goals, or  your family and relationships goals.

You will find much more in Brian’s book. If you liked the 12-step process, I strongly suggest you read the whole book. You can get it from Amazon from the link below (just click on the image):


Now back to you.

Do you have a process that helps you achieve your goals? Share with others in the comments section below.

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  • Alfredo

    Reply Reply December 3, 2015

    Brian, iam truly happy with this steps,, my life has changed and is amazing when i do everything i want thru making goal.I wish i could receive more texts or books so that i start flourishing and help others here in my country Mozambique and show people the importance of goals in life.

  • Personal prophecy

    Reply Reply November 5, 2016

    Goals! by Brian TracyIt’s probably the most comprehensive book on the subject I’ve read. What I loved about it is how deep into various areas Brian goes to help us design our lives around achieving goals we most desire.

  • Rahul Ratnakar

    Reply Reply June 4, 2019

    Thanks for summary. I agree, if I believe I can do it, then possibilities begin to knock my door. And at some point in life, vision will automatically manifest itself in your reality.

  • Stan Cherenkov

    Reply Reply January 3, 2020

    Brian Tracy is awesome. Thank you for the summery. I like his suggestion to write down each and every morning your goals. By writing them down you program your subconscious mind to achieve those goals.

    thanks again for sharing

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