Expert advice on goal setting and achieving your goals.

Goal Setting – Interview with Dr. Tony Alessandra on How to Achieve Goals

Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He is a prolific author and thought leader. Visit him at

Josh Hinds: What is goal setting and why is it important?

Dr. Tony Alessandra: Striving for and attaining goals makes for a meaningful life. Without goals, we are susceptible to feeling emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, and professionally unbalanced. Goal-setting creates drive and positively affects your personality and character.

Josh Hinds: What is the best advice you could give to someone on setting goals and achieving them?

Dr. Tony Alessandra: Write It Down – Seeing Is Believing – Turn a nebulous thought into a bona fide goal by writing the goal on paper. Written goals are more official and strengthen our commitment. The visual reminder continually reconfirms their importance.

Push Beyond Comfort – A goal must be a challenge and motivate you to work harder. Set your goals beyond your reach so that you’ll stretch beyond your comfort zone. The more you stretch, the more limber your goal achieving abilities will become.

Be Precise – Be specific with goals to avoid the lack of commitment that comes from being vague. Rather than having a broad goal of losing weight, be more specific: “I will increase my cardiovascular workouts by 10 to 15 percent.” This statement defines the increase that you are striving for as well as the range of the desired increase. In addition, it is a flexible goal, which tend to be more realistic.

Josh Hinds: Do you have any specific techniques of systems people could put into place that would help them achieve the goals they set?

Dr. Tony Alessandra: Define your goal. Your first task is to determine whether your goal meets all the requirements of the rules listed above. If it does, then write it as clearly as possible at the top of the worksheet.

Examine obstacles that stand in your way. This is a time to guard against negative assumptions and other self-defeating thoughts. Remember the definition of realistic. An obstacle blocks you only if you let it. You should also write down your innovative ways of overcoming obstacles.

W.I.I.F.M.—What’s in it for me? Why do you want to achieve the goal? What kind of payoff is motivating you?

Plan your action. You need to carefully list the steps you will take which will bring you closer to your goal. The smaller the increments the easier they will be to accomplish. There is a German proverb that says, ” He who begins too much accomplishes little.” As the American Dental Association is fond of saying, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

Project a target date for your goal. State your deadline range, such as, “between March 15 and April 1st.” Think carefully about the amount of time you need. Too little time will increase the pressure and frustrate you. Too much time may reduce your drive.

Know how you’ll measure your success. Goals should be described in terms of the final outcome of an activity rather than as the activity. This is part of being specific. Instead of saying “I will be running more in four to six months,” you could say “I’ll be running three miles instead of two miles in four to six months.” How will you measure this? Probably by having one-third more blisters on your feet.

Josh Hinds: Dr. Alessandra, thank you for taking the time to share your ideas on goal-setting. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers along these same lines that would helpful?

Dr. Tony Alessandra: The dividends reaped by investing in yourself through effective goal setting are substantial. When you clarify your values and set goals in all the major areas of your life–mental, physical, family, social, spiritual, professional, and financial– the right roads appear in front of you like mirages in the desert, yet they are real. Choices become infinitely easier to make because you are aiming at something specific, and you’ve taken a giant step toward hitting your goals…with amazing accuracy.

- I hope you found the ideas above helpful. What were some key takeaways you got from the ideas Dr. Alessandra shared? How will you go about putting them into action in your own life?

Yours in goal-setting success, Josh Hinds

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