How To Set Effective Goals Part 1

I have been interested in the process of goal setting for over 10 years. For this blog post I have collated the most effective tips to set goals from my research over the last decade. This goal setting process is split into 2 parts:

  • Part 1: Location and Active Imagination – A philosophical guide to preparation and idea generation for goal setting
  • Part 2: Recording, Working and Review Points – A practical application in recording and reviewing your goals

In Part 2 I will provide a free template to assist anyone in categorizing and recording their yearly goals

The Internal Process of Goal Setting:

Part 1 focuses on the physchological and internal process of goal setting. Please endeavour to read through this first section as it lays the correct platform for practical goal setting in part 2. If you want meaningful goals, the following information will provide insights and pathways to finding them.


It is difficult to plan and set goals if you are tired, busy or distracted. It is extremely important to be calm, positive and relaxed when you set your yearly goals. Set aside at least 5 hours, a full day or a weekend.


“Goal setting and location selection needs to be respected and prioritized as one of your most important activities of the calendar year. “

Try to be in an isolated and private space. Go on holiday, visit a calm vista on a sunny day, or plan to set your goals when you will be alone and undisturbed. Your physical environment should be one that makes you feel relaxed and assured. Pick and ideal location, and do not be afraid to spend money if your location requires travel to reach.


Now that you are at your desired location, it is time to dive into your thoughts. The best part about future goals is that they are completely undefined. You decide what your goals will be. There is no Google search for defining your goals, as you are the true author. Before we draw upon the well of information within our mind, lets first take a moment to define 3 key concepts:

  • Languages
  • Things
  • Imagination


 “To set meaningful goals, we need to dream and project beyond what we currently have. This can only happen with imagination”


As adults, we fall prey to materialistic ideals. We often set goals that are confined to finance, investment and career. The truth is that most of our desires cannot be materialized. A new house might be a mask for a new sense of freedom we require in our life. A 20 day vacation in Africa, may spawn from an inner need for more adventure and mystery. It is quite often the case that a lot of your needs can be fulfilled by new ‘languages’, instead of new ‘things’.

‘Languages’ are acquired skills that teach us more about the world and give us improved capability. Spanish is a language, but so is Cooking, Surfing, Knitting and Archery. These ‘Languages’ which could also be called skills or abilities, teach and empower us to move freely within our lives. ‘Languages’ reveal new paths, allow us to meet new people, travel to new places and learn more about ourselves. ‘Languages’ are far more empowering than ‘Things’.


On the flip side, ‘Things’ , like a diamond ring, car, house or bicycle, are simply inanimate possessions that we own. You do not need years of experience, training or capability to purchase new ‘Things’, you only need money. ‘Things’ are fine for goal setting, however we should be careful about setting goals that are dominated by the attainment of more ‘Things’. We need a balance and way of deciding if the ‘Thing’ we want is actually a mask. A mask that conceals a deeper desire that is hidden and may be expressed in another way.

2019-02-25 21_45_08-Mirrored photo by Alex Iby (@alexiby) on Unsplash“‘ The ‘Thing’ we want may actually be a mask that conceals a deeper desire.” 


This takes us back to imagining, the activity we freely engaged in as children, and still do, as adults. In order to paint a picture that will reveal your desires and ultimate goals, you need to imagine what your ideal future would be like.

  • Where would you live?
  • What kind of body would you have?
  • What activities would you participate in?
  • Who would you spend time with?
  • What would you own?

This is a very personal and secretive process. It can also be quite confronting.  As you slowly contemplate the questions above, take your time, write down any thoughts that grab you and make you feel inspired. Please remember to slow down for this process, allow yourself to think deeply about “What would my ideal life be like?”. Imagination is your ticket to go from the “here and now” to a possible future, instantaneously.


 “To set meaningful goals, we need to project ourselves boldly beyond what we currently have by re-engaging in free & private imagination to express your inner desires”

It takes courage to imagine. Many people are afraid of this process, as it seems juvenile or often reveals our current shortcomings. However, the true purpose of imagination in goal setting is to reveal possibilities and write them down. To set meaningful goals, we need to project ourselves boldly beyond what we currently have. This can only happen with imagination, and it takes courage to do it meaningfully.

Thanks for reading, and look out for my next post which will include a free simple goal setting template and conclude the process for ‘How To Set Yearly Goals’.



Jared Neems is a Web & IOT Application Developer, Language Teacher who lives on the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. 

He has worked as a private contractor in education and technology with Yoobee ACG Auckland & Wellington, REINZ, MClass New Zealand and HMI Technologies. Jared works with several design and dev-development contractors under the Veratech brand.  

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