Setting and achieving goals is one of the hardest things to do in life. We’ve all been there, wanting something but lacking the motivation to get it. To help, I’ve compiled the top 46 goal-setting quotes from some of the world’s most successful people to kick start your path towards setting and achieving goals.
1. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” — Albert Einstein
2. “Begin with the end in mind.” — Stephen Covey
3. “All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” — Orison Swett Marden
4. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” — Pablo Picasso
5. “You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” — Steve Garvey
6. “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.” — Mark Victor Hansen
7. “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” — Michael Korda
8. “All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.” — Norman Vincent Peale
9. “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” — Zig Ziglar
10. “If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” — Les Brown
11. “It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” — Benjamin E. Mays
12. “It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb. Continue to seek new goals.” — Pat Summitt
13. “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Rabindranath Tagore
14. “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” — Tony Robbins
15. “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie
16. “We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don't know where you're aiming, you don't have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared." — Mary Kay Ash
17. “To sit on an idea or fail to act on a goal is not really goal-setting, but wishful thinking.” — Les Brown
18. “If you want to succeed at a goal, you need to understand why you want it. This is critical. You have to do this process for any goal you set for yourself.” — Michael S. Dobson
19. “Time frame is an essential part of goal-setting, because it helps you commit and increases your focus.” — Ted Robbins
20. “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” — Denis Waitley
21. “For most of us, goal-setting sounds and usually is a grueling process, because we most often confuse a goal with a wish, an objective with a desire.” — Michael Lombardi
22. “I believe there are two ingredients necessary to make every day a masterpiece: decisions and discipline. They are like two sides of the same coin; you could call them 'goal-setting' and 'goal-getting.' And they can't be separated because one is worthless without the other.” — John C. Maxwell
23. “Focus, discipline, hard work, goal-setting and, of course, the thrill of finally achieving your goals. These are all lessons in life.” — Kristi Yamaguchi
24. “To unlock and unleash your full potential, you should make a habit of daily goal-setting and achieving for the rest of your life.” — Brian Tracy
25. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn
26. “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” — Brian Tracy
27. “There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind has achieved the second.” — Logan Pearsall Smith
28. “The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” — Michelangelo
29. “I do know that when I am 60, I should be attempting to achieve different personal goals than those which had priority at age 20.” — Warren Buffett
30. “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” — Bill Copeland
31. “We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
32. “If you’re bored with life—you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things—you don’t have enough goals.” — Lou Holtz
33. “I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” — Michael Phelps
34. “Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.” — Tony Hsieh
35. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.” — Michael Jordan
36. “A good goal is like a strenuous exercise—it makes you stretch.” — Mary Kay Ash
37. “Most impossible goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them and going full speed ahead as if they were routine.” — Don Lancaster
38. “There are only two rules for being successful. One, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.” — Mario Cuomo
39. “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” — Bruce Lee
40. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn
41. “It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
42. “To reach a port, we must sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” — Franklin Roosevelt
43. “Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.” — Amelia Earhart
44. “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.” — Robert Herjavec
45. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe
46. “My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose—somehow we always win out.” — Ronald Reagan
Goal-setting is important because it gives you a direction and a purpose in life. A life without a goal is just a series of hopes and dreams. If you want to achieve something, set it as a goal, and work methodically to moves continuously towards it.
An inspirational goal is one that is both hard to achieve as well as something that affects the world in a positive way. These goals are typically driven by intrinsic motivators, which are internal rewards like the joy of helping someone or the satisfaction with work well-done. You can use the goal-setting quotes above to help create the inspiration you're looking for.
The first step is to understand their core values and the “why” behind their goals. This way, you can better understand a person’s drivers and the motivating factors they’re using to achieve their goals. From there, act as an accountability partner that sets consistent check-ins with the person to track their progress towards their goals, using their internal motivators as a positive incentive.
There are many different types of goals. However, the main types of goals typically include short-term, long-term, career, business, financial, personal development, spiritual, health and relationship. For more information on the various types of goals and which ones you should set, check out my article on the 12 types of goals and which ones are best.
A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The best goals have all five of these elements. Check out my article on what SMART goals are and how to create goals with the correct SMART elements.
Achieving your goals is no easy task. Hopefully, the goal-setting quotes above from historical luminaries will help motivate you and give you the edge when pursuing your higher-level desires. Use these goal-setting quotes as guideposts as you set out to achieve your ultimate goals.