Especially between the age of 16 and 20, I was obsessed with setting goals to make sure I achieve my desired results. Goals give us structure and an ideal end in mind so the path there becomes clearer.

I have read many books on goal setting and how to make them most effective. However, most of them never really seemed to work for me. I had set very SMART goals and still, I had a lot of trouble achieving them. I thought maybe they are too big or too small or something else is wrong with my wording of the goal until I found the real reason these goals did not work for me.

When setting these goals at my very young age, I had no clue who I really was. Values was something I never heard about and a vision, I thought, was something from a Science-Fiction movie, like a Jedi Mind Trick.

The goals I was setting were not aligned with my values because I had no idea what my values were.

A few years later, things became clearer and I began to see who I really am. Therefore, I was able to set better goals that were aligned with my values so they felt right.

However, I still lacked a strong internal motivation to achieve them. Sure, it seemed great to have my own business, the world travels, the Ferrari, the mansion at the lake or the standing ovations while giving a speech to a large audience. The issue was that I never asked enough Why questions to spark a burning desire.

I constantly hear speakers and trainers say “You need to have a burning desire for the goal you want to achieve”. Great advice. However, my question has always been how to get that burning desire.

Thanks to Tony Robbins’ program Awaken the Giant Within and by looking at how and why I achieved more than 80% of my big goals in my professional and personal life in 2012 & 2013, I came up with a formula.

In this article, I want to show you how to spark that burning desire to achieve your goals. After you have read this article, you will be able to set goals that spark a burning desire inside of you to achieve them.


1. Define Your SMART Goals

It’s time for brainstorming. Write down everything you want to achieve within the next 1-5 years. Afterwards, write the number of years it will take you to achieve that goal next to it.

After you have done that, it’s time to focus. Pick one goal that you want to achieve over the next 12 months and use it for this exercise.

Here is my personal definition for SMART goals in your career.



Is your goal specific enough so you can actually picture it? Can you draw it?

The goals we are most likely to achieve are so specific that they touch many of our senses. Is it emotional? Can you taste or smell it when you imagine it?

Don’t just say “I want to have a more fulfilling career”.

Say something like “I want to work with healthcare organizations that truly change people’s lives through their work and make a difference in the world. These organizations stand for freedom, equal chances, long term results and change from the inside. They are organizations with fewer than 1000 employees and are operating globally.”



Will you know when you have achieved your goal? How will you know it? Is there a flag at the top of the mountain that you can touch so you know you have achieved your goal? Is there a specific number you have to reach so you know you have achieve it?

Put a measure on the goal so you know when you have achieved it. Let’s take that specific goal from above and make it measurable. You could say “My goal is to have 5 inspiring healthcare organizations in the region of Zurich as recurring clients.”



Can you actually achieve the goal? Are you the main shareholder of the goal or are there many other factors or people influencing it?

I believe this is less about how big the goal is and more about if you are in control of it or not. If too many other factors come into play that you have no control over, it’s hard to say if you can achieve the goal or not. If you need approval in order to achieve your goal or if too many other people are involved in the goal, you are not the main shareholder of control in the goal and you may need to adjust it.

Even if you are not 100% in total control and there is no guarantee that you will get the 5 inspiring healthcare organizations in Zurich as recurring clients, you are most probably the major shareholder here. Through your actions, you determine if you achieve the goal or not.

However, if you want to win a project where you are bidding against 50 other service providers and you have no relationships with the client yet, it’s not a very SMART goal because there are too many variables and external factors you can’t control.



Is the goal relevant to your vision, the big picture of your life? Is the goal aligned with your values?

If it’s not highly relevant, you will lack the motivation and inner drive to achieve it.

Your vision is the big picture of your life. Your values are the colors of your walls. If they don’t align with the colors of your big picture, you will feel that something is wrong.

Your goals are the nails you hang that big picture on. If you hang it on the wrong nails, your picture is going to crash. Similarly, if your nails are not big and strong enough, they are not going to hold your big picture for long.



Does your goal have a specific end date? By putting a date on your goal, you create a time constraint and you can calculate how much of what you need to do within that time frame to achieve your goal.

For instance, you could say “My goal is to have 5 inspiring healthcare organizations in the region of Zurich as recurring clients by 31st December 2014.”


2. Associate Massive Pain to Not Achieving the Goal

One of the issues I always had with goals is that I did not have a burning desire to achieve them. Sure, I was somehow motivated and it would have been great to achieve them but it was not a must. The stakes were not high enough.

By associating massive pain to not achieving the goal, you make your brain work as hard as possible to help you achieve it. We want to move away from pain. We want to not be in miserable situations. So answer these questions.

What will it cost me if I don’t achieve that goal?
What will I miss out on in my life if I don’t make this shift now?
What’s it already costing me in my life?

If you don’t feel enough pain for not achieving your goal, you need a different goal.


3. Associate Massive Pleasure to Achieving the Goal

We want to move towards pleasure. We want to achieve a goal not just for the sake of achieving it and ticking it off but for the benefits we get. Answer these questions to associate massive pleasure to achieving your goal.

If I achieve that goal, how will that make me feel about myself?
What can I accomplish if I really made this change today?
How will my family and friends feel?
How much happier will I be?
How will my life look different if I achieve this goal?

If you don’t feel enough pleasure for achieving your goal, change the goal.


4. Identifying Limiting Beliefs

What is holding you back from achieving your goal? What limiting beliefs do you have about your goal?

Maybe you want to become rich and famous but your limiting belief, that rich people are greedy and famous people get stalked all the time, is holding you back.

Maybe you want to become a business owner and work with small organizations in the educational industry but your limiting belief, that it will take you years and lots of money to establish such a business, is holding you back.

Whatever holds you back from achieving your full potential, it’s important that you identify these beliefs so you can unblock your mind.

Make a list of all the limiting beliefs, big or small, that hold you back from living your dream life and career.


5. Eliminating Limiting Beliefs

Now take that list of limiting beliefs, one by one, and come up with 3 arguments for every single one of them that would make them ridiculous.

Maybe your limiting belief about working with only the most inspiring healthcare organizations is that it’s hard to find them or that there are not many. So you do research and find 3 healthcare organizations that are inspiring to you.

Maybe your limiting belief about becoming a business owner is that it takes a long time and a lot of money. So you find 3 people who have successfully built businesses in what you consider a short time and with what you consider little money and ask them how they did it.

Maybe your limiting belief is that earning a lot of money will make you greedy. To eliminate that limiting belief, find at least 3 people who are rich and very genuine and authentic. Then find out how they treat money and what money mindset they have.

Maybe your limiting belief is that organizations with a social aspect are not making money and therefore you can’t achieve your desired lifestyle by working with them. Find organizations with a social aspect that do make money and research business models that incorporate a social aspect with profitability. Problem solved.

Now list 3 arguments for every limiting belief that make them ridiculous.


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