If we don’t know where we are going, we are probably not going to like where we end up. The Stephen Covey quote above is from his book “The Seven Habits of highly effective people” and this is a book I would highly recommend to anyone in business.

Understanding how to goal set properly and make sure you stay on track is vitally important for success in anything you do. You have to look at where you currently are and where you want to be, and by when. Work backwards from the end goal and then you have the steps to take to make sure you stay on track. You must have an end goal with a date or you will just aimlessly drift from one day or one week to the next.

The easiest way for me to explain this is to use a real life example in my life:

In April 2003, after watching the London Marathon, I made the decision to run the 2004 event with a couple of friends. There are so many lessons to learn from this but I want to just focus on the goal setting part.

The event was taking place on the 18 April. This date was sent in stone. So any training I did had to be with this date in mind. If I did not train sufficiently enough, I was not going to complete the race or I would take the quitters way out and not run it at all. This was not even an option in my mind, so having the belief is a strong part of achieving your goal.

At the time of making the decision I was running 3 miles once a week. I knew that this was not going to get me round a marathon course, and not ever having run one before, the first thing I need to do was to ask advice from someone I knew who had run the event before. He said I needed a decent pair of running shoes and also to subscribe to Runners World – a magazine that would give me a running plan and also a diet plan. The running plan went something like this:

About 4 weeks before the Marathon (so mid March) I needed to be running my longest run of 18 or 20 miles. About 12 to 24 weeks before mid March, I needed to be running a number of half marathons, so the first half marathon I needed to be running was in September time. The magazine also gave a number of races I could enter all over the country to work with my training plan. About 8 weeks prior to September I needed to be running a 10 mile run – so first one of these about July. Then there were the 10k runs (6 miles) and I needed to be running the first one of these about 8 weeks from where I currently was.

So I now had the baby steps to take along the way. My first 10k run was 8 weeks from where I was. Could I step up from 3 Miles to 6 miles in 8 weeks? Yes I could. By having an event to enter gave me focus. I effectively had goals to take me every step of the way. All I had to do was have the discipline to run 3 times a week to make sure I stayed on track. If I did, I was assured to be ready for the event in April 2004. I did run the event and completed it and also ran and completed the 2005 London Marathon. I had a plan. I just had to put it into action. Success was assured.

Setting business goals are no different and if you need any help, just give me a call – 07798 632173 – or email me on

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 20/04/2020