Your Definite Chief Aim:
How to set goals using new scientific principles


I found this note on a wall in the Planet Hollywood restaurant located in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The hand-written note read:
My Definite Chief Aim

“I, Bruce Lee, will be the highest paid Oriental superstar in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.” – Bruce Lee Jan. 1969

I was awed by this simple paper on the wall. Obviously Bruce Lee was very successful as an actor, martial artist producer and entrepreneur. Many claim that he is responsible for starting the entire martial arts movement in the USA. He achieved all the goals.

So what is your definite chief aim? I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I am frustrated because I just see so many people in my training seminars who tell me they don’t have goals, and seem to just be drifting through their daily life.(Not a sure fire formula for success)

You have been told all your life about the importance of setting goals; its important right? But we don’t do it. Shockingly, all the research shows that only about 3% of our population set goals. Hmm. That is a disturbing number. So I would like to get you interested in setting your goals but not by talking about the same old stuff. I want to give you the new stuff, the cutting edge science about goal setting and how it can be more effective. We are now learning that goal setting isn’t enough. There are specific scientifically proven techniques that if employed will make your goals setting significantly more effective. So here are three brand spanking ways to look at goal setting that may convince you to actually try it.

1. Write down your goals- Yes I know, you are tired of hearing this one. But there is finally research, a reason that explains why it works. Scientists are saying its your R.A.S.- its your Reticular Activating System. It is the part of your brain that tells you what to focus on. Let me give you an example. You are talking to your spouse (who is in the kitchen you are in the other room- so you can’t see them only hear them) and a news story is on T.V. What do you focus on? The T.V. why? It’s simple, because the visual is too powerful to ignore. When you write down your goals you are creating a powerful visual for your brain to focus on. You have activated that portion of your very sophisticated brain (the R.A.S.) to work on it. But is there proof that this works? Yes, according to an interesting study that was done a few years ago by USA Today. First researchers selected people who made New Year’s resolutions. Then they divided these people into two categories: those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote them down, and those who made New Year’s resolutions, but neglected to write them down. Twelve months later, they followed up on the respondents in this study. What they found was astonishing! Of the people who made New Year’s resolutions but neglected to write them down, only 4% actually followed through on their resolutions. However, among the group that took a few minutes to record their New Year’s resolutions, 44% followed through on them. This difference of more than 1100% proves the simple act of crystallizing resolutions or goals on paper increases likelihood of success. So would you like to be 1100% more effective?

2. Print them out – Post them on the wall of your office, on your PDA, everywhere where you can see them. Some people write them down in a book and never review them. You should see them and review them frequently. Frequency increases retention and increases focus. It now becomes your map or blueprint for success. Bruce Lee’s “True Chief Aim” as mentioned above was hand written and displayed on his wall. He looked at it daily.

3. Create a “vision board”- Yeah I know this sounds a little “ whoo whoo” or a bit too new age. Don’t be so cynical. A vision board is simply a bulletin board where you place pictures of your goals. A certain car make and model, a dream home at the lake, an exotic vacation, etc. This concept has been mentioned in many bestselling books the last few years (The Secret, The Answer to name a few) author Louise Hay says very succinctly “it just forces your mind to concentrate on certain things” Scientifically it is actually using two parts of your brain the R.A.S. as mentioned above and also “programming” your subconscious mind ( through visualization) to work on the goals even when you consciously aren’t. Feel like this sounds a little weird? That’s OK. Here is my simple question; if it has worked for thousands of people, why not try it? There is very little expense and really nothing to lose. So try it. Be new. Be edgy. Be cutting edge. You do it with everything else in your life (don’t you have the newest phone, software and computer?) Why not use the newest thinking and technology on goal achievement and results?

As motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once said “Everyone has a success mechanism and a failure mechanism. The failure mechanism goes off by itself. The success mechanism only goes off with a goal. Every time we write down and talk about a goal we push the button to start the success mechanism.”

So do you want to be successful? I am daring you to step forward in your life and career and set goals- press the button!

Shawn Doyle is the President and Founder of New Light Learning and Development Inc. a company specializing in Leadership Development. He has also authored seven books on leadership sales and motivation. His latest book The 10 Foundations of Leadership will be published this winter.