3 Simple Steps for Setting Goals—in Life and at Work

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Sales Bible" by Jeffrey Gitomer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you clear on your goals? Are you effective at reaching them?

In the bestselling classic The Sales Bible, Jeffrey Gitomer outlines three simple steps to set goals. Whether you have sales targets, business objectives, or basic life goals, you can follow these steps to get clarity and focus on what you want to achieve.

Keep reading to learn Gitomer’s three simple steps for setting goals.

Simple Steps for Setting Goals

According to Gitomer, having a positive attitude allows you to overcome self-limiting beliefs and gives you the confidence to go after what you want. However, you can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want. The second of Gitomer’s major principles that we’ll discuss builds on this, recommending that you define what success means to you and set a goal to achieve it—whether that means earning X dollars each month or winning an award for salesperson of the year. By clarifying your goals, you can then determine what to do to achieve them.

(Shortform note: Gitomer doesn’t go into detail about why it’s important to set goals. In Goals!, sales trainer Bryan Tracy writes that goals not only give you a clear direction but also help you stay focused, enable you to measure progress, and motivate you to keep going despite setbacks.) 

Gitomer gives the following steps for setting goals:

1) Write Your Goals on Post-It Notes

Jot down one goal per sticky note, writing both big goals (such as starting a business) and small goals (such as reading a book about sales). Post these notes on your bathroom mirror so that you see them twice a day. (Shortform note: You don’t necessarily have to write your goals down on sticky notes as Gitomer advises—in Goals!, Brian Tracy says you can list them in a notebook. The important thing is the act of jotting them down: According to studies, writing down your goals makes you 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish them.)

2) Repeat Them to Yourself Every Day 

Read your goals out loud each time you see them. The daily prompt will get you thinking about what you should do to achieve your goals and remind you to take action. (Shortform note: Try phrasing each goal as a question instead of a statement. In To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink writes that asking yourself questions stimulates your mind, encourages creative thinking, and gives your goals meaning. So, rather than saying “I will make $10,000 this month,” ask “Will I make $10,000 this month?”)

3) Have a Wall of Achievement 

Every time you achieve a goal, move the Post-It note to another spot you look at daily, like your bedroom mirror. Seeing your growing collection of achievements will boost your confidence and motivate you to go after your remaining goals. (Shortform note: According to experts, celebrating your successes not only increases your confidence and motivation, but it also encourages you to think about what led to your success so that you can replicate your actions.) 

3 Simple Steps for Setting Goals—in Life and at Work

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jeffrey Gitomer's "The Sales Bible" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Sales Bible summary :

  • How to become a non-salesperson salesperson
  • How to make the best impression within the first 30 seconds
  • Methods for closing the sale without being pushy

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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