The Secrets of Success: Be A “Goal-Getter”

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When we were researching and writing our best-selling book, The Spark we discovered 27 secrets of success that thousands of successful SparkPeople members have used to reach their goals, lose weight and keep it off. Some secrets--including these--are too good to keep to yourself.

We're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark from March 1-15.

Secret #3 Be a “goal-getter.”

Of our successful members, 96 percent were actively working toward one or more goals. They all either had or had met weight loss goals, but they also had active fitness goals (81.5 percent), health- related goals (49 percent), and other life goals like financial, career, relationship, creative pursuits, and many more.

When I started running, I was going nowhere. Sure, I was going for miles, but what I mean is that I had no goal in mind. I ran a few times a week, when I felt like it, for as long as I wanted, only when the weather was nice. It wasn't until Coach Nancy suggested that I run a 5K with other SparkPeople members that I set a goal and buckled down. I thought that having a running schedule would take all the fun out of it, but on the contrary, having runs planned into my week kept me from slacking. Since that first race, I ran another, then a 10K, and now I'm training for a half-marathon! Goal-setting really works!

With all the goal-setting tools and motivational stories on SparkPeople, it was easy and fun.

Habits of Fit People: Set a Fun Fitness Goal

Are You Prepared to Reach Your Goals?

Keeping Goals Top of Mind

A Blueprint for Goal Success

Know someone who would like to learn more about the Secrets of Success? Spread the Spark by clicking the green "Share" button below.

Did you miss a secret? Find all the rest of the series of 15 here (a new one is posted every day). For all 27 secrets and to learn how to fit them into your life, read The Spark.

Is this one of your Secrets of Success? What goal have you set for today?

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I am making progress daily Report
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Thank You for a great article. Report
You are so right about setting goals. My main goals are losing weight and losing inches and that is about it. Congratulations on your accomplishments. You are an inspiration! Report
I hadn't really set REAL goals for myself before joining Sparkpeople. In the past I would sort of set goals, but they obviously didn't mean much to me, and I didn't give myself rewards for reaching them. Through SP, I have learned to set small reachable goals, reward myself (without food!), and create new goals. It is so satisfying to see that I'm coming up on another goal, and actually reach it, and surpass it! Report
I also think goals are great -- and I have a bunch of them -- but I often find that my career goals get in the way of my fitness goals. I'm going to school full time for my MBA and working full time. That pressure has been hard on my eating habits and has left me with limited time to work out. Report
I am convinced that the goal-setting aspect of training for races is one of the best things about running. Report
You can't really aim for anything if you don't have a target. Report
I intend to make my goals a more viable part of my life. Report
I have several goals in mind both short and long term. My immediate goal tonight is to get feeling better. I have been doing great with my nutrition and exercise in the last month, but this morning I woke up not feeling so well. My goal is to listen to my body, rest, drink plenty of water, and relax until I can get feeling better! Report
woo hoo-- good advice. Thanx. Report
Specific goals definitely help. I've been wanting to lose weight for ages, but until I found SP and set a specific goal and took the steps to start to achieve it, nothing ever happened. Now I have lost 10 pounds in my first month! Report
I have found that if I keep my goals small and realistic then I can reach them without frustration. It works too but then I do have to make the goal. I forget that sometimes! Report
I have trouble setting realistic goals. Things don't go the way I want them to, so I get frustrated. the only thing I can do is try again. Report
i can't seem to get the eating under control so i am committing to my elliptical 30 min. 5 days a week and getting my water and fruits/veggies in.... baby steps!! Report
I have given up setting small weight loss goals as it is too demoralizing when I don't reach them. The only goals I set are fitness minutes and daily calorie range. Report
Absolutely, I have learnt from personal experience thay you are headed for nowhere without goals. My fitness goal is to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise 6 ays per week. One of my other personal goals is to learn a foreign language - Spanish. Report
Goals are great!! My problem is I set to many at one time and then am totally overwhelmed. SO, my goal now is to NOT eat the whole elephant at one time and to set one specific goal & focus on that one goal only. Now, I am on tday 5 of the countdown toward tracking my meals for two day at a time!!! Report
I set goals but because I can't seem to get out of my all-or-nothing mind set I don't reach them. I know I expect too much from myself, such as getting the max points possible for the day on cardio and other exercises, but if I set my goals lower I know I won't push myself further. I don't think that an hour of walking and 6 ten-minute sessions to equal 120-minutes a day is too much to expect of myself and I feel guilty if I don't. Report
Definitely! I have a 5-K coming up in April and am tackling C25K to achieve that goal. I am so excited about it I've already started looking for other races even though I haven't even done my first one yet. Having a training program you "have" to do really keeps me motivated, and I can't use "I'll just do it tomorrow" as an excuse because I have to stay on track. I really enjoy training for the run and seeing my running improve. Last year I had a hard time staying on track with my fitness because I didn't have a goal like this to keep me motivated. Report
Setting goals is important, if you don't know where you're going, how can you get there! Long term goals can seem so far away they're discouraging so short term goals are also necessary. Report
I started a class in Tai Chi thinking it would be challenging but I expected to be able to complete the 1 hour class. I ended up having to sit down 20 minutes into the class; I was hyperventilating and my arms felt like lead! But I refuse to give up and may need to rethink my exercise routine but the benefits of Tai Chi are so important that I'm determined to stay in the class. My goal is to persevere! Report
Setting realistic goals gets me moving forward. Each time one is reached it is time to stretch it a little and add another. You gals sure are an inspiration! Report
Goals are great, but I think its important to pick goals that you are excited about achieving and that you can realistically get to within your determined time frame. For me, if the goal isn't something I'm excited about &really want (as opposed to something that would merely be great, but that I won't be too upset about if it doesn't happen), then I won't consistently work hard for it & set aside time to achieve it. Other things will distract me. Also, if it's too big a goal, it will get too overwhelming and I might get frustrated or not feel up to the challenge--defining baby steps and sub-goals works much better for me (when I actually take the time to break things down into steps). Abstract goals aren't so good, either. I need specifics. Report
Heck yeah this is one of my "secrets!" I just signed up for my first 5k, and have been working steadily towards my goal of running the whole length of the race (as opposed to run/jog) ... this morning I ran my furthest yet - 2.25 miles... almost there! Report
After reading this, I decided to set a goal beyond "work out 5 days a week." I went to and found a local 5K to train for - the big day is May 1. I'm pretty excited! Not only because I know the training process will bump up my weight loss and fitness efforts, but because I've never thought I could possibly run. I know better now, and I can't wait! Report
i am always setting goals...sometimes i don't accomplish my goals...when that happens...i make new ones...i never give up!!! Report
I registered to walk a 1/2 Marathon in June. It is definitely keeping me on track. A 5K in April and a 10K in May! Report
I do nothing without setting goals. In fact I had to recommit after reaching a goal early this year of finishing a half marathon. Now I have to reset for completing it within a certain time range. Report
I've been a goal setter for a long time. I must say I usually meet them too. All except for the darn goal weight one. But I too break mine into categories. I have life goals, year goals and short term goals. I also break them into physical, spiritual and mental (learning). Report
My long term goals are to lose 60 pounds by 2/15/11, run a 5k by 9/28/11, and travel to France and return to work full-time before I'm 45 (2017). I never would've set these goals and broken them down into mid-term and short-term goals had I not read The Spark! It has really inspired me to do my best and to keep setting concrete, reachable goals for myself. Thanks! Report
Very important! Report
Well I found a fitness goal here. Master the pull up! Since I was a kid I haven't been able to do even two. Here goes. Report
In order to meet my weight goal, my behavior goals are to plan and record my food daily and exercise daily.
My goal is consistency. I'm reaching for ten pounds off my body. This should be one size down, less weight on feet and knees (greater comfort). I'm adding gentle jogging to my fitness routine. Now, I get out of breath in one city block. I have a hard time picturing running the long city block without stopping to walk.
In yoga my goal is be present and not fear the handstand. In swimming, my goal is to be able to crawl for 15 minutes without a backstroke in between.
Financially, my goal is to understand and really know what I'm spending and what I'm saving and earning. For my home, my goals are to have a clean welcoming home. A home where friends and strangers can drop in at any time without my having to "straighten up" (translation..throw things in the closet).
' Report
I am working on my goal now. And I'm glad for this resource so I know how to make an appropriate and realisitic goal. I'd made goals in the past that never came to fruition because they were lofty and ridiculous. And I was always one to be "all or nothing" and I'd give up if I didn't reach my crazy goal. Whew, I'm glad I know better now! Report
goal today was to get in extra exercise and more protein - exercise done - protein low... AH tomorrow! Report
My goal this month is to track food eaten daily. Another goal is the H20 consumption. I'm going to begin with the basics and add increasing my activity as my 3rd goal. Each day, I'm going to think of my 3 goals - just like folks do when they say "things happen in 3's!" My 3 will be tracking food I eat, drinking H20 and activity increase. The real challenge is consistently tracking on this site. I have read that if you do something 30 days consistently, it becomes a good habit. I'm going to go the distance and start with the basics, building from there. Thanks for the motivation! Report
My goal this month is to lose 5 lbs. and really
work on my core muscles & strength training. Report
my goal this month is to try and workout 35-40 mins instead of 30 mins and also to be able to touch my toes without bending knees.. Report
I set short, medium, and long term goals. One of my long term goals is to go backcountry camping/hiking in Glacier National Park for a week. My short term goal is to walk 1 mile a day, or 5 miles a week total. My medium range goal is an overnight backpacking trip in the Olympics.

I structure my short term goals to be baby steps that I can do now, on my way to larger goals. The medium goals are milepost accomplishments on the way to the big picture. I don't set a time limit for the bigger goals at all, just the short ones that I try to do consistently everyday. Report
My goal for this week is a small one, but I want to keep away from soda. I have planned to only have 3 -12oz sodas in this week. I have started drinking ice tea and flavored waters, juices and lots and lots of water!! so far so good! Report
Yes, goals help you stay focused, & motivated& give you something to strive for. I am training for a race in May. That's something I kept saying maybe someday, which is where it stayed until I made it a goal. Goals really help someone like me who struggles with organization, & gets easily distracted,
& side tracked.. Sp has helped me realize that even small
goals can really help you suceed. Report
I feel that some days at work is a workout itself, but finding it is not the same. Yes I get tired from my job, but using the wrong muscles. I try to do more to, but this is not so easy for me. I haven't been feeling good and hard to get back on track. Goals are a good thing it gives you something to go for, other than just saying that you will and then we all know, that we don't. I know we all are different, but it is easy to get in a bad rut. I need to get some type of energy boost and so far nothing . I need a more positive additude. I also love "The Spark" not done reading yet, but it is full of good ideas and challenges. Report
My goal is an hour of movement a day, but I fail most days and get used to failing. Whatever you choose for your goal, don't get used to failing! Then you'll be like me and have a hard time getting anything done. If I have another week of failure I'm going to lower my expectations... maybe 30 minutes per day? Report
To be happy and let nothing or no one steal my joy! Report
I do sooo much better when I have a goal! The hard part is knowing what to do once you've met it. :) I just set the next goal once I've accomplished one, but most of my goals are completing 5K, 8K and 10K those don't come up all the time. There's nothing better than accomplishing a specific goal. :D Report
My goal for today is to set a goal plan for myself and a daily schedule. Get it written down and posted in a place where I'll see it everyday and work on getting in the routine of following that schedule and working towards goals every day!! Report
Spark People emphasizes setting specific goals, not vague ones, and that is a real plus. It gives me something concrete to strive toward and is easily measured. If I can keep focused on daily goals to gauge my success, then it makes the global ones manageable. Report
I was committed to losing weight. Once I started light jogs, I set a goal for a 5k. I finished the 5k and figured 'why not run a marathon?' I ran my first marathon last year. Setting goals that involve long term fitness goals and commitment surely helps me! Report