How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success? My Journey From Unfulfilled Employee to Profitable and Intentional Solopreneur

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You’ve heard over and over that you need to set goals. And that they need to be SMART. And that if you don’t have them, you’ll be unsuccessful. The list goes on and on, but have you ever wondered to yourself, “how does setting goals lead to success?”

My personal experience is evidence that goal-setting leads to success. It takes research, mentors, hard work, practice, and more to figure it out, but it’s all worth it. Setting goals has helped me meet and marry the love of my life, start a family, get out of a career that I hated, double my income, become a profitable and productive solopreneur, run a marathon, and much much more.

Most of my articles I write to try to teach you something. But in this one, I just want you to know a little more about my goal-setting journey. And I believe you’ll even learn a few crucial lessons on the way.

I hope that by hearing how setting goals led me to success, you’ll find some inspiration to start getting organized and living intentionally with your own.

 

I Started Setting Goals as a Teenager and Have Been Doing it Ever Since

It all began when I was just 15-years-old. My Dad taught me to set goals, I began reading books like The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, and the rest is history.

I started to get organized and began to plan my days, weeks, months, and years. More importantly, I got some goals, and my life began going in a direction that I never imagined it would.

My grades got better, and I found friends that genuinely cared about me and helped me reach my full potential. I even gained some muscle and improved my fitness.

Before long, my goals had me halfway across the world on a 24-month church service mission in England. I got to see some of the most amazing places in the world and meet some of the best people anyone could ever know.

While there, my goal-setting abilities were refined further through daily and weekly planning sessions, preparing lessons, and giving trainings for other missionaries. I learned how to lead, teach, and give speeches.

Things continued to improve as I got home and began college. I wanted to live on campus but didn’t have enough money. That’s when, armed with my goal-setting knowledge, I got a job as a Resident Assistant.

Although I anticipated this would be way better than living with my parents to save money, I had no idea the kind of people I was about to meet. Barely a week after I began, I met my now wife, and we immediately became best friends and have been ever since.

If it weren’t for me setting the goal of living on campus and making the necessary plans to make it happen, I would never have met, dated, married, and started a family with her.

 

Life was Good because of My Goals, But My First Career Was Still a Failure

Things were going great, but somewhere in the middle of falling in love, I forgot to be intentional with my career. Without realizing, I chose a major that I wasn’t passionate about. Silently, my fulfillment in life began to sink.

The day I graduated, I had a Civil Engineering job lined up, and just a few months later, we had our first kid. I was happy enough in my career for a time, but a couple of years in, I could tell that something was terribly wrong but didn’t quite know what it was.

I did find some brief respite and success from setting two big, life-changing goals, though.

One was to go to graduate school, which I planned on doing before I realized my career was the problem. Still, the opportunity to learn again brought back some of the enthusiasm I’d once had.

I also set a goal to run a half marathon and discovered just how much I love running. A year later, I’d run my first full marathon. That was the healthiest I’d ever been in my life.

But as the trials began to pile on, things kept getting more out of hand.

In my first semester of graduate school, my last living grandma died unexpectedly.

That summer, I struggled with depression.

In the fall, my daughter was born six weeks early. She spent over two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit.

At this point, things were rough as it was. But I still hadn’t figured out that the main problem was with my career and the lifestyle that it prohibited me from having.

 

Everything Began to Change When I Started Writing on Medium.com

I still remember the night I first heard about the blogging website Medium. We were sitting around a campfire down in Goblin Valley when my friend told me about this site where people were writing articles, collecting email addresses, and for some, making a fortune doing it.

The whole thing sounded a little confusing to me at first. But I will never forget how excited I felt at the idea of blogging. That night I made a long list of article ideas but didn’t begin writing for nearly nine months.

During the next little while, I only read articles on the site. I got to know some of the top writers through their work. The feeling that I needed to start sharing my ideas there kept resurfacing. Eventually, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

I emailed Nik Göke, a top writer I’d been following, and asked for some tips on how to get started. His profound and straightforward response changed my life forever. Nik told me to “just begin,” and in May of 2018, I did.

For six months, I wrote an article each weekday, at least. By December, I’d written over 200 posts, had a few thousand followers, and made a little money, too.

One of the best Christmas presents I ever got came that year on the 26th of December when Nik emailed me asking if I wanted to write for him. I excitedly accepted and began writing book summaries for Four Minute Books.

While all of this was going on, I finally learned to admit to myself that my career choice was holding me back. Through reading countless business, money, and personal development books, I realized I needed a change and began to learn how to do it.

I excitedly made a plan to quit my job and start a company. But I could never have anticipated the hidden blessing in my next trial, which was one of the biggest of my life.

 

Because of My Goals, Losing My Job Was One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to Me

I was beyond ready to leave my job. Things continued to deteriorate there from the moment I realized that it wasn’t for me.

On the 13th of February, 2019, a manager called me in for a surprise meeting and told me they were letting me go.

Once the shock wore off, I felt freer than I had in years. And because of my goals and the momentum I had been building with my writing side hustle, I finally got to start that company I’d been dreaming of.

Because I still had my family to provide for, I needed to continue the engineering work. But thanks to my plan, the transition was mostly seamless.

I set up my company, then worked hard and became a licensed Professional Engineer. Some innovation and essentialist thinking helped me set myself up with a full-time income in a quarter of the time.

Because of all the extra time I had, I could put more effort into writing. My opportunities with Four Minute Books began to flourish, and at the end of 2019, Nik invited me to come on full-time with him.

Everything seemed set for success. But I still had to jump through one hurdle that I haven’t mentioned yet. It was something that only my goal-setting capabilities could help with.

 

How Setting Goals Helped me Become a Profitable and Intentional Solopreneur

At this point, you might be thinking that my transition to working for myself appears to be seamless. The reality is, there were a lot of challenges I hadn’t anticipated. The biggest was that after being let go in February of 2019, I didn’t know how to manage my time without a 9-5 job.

This was an excellent problem to have because working for someone else is terrible. But I still needed to find a way to resolve it.

I got some great advice from Nik and other friends, but it wasn’t until I came across one simple book that everything began to improve.

I’d been writing book summaries for about six months when I decided to summarize one called The 12 Week Year.

It taught me how tracking goals and making plans on a yearly timeline is deeply flawed. Instead, we must run on a 12-week cycle to keep our momentum throughout the year.

I quickly pulled everything I’d ever learned about goal-setting together into my own version of the 12-week system. Suddenly, everything got better.

My productivity shot up, I began learning how to run a business with confidence, passed my 8-hour licensing exam, and doubled my income.

I still remember the shock and excitement when I had my first $10,000 month.

Even better, it taught me how to balance everything in life as a solopreneur. My faith, family, finances, and fitness all began to flourish like never before.

For the first time in years, I was finally thriving in all aspects of life. And it was all thanks to setting goals.

 

I Will Teach You How to Find Success Through Setting Goals

So let’s go back to where we started to recap. How does setting goals lead to success?

I’ve shown you how setting goals led me to success. You can see from my story that I ate up knowledge on it from mentors and books, practiced, took opportunities that made me better at it, and continued to practice again and again until I got it just right. The successes I’ve experienced are evident throughout my experiences.

But they mean nothing to me unless I can show you how to do it too. That’s the entire reason why this website exists.

I’ve put everything I’ve learned on this journey into Goal Engineering. I’m working hard on it so I can teach you my exact process for finding purpose and productivity as a solopreneur.

In the end, my biggest reason for doing this is so that you can have the same successes from goal-setting that I’ve had.

That’s why I give away my entire template for setting goals, which contains everything I’ve learned in my 15-years of goal setting, right below this article. Enter your name and email below to get the Goal Engineering Starter Kit and begin your journey to finding success through setting goals!

And if you need help, I’m always just one email away. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!