The 10 Best Books for Goal Setting

woman reading goal setting book

Setting goals is a deceptively simple task—after all, you just pick a goal and work toward it, right?

Not quite.

There is no one right way to create goals. But, whether you’re faced with roadblocks, a lack of accountability or are just trying to figure out where to begin, there is plenty of advice out there to guide you through the process of setting and achieving your goals. Take a look at these 10 books on goal setting, and discover tips for creating the right goals for you.

1. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals

By Michael Hyatt

Whether or not you want to wipe the slate clean in the new year, every January gives us the chance to make this year better than the last. In this book, author Michael Hyatt is here to help you not only learn to set better goals, but to actually achieve them and set yourself up for success in the new year.

With five steps—and, purportedly, in just five hours—Your Best Year Ever will guide readers through the process of overcoming roadblocks and setting goals to achieve throughout the next 12 months. Alongside research-backed methods and advice including the 10 aspects of life to direct your goals, the benefits of regret and how to curate your social circle, Hyatt provides a clear and practical system for creating and achieving a plan for a truly productive year.

2. How to Begin: Start Doing Something That Matters

By Michael Bungay Stanier

We all have goals in life, but how many are worthy of our time, energy and effort. And how do we discover which ones are most important? Moreover, how do we go about setting them?

How to Begin is here to help you do just that. Not just your usual guide, it offers a “real-time” example for its readers, as author Michael Stanier creates and perfects his own “worthy goal” to help you navigate through creating yours.

The book itself guides you from start to finish in the goal-creating process, providing insight into topics including the three qualities that make a goal truly worthy, the creation and testing process of a worthy goal and how to begin taking action to achieve it. Whether you’re learning how to set goals for the first time or just ready to try something new, this book will help anyone learn to define and set truly important goals

3. Do It For Yourself (Guided Journal): A Motivational Journal (Start Before You’re Ready)

By Kara Cutruzzula 

Guides have their place in offering how to set and achieve goals, but when we lack accountability or motivation, sometimes what we need is something more interactive and unique. Something that makes us think in a different way than a guide to just setting or achieving a goal.

Do It For Yourself provides an opportunity for you to build up your courage, set a deadline for taking the first steps toward your goal and—most importantly—understand your “why.” Split into five stages with exercises like “Are you ignoring your intuition,” “Creating an anchor, mantra or mission statement,” and deploying the “[seeds] of a future opportunity,” the journal aids its readers in finding their momentum and overcoming their fear to reach their goals.

4. The 5AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

By Robin Sharma

In order to achieve success, you have to find habits that maximize your productivity. And in order to form those habits, you have to set goals. Or, in this case, one very specific goal—learning to wake up at 5 a.m. and using that extra time in your day wisely.

In The 5AM Club, a book written in the form of a parable, author Robin Sharma guides readers through the process of beginning work earlier and maintaining productivity throughout the course of your day. With topics including what influential figures focus on in order to become—and stay—successful, the “20/20/20 Formula” and a “pre-sleep” routine to end your day right and wake up refreshed, Sharma provides readers with an educational and compelling guide toward making the most of your day. 

5. The Miracle Equation: The Two Decisions That Move Your Biggest Goals from Possible, to Probable, to Inevitable

By Hal Elrod

We all have big dreams. While some appear as though they could be achievable, others seem like a pipe dream—something we may aspire to pursue but struggle to think we will ever truly attain.

Hal Elrod challenges that belief. Through a combination of “unwavering faith” and “extraordinary effort,” he believes that anyone can achieve their own “miracles.” They just have to be willing to try. In The Miracle Equation, Elrod guides readers through topics including how to become a “Miracle Maven,” defining what truly matters to you in order to discover your mission and his “five-minute rule” for feeling negative emotions—and then moving on. 

It may not be easy to achieve your miracles, but with hard work and a healthy dose of belief in yourself, anything can happen.

6. Mid-Term Goals Suck: The Five Secrets to Goal Setting for Success

By Mohsen Zargaran

When setting long-term goals, it is pointless to have far-off waypoints to meet along the journey. After all, by the time you reach them, who’s to say circumstances won’t have changed? Instead, according to author Mohsen Zargaran, it’s important to set myriad short-term goals so that you have “constant tangible targets to meet.” 

But how do we go about setting—and achieving—these goals? By first understanding your journey, and then understanding the stages of goal setting. Zargaran describes life’s journey as the components of a car—the body is your own body, the engine your brain, the tires your connections, the fuel your money and the driver your soul. All of these parts must work together for you to function at your best and work through the stages of goal setting. 

Mid-Term Goals Suck provides readers with advice on topics including managing stress and building your inner strength for a detailed and informative book on setting and meeting your goals. 

7. Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals (Goal Defining, Productivity, Work from Home)

By Debra Eckerling

How many times have you set your goals, only to watch them fail because you spent too little time considering what it is you want? This stage of goal development is the focus of Your Goal Guide. Instead of starting at the journey’s end—how to reach your goal—author Debra Eckerling reminds us that there’s a beginning to the goal setting journey, and one that can’t be shirked.

The book is divided into two sections, alongside an appendix of resources and worksheets to assist you further on your road to goal setting and achievement. While part two is a combination of tips for success and overcoming roadblocks, part one is focused entirely on Eckerling’s D*E*B Method—that is, “Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path.” Alongside advice and case studies, the book provides a comprehensive and interesting guide for learning how to reach your goals—by taking it slow and starting from the beginning.

8. What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal Setting

By Tara McMullin

Why do we seek to set goals? Are we seeking to improve ourselves, or to continually keep striving for that next thing?

Sometimes we might truly be focusing on our own growth, but at least some of the time, our reasons for setting goals are a product of the beliefs or desires that keep us on the road to seeking more—more power, more money, etc. 

Tara McMullin is here to help us look past those beliefs and toward new destinations and strategies. With topics like “Who Am I without the Doing?,” “The Satisfaction of Practice in an Achievement-Oriented World” and “Growth without Striving,” What Works encourages us to focus less on the hustle and more on finding true satisfaction in our lives and goals. 

9. Go For Stupid: The Art of Achieving Ridiculous Goals

By Steve D. Sims

Societal norms have taught us to avoid the big, flashy and uncomfortable for fear of embarrassment and ridicule. But while some people may have escaped this box, many are still partially trapped—or haven’t left at all.

Go For Stupid provides a shock to the system of its readers, giving you the boost you need to move past your fears of embarrassment and into a space where you can achieve anything you set your mind to. With topics including “the importance of mindset,” examples of past stupid goals and “the importance of asking why,” author Steve Sims reminds readers to stop overthinking and start doing—no matter what other people think. 

10. The 100-Day Financial Goal Journal: Build a Plan for Your Financial Future

By Alyssa Davies

When setting financial goals, it’s easy to fall off-course. Whether derailed by something as necessary as an unexpected emergency or as frivolous as a treat for yourself, you have to find a way to hold yourself accountable. 

But that’s not to say you have to save every penny you make. Life without its pleasures will drag you down, and if you have the money, you should be able to enjoy at least some of it. 

The 100-Day Financial Goal Journal is both an accountability partner and teacher, helping you keep track of your goals while also guiding you through setting and achieving them. For anyone from budgeting beginners learning to set financial goals to strict budgeters looking to save for the long-term, this detailed and user-friendly journal is a perfect helping hand for anyone starting their savings journey.

Photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

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