It’s the last day of 2009. Find out why you didn’t meet the goals you set in January.

Got goals?

Millions of words have been written about goals. I’ve personally written thousands of them. Ninety-nine percent focus on “how-to” set and achieve them in one form or another. Books, articles, videos, seminars, online courses, and of course, classic classroom learning.

Everyone sets goals. Some people set them on their own, others have them set for them (sales goals, sales plans, sales quotas). Some people make elaborate game plans for goal achievement, others write them down in their day planner, while still others just cut out a picture from a magazine depicting something they wish they had, but don’t (e.g., car, boat, house, vacation).

Me? I post my goals on my bathroom mirror. In plain sight.

Many passé seminar leaders and motivational speakers claim, “less than 4 percent of all people set goals.” Baloney. Everyone has a goal, or many goals. If you’re looking for a category that fits the 4 percent number, it’s the people that actually achieve the goals they set.

Ever set a goal you failed to achieve?
Ever stop in the middle of a goal?
Ever fall back into your old ways?
Ever miss your sales goals?
Of course you have. Everyone has.
Want to know why?

The Answer

Enter Ali Edwards. And my personal biggest “AHA!” about goals. She has the answer.

On Ali’s blog/web site, she asks her readers (me among them), “What are your intentions?” It was a WOW!, an AHA!, and WAY COOL! moment, all at the same time. I’ll explain why (or rather, how Ali explained it).

Goals and intentions are linked. Intentions actually precede goal setting.
If you fall short of intention, you will not likely achieve the goal you set. What a simple, powerful, concept. And, what a truth.

Ali simply asks, “What do you intend to do?” Answer this question and the actions to achieve it will follow.

Goals vs. Intentions — The Difference

You may have a goal, or you may have been given a goal, but identifying your intentions will determine the outcome of your efforts (or whether there is an outcome).

So, take a second look at your goal list and ask “What do I intend to do with my goal?”

Think about these questions:

What do you want to do?
What do you need to do?
What do you have to do?
What do you love to do?
How much do you love what you do?
Do you dislike what you do?

Now, maybe you can better answer, what you intend to do with your goals?

What you intend to do are the thoughts behind your actions. Intentions are the justification behind your words and deeds. If you intend to manipulate, your words and deeds will follow. If your intentions are pure, your words, deeds and actions will follow. If you intend to achieve your goals, or a specific goal, your words and deeds will follow.

I believe that love and intentions are connected more passionately than fear and intentions, or greed and intentions. There’s an old saying that, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I wonder how true this is though. Personally, I believe the opposite.

There are types of intentions. The easiest to define are the “good” and the “bad:” to intend to do the right thing, or intend to do the wrong thing. Sometimes your intention to do the wrong thing is influenced by the way you feel. You believe someone “deserves” what you’re about to do. I believe that’s the “hell” intention.

Whatever your intentions are, they form the basis for your actions, the foundation for the achievement of your goals, the manifestation of your desires, and ultimately, the fulfillment of your dreams.

A Practical Lesson

Ultimately, the lesson here is to write out your intentions BEFORE you write out your goals. Start each sentence with, “I intend to…”. Be even bolder and write, “By the end of the week I intend to…” Setting a deadline will give you much more motivation to follow through with the intentions you establish.

Simply put, what you intend to do is what you actually do. Goals notwithstanding, it’s all about your intentions.

An easy way to make your intentions clear is to categorize them. Organize the categories – then write the words to define them. Use Single words for naming the categories, and sentences to define your intentions.

For example, you could label them with the following categories: personal, career, job, study, read, business, life, family, money, fun, travel, passion and so on. You get the idea.

Next, write what you intend to do, and give yourself a deadline. “I intend to do this by this date…”
Closer, short-term deadlines have proven more effective than longer-term deadlines. So, shoot for meeting your deadline by the end of the day or the week vs. the end of the month or the end of the year.

My Intentions

What do I intend to do?

I intend to write another column next week, my 965th
I intend to complete the writing and publishing of two more books in 2010.

If you’d like to learn more about Ali Edwards’ take on intentions, read her essay on the subject at (register if you’re a first time user, and enter ALI in the GitBit box).

Today is the last day of 2009 and this is the final installment in the SUCCESS Sales Challenge–but by no means is it the end to the challenges you set for yourself in meeting your sales goals–and declaring your intentions! I want to thank everyone who subscribed and participated in the challenge and sent in comments and updates about the progress they made.

Look for more of my articles in upcoming issues of SUCCESS magazine and make this the year of your best intentions. Happy new year everybody!

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer loyalty at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to
© 2009 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer, Inc. • 704/333-1112

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