• Brent Mead

Zig Ziglar's 7 Steps to Goal-Setting

I wanted to expand on an idea from my previous post. If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here: www.brentmeadmusic.com/post/goals.


Zig Ziglar's 7 steps of goal-setting details an effective approach to identifying a goal.


1) Identify your goals

2) Benefits for reaching this goal

3) Major obstacles and mountains to climb to reach this goal

4) Skills or knowledge required to reach this goal

5) Individuals, groups, companies, and organizations to work with to reach this goal

6) Plan of action to reach this goal

7) Completion date


By following the seven steps listed above, people can find more success and clarity in their planning. It's frustrating to put effort into a project and feel the effort was wasted. Failure is an incredibly adverse feeling and most people want to avoid that feeling. Whether your goal is to lose weight, eat better, work out, read more, or save money, you can use these seven steps to find success.


1) Identify your goals

This may seem like an unnecessary step but it's important to put your goal on paper. Putting a goal on paper brings it an artificial life and provides clarity. I have my goals written out in a document on my computer. In the past, I've had slips of paper with my goals in my trombone case and put sticky notes on my bathroom mirror. Making your goals visible can serve as accountability and inspiration. Make sure your goals are measurable, realistic, and focused on personal growth.


2) Benefits for reaching this goal

Why do you want this? You've probably considered plenty of reasons for starting this journey but, like #1, it helps to have these reasons clearly listed. Additionally, this can serve as inspiration when it becomes difficult to chase this dream.


3) Major obstacles and mountains to climb to reach this goal

This can be both a calming and frightening step. List everything that you imagine could go wrong or prevent you from reaching this goal. Ideas like 'losing motivation' or 'I can't control the outcome of an audition' can help shape your mind in the process before you even get there! Remind yourself that you will have changes in motivation and this process should give you ideas to counter or prevent wild mood changes. What can you imagine will get in your way? Make a separate action plan for ideas to counter these problems. Remember to focus on actions and thoughts that you can control. If you're in control of your goals, and you remind yourself that you are in control of your actions and thoughts, it is easier to stay on track.


4) Skills or knowledge required to reach this goal

This step might include "running a mile without stopping" and subsequent achievements like "running a mile in 12 minutes," "running a mile in 10 minutes," etc. For example, if you want to lose weight, consider listing both actions and knowledge. Having a more in-depth understanding of nutrition and a healthy diet contributes to managing weight. A possible skill in this scenario would be 'operating the gym equipment correctly.' This step is important because it will shape your plan in #6.


5) Individuals, groups, companies, and organizations to work with to reach this goal

Identifying people and groups that can help you creates a support system. Think of who to contact for support, accountability, resources, or guidance. For musicians, consider listing teachers, online coaching resources like Noa Kageyama's Bulletproof Musician or Rob Knopper's Audition Hacker; or memberships to organizations like the International Trombone Association, NAfME, or American Federation of Musicians. When the going gets tough, rely on these resources to help you. Here, I'm reminded of Helen Keller's advice: "alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much."


6) Plan of action to reach this goal

This is the most important step, in my opinion. The previous five steps should help shape this process. Chasing a dream can be a trying process so feeling some success along the way is critical. View this step as a way to know you're staying on track. I believe that most people give up because they don't know their effort is creating any progress. If you see actions changing and create measurable ways to monitor progress, you will feel better about chasing this dream.


Weight loss feels like an incredibly difficult task for many people. Eating and physical activity habits are engrained in our personality and trying to lose weight is a long process. If you want to lose weight, track the minutes or days that you've worked out. Consider coloring each day you work out in a monthly calendar. Having a visual graphic of time spent working out creates a concept of momentum over time. Framing your goal in a manner that you can control is more effective. Losing 15 pounds in a month is more difficult to control than eating under a calorie limit or exercising each day. Set progressive goals that you can control and measure. Measure your current skill and gradually change your goalposts. For example, going from 0 pushups each day to 100 in a day might be impossible and likely will cause disappointment. Going from 0 to 1 pushup each day is a more accomplishable task. These small successes give you hope. In this step, emphasize actions and give preference to measurable actions or skills.


7) Completion date

Most people work better when there's a deadline. While this should not be viewed as a binary success vs. failure on the completion date, it's important to have a deadline to assess progress and learn timing. In the end, your product or goal might not be where you expected, but any progress made is beneficial. It is not lost because you didn't meet the deadline.


Think about a goal you have and go through these seven steps to help you achieve the goal! This is how I frame my goals and help me plan my work. It never turns out the way I planned, but I always make progress when I use these steps.

Instagram: @BrentMeadMusic

Facebook Page: @BrentMeadMusic

Twitter: @BrentMeadMusic

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Twitter

Email: brentmeadmusic@gmail.com

Home: (913) 229-1024