This time of year there are plenty of runners around London, locals limbering up for the marathon. They are out every day, running along the pavements (in spite of the fact that concrete is just about the worst surface to run on) and pounding the miles to the big day.

And their success will be due to all the training work they have done, not in this last month but in the months leading up to now. This intensive training, in turn, will be the result of a decision they made a year ago and some dogged determination to get where they want to go.

Of course, not all of us want to run marathons. But we all have our eyes fixed on some sort of goal. Even people who are totally unambitious have goals. Even Homer Simpson has goals – his goals are probably to have as easy a life as possible while consuming gallons of beer, and in this he is very successful.

Sometimes, though, in the humdrum existence of daily life we forget what our goals are. Last week I decided to tidy my office and had to sort through a filing cabinet of old papers. I also had to clear the geological strata of paper on my desk, which were there because they wouldn’t fit in the filing cabinet. First I cleared some space in the cabinet and that was successful. Unfortunately then I got carried away, cleared out the filing cabinet but then turned round and saw the desk hadn’t been touched! I had forgotten my original goal of needing to clear my immediate workspace.

Recently I was coaching a client who had a similar problem but on a bigger scale. She wanted to grow her business but was involved in so many projects she was totally wrapped up in doing the projects, without assessing whether it was taking her closer to her original goal of business growth. She needed to take a look around and assess what she was doing in terms of what she wanted.

Training for the marathon is a relatively straightforward process, even though it isn’t easy. You have to exercise a particular way, eat the right way and get the balance of exercise and repair time that will allow you to be your best on the big day. It takes a lot of hard work but is a visible finite goal.

Goal setting in business or goal setting in life is different, because life is more complex. But knowing what you want and getting there is easier if:

1. You set a goal that you really want. Not what anyone else wants, not your colleagues or family or friends. You are doing this for you. Make sure it is what YOU want.

2. You identify what you will get when you reach the goal. Unlike the marathon runners, you won’t be getting blisters, sore legs and a medal. But what will you get? A house in the country? A yacht on the lake? Harmony between the in-laws? Complete satisfaction that you are fulfilling your life purpose? Only you know what your goal is and what you will get from it.

3. You keep checking and reassessing. Not every five minutes or you’d never get anything done. But if you have a tendency to get sucked in to the humdrum events of everyday life or you let yourself drift, or you spend your time always looking after other people’s needs – stop regularly to review your progress towards what YOU want.

4. You take action. Take action by deciding what you want. Take action by taking that first step, then another and another. Take action by steering yourself back on track if you find yourself drifting.

5. You have some fun. Take time out and relax, renew and repair, but most of all have fun.

And another essential ingredient you need to keep yourself on track is focus. In my next teleclass I’m going to be talking about how to get Super Focus, where you will learn more about moving joyfully towards your dreams – so join me then!

(c) 2010 Liz Copeland

Author's Bio: 

Liz Copeland is the True Courage Coach. If you are on the brink of something big and want to move forward or if you are being forced to take a big step True Courage Coaching will support you. So if you’ve lost the job, your partner or your waistline and you want to get to step up and into your ideal future get started right away with your free True Courage Creation Kit at