Most of us have attended presentations on how to set and achieve goals. Why then do we still set goals and fail to achieve them?

I learned part of the answer during a presentation delivered by sales coach Kristin Barnes, owner of Deliver Dynamic in Tucson.

Barnes started with the SMART goals as a template, but made a few changes. SMART is an acronym commonly used to set goals. It reminds us that our goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.

First, Barnes expressed an issue with the idea of setting “realistic” goals. She feels this allows us to settle for mediocrity. She also noted that “realistic” goals mean virtually the same thing as “attainable,” so why duplicate it? Barnes said your goals should force you out of your comfort zone. This is the only way to make real change. Since there needs to be an element of risk, she changed “realistic” into “risk” in the acronym.

Then Barnes added a very important component at the end of SMART. She says you need to “see” yourself achieving the goal, to visualize the results. How will you know when you have achieved your goal? What will you see? What will you feel? What will you do?

Barnes used an example of someone who wants to lose substantial weight. Here’s how they might know they achieved their goal: They will be able to sit in an airplane seat comfortably. Their knees won’t hurt when they walk and they will have the energy to play with the grandchildren. They will see a different person when they look in the mirror and others will tell them how great they look.

By visualizing the results, you can internalize just how important the goal is for you. The goal must be really important if you are going to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve it. For more information, email Kristin at

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For information, go to, send an email to or call 505-3636.