Years ago, I attended a seminar about goal-setting that I've never forgotten. The leader of the workshop presented the participants with tried-and-true steps to reaching every one of our goals. At the time, I thought "It can't be this easy ... can it?" Well, the simple steps I learned then are still working for me today, and I'd like to share them with you. Whether your goal is to lose ten pounds, or to retire ten years early, these basic principles can be applied to almost any life situation or challenge. The first thing to do is to define the goal -- in specific, measurable terms - and write it down. This helps you to clarify what your goal really is, and gives it some life. So, for example, instead of just saying, "I'd like to retire early,' your goal should be stated as "I'd like to retire no later than the year 2004." When the leader of that workshop talked about this step, she said, "Having it written down allows you to stay focused, and to keep your eye on the prize." The next thing to do with a goal is to 'make molehills out of mountains.' In other words, break the goal down into more manageable segments - either by time frame, or some other measurable unit. For example, if your goal is to lose twenty pounds, you would 'make molehills out of mountains' by declaring that you will lose four pounds per month. And keep your eye on the prize. Now that you have a measurable goal down on paper, and you've broken it down into manageable parts, you need to look at all the obstacles that are stopping you - or have stopped you in the past - from reaching it. Write them down. Then, for each obstacle you define, figure out what resources are available to you to get over, or past, or through, that barrier. Negative self-talk in your way? Create affirmations you can use, daily, to counter-act it. A well-meaning friend or relative tries to stop you? Make a list of all the folks you know who support you! For every obstacle, there is a solution. Find yours, record them - and keep your eye on the prize. Finally, you need to determine ways that you will reward yourself. And don't wait until you get over the mountain - build in a suitable reward for each way-point, each time you push past an obstacle on the way to your goal. All of these steps WILL move you closer to reaching your goal if you follow them. What's stopping you now? Is your eye on the prize?