7 Examples of How Successful People Set Goals and Achieve Them

Successful People

I know you have heard the stories of how successful people set goals and become extremely successful in their lives and business. But, do you know who are these people and how they did it?

Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you 7 famous and successful people, how they set goals and changed their lives from zero to hero.

Of course, there are many more people who set goals and achieve amazing success in life, but I’m sharing these 7 people with you because I find their stories to be inspiring. Besides, these people are the big shots. They are the household names in their respective industries, and I bet you have heard about them.

So, let discover how these extraordinary people set their goals, go through the process, and manage to achieve outstanding results in their lives…

7 Examples of How Successful People Set Goals and Achieve Them

1. Tony Robbins wrote his goals on an old Russian map

Tony Robbins is huge in the personal development industry. He has helped and changed many lives around the world. He is considered as the world’s #1 success coach and has coached extremely successful people like Bill Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Serena Williams, Nelson Mandela, and Hugh Jackman, just to name a few.

Like all other hero stories, Tony Robbins started from scratch. In his best-selling book, Awaken the Giant Within, a book that I highly recommend you read, he shared his story of how he wrote down his goals on a piece of old Russian map.

This is what Tony wrote in his book…

Eight years ago, in 1983, I did an exercise that created a future so compelling that my whole life changed as a result. As pan of the overall process of raising my standards, I established a whole new set of goals, writing down all the things I would no longer settle for, as well as what I was committed to having in my life.

I set aside all my limiting beliefs and sat down on the beach with my journal. I wrote continuously for three hours, brainstorming every possibility of what I could ever imagine doing, being, having, creating, experiencing, or contributing. The timeline I gave myself for achieving these goals was any time from tomorrow to the next twenty years. I never stopped to think about whether I could actually achieve these goals or not. I simply captured any possibility that inspired me and wrote it down.

From that beginning, I refined the process six months later when I was invited along with a group of parapsychologists to the USSR to study psychic phenomena directly from university experts throughout Russia. As my group traveled the country, I spent many hours on the train from Moscow to Siberia and back to Leningrad.

With nothing to write on but the back of an old Russian map, I wrote down all my long-term goals for my spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial destinies, and then created a series of milestones for each one, working backward. For example, in order to achieve my top spiritual goal ten years from now, what kind of person would I have to be, and what things would I need to accomplish by nine years from now, eight years, seven years, and so on, reaching all the way back until today? What specific action could I take today that would lead me on that road to the destiny of my choice?

On that day, I set specific goals that transformed my life. I described the woman of my dreams, detailing what she would be like mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. I described what my kids would be like, the huge income that I would enjoy, and the home that I would live in, including the third-story circular office area that would overlook the ocean.

A year and a half later. Life magazine was in my home, interviewing me as to how I had made such incredible shifts in my life. When I pulled out my map to show them all the goals I had written down, it was amazing to see how many I’d achieved.

I had met the woman I described and married her. I had found and purchased the home I’d envisioned, down to the finest detail, including the third-story office in the turret of the castle, overlooking the ocean. When I wrote them down initially, I had no assurances whatsoever that these goals could be achieved. But I had been willing to suspend judgment for a short period of time in order to make it work.

This was the experience Tony Robbins had with goal setting. He literally created his own future by envisioning exactly what he wants and then writing all of them down on a piece of old Russian map.

Watch this video on how to set goals by Tony Robbins:

What about you? Have you written down your goals yet on how to be successful?

Related: 8 Iconic Figures Who Made History While In Quarantine

2. Scott Adams wrote his affirmations for 15 times a day

You may or may not have heard of the name, Scott Adams, but if I ask you if you have heard of Dilbert, you probably have.

Scott Adams is the creator of the Dilbert comic and is one of the most successful cartoonists of our time. Dilbert has been syndicated and published in thousands of newspapers, written into several successful best-selling books, animated series, and hundreds of merchandised toys and games.

Again, like all others, Scott Adams did not start from the top, he was just a normal employee working from 9 to 5. But it has always been his dream to become a successful cartoonist.

One day, a friend shared with him about a repetition technique where the act of writing down his affirmations 15 times a day, could help make his dreams come true. It caught his attention and he decided to try it out.

And so, for 15 times a day, he wrote down:

“I, Scott Adams, will become rich.”

He then went on to buy 2 stocks and both stocks ended up becoming ridiculous winners for him. He then sold both stocks immediately and made a small fortune. Scott Adams shared his story of picking the 2 winning stocks in his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.

Of course, Scott Adams didn’t believe it and thought that he was just lucky to pick the winning stocks. And then, he changed his affirmations. He wrote this down 15 times a day:

“I, Scott Adams, will score in the 94th percentile on the GMAT.”

And for the coming weeks, he bought GMAT study books and took plenty of practice tests. However, he only managed to score about 77th percentile each day, but he decided to continue with his repetition technique and chose to write down his affirmation 15 times a day.

Finally, he took the GMAT test, and the results came. And he scored exactly the 94th percentile. He began to believe in his affirmations and the repetition technique.

After earning his MBA, every morning, before he went for work, he would write down this phrase 15 times a day:

“I, Scott Adams, will become a syndicated cartoonist.”

And the rest became history. According to one article, this was what happened next…

Despite several setbacks and rejections, and through a series of unlikely coincidences and lucky breaks, he eventually became a syndicated cartoonist. In fact, he’s arguably the most syndicated cartoonist alive today: Dilbert is published in 2,000 newspapers worldwide, in 65 countries and 25 languages.

This was how Scott Adams used affirmations and the repetition technique to materialize his goals and dreams.

If you want to make your affirmations work for you, check out my guide here.

3. Jack Canfield visualized making his first million

Jack Canfield is another inspirational figure I followed and learned from. I like his work and his teaching methods and styles. Jack Canfield is the famous author for Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has more than 250 titles and 500 million copies in print in over 40 languages. He is also a motivational speaker, trainer, and entrepreneur.

One of his books, The Success Principles, is one of my top 10 recommended success books. If you haven’t read the book yet, do so now. Buy it and read it right away because it will uplift your life.

Related: 3 Things You Need To Start Believing in Yourself

So, how did Jack Canfield set his goals and made himself successful? Well, he explained it in his blog post here

I’ve been using vision boards in one form or another since the 1970s. My first “vision board’ was a $100,000 bill that I made myself.

I taped it to the ceiling above my bed so that I would see it every day when I woke up. I set the goal for myself that I wanted to make $100,000 in one year. At that point, I was making $8,000 a year, so this was more than 12 times my annual income.

Every morning when I would wake up, I would visualize that. I would close my eyes and visualize my $100,000 lifestyle.

What it would be like…

Where I would live…

The Navajo rugs I was going to buy I put on my walls…

The little lake house I would have…

The car I would own… And everything else I could think of.

Guess what happened? Within about 30 days, I started having hundred thousand dollar ideas for the first time in my life.

Within a year I had earned $92,000. It was an amazing breakthrough.

At the end of that year, my wife asked me, “Do you think it’ll work for a million dollars?” I said, “I don’t know, it worked for $100,000. So, let’s do it.”
We made a million-dollar bill and put that on the ceiling. And within a few years, I received my first $1,000,000 check for a book royalty for the first Chicken Soup for The Soul.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Just like how John Assaraf did it, which you will later learn, Jack Canfield used the power of visualization to help him achieve his goals.

Be stubborn about goals

4. Bruce Lee wrote a letter to himself and became a Hollywood star

Bruce Lee is no doubt one of the biggest Hollywood action stars of all time. He was named among TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century and as one of the greatest heroes and icons. Not only that, but Lee also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, founder of Jeet Kune Do, and also a philosopher, with many famous sayings like this one below:

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

So, how did Bruce Lee manage to achieve his amazing success in life, as a martial artist and also a superstar in the movie industry?

Well, he had a specific intention for what he wanted, and he wrote his goal as a letter to himself.

Related: 15 Common Body Language Blunders That Successful People Avoid

If you visit Planet Hollywood, you can see that there is a framed letter where Bruce Lee wrote to himself…

My Definite Chief Aim,

I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental superstar in the United States. In return, I will give the most exciting performances and give the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980, I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.

Bruce Lee

Lee wrote this letter on 9th January 1970 to himself as a promise and also a commitment to meet the goals he set for his life. You can read more about Lee and his letter from this article here.

Unfortunately, due to his untimely death in 1973, Bruce did not manage to complete his goal. However, if you look at his achievements and what he had accomplished, I dare say that he has successfully reached his goal beyond his wildest dreams.

So, are you as committed as Bruce Lee? Are you going to write a letter to yourself and promise yourself that you’re going to achieve all the goals you have written down?

Bruce Lee did that, and he reached his goals and became wildly successful.

Related: Buddhism Reveals The Ultimate Mindset That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

5. John Assaraf created vision boards that became his reality

John Assaraf is one of my favorite successful mentors. I read his books and go through his training courses. When I first read about John’s story of how he used vision boards to materialize his dreams, I’m amazed and started creating my own vision boards too.

John was a New York Times best-selling author, he was featured in books like The Success Principles written by Jack Canfield, and was also one of the gurus in the Law of Attraction industry.

In fact, I have written a detailed article on how John Assaraf changed his life using goal setting and vision boards. You can read the article here.

This is how John’s story began…

When John told him his vision boards were in the boxes, Keenan replied, “Your vision whats?”John opened one of the boxes to show Keenan a vision board. John smiled as he looked at the first board and saw pictures of a Mercedes sports car, a watch, and some other items, all of which he had acquired by then. But as he pulled out the second board, he began to cry. On that board was a picture of the house he had just bought and was living in! Not a house like it but the house!

The 7,000-square-foot house that sits on 6 acres of spectacular views, with a 3,000-square-foot guest house and office complex, a tennis court, and 320 orange trees—that very home was a home he had seen in a picture that he had cut out of Dream Homes magazine 4 years earlier!

Feeling inspired and want to learn about how to create your own vision boards right away? Check out this guide: Vision Boards – The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Living Your Dream Life.

By the way, you can learn directly from John Assaraf if you want to. He is offering a free video training session on how you can change your brain to change your income together with 6 other experts. And the best part is that the training is free. Just go here to sign up.

6. Jim Carrey wrote a twenty-million dollars cheque to himself and achieved it

Jim Carrey was born to a poor family who for a time lived in their Volkswagen van on a relative’s lawn. But the young Jim knew he had a greater calling to follow.

This article wrote that one night in 1990 when Jim Carrey was a struggling young comic trying to make his way in Los Angeles, he drove his old beat-up Toyota to the top of a hill.

While sitting there, broke, looking down over the city, and dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, put in the notation line ‘for acting services rendered,’ and dated it for Thanksgiving 1995. He stuck that check in his wallet – and the rest, as they say, is history.

By 1995, Jim had seen the tremendous success of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, The Mask, and my personal favorite, Liar, Liar. His per film fee at that point had escalated to $20 million.

Related: Jim Carrey On Awakening: How He Began His Spiritual Journey

Jim also shared his experience with his self-written check and how he kept the check in his pocket for years in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Watch this short video below:

Like how Bruce Lee wrote a letter to himself, Jim Carrey used the power of a self-written check of $20 million to inspire himself and remind himself of his goal.

7. Brian Tracy wrote down his goals and his life changed for the better

Another inspiring story of how successful people set goals and achieve them is none other than Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy is an inspirational figure. He is a motivational speaker and self-development author for seventy books that have been translated into multiple languages.

In his books, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, Tracy shared his experience about how he wrote his goals and achieved them:

The Day My Life Changed

Then one day, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down an outrageous goal for myself. It was to earn $1,000 per month in door-to-door and office-to-office selling. I folded up the piece of paper, put it away, and never found it again.

But 30 days later, my entire life had changed. During that time, I discovered a technique for closing sales that tripled my income from the very first day. Meanwhile, the owner of my company sold out to an entrepreneur who had just moved into town. Exactly thirty days after I had written down my goal, he took me aside and offered me $1,000 per month to head up the sales force and teach the other people what it was that I was doing that enabled me to be selling so much more than anyone else. I accepted his offer and from that day forward, my life was never the same.

Within eighteen months, I had moved from that job to another, and then to another. I went from personal selling to becoming a sales manager with people selling for me. I recruited and built a 95-person sales force. I went literally from worrying about my next meal to walking around with a pocket full of $20 dollar bills.

Within eighteen months, I had moved from that job to another, and then to another. I went from personal selling to becoming a sales manager with people selling for me. I recruited and built a 95 person sales force. I went literally from worrying about my next meal to walking around with a pocket full of $20 dollar bills.

Once again, it showed that goal-setting works. After seeing the incredible results from writing down his goals, Tracy decided to get serious about the process. And the rest was history.

Related: What Is The Point Of Life? The Answer Is Not What You May Think It Is


There you go. This is how highly successful people set goals and achieve them. If you are reading up to this point, I bet these 7 stories will give you some golden insights on what you should do to increase your commitment to reach your goals.

Which story do you like the most? Which one do you are the most inspiring? Is it from Tony Robbins? Or Jack Canfield? Or is it, Jim Carrey?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Written by: Shawn Lim
Originally appeared on Stunning Motivation
Republished with permission.

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