21 Best Goal Setting Books to Read

goal setting booksMost people live their lives drifting from one day to the next. Their goals change but are rarely sought after with vision and purpose.

What sets high achievers apart from those who continue in their regular “life is happening to me” routine, is effective goal setting.

Having clarity and a mapped plan for what one really wants in life is an exhilarating and motivating process.

Once life goals are clear, actionable, and measurable, one can pursue them with certainty that those goals will be reached. There are countless materials out there to lead one toward setting their best life goals.

The following are the most highly rated.

10 Best Books on Goal Setting to Read

Creating your best life1. Creating Your Best Life – Caroline Miller, MAPP

By utilizing research in various areas of science and in positive psychology, in particular, Caroline Miller takes the approach to goal setting beyond setting SMART goals.

She weaves rich tales of goal accomplishment and happiness in with goal setting exercises. This book creates an interactive and engaging way to view life goals and achievement.

“Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now…And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”

Available from Amazon.

 

Your Best Year Ever2. Your Best Year Ever – Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt creates a clear, research-based approach to finding purpose and setting meaningful goals.

Whether it’s a personal, relationship, business, or financial goal; Hyatt’s field-tested results help people overcome their day-to-day struggles to reach their full potential. This book helps to envision the reader’s best year ever, even setting up ways to get unstuck and “quit proof” the goals.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.

By reaching for what appears to be impossible, we often actually do the impossible; and even when we don’t make it, we inevitably wind up doing much better than we would have done.

Available from Amazon.

 

The Book of Mistakes3. The Book of Mistakes – Skip Prichard

Mr. Prichard uses his gifts as a storyteller to weave this tale about a young man discovering the 9 mistakes that highly successful people don’t make.

One of the first mistakes is living someone else’s dream. A person who knows exactly who they want to be, will do the things that that person would do.

Expressing thankfulness energizes, enhances, and empowers.

Make it your mission to encourage everyone who crosses your path.

Suffering often clarifies what really matters in life.

Available from Amazon.

 

Things Successful People Do4. 9 Things Successful People Do Differently – Heidi Grant Halvorson

Goal achievement research has shown that what you do is more important than what you have. In her research backed book, Heidi Grant Halvorson outlines the 9 things successful people do differently.

  1. Get specific
  2. Seize the moment to act on your goals
  3. Know exactly where the goal line is
  4. Be a realistic optimist
  5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good
  6. Have the willingness to commit to long term goals. In other words, have grit.
  7. Build your willpower
  8. Don’t tempt fate
  9. Focus on what you will do

She goes in depth into each of these 9 topics. It serves as a guide to improving goal achievement from a can-do, long-term focus. Creating alternatives to what you aren’t willing to do and replacing them with what you are willing to do, gets readers on track to achieving what they want in life.

Available from Amazon.

 

Big Potential5. Big Potential – Shawn Anchor

This book highlights the team aspect of goal achievement. Mr. Anchor stresses the difference between small potential, which is individual achievement, and big potential which is achievement with others.

We are all influenced by those around us, and when we help others improve they do the same for those around them, in turn expanding the potential.

You are what you read. And science confirms this. Researchers from Dartmouth and Ohio State found that when you become engrossed with a book you may actually begin to not just identify with, but actually take on some of the traits and characteristics of, the main character. For example, if you read a book about someone with a strong social conscience, your likelihood of doing something socially conscientious rises.

Available from Amazon.

 

The Desire Map6. The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte

This book is a slightly different path from the previous material.

Danielle LaPorte’s creation is a program for goal setting that focuses on getting in touch with feelings and letting the outer goal achievement grow from there. The work is a life focus for goal setting that allows purpose to play a role in motivation.

When we want to feel courageous more than we want to check accomplishments off our list … When we want to feel free more than we want to please other people … When we want to feel good more than we want to look good … then we’ve got our priorities in order. Divine priorities—the kind that will steer you to the life you long for most deeply.

Available from Amazon.

 

Hard Goals7. Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be – Mark Murphy

This book is written from the perspective of well accomplished Executive Coach Mark Murphy. His concept in goal setting is that the goals to be set should be more than “ho-hum” type of goals.

To reach great potential the goals must match an inner desire. If you really want to change the world, you have to set a goal that would change the world. Goals that challenge and stretch a person are said to be more fulfilling.

Expressing intense feelings usually portends better results than emotional detachment does. Just remember, nobody ever washed a rental car (which means that if you don’t own it, you’re not going to put much effort into it).

Available from Amazon.

 

How To Win Friends And Influence People8. How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This classic book has been helping people reach their goals since its release in 1936. The content remains relevant in today’s modern, technological world.

Dale Carnegie’s principles have brought many famous people to their highest potential and mastery in goal setting and achievement.

It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.

Available from Amazon.

 

The Power of Positive Thinking9. The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale

This book was created to help people live more fulfilling and peaceful lives, all while pursuing and achieving life goals. While positivity alone is not a creator of happiness, an optimistic mindset allows the brain to broaden and build.

This book gives some tips on developing a positive mindset and has influenced many famous people, including several past presidents.

The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.

Available from Amazon.

 

The Art of Setting Smart Goals10. The Art of Setting Smart Goals: Set winning goals and live a life of abundance, success, and achievement – Anisa Marku

Creating a habit change is a major part of setting and achieving goals.

This how-to book gives step by step actions to take in the pursuit of what, why, and how you will achieve them.

The SMART goal concept is a significant work in goal setting and achievement. It is a solid framework to create and achieve any type of goal.

Available from Amazon.

 

6 Top Goal Setting Workbooks

You Goal, Girl1. You Goal, Girl: A Goal-Setting Workbook – Melissa Bowles

This interactive workbook makes goal setting a breeze.

With actionable steps to follow, moving the user toward their own personal goals, it is a great book to have when in pursuit of success.

It combines productivity and motivation in a day by day book to keep the user on track and heading toward goal achievement.

Available from Amazon.

 

Goal Getter2. Goal Getter

This productivity journal by Modern Script Designs is a beautiful book created to help the user accomplish all of their daily tasks.

It helps with organization and even includes motivational and inspirational quotes along the way. Many ladies will like this journal because it’s so pretty and well put together.

Available from Amazon.

 

Every Kid's Guide to Goals3. Every Kid’s Guide to Goals: How to Choose, Set, and Achieve Goals That Matter To You – Karleen Tauszik

This interactive book helps kids decide for themselves what they want to pursue and master with regard to goals.

Putting kids in the driver’s seat of their own goal setting gives them the independence to choose what goals are important to them, giving them the internal motivation to pursue them.

With worksheets and plans for possible obstacles, it is a great book for kids to plan for the best and the worst-case scenarios.

Available from Amazon.

 

Recommended Goal Setting Books for Students

The Third Door1. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How The World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers – Alex Banayan

This book is the journey of an 18-year-old through the tales of various successful people. It talks about the opportunities that present themselves in an alternative way to the path most taken.

The success stories discussed in this fun book all took the “third door” as a way to enter the party, so to speak. It’s a fun story showing that thinking outside the box can lead to great success.

Available from Amazon.

 

Goal Setting For Students2. Goal Setting For Students: A Success Tool For the Classroom and For Life – John Bishop

This is a helpful book for students and teachers to develop an “I’ll make it happen” attitude.

It is designed to put the educational responsibility in the hands of the students.

It is also a tool for teachers as a guide to reaching their classroom goals.

Available from Amazon.

 

How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals3. How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals – Dean Lindsay

According to previous users, this book should be in the hands of every Middle and High Schooler out there.

It teaches kids to align their goals with their values, igniting change and internal motivation.

The PHAT in the title stands for “Pretty Hot And Tempting” goals.

This book is a step-by-step guide to achieving those goals.

Available from Amazon.

 

Goal Setting Picture and Sticker Books for Elementary Students

The Little Engine That Could1. The Little Engine That Could – Watty Piper

The classic book from the 1980s that told the tale of a little, blue train who harnessed the power of positive thinking is a perfect introduction to goal setting for young readers.

Teaching the basis of overcoming obstacles at an early age gives a foundation for tough obstacles in later life.

Great life lessons can be learned from that self-propelled wee engine.

Available from Amazon.

 

2. Salt In His ShoesSalt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan In Pursuit Of A Dream – Deloris Jordan

This picture book details the hope and faith that helped basketball superstar Michael Jordan to pursue and reach his dreams.

Lessons in perseverance and overcoming self-doubt are impactful for teaching mindset and its importance in goal setting.

The hard work that comes with the pursuit of greatness is highlighted well in this special story.

Available from Amazon.

 

Giraffes Can’t Dance3. Giraffes Can’t Dance – Andrae Giles

This heartwarming story is of an unlikely candidate in the world of dance.

The main character doesn’t have the easy ability of becoming a great dancer, but he has the heart to pursue his dream.

With passion, persistence, and encouragement this character shows young readers how to go after what they want.

Available from Amazon.

 

Success Kids: Goal Setting4. Success Kids: Goal Setting: Roger’s New Bike – Roger Bush

This great picture book takes the reader through an achievement success story.

While many people don’t live their lives with purpose and vision, this young success seeker does, and his story inspires readers to find the same kind of pursuit in their own lives.

It is complete with a goal setting worksheet.

Available from Amazon.

 

Toiing Goal Mapper5. Toiing Goal Mapper: Calendar With Goal Map Book

This interactive calendar helps kids break down their goals.

With smaller, more actionable steps to take and map with stickers, each kid can have fun in reaching their personal goals.

Tracking goals with stickers in a fun and actionable way gives kids a road map to success.

Available from Amazon.

 

Notebooks and Journals to Aid in the Goal Setting Process

The 100-Day Goal Journal1. The 100-Day Goal Journal: Accomplish What Matters to You – John Lee Dumas

This hardcover journal gives a guide for anyone seeking to create change in their daily lives. It uses daily pages to hold the user accountable.

Increasing productivity, focus, discipline, and self-mastery are said to be accomplished in 100 days with the help of this interactive journal.

Available from Amazon.

 

My 66-Day Habit Challenge2. My 66-Day Habit Challenge Tracker & Goal Planner: A Daily Journal to Help You Track Your Habits and Achieve Your Dream Life – Happy Books Hub

This guided journal is based on the assumption that a new habit takes approximately 66 days to achieve.

It helps its user to get crystal clear on desired habit change and sets the user up for accomplishing that change.

This book allows for missteps, which is helpful because its users are real-life human beings, who will make mistakes along the way.

Available from Amazon.

 

Daily Journal3. Daily Journal – Accomplish Your Goals: Undated Goal Journal for Women and Men – RFZA

This journal allows the user to start exactly where they are.

There are no dates, so a start can begin at any time. This is a simple, yet clear way to map out your goals and amp up your personal motivation to reach them.

Available from Amazon.

 

 

My Simple Book of Goals4. My Simple Book of Goals: Goal-Setting Journal for Youth – Alicia Hadley

Holding kids attention, where goals are concerned, can prove to be a bit of a tall task.

This interactive journal gives kids the driver’s seat for their own personal goals.

It includes motivational quotes and interactive pages to keep them on track.

Available from Amazon.

 

Big Life Journal5. Big Life Journal: A Growth Mindset Journal for Children

This is a wonderful undertaking for children in the realm of applied positive psychology.

It outlines stories, poems, and other inspirational mediums to guide kids at their own pace in reaching their potential. It outlines journal prompts for goal setting, as well as mindfulness, gratitude, and overall emotional well being.

It comes in two different versions for different age groups and is highly recommended to help kids develop the growth mindset that is necessary for any goal to be achieved.

Available from Amazon.

 

Relevant Resources (on our blog)

Our writers work hard to give our readers the best possible scientific sources in positive psychology for which to pursue their goals. The following resources from our blog are all goal setting resources provided by our writers at Positive Psychology.

 

A Take Home Message

Success doesn’t happen by accident. People who are high achievers have similar habits and one of them is effective goal setting. Anyone can achieve their life goals, but creating those life goals with absolute clarity and pursuing them with the understanding that mistakes and missteps will happen along the way, are exercises in resilience.

The books and resources listed above are hopefully a great place to start in choosing where one might look to begin a journey toward goal achievement. Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose. It is the individual who must define that aim or purpose. Without the clarity and internal drive to that end, goals may not be effectively reached.

May each of you find the clarity to pursue a life goal and may that goal fill your cup enough so that you may pour into others. Thanks for reading.

About the Author

Kelly Miller will be a graduate of the Flourishing Center’s CAPP program in 2019. She is currently the owner of A Brighter Purpose, LLC, a provider in positive psychology coaching services. When she isn’t gleefully helping humans move toward flourishing, she enjoys National Park hikes and spending quality time with her adventurous family.

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