Goal-setting is an instrumental tool in accomplishing a goal but make no mistake, it only provides initial motivation for goal attainment. If the act of writing down a goal on paper was the key motivational tool I would have a home in Hawaii, the body of a fitness model, and millions in my bank account. There are numerous resources that encourage people to think big, write down their goals, and visualize them. The interesting thing is that studies have proven that focusing on a goal actually interferes with goal attainment. You must focus on the specific action plans and be open to changing those plans depending on the results. This is referred to as an implementation intention and is the key component for sustaining motivation when pursuing a goal.  

An implementation strategy requires plans that detail when, where and how you plan to achieve your goal. If exercising is your goal then the implementation strategy could include the time of day you will exercise, for how long, and a system for recording measureable progress. Another important aspect of the implementation strategy should include a plan of how you will overcome obstacles, persist when difficult, and resume after an interruption. Countless times I have observed individuals who begin an exercise program only to become sick with a cold, injure a limb, or unexpectedly called out of town. It almost seems like a spiritual test to make sure the person really wants to achieve this goal. It seems unfair so the best thing to do is prepare for it in advance. Once you have created the implementation strategy you can then spend time visualizing yourself in the actions it requires achieving the goal. For example, see yourself walk or jogging and conjure up how it would feel in the body. If a healthy diet is your focus, see yourself making beautiful meals that are not only nutritious but support weight loss. See yourself at a restaurant eagerly ordering the meal that supports your diet instead of the burger and fries.

The visualization of goal actions is far more effective in goal attainment.