I have always been goal-oriented. My father taught me this at an early age and I became obsessed with having goals. The biggest goal when I was a kid was to play Division I football - something that became a reality despite road blocks (there will always be obstacles) and the majority of people telling me that I couldn't. The latter seemed to drive me harder and eventually I did reach my goal. The ten years I spent towards working/training/living/breathing football paid off but I learned a lot more than blocking schemes and reading defenses. I learned the power of having a goal and having an unwavering desire to achieve it.
As I've gotten older I have become better at reaching goals and goal setting. We all like to think we have goals and have good intentions to reach them but the reality is that many of us get side tracked on the way. Very few times is one's reach too far. I think most of us are pretty honest with ourselves. There are not a lot of 40 year old men who REALLY think they are going to make the Olympic finals in the 100m dash. The problem in reaching them is that the ACTIONS are more about the end goal than about the process to achieve them.
Another problem is that people have too many goals. Unless you are an incredibly talented person, have one goal. Too many goals will distract you and your energy/time will be scattered. The rallying cry this year on the forum is "One Goal, One Year." Have one big goal every year and work towards it with complete dedication.
If you are like I was and wanted to play football the end goal would simply be "I want to play college football". But in order to get there the most important things are what you do to get there. If you are in high school, some examples would be:
* I will lift weights 2-4 days/week
* I will condition/run sprints 2-4 days/week
* I will follow my eating principles at every meal.
* I will not pollute my body with bad food and drink
* I will be early to every practice
* I will learn the playbook
* I will hand in all my homework on time
* I will be prepared for every test
I recommend sitting down and writing ten direct actions that will help you reach your goal. These are the things that if done with focus and attitude will undoubtedly lead you to your promised land. From there, each of these goals can be broken down a bit further into daily goals. This allows you to focus on the tasks at hand and not be overwhelmed by the big picture. Any goal can seem unreachable when it is years away. But anyone can eat 4 healthy meals a day, lift, do your homework and do some sprints. Anyone can practice hard for one more play. Anyone can dig their cleats in for one more hill sprint. Remember that when you chip away at the big rock only pebbles may fall. But eventually the big rock will crumble.
Watch this video at around 4:50 - Walter Payton talks about setting goals and reaching them.