How To Create and Use A Compelling Goal

12 December 2010, by A. Cedilla


  • requiring urgent attention
  • forceful
  • convincing

Latin compellere, itself from com– ‘together’ + pellere ‘to drive.’ Read that little word out loud right now.

Feel those three syllables trip off your tongue: Compelling. Com-pel-ling. You just might find yourself tensing up, shoulders drawing high and closer to your ears. Compelling. Com-PELL. To be forced.

Forceful. Demanding attention. As if you don’t have enough demands for your time and attention and energy…you’re in charge here, by gum, you’re not falling for this frou-frou claptrap, like some namby-pamby statement on an insipid inspirational poster, one with that witless cat leering at you as it dangles from a tree branch.

A compelling goal? A COMPELLING GOAL? You have goals. You don’t need to be convinced.

…or DO you?

As stated in a previous piece on how to use reviews to stay on track with your goals, all important goals are personal.

That being said, we can also add that if something is important enough to you, its very importance should be compelling enough to drive you to treat it the way you believe it should be treated (see what happened there?). Compelling enough to convince you to give it the attention and time it deserves. Right?

  • Compellere, ‘to drive together,’ time, attention and action working towards one main thing, a result, an end-goal.

Knee-jerk reactions to certain words can stem from bad experiences in the past. You remember a time when you were compelled (read: guilted, lured, seduced or forced) into doing something you didn’t really want to do. You recall the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize you had been convinced into doing something that you had misgivings about.

And in the present, that nasty memory spurs you to react strongly to any hint of being ‘compelled’. Of being controlled. Dammit.


‘Compelling’ , as we’re using it in this article, isn’t about that kind of experience, but about acting on your OWN convictions, not the urgings of others.

When you create a compelling goal, you come to the understanding that you have an incredible opportunity in your hands to make something real come out of your desire, whether it’s to hit your target sales, keep your cool at home and in the workplace, save money by cutting back on unimportant extras, or losing a pound or two a week.

When you have a compelling goal, you have something that generates its own power through your desire and will. That kind of thing can be its own energy source, once you get going.

Of course, it’s not something you can leave alone merrily pumping out your personal Energon cubes in a corner of your living room. You still have to support it. You still need to keep it going by word and deed.


Let’s break it down, “by word and by deed.”

  • Word – keeping your word, upholding your word, being someone of your word.
  • Deed – action. Enough said.

A compelling goals drives you to walk your talk. Not only do you say it’s important to you, you act on and from its importance to you.

Play around with the concept. Let’s agree that success is important to you, and you’re working to make sure you’re a success.


Define success for yourself:
Success at what? Hitting the highest total sales in your company’s history? Anger management? Saving money every month? Lose 100 pounds?
What are your bench-markers of success? What’s your time-line? Where are your resources, your support group? What are your metrics? How will you know when you hit them, and once you do, then what?

What are you going to do?
A compelling goal tells you why, your desires pushes you to find how, and when, and where.

  • You want to hit sales to make more money, gain some recognition, do better, and get in a stronger position to help yourself further along your business and take care of your family.
  • You want to take care of your family and better yourself using your business.
  • You want to be able to keep your cool and not go Vesuvius on friends and strangers alike because you don’t want to continue the legacy of raging, ungovernable tempers in your family of origin.
  • You don’t want to do to other people what was done to you. You want to be disciplined and more self-aware in exercising your emotions.
  • You want to save money to pay off your student loans and finally get under the mountain of stress that comes with them. And then go on a trip to someplace you’ve always wanted to see but never had the money to.
  • You want to be free of debt.You want to be free to live your life and go where you’ve always wanted to go, without having money issues stay at the forefront of your consciousness.
  • You want to live to see your kids grow up and meet the grandkids that could come. You want to walk the Oregon trail without your knees quitting on you. You want to run a marathon. You don’t want to be imprisoned by your blood pressure, your unfit body, your poor self-image and poor health.
  • You want to see how far you can go in a healthy body. If you don’t have a healthy body, through genetics or fate, you want to do the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.

A compelling goal integrates your desire and your will. You buy into it – meaning you buy into your ability to carry it out as well, which also strengthens your self-confidence. You recruit your internal resources, creating an internal Ways and Means Committee in your mind to find, well, ways and means to carrying your goal to its end.

You build – discarding what’s not working, adjusting what does – to make sure it lasts. The very importance of the goal makes it VITAL for you. Vital, from ‘vita‘, meaning necessary for life.

What’s more, you build an external ways and means committee, a support system that involves the people in your life and the systems you move in – family and friends, work, EVERYTHING you can use. Things begin coming into alignment. Helpful patterns begin to emerge.


Compelling goals are necessary to life. They support you and help you focus on what’s important to you.

They’re action magnets – their energy sends out this unseen vibration into the world and things start moving in ways you can hardly imagine. Helpful hands and advice start coming in from the most unlikely places, even as events start coming together in this serendipitous conjunction.

When you move, you begin to see openings and opportunities in the most unlikely of places. That’s because compelling goals let you see old things in new ways.

When you’re clear about the ‘why’s’ by which you choose to live your life, it’s easy to build the goals by which you measure the success of living by these principles.

Having compelling goals pulls things into alignment – your thoughts, your actions, and your words are unified into a coherent whole that can slice through muddled issues and give you the strength to persevere even in the most stressful of situations. When you have a compelling goal you align your needs, desires, actions and thoughts in a way that brings you closer to what you truly want to realize  — a successful, happy life.

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