Goal Setting Exercise: I Want to Be – I Want to Do

Goal Setting Exercise: I Want to Be – I Want to Do


This powerful exercise is ideal for motivating people and helping them identify their true goals in life. Most people are aware of only a few objectives and desires. For the rest of, they don’t think of them every day or even every month. Yet, if asked they still express their desire in possession of something or going through a particular experience.

This relates to what is known as the “law of attraction”. This captures the simple principle that “like attracts like”. If you are positive and think of positive goals most often, you are more likely to get them. If you don’t think of these goals and you are not constantly aware of them, you are less likely to reach them.

This exercise helps you demonstrate the power of this important law and also allows people to realise which areas of their lives needs more attention.

This exercise is ideal for courses on self-motivating, motivating others and goal setting.


Identify what you want in life and reflect on it.

What You Need

  • Papers
  • Blue and red pens


  • There are two stages in this exercise. Ideally you should run stage one at the beginning of the course and stage two towards the end of the course. The delay between the two stages is important as it give an opportunity for incubation of ideas.


  • Ask delegates to write a list of all things they want to do. They can list, or preferably use a mind map to capture them. If they don’t know how to use a mind map, you may consider teaching them about this powerful method before this exercise.
  • Delegates should identify all the areas they are interested in. They should write (or add branches) not-stop using the blue pens. Explain that they should not worry about spelling mistakes or style. It is important to get what they have in mind on paper as quickly as possible.
  • Explain that delegates don’t have to share anything they don’t want with others, so should to be as honest as they can with themselves as they go through this exercise.
  • Allocate 5 minutes for this part. The allocated time for this part should be fairly short. Your aim is to force delegates to record what they are totally aware of now, without thinking too hard. As a variation, you can consider allowing even less than 5 minutes.


  • At the end of the course, ask delegates to share parts of their lists with others. They are free to share whatever they want or whatever they don’t want. The purpose is to inspire others on ideas.
  • Now explain that anything they have not included in their lists or mind map is something they are not going to have in life. In other words, if it is not in their lists, they will not get it!
  • Pause. Let people think about this for a while. Let them truly realise the implication of this; that when they are you not aware of a specific desire, it is very unlikely for them to get it. This is because they are not thinking about it, and therefore not doing anything to make it easier for themselves to get it. They are just relying on chance. It is just a wish they had; not something they truly wanted. If they don’t do something about getting it, then they won’t get it!
  • Allow a few minutes of reflection and possible discussions and comments.
  • Ask delegates to go back and think of anything they have missed. They should add these to their lists or mind maps with the red pens. Ask delegates to be as honest as they can.
  • Allocate 3 minutes for this part.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: Stage One: 5 minutes, Stage Two: 5 min sharing + 2 min reflection + 3 min adding more goals = 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What do you think of this exercise? Were you surprised by the results? Did you miss a lot of important goals and ended up adding them in red? What does this suggest? What are you going to do in the future in order to remain conscious of your most important goals? Does this help you become proactive in achieving your goals, as opposed to waiting for them to happen?

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The Most Similar Exercises & Articles to this in Order of Similarity Are:

Self-Esteem Exercise: Appreciate What You Have
The Strangest Secret: Progressive Realisation of a Worthy Ideal
Envy Self-Reflection Exercise
Goal Setting Exercise: Role Models
Self-Esteem Exercise: Turn Negative to Positive
Goal Setting Exercise: Standing Ovation

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