The PEMDAS of Goal-Getting

  Goal-setting is an action, but goal-getting is a process. In math class we learned of PEMDAS, which was a mnemonic for the order of operations of equation solving. In life we also have a PEMDAS, which is the order of operations of goal-getting. Remember this new mnemonic to live in your success and become a goal-getter.




The very first, most basic step towards achieving any goal is to be passionate about it. There has to be an inner flame, an internal motivator, a gut feeling that draws the interest. Without that initial nudge by our subconscious mind, we will never fully devote ourselves to the goal. Without a raging internal fire, we will eventually grow numb to external motivators. No amount of reading motivational quotes or inspirational stories or attending personal development seminars will help us get through the long rough patches. Those are quick-time fixes. We need a solid solution.




After getting that initial spark of inspiration from the subconscious, we must consciously explain to ourselves why this is a goal we want to accomplish. We must transform subconscious to conscious. We must reason with ourselves to discover our ulterior motives. Are we trying to lose weight to look better or to feel better?


This step can be very difficult emotionally. It isn’t easy to question our decisions and discover our innermost and truest faults and shortcomings. Although it will require deep periods of introspection and self-reflection, we will emerge stronger and more confident in our decision to fulfill this goal. The universe has a method of ensuring balance. The lows of uncovering personal weaknesses are balanced out by the highs of what is possible with that information. By explaining to ourselves the source of our interest in achieving the goal, we will reaffirm and solidify its validity. We can now justify fully investing ourselves into our goal.




Measurement is usually where most people begin to stumble. Imagine Frank, a 30 something accountant who set a new years resolution to read a new novel (perhaps on the 150 list?). Frank, who was an avid reader as a child, hasn’t read a book cover to cover in what feels like ages. Especially now with work and the kids, he just doesn’t have the time to relax like he used to. On December 31 Frank goes to sleep feeling confident in his ability to fulfill his resolution. 6 months later Frank has yet to get past Chapter 2.


Keeping measure of our goals is essential to success. What gets measured gets managed and with Frank measuring no progress along the way, he had nothing to manage. Keeping measurable data of the entire goal process implies that we have measurable goals. When establishing our goals, we have to make sure that they are measurable! We can’t say I want to get toned for the summer. That word is subjective. What you consider toned now may not be what you will in 3 months time. Rather, make an objective goal such as lose 10 pounds. That way we can create frequent check-ins to measure our interim progress toward our ultimate goal. (How I read 7 books in 5 months reading 10 pages a day)




This is the root. The very fundamentals of goal-getting. This is the difference maker between living in your success and being forever left wondering. All extremely successful and ultra-productive people, regardless of famousness, fields, or financial status, have at least one thing in common – Laser focus. They are so committed to accomplishing their goals, that they will stop at nothing short of killing themselves to fulfill them. They will not quit no matter how hard it is, how bad it gets, or how drained they are. They have developed such a high personal integrity, a commitment to self, that they cannot allow themselves fail. They may not be successful now, in 5 months, or 5 years, but they will eventually be successful. And it is the fact that eventually they will be successful that drives them to continue.


To develop this level of dedication, we must put our goals at the forefront of our reality. The goal-getting process must become the centerpiece of our lives. It must become a style of life - a lifestyle. If we do not fully devote ourselves, we will always be left wondering What if…? What was…? What could have been…?


We must live vicariously though our goals. We must understand that although our goals reside in the distant future, it is our current actions that sculpt them. We can’t allow external influences & factors to sway or extinguish our searing passions. Stay dedicated & respond rather than react to adversity and we will make it to the promised land. We will…




The Finish Line. After an initial well-researched sow, a strictly adhered to watering schedule, and continuous measurements during the growing season, the harvest has finally arrived. The aggregate of our efforts will now begin to pay dividends. We have arrived at the crossroads of mind and matter. Our subconscious thought impulse has manifested itself into its physical equivalent. We have transformed imagination into reality. Celebrate the moment because this is truly a moment of joy!




The celebration is but only a moment because there exists one more step! As we sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor, realize the speed and relative ease that we have accomplished our goals. The entire process almost seems like a flash of the distant past. All of the small daily progressions have lead to large-scale impacts. What seemed like a daunting challenge has now been reduced to remnants of the past.


Striving to reach a goal we set teaches us a great deal about ourselves, including what we believed was possible. Every goal we accomplish that pushes us slightly past the realm of our comfort zone simultaneously expands it. The limitations of our reality is quickly moved back and beyond. In retrospect, the goals that we have accomplished may even begin to seem comically small. We begin to realize how foolish we were for having set so low expectations with this newfound potential. There is a reason humility is a common characteristic among the ultra-successful.


Goal-getting is not a linear process. It is cyclical. After the celebrations are finished and the champagne is stored away, the next step is to set more goals. With our newly found confidence, the realm of possibility has enlarged. Our previous experience in goal-getting has altered our perspective on goal-setting. We know what is possible, and we want more.