20 Best Books On Goal Setting

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  • Goal setting is important if you want to accomplish great things in life.
  • The best goals are the ones that reflect who you are as a person
  • If you don’t know how to set goals, there are tons of self-help goal setting books to choose from. 
  • It’s best to start goal setting at a young age. 
  • The best books on goal setting are: “The Desire Map,” “Big Potential,” “Your Best Year Ever,” “Hard Goals,” etc. 
  • The best goal setting books for kids and teens are: “ The Third Door” and “Giraffes Can’t Dance.”

Having goals means considering your ideal future and the direction you want your life to go. It’s a powerful thinking process you use to motivate yourself to become a better person. It doesn’t happen overnight, so take it day by day to transform your vision into reality.

Setting goals is essential for leading a fulfilling life, no matter the age group. Some people realize this early in their childhood, while others do much later. Regardless of your age, having goals means having a life purpose.

For those searching for their life purpose and looking for ways to achieve it, there are tons of goal setting books that can help rearrange priorities!

It’s never early to set SMART goals. We often find children that already have their goals set but need guidance from parents to achieve them. Introducing children to books on goal setting may be helpful to them in the long run.

Transforming desires into realities with books about goal setting can lead towards attaining the goals. If you want to avoid shuffling from store to store to find the best books for goal setting, read this article! We’ll list the top 20 best books on goal setting to help you attain your aspirations!

What Is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is a process where a person takes active steps to accomplish a desired outcome. Each goal setting process involves detailed goal planning and defining, including ways to achieve it at a specific time.

Goals inspire and fuel your motivation. Realistic goals save time and can accelerate your personal growth and professional success. It’s a way of living with intention and going through life your way.

If you find setting goals challenging, or you weren’t able to accomplish the previous ones, you may need to set realistic expectations. There are many inspirational books for men and women to help you achieve a clearer perspective.

Why Goal Setting Is Important?

Goal setting is instrumental in building your professional and personal journey. A goal helps establish a direction in your life and keeps you physically and mentally focused.

It’s an easy process usually established during childhood. The first question we commonly hear as kids is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a way of getting children to develop ideas about their future from the earliest age and giving them direction.

Goal setting allows you to identify what’s important to you and helps measure your progress through life, keeping us motivated and accountable. This is why introducing goal setting children’s books as early as possible is vital.

Without further ado, here are the best goal setting books all age groups will love!


List Of Top 20 Books On Goal Setting

Here’s our list of best goal setting books for elementary students, children, teens, and adults!

Best Goal-Setting Books for Adults

1.  The Book of Mistakes by Skip Prichard 

Besides being beautifully written, Skip Prichard’s “The Book of Mistakes” tells a story of a man trying to live up to the expectations of someone else’s dream. It’s one of those goal-setting books for adults that sheds light on 9 mistakes highly successful people never make.

Prichard’s storytelling slides you through the pages, and you will regard it as more of a novel rather than a self-help book. Filled with relatable quotes and advice, “The Book of Mistakes” teaches children and adults that the only way to reach their goal is to be themselves.

“The Book of Mistakes” is one of the most popular self-help books on our list.

Memorable quote: “Suffering often clarifies what matters in life.”

2. Big Potential by Shawn Anchor

Shawn Anchor’s “The Big Potential” is our list’s top goal-setting career planning and budgeting books because it teaches you how to differentiate your potential. Each human being is born with two types of potential, solitary and group.

Small potential refers to the person’s individual potential, while big potential means achieving great things alongside others. You must work in harmony with others to employ your immense potential, helping others around you improve and bringing you one step closer to acquiring your potential.

Memorable quote: “You are what you read.”

3. Creating Your Best Life by Caroline Miller Mapp 

Among the top recommended books about goal setting, in her work “Creating Your Best Life,” Caroline Miller gives you a SMART formula to set your goals perfectly.

“Creating Your Best Life” is an interactive book filled with creative exercises that will help you get your goals and wishes aligned. If you don’t like the interactions, you will enjoy the relatable stories ending in epiphanies.

The author knew readers would relate more to stories than written rules, which is how she invokes motivation. The genuine advice and beneficial tips land the book on the world’s best selling books on goal setting lists!

Memorable quote: “You are on a path…exactly where you are meant to be right now…And from here, you can only go forward…”

4.  9 Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Grant Halvorson 

Considered one of the best books for goal setting, Heidi Grant’s “9 Things Successful People Do Differently” teaches the reader about true values. A book filled with quotable lines helps you realize that achieving your goals means believing what you do at the moment is more important than what you have.

She gives clear insight into 9 things successful people do differently, like “seizing the moment,” “being a realistic optimist,” “focusing on getting better,” “becoming specific,” and “building willpower.”

The book’s main initiative is to improve goal achievement with a long-term focus.

Memorable quote: “Don’t tempt fate”.

5. Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt 

“Your Best Year Ever” is listed among the best books about goal setting and has a deep philosophical point. Michael Hyatt’s book teaches how to identify the purpose and set your meaningful goals. “Your Best Year Ever” is backed up by tons of interesting research and successful experiments the author developed on people.

Besides field-testing, Hyatt includes results on how people cope and overcome daily struggles. The book evaluates any goal you can think of, whether personal, financial or career-wise. It also shows you how to stick to your plans and set quit-proof goals. Give it a chance to learn how to transform your life in just a year.

Memorable quote: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

6. Goals! by Brian Tracy 

A book screaming “Goals!” means there’s serious info on ways of achieving them. Brian Tracy went in-depth on how to set realistic, achievable goals properly.

Placed among the best goal-setting books of all time, “Goals” stood the test of time. It teaches that you must clear your values and beliefs before setting your goals. If you have a specific set of values to rely on, your goals will become easy to determine.

Memorable quote: “Never complain, never explain.”

7. The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte 

“The Desire Map” is one of the first books on our list that focuses on goal setting through evaluating feelings. Danielle LaPorte writes about getting in touch with your emotions and letting your external goals start from there.

The book famously states that the mistake many make is not aiming to achieve the goals but the feeling that comes with it. Chasing feelings rather than goals makes you burnt out constantly.

With “The Desire Map,” you’ll learn how to set goals that align with your beliefs. This book metaphorically intertwines purpose and goals to enhance your motivation.

Memorable quote: “This is about doing much less proving and much more living.”


8. “The Magic Lamp” by Keith Ellis 

With a magical title like “The Magic Lamp”, Keith Ellis’ book reads like a fairytale. It’s recommended for those frustrated with setting goals or who find it extremely dull. “The Magic Lamp” teaches people who live through life mindlessly how to achieve things through goals.

The book’s point is hidden in the title, with LAMP referring to “lock on, act, manage your progress and persist”. The lock-on part focuses on defining your goals, planning how to achieve them, and how to be prepared to pay the price for them.

You can expect to find a secret formula that aids in achieving personal and professional goals.

Memorable quote: “If you enjoy something, pursue it.”

9. Hard Goals by Mark Murphy 

“Hard Goals” is one of the top goal-setting books that are honest about the difficulty of the process. It teaches potential goal-setters not to put goals together in a rush. The author is an executive coach and gives real-life examples from his students’ journeys.

He demonstrates that goals need to come from inner desires. “Hard Goals” coins the acronym “HARD” to describe the basic principles for goal setting.

HARD stands for a goal that can be achieved if it’s heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult. A heartfelt goal is something you are passionate about, while animating it makes the goal more visible. If your goal is required, you feel the urge to do it, and you have to do it for yourself.

Finally, the difficulty part means that no goal should be easy to achieve; otherwise, they are not necessarily goals worth pursuing.

A different approach than the rest of the goal-setting career books, but we are sure you can connect with some of the principles included.

Memorable Quote: “Necessity is the mother of all inventions.”

10. Measure What Matters by John Doerr 

John Doerr’s masterfully written “Measure What Matters” is among the top business goal-setting books. It contains excellent principles that can be employed in everyone’s personal life. Filled with research-based theories and examples, “Measure What Matters” lets you in on secrets about great companies like Google and the Great Foundation.

Now a venture capitalist, John Doerr gives his approach to building excellence: imagining and placing objectives and reaching key results. By following OKRs, you will increase work satisfaction and boost retention.

“Measure What Matters” can also be found on Audible as one of the goal-setting read-aloud books – a great option if you don’t have the time to read! It’s worth listening to, plus some of the narrators include Bono from U2 and Bill Gates.

Memorable Quote: “Individuals cannot be reduced to numbers.”

Best Goal-Setting Books for Students

Interested in learning about the best goal-setting books for students? Below you will find top books that deserve to be on our list.

1. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Digital Fire

The most important thing to a teenager is to be popular and accepted, so “How To Win Friends and Influence People” has an attention-grabbing title.

As one of the few self-esteem goal-setting books for teens, it has helped many adolescents since 1936. Published during the Great Depression, the authors’ rock-solid advice withstood the test of time and sold millions of copies worldwide.

It’s a great goal setting book for teens that teaches communication, likeability, navigating social interactions, becoming an effective leader, and drawing people to join your side. It’s a beneficial book teens should read to improve their personal and professional lives.

Memorable quote: “Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to that person in any language.”

2. How To Achieve Big PHAT Goals by Dean Lindsey 

Dean Lindsey writes in teen-relatable language and uses this book to teach teens morals and goal setting principles. Dedicated to every Middle and High schooler, the book is one of those goal-setting books for teenagers that ignites internal motivation.

The basic rule is to have goals that align with your values; if they don’t, they need to change. The acronym “PHAT” stands for “pretty hot and tempting goals,” which the book will teach you how to accomplish.

Memorable quote: “Your goals might be BIG enough, but are the PHAT enough?”

3. You Goal, Girl: A Goal Setting Workbook by Mellissa Bowels and Elise Rikard 

Try an interactive workbook if you have difficulties setting goals by reading novels and guides. Bowel and Rikard’s goal setting workbook includes steps to follow towards success, focusing more on personal goals by combining productivity and motivation.

It has daily questions to keep users on their toes and one step closer to great achievements. It reads and writes like a breeze, with no difficult or overbearing questions.

Similar to a to-do list, the workbook includes tips, brainstorming, and worksheets. The book teaches that everything in life is accomplishable if you are willing to put in the work yourself!

Memorable Quote: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?”

4. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan

A book that resonates with many teenagers, “The Third Door” tells a story of an 18-year-old boy that goes from one successful celebrity to another to learn their secrets. The book teaches that you need to think outside the box or take the third door when setting goals.

“The Third Floor” is a best-seller simply because it’s a story rather than a guide. You get to participate in fictional interviews with Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Larry King, etc.  It’s one of the best books goal setting has to offer!

There are three doors in life, similar to a nightclub. The main entrance is where 99% of people wait in line, the second door is where VIPs slip in, and the third door is where you have to bend over backwards to get in. The book’s tip is to be prepared to work hard to reach your goals!

Memorable quote: “Nobody achieves a dream from the comfort of certainty.”

positive thinking concept

5. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale 

Negative thoughts often occupy teens’ minds, so “The Power of Positive Thinking” is just the book to help. It gives helpful advice on how to live a peaceful yet fulfilling life while pursuing goals.

As one of the most unusual books on self-discipline and goal setting, “The Power of Positive Thinking” teaches you how to establish a positive mindset and be your creator of happiness.

Memorable quote: “Expect little, give much.”

Best Goal-Setting Books for Kids

1. Every Kid’s Guide to Goals: How to Choose, Set and Achieve Goals That Matter To You by Karleen Tauszik 

This guide teaches independence when choosing goals, and teaching children that they can decide for themselves is imperative. If kids know that they are the masterminds behind their creations, it will give them the motivation to pursue those goals.

As one of the best children’s books about goal setting, the guide is filled with worksheets, planners, and examples of inevitable obstacles. The book is recommended for teens who want to learn what to expect further in life.

Memorable quote: “Go on a climb, that’s where the fruit is.”

2. Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan’s Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan

“Salt in His Shoes” is a picture book with a wonderful story about how hope and faith helped Michael Jordan accomplish his dreams. It’s one of the top-sold children’s books on goal setting because it teaches children how to beat self-doubt and stay resilient.

Besides perseverance lessons, the book highlights the hard work needed to accomplish goals at a young age.

Memorable quote: “Change your thoughts, and you will change your world.”

3. The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper 

As a blast from the past, “The Little Engine That Could” is loved by kids and adults alike. It teaches the story of a little blue train that accomplished his dreams with positive thinking. Among the best books about goal setting for kids, the train introduces the importance of goals from an early age.

It gives valuable insight into overcoming obstacles early in life, so you know what to expect later on. With a funny main character from 1930, the book evokes courage and idealism in kids.

Memorable quote: “I think I can…”

4. Roger’s New Bike by Mr. Roger Bush 

A relatable main character and a kid-friendly goal are the story’s main points. The author Mr. Roger Bush presents a picturesque story about a young boy pursuing success. Roger knows exactly what he wants in life, and his strategies inspire his peers to find the same kind of drive in their life.

Similar to other famous time management books, this children’s goal-setting book teaches how to put your time in order and leave some for great things. The book also has a goal-setting worksheet so the kid can interact and start planning.

Memorable quote: “Most people don’t know what they want from life and drift without purpose.”

5. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-Rees 

This heartwarming story about a giraffe trying to dance resonates with every kid. With beautiful illustrations and witty lines, the book reads in a single breath.

The author excellently points out that if your heart is in what you pursue, your dreams will inevitably come true. All you need is some persistence, encouragement, and passion to become what you love.

Memorable quote: “We can all dance if we find music that we love”.


1) What are the 5 steps in Goal setting?

Goal setting begins by brainstorming to identify specific and realistic SMART goals. Write the goals and organize them into smaller goals. Identify any possible obstacles that may appear and create a timeframe for fulfilling the goals you will follow. Monitor your progress to make necessary adjustments to the plan.

2) What is the main purpose of setting goals? 

The main purpose is to acquire greater focus in fulfilling your goals. Goal setting highly motivates you and increases your productivity.

3) How do you set career and life goals? 

It’s best to start setting career and life goals early. Brainstorm and explore possibilities, establish short and long-term goals, and create a list and timeframe. Ensure to follow the plan to be sure your goals will be achieved.

4) Which is the best goal-setting book for students?

The best book on goal-setting for students is “The Third Door” by Alex Banyan.

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