Goal Setting for Success: The Science of Goal Setting
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Goal Setting for Success: The Science of Goal Setting

Learn to set goals the right way - based on insights from the last 40 years of goal-setting research.
4.2 (36 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,137 students enrolled
Created by Manuel Kraus
Last updated 1/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 10 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • prepare a comprehensive goal system to tackle complex and ambitious goals effectively
  • understand what factors are important for success
  • use their values to guide their behavior
  • set their life goals
  • set short-term goals that lead to success
  • create sticky goals
  • use implementation intentions to increase self-discipline
  • use priming to help reach your goals
  • set up your environment to increase commitment
  • know how to best set a goal
View Curriculum
  • All materials and worksheets will be provided so no additional information is needed prior to starting this course.
  • Goal-setting requires that students have some initial commitment to change in order to be successful. It is recommended that students understand this prior to starting the course. However, students don't have to have a specific goal in mind as the course is able to provide guidance there.

This course distills research from psychology and neuroscience from all over the world into lessons and steps that you can take to set goals that really lead to success.

Master Goal-Setting to Set Yourself Up for Success

  • Define your goals to make them stick
  • Learn how to build a detailed goal system
  • Understand why SMART goals aren't enough
  • Discover all the factors behind successful goal-setting
  • Set yourself up for success

Get a full-fledged goal-setting course that covers every single factor that will contribute to successfully reaching your goals.

Among all the factors affecting our lives, none has as much potential influence as our ability to set goals. Goal-setting is such an important factor for success. When you set the right goals the right way, you take the single most important step to reach it. In this course you'll learn how to set goals the right way – based on the scientific research on goal setting of the last four decades.

At the beginning, we'll briefly cover the Why? of goal-setting before we learn which factors distinguish a good goal from a bad goal. Then we'll set the basis for successful goal pursuit: finding the right goal. The next step will be defining long-term goals, like life missions and life goals. We then explore how to properly define short-term goals and which factors are crucial for success later on. In the final section, we'll use worksheets, checklists and other materials to put it all into practice. I'll lead you through the exact steps you need to consider when you want to set goals successfully.

Content and Overview

You will get understanding of how to set goals and what contributes to you achieving your goals. We'll cover all the tricks and insights that come from research in psychology and neuroscience. Right goal-setting is much more than using the widely known SMART framework – there is research on goal-setting from all over the world, including psychology labs from the best universities of the world.

We look at research that shows what makes successful goals stand out and which factors are often overlooked when people set goals. You also learn why it's often best to avoid do-your-best goals and how you can use thinking errors for your benefit. We look at how to prime your unconsciousness, at intention implementations and much, much more.

The second major part of this course is the section on Mapping for Goal-Success. There you learn how to best set goals by actually doing it. We present a wide range of exercises that are the ideal preparation for achieving your goals, there are more than ten worksheets, a couple of quizzes and a variety of other ways of learning and putting the insights into practice.

Among other things, you'll be able to tap into your True Self, measure and increase commitment to your goal, define the various kinds of resources and obstacles in your way and again much, much more.

At the end of the course, you will have learned what factors are important for successful goal-pursuit. You will have a thorough understanding of how to approach any goal you will set yourself in the future. And you will have the tools and resources you need to set yourself up for success.

One more thing: You have a totally unconditional money back guarantee. It allows you to study the course for 30 days and if you are in any way unhappy with it, you will get a full refund, no questions asked! Enrolling in the course is absolutely risk free.

Click the "Take This Course" button now and enroll!

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is about goal-setting. It covers scientific background information but at the core it's about applying the knowledge. That's why willingness to engage in the activities and apply the lessons is required. No prior knowledge is needed.
  • The course is best suited for people who want to start a new project, change their habits, or work towards some other desired state.
  • The course is suitable both for people who have a particular goal in mind and for people who want to first select the right goal(s).
  • The course is probably not for you if your main interest is to read and discuss research literature.
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Curriculum For This Course
47 Lectures
Hello and welcome!
2 Lectures 03:57
Goal-Setting Basics
4 Lectures 10:08

Goals and good performance are highly related. Whether it's in sports, education or business - setting the right goals is a primary factor for success. This lecture looks at the five ways goals contribute to better performance: motivation, focus, persistence, beliefs and through indirect ways.

Goals and Performance

Use this quick activity to reflect on what your past goals and your past successes.

Activity: Your Goals and Performance

Goals and happiness are also related but in a more complex way. People commonly think that they will be happy when they reach their goals, but research suggests otherwise. It is in fact the process of striving for our goals that makes us happy and lets us live a fulfilled life.

Goals and Happiness

Time to reflect again! How did your past goals contribute to your life (in terms of happiness)?

Activity: Your Goals and Happiness

Goal-Setting Basics
3 questions
What Good Goals Look Like
6 Lectures 17:12

The first defining factor of a 'good' goal is that it's approach-oriented. That means it's positive and the main objective is not to prevent something bad (= avoidance-oriented goals) but it's about gaining or achieving something.


After this short time-out, you'll be clearer which role approach-oriented goals play in your life.

Activity: Approach- or Avoidance-Orientation?

Self-concordance is the second of the three defining factors of good goals. You will understand why it is important and what it means to have self-concordant (or intrinsic) goals.


Take a time out and reflect again.

Activity: Finding self-concordance

A goal should generally be performance-oriented (meaning there should be a clear defined outcome to be achieved). This, however, is not true for learning situations.

Preview 03:52

Performance goals are very common in our education systems even though learning goals would be much more helpful. Take some time to think back on your time in school (and maybe even university).

Activity: Learning or Performing well?

Good Goals versus Bad Goals
7 questions
Finding the Right Goals
8 Lectures 12:20

In order to set self-concordant goals, we need to understand the goal-hierarchy. It starts with very high-level goals and becomes more and more specific as we continue to define what we want to achieve.

The Goal Hierarchy

This exercise will help you to get in touch with your True Self and become clearer about what you really want in your life.

Your True Self

Additional Material: Your True Self Exercise
1 page

Values are the highest-level goals.

Preview 01:30

What is really important to you? This activity will help shed some more light on this question.

Activity: Core Values

Additional Material: List of Values
1 page

The Wheel of Life is a tool that's designed to bring more balance and clarity to our goal pursuit. It's a great exercise to help understand our lives better.

The Wheel of Life

Additional Material: Wheel of Life
1 page
How to Define Long-Term Goals
6 Lectures 12:44

There's a powerful lesson that the psychologist Viktor Frankl learned in the concentration camps in WW2: Humans need to have meaning in their lives.

Mission in Life

Corporate mission statements are very common. But they can be a great tool for individuals, too. This lecture looks at examples and how to write such a personal mission statement.

Personal Mission Statement

Additional Material: Mission Statement Examples
6 pages

Time to reflect on your personal mission in life.

Activity: Personal Mission

Writing about life goals is a well-research activity. This video presents the instructions.

Life Goals

Time out: What would you do if money didn't exist?

Activity: What if?
How to Define Short-Term Goals
4 Lectures 16:57

The SMART framework is the archetypical goal-setting framework of our time. It is widely known and cannot be missed in a goal-setting course. S (Specific), M (Measureable), A (Attainable), R (Relevant), and T (Time-bound) is what is behind this goal-setting system.


The researcher Edwin Locke has defined five goal-setting principles: clarity, commitment, feedback, challenge, and task complexity.

Beyond SMART I

Three more factors that are relevant for our goals: Stickiness, triggers and social context.

Preview 05:16

Factors for Setting Good Short-Term Goals
6 questions

Quick Check-In
Mapping Goal Success
14 Lectures 21:16

Use this worksheet to set your goals. It's the blue-print for this section and will be an invaluable tool (I hope!) when you set goals in the future.

Additional Material: Goal-Setting Worksheet
2 pages

First factor to consider: Goals have to be clearly defined.

Setting Up a Specific Action Plan

While we are pursuing our goals, obstacles will come our way. This, however, is something we have to account for beforehand.

Identifying Obstacles

In this lecture, you learn and identify the three different kinds of resources that you have available to reach your goals.

Identifying Resources

Goal commitment is crucial. Use the goal commitment scale to see if you're on to something.

How committed are you?

Here's the Goal Commitment Scale - it's a quick tool to measure your commitment to your goals.

Additional Material: Goal Commitment Scale
1 page

Being accountable to the people around us or to specific people is a great way to increase commitment.


Learn how to set up a Board of Success that supports you with your goals.

Preview 01:20

Board of Success - Let's join up!

Additional Material: Board of Success
1 page

Priming means to influence our subconscious by setting up our environment for success. This video covers why it works and how to go about it.

Get Primed!

Without planning feedback sessions in advance, it's all too easy to get side-tracked.


If-Then statements are a research-tested method to use triggers to pre-determine our behavior. This video covers how they work and how yours could look like.

Preview 02:58

Additional Material: It-Then Statements
2 pages
Start Doing!
3 Lectures 01:44

A final quote and good-bye from my side. Thanks for being part of this experience!

Thank you and some last words

Please use this checklist for your goals. It can be a great resource. Keep it also after you're done with the course and feel free to pass it on.

Additional Material: Checklist
1 page

Goal-Setting Apps
1 page
About the Instructor
Manuel Kraus
4.3 Average rating
130 Reviews
9,289 Students
7 Courses
Udemy Premium Instructor for Positive Psychology

Manuel Kraus is the founder of Pocketcoach, a therapy chatbot to support people with anxiety, and Good Life Foundation, an organization seeking to empower individuals and communities across the world to live happy and fulfilled lives by teaching positive psychology. He is also an expert in the field and one of only a few people in the world holding a master's degree in applied positive psychology. His main research interest focuses on the experience of meaning in life.

He teaches positive psychology in workshops and seminars, and is the author of a series of online courses covering topics ranging from building positive emotions and self-esteem to changing mindsets and overcoming tough times.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of life flourishing and optimal human functioning. It asks questions like these: What do very happy people do differently? How do the most successful people think and act?What makes some married couples stay together happily for many decades while others break up within months or years? And why are some people able to bounce back from failures while others succumb to them?

Happiness is not the absence of sadness and anger, and eliminating weaknesses does not mean we are really good at something. Many, many experiments, case studies, analyses and other forms of rigorous research have been conducted to provide insights into what makes our lives good and how we manage to live happily and successfully. Unfortunately, this science is not yet accessible to many people. That is why Manuel is committed to teach these findings and applications. His goal is to help create the foundations for everyone to live a good life by making positive psychology research accessible to everybody.

'I believe that the scientific study of what makes our lives most worth living can help people transform their lives. That is why I teach about topics like personal growth, building fulfilling relationships, goal-setting, mindfulness, self-esteem and realizing strengths. My personal mission is to make positive psychology research accessible to everybody, and thereby creating the foundations for people to live a good life and help build a better world.'