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Six Types of Goal-Setters – Which one are You?

For over ten years of my life I have helped people achieve their goals. Sometimes I have a feeling that I have read every possible book on goal setting and motivation, tried most goal setting techniques on myself, seen some people perform miracles of determination and creativity and heard others make every possible excuse there is about why they can not pursue their goals.

And while every person is unique and different, there are some traits of character and similarities that many of us share when it comes to setting and achieving our goals.

I have identified Six Main Types of Goal-setters. After you finish reading about them, take time to say in the comment section, which one you are!

1. Judgment Callers

Judgment callers are people who choose not to set goals, either because they do not know what they want or they are ok with the way things are. They prefer to use judgment calls instead, which usually means that they pick the most urgent task on their to-do list and go with that.

People like this live in constant stress and struggle: reality hits – they react, problem arises – they solve it, boss demands – they perform. And it is not that they lack intelligence, determination or ability.

They just cannot find their inner drive. There is no goal in sight that lights up a fire in them and makes them care enough to take proactive steps, rather than being pushed by other people or circumstances. The challenge is that even a tiny action of choosing a goal requires mental effort and a small amount of motivation.

If your family members tell you that this description sounds like you, I urge you to set aside some time and figure out what it is that you would want your life to be like in a year/5 years/10 years from now.

What inspires you? What makes you tick?

2. Terminators

To us, regular mortals, is seems that these people are made of steel, as they possess an iron will and a laser-like focus. As soon as they select their goal, nothing can stop them from attaining it! While such determination is admirable, very often the easiest and smartest way of achieving something is to adjust the course of action and look for an open door, instead of bursting through walls to make an entrance.

While ‘terminators’ usually achieve most goals they set for themselves, at times their stubbornness and inflexibility back-fires and they spend too much time and energy chasing after the wrong things unable to accept defeat or let go.

3. Sufi’s

Sufi’s are firm believers that everything that happens in life, happens for the better. They are focused on the spiritual part of their life and view material goals and “attachments” as a mere distraction from their true purpose.

If it sounds like you, then you probably believe that there is a reason why you are reading these words. And indeed, there is a reason. I (or the Universe through me) want to remind you that while there is nothing wrong with focusing on your spiritual growth and having infinite trust in the Higher Powers. At the same time it is important to remember that you are a Co-creator of your own destiny. YOU have to do your share of work, make things happen, persist even when you are facing difficulties, not passively wait for the Universe to make your dreams come true!

4. Sprinters

This is the category where most people often find themselves. Sprinters get easily fired up by a new goal and just as easily leave it unfinished in a few couple of weeks, when their enthusiasm dies down. I call people in this category “sprinters”, because they take a massive amount of action in the beginning, and quickly tire, unable to maintain the same level of motivation and productivity over a long period of time.

If this description sounds like you, remind yourself that the key to success is consistency. Do not waste all of your energy and enthusiasm on one big leap of action. Most worth-while goals can not be achieved in a week or two. They take time and require sustained effort and often lifestyle adjustments.

In some sense goal setting is similar to running a marathon. You have to prepare for it, gradually build up your strength and spend your energy and enthusiasm wisely. Do not aim for huge goals right away. Start small. Break your goal into the smaller objectives and concentrate of one step at a time.

5. Analytics

Analytics believe that before they can start pursuing any kind of goal, they have to learn everything they possibly can about goal-setting, motivation, economical situation, future challenges, possible benefits, and so on.

Deep down they are perfectionists so they feel that unexplainable need to get it right the first time. They collect data, attend seminars, buy books about goal setting, evaluate, analyze, weigh the pros and cons and end up thinking themselves into analysis paralysis.

Perfectionism, no matter in what form, is always a cause of two effects: over-preparation and under-performance.

It is just like staring at a chess board, making moves in your head, calculating various combinations of possible contra-moves to find the best game plan. In theory you might win the game. In practice you have not even started playing.

Do not wait till you learn everything, or till conditions are just right. Take the first step, create momentum and then improve as you go.

6. Goal-Getters

There is a small group of people, who just get goal setting. They have clarity and certainty about what they do and they do not spread themselves too thin. They choose one goal and slowly, but surely work towards it. Sometimes they might even fail, but it does not stop them from trying again.

I spent a lot of time pondering on what it is that makes these people so special? And I believe that it is a correctly chosen goal that is aligned with passion and purpose. Goal getters love what they do, yet they continuously educate themselves and try to learn even from their failures and mistakes. But unlike ‘Analytics’ they implement what they learn quickly and adjust their plans accordingly.

If it sounds like you – congratulations! You are on the right track!

  • Ed Anderson
    May 5, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Thanks, that was very helpful. I see my goal strategy in there and the advice you offer makes sense to me. I’ll try it. Goals never seem as simple as the motivational books make it sound. I found this article cleared up some things for me. Thanks, I look forward to seeing more from you.

    • Arina
      May 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Ed! I’m glad that you like my post. You’re right, if achieving goals was so easy, we would all be highly successful, gorgeous-looking multi-millionaires. But, on the other hand, there is something exciting and greatly rewarding about aiming high and working towards challenging goals. What do you think?

  • Iamfantasticfrank
    May 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

    hi ARINA, you missed one more type its me I am a combination of all of he characteristics of the six groups that you have identified ( some to a grater extent some to a lessor extent..) I am not really a judgment callers because I set goals often but that I have done what you describe as a trait of them (which usually means that they pick the most urgent task on their to-do list and go with that.)

    Terminators I have done that too (very often the easiest and smartest way of achieving something is to adjust the course of action and look for an open door, instead of bursting through walls to make an entrance.)

    SUFI’S is a lot closer to my core belief but I believe that everything happens for a reason and that what action I take in response to it will change my outcomes.

    SPRINTER’S..I have done this one two and am still doing this because when the results are not (immediate) there .. I loose steam only to go back again and start over.
    ANALYTIC’S.. I have also done that one and am now a bit frozen in time because of the uncertainty of the dollar.

    GOAL GETTER’S.. Is where I have spent most of my time on some of my maintainence goals like my budgeting, my eating healthy, my exercising..

    So what do you think about this concept: everyone is different at doing anything…and that there may not be a way to label any one.?



    • Arina
      May 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you, Fantastic Frank for a great food for thought. I like your concept about everyone being different at doing anything, even though my psychological background and logical mind tempts me to make distinctions and generalizations. This is how human brain works. We are wired to look for patterns and similarities, even if there aren’t any.

      I agree with you that our actions and behavior are often influenced by our goals, circumstances, other people and even our mood. Sometimes we can act as Judgment Callers and sometimes we get so attached to our goals, we continue to pursue them even when the smartest thing would be to let go and move on.

      View it like this: goal-setting types is not a description on an actual person, rather a description of certain ‘traits’ in approaching goals together with benefits and downsides of such approaches.

      • Iamfantasticfrank
        May 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        Hi ARINA, let me first say that I am impressed by your reply to each of the many diverse comments on here..
        and you seem to do it rather quickly too.

        Now comes this observation…

        Either you have a life of your own or you don’t. or they may be the same?

        I am not trying to be offensive here..

        But how can you find the time to reply to every ones comments on here in such a quick fashion… unless you have a system that does it for you.. or else you don’t have a life out side of this?

        Just curious.



        P.S. how can I add my picture to this post here?

      • Arina
        May 6, 2011 at 5:09 am

        I honestly do not know, how to answer this one. 🙂 There is no system, I assure you.

        I do work a lot, but answering questions and reading your comments is just something I like to do so I make time for it. I believe that I learn from your insights, questions and ideas as much as you learn from my articles. So I guess there are some selfish motives after all. 🙂

        As to adding your picture to my or any other blog…

        Here is the simplest way to do it:
        1. Register at, using the same email! that you use to submit your comments on this blog.
        2. Download your picture (create your avatar)
        3. In the future whenever you submit a comment and enter your email, your picture will be added automatically.

        Hope it helps 🙂


      • Iamfantasticfrank
        May 6, 2011 at 6:50 am

        Hi ARINA, I am honored that you admit that you have some “selfish motives” but I would like to rename it as its your passion.

        When you are passionate about something…one is compelled to do it.

        Its like you cannot live fully in the moment or you are being true to yourself unless you are doing something that you must do…

        That is not being selfish its being authentic, real, honest, and passionate.

        Thanks for letting me know how to add my picture to here.



  • Dcochran79
    May 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I am an analytic because of perfectionist tendencies; however, by availing myself to articles like this one, I am improving.

    • Arina
      May 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Good for you, Don. Your analytical skills and desire to do your best in every situation can become your strengths – as long as you take action. 😉

  • Catanic
    May 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I may be into more than just one category but the most predominant I think it’s the “Sprinter” type. That’s because I never seem to find the thing I really want to achieve or there are so many of them and I can’t choose one. So, I often set aside goal setting and I’m trying to do the things that I like and what opportunity I see, I try to take it no matter in which direction, as long it’s one of the many things I want to do. So, after a while I may be in the same point searching for the next opportunity and that makes my development really slow I think.

  • S Ali
    May 7, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I am a mixed of the whole. what do you think Arina

  • Farouk
    May 9, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Hey Arina

    i am a combination of 2 and six 🙂 and yes you are right about the flexibility issue,

    thank you:)

  • Mahtabparandin
    May 9, 2011 at 7:42 am

    کاش می تونستم متن هات رو بخونم من که انگلیسی بلد نیستم

    • Arina
      June 23, 2011 at 6:04 am

      Hi Mahtabparandin,
      Could you, please, write in English next time? I am curious to know what you are saying, but I don’t know Arabic. 🙁

      • Guest
        March 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm

        It says “I wish I could read your text, I do not speak English” and it’s Persian.

  • buy steroids uk
    May 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’m def a terminator and i’l be back 🙂


  • Ravi Teja
    May 11, 2011 at 9:38 am

    It’s pretty odd but I feel myself accommodated in between category 4 and 5

  • Sijmen81
    May 13, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Def number 5 here. I do take action but not in the things that really matter. Thanks for the insight!

  • Maxine
    January 21, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Yes, I would say I am a Sufi’s one who believe that
    everything happen for a reason and a purpose and whatever happen is for my
    good; but that does not mean you stand idle by 
    holding your hands waiting for something to happen.  For faith without work is dead.  Just because we believe as you say in a
    higher power, which is Jesus Christ that does not mean we are not working on
    our dream, and goals.

  • Don Francis
    January 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Arina:

    I am a combination of Sufi and Goal-Getter. I do not, however, believe that achieving the goal is the be all and end all. When I set a goal (and I set lots of them, but I set them where even I don’t feel that I can achieve them), I give everything that I have to trying to accomplish the goal. I don’t always make it, but I usually go far beyond anything that I thought I could. I achieve some amazing things – and I enjoy the journey. 

    If accomplishing goals was the purpose, just to mark another goal off the list, then I would suggest setting goals so low that you can just step over them. I feel that it is the journey…the learning about yourself…the experience…that is important.

    I am also of the opinion that you cannot fail to achieve a goal unless you give up. There are lots of reasons for giving up, but none of them make sense unless either the goal is not what you truly wanted, or it is no longer valid within your life.

    Thanks for this post. It is certainly thought provoking, and it forces us to take a look at ourselves. Great information…I’ll be back.

  • Mabprivate
    February 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    somewhere between 4 and 5
    Rock & a hard place
    devil & the deep blue

  • Faldi
    February 13, 2012 at 3:46 am

    I’m very much an analytics goalsetter with definite sprinter attributes as well. I start many things and my biggest challenge is finishing whatever I start. 

  • B Behera88
    February 21, 2012 at 5:09 am


  • Thaila_papa
    February 25, 2012 at 3:31 am

    i am a goal setter. i find a goal, analyze, move towards that, learn and finish.

  • Never mind
    February 27, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Plz get rid of the fb-linkedin-g+etc box that is so in-the-face and making it a struggle to read your informative piece on my blackberry playbook (it went away as i started keying in this comment) feedback should be a voluntary act .. hoping you will remove it so i can read your web page (very curious)

  • Tsokan
    March 12, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I am more of an analytic because I do not want to fail.

  • azam
    May 7, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I think i am a mix of 6type

  • Carol
    June 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Hi Arina, I am an Analytical goal setter!!!

  • Liz Linney
    August 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I seem to be a sprinter – don’t stick with it long enough. How much have I spent on programs that sounded like what I needed to not proceed with any of it and it stayed on a shelf or was yard saled….

  • Bobby Vee
    November 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Arina, I just received an e-mail from you with a link to
    your web site. It appears you are completing a few of your own goals in advertising
    and expanding your own business. I applaud
    you in your efforts.

    At first I thought I was kind of a Judgment Caller until I
    read the description about the Analytic.
    I have purchased so many goal setting books and have read most of them.
    Seems like I always find flaws and disagree with some goal setting tips and set
    out to find a better method. I do work from a daily/weekly To Do list, but fail
    to set and pursue long term goals.

    I sometimes feel as though I am too old to learn a new
    trick. What do you think?
    I am new to facebook and hope my comment does not post to my facebook page.
    Best regards

  • Mohsen
    November 24, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I started my life as a terminator. as a kid my only goal was to succeed at getting what i want and i succeeded in that. there is some sufi’s in me. In my teen years I was a judgment caller, always living with nothing in mind other than to have fun. I juggled through sprinter and analytic in my early adulthood. And now, thanks to you, have hopefully become a stable goal getter since last week.

  • Tigab
    November 26, 2012 at 2:17 am

    i like it as it reflects the reality. i found my self in #1 and #5 types.

  • umesh
    November 27, 2012 at 3:47 am

    HI, I think i came in category of sprinter. I easily got inspired by one thing at a time and after some time my motivation level is get down. Now I realize that I consistency is main reason behind my not attaining goal. now I will work on consistency. Thanks.

    December 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Hey,Hi Arina,I’m a goal getting! Yes ,I define my Life as a study for I see each new day of it special; but again Life is a long trip-I never give out,I always step forward and I hope the end should be good!

  • dhanasekar
    January 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

    hey nice man for ur analetic method.good job.

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