It is a widespread tradition to set new goals at the beginning of each year. Likewise, most approaches to network marketing include articulating your goals as one of your very first steps in your new business. Whether we're talking about New Years resolutions, corporate one-year or five-year business goals or goal-setting for your own network marketing business, there's no question that articulating goals is important, and writing them down is crucial.

The question is, why? How do goals work?

Perhaps goals work through mechanisms beyond the magic of seeing and reciting them regularly. Indeed, perhaps the real power of goals lies not in the goals themselves but in the process we go through in formulating them: they cause us to deeply consider our purpose, and give that sense of purpose a concrete focus.

Without goals, our focus and attention tend to wander. We get easily excited about this possibility, readily motivated by that opportunity, inspired by yet another idea. In his marvelous book Focus, Al Reis (best-selling co-author, with Jack Trout, of numerous marketing classics) describes the power of focus brilliantly: "The sun is a powerful source of energy. Yet with a hat and some sunscreen, you can bathe in the light of the sun for hours. A laser is a weak source of energy. But with a laser you can drill a hole in a diamond or wipe out a cancer. When you focus...you create the same effect."

Goals keep us focused. When focus is dissipated or scattered, daily activity becomes unfocused, ineffective and ultimately even futile. With focus, as with the power of the laser's beam, we can accomplish incredible feats.

All goal-setting exercises do not necessarily include an examination of mission and purpose; however, consciously examining our course and our destiny causes us to consider some crucial questions, even if at only an unconscious level: "Why am I here? What is my purpose? What would help me fulfill that purpose?"

Through the course of my coaching practice, I have found that writing down goals is indeed important; more important still is whether or not these goals line up with one's life purpose. When written goals mark the pathway to a destiny that fulfills one's life purpose, there is an extraordinary commitment and determination to reach the goals. Commitment and determination that arises from knowing that our life's purpose is being fulfilled propels us to reach goals that we would never otherwise have dreamed possible!

If goal-setting is the key to success that we as trainers and coaches purport it to be, then goal-setting that affords us the opportunity to fulfill our life's purpose is transforming!

What makes goals work? They create focus and they cause us to line up with our life's purpose!

Dr. NEECIE MOORE, Ph.D., is author of nine books on health, nutrition and weight loss, and has appeared on national radio and television broadcasts speaking on self-improvement.