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We see amorphous quotes everywhere we turn–“Follow your heart,” “Live out loud,” and “Follow your dreams,” to name a few. Think about it: Who doesn’t want to live according to their values (“Follow your heart.”), live with confidence (“Live out loud.”), and accomplish your hopes and heart’s desires (“Follow your dreams.”)?

The question isn’t if you want those things, the question is:

How does one implement these lofty, nebulous quotes
in a real and measurable way?

How does one hear John D. Rockefeller say, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great,” and turn it into something specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, and time-based (SMART goal)?

That is where this article comes in.

From this day forward, when you hear someone say something that inspires you, make sure to follow the steps listed in this article to turn that quote, phrase, or entire message into specific goals, objectives, deliverables, and tasks.

For the purpose of this article, let’s use the aforementioned quote from John D. Rockefeller and walk through the process of turning it into an achievable goal.


To create even one goal, it is important to have a brainstorming session so that it can be turned into a SMART goal.

  • Schedule thirty minutes out of your day to brainstorm ideas that are inspired by this quote.
  • Once you have arrived at the time to start brainstorming, decide within yourself to not negatively judge the ideas you think of. This will halt your process in actually coming up with actionable tasks to accomplish a real, success-giving goal.
  • Brainstorm ideas for 20 minutes and either write them down or type them into a saved document.
  • For the next ten minutes, find patterns in the ideas you brainstormed and create at least one SMART goal out of them.

For the purpose of this blog, let’s make this the goal we want to achieve.

I want to learn and retain more about leadership best practices this year.


The purpose of an objective is to turn the SMART goal into something more concrete and achievable.

Read twelve books on leadership this year, one each month.

Come back in a couple weeks for Part Two (<–Click here!) of “How to Make Actionable Goals Out of Amorphous, Feel-Good Quotes!” Tweet us @LandJWilliams to continue the conversation!