A hundred years of psychological research has taught us that setting great goals matter if you want to improve your chances of succeeding. This is advice that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken to heart. Brady is so intent on winning that after the Patriot's lost to the Broncos in last year's AFC championship game he had a countdown clock installed in his home gym. Throughout the year it served as his constant reminder of his goal.

Goal specificity is one of the key elements of a good goal. By setting such a visible reminder of his goal he increased the likelihood of reaching it. Indeed, he is now one game away from his fifth championship. In all, there are three primary factors you must account for when setting a goal:

  1. A goal is better than no goal (Tom Brady's was to win football games)
  2. A specific goal is better than a broad goal (Tom Brady's was to win the Super Bowl and the clock served as his time-bound reminder)
  3. A hard and specific goal is better than an easy goal (Clearly winning the Super Bowl counts as a hard goal!)

A well-defined goal by itself, however, is meaningless. You must still be willing to put in the hard work required to make it happen. Brady recognizes this and still acts like he is a late-round draft pick hoping to make the team. At his age and standing it would be easy to try to opt out of practice, but instead he still relishes "two-a-day" practices.

Undoubtedly Brady brings a lot to the table having won multiple Super Bowls, but his single-minded determination and relentless focus on goals is an essential element to his success.