Sometimes the simplest of things can really help to illuminate bigger, more important things.

Take the etymology of the word “goal,” for example. It’s not at all complex, but it certainly offers some insight into the secret of goal setting.

It comes from two old English words – Gol and Gal. “Gol” means boundary, and “Gal” means barrier.

Put simply, if your “goal” doesn’t involve overcoming a barrier, or breaking through some sort of boundary, it isn’t a goal – it’s a “to-do.”

To-do’s are important as well, but they should never be confused with goals. The idea here is that you can, and should, reach higher and farther when you set your goals.

It can be helpful to think about your life as three different layers. There’s the necessities layer – the stuff you do daily like eating and sleeping. There’s the routine layer – going to work, organizing your office (the “to-do’s” are in this layer). The third and final layer is what we call the “evolution” layer. This is the layer where the magic happens, and this is where your goals should be focused.

When you’re selecting your goals, keep in mind they should be based on who you have to become to pull them off – not just what you’ll “have” as a result.

How do goals really work? They work by forcing you to stretch and become someone better, not just have something better.