The Goal Getter, by Gerry Duffy, is a self help book that gives the reader achievable advice on how to set and achieve goals. I tested his methods and I am confident enough to share them with you.

  The Goal Getter , by Gerry Duffy

The Goal Getter, by Gerry Duffy

Gerry Duffy took on some very interesting sports challenges throughout his life and, even though he may be successful in other areas, it was him running 32 marathons in 32 days that made him believable before my critical mind. Someone who overcomes such a challenge must have good advice on the topic of achieving goals.

On this analysis of The Goal Getter you will get tips on how to face life in general, how to set goals, and how to achieve goals. To sum it up, I will share with you the formula for success shared by Gerry Duffy on his book.

What you are reading is merely a hint of what you can find in The Goal Getter, which is why I advise you to read it. There are two warnings on the book I must include though: lots of examples are sports-based and there is an abundant use of repetition.

All quotes included in this post are literally transcribed from the book.


What you can learn from The Goal Getter


1. On how to face life in general:


Be thankful

Stop saying “I have to” and start saying “I get to”. You are able to work at three jobs simultaneously while still working towards your other goals. That is probably because you have a support system that helps you do so. You are not obliged to work, nor to work that much. You do it because you can.

"‘Getting’ to do something is the true blessing that we often forget in life."


Be positive

The “happiness advantage” is showed in this video from TEDx Talks that Duffy shared. In it the speaker exposes how a positive attitude may help you change how you interact with the world around you and reach your goals. He gives us a list of five “positive changes” to help us engage in a more positive mindset: 3 Gratitudes; Journaling; Exercise; Meditation; Random Acts of Kindness.

“We create success or failure on the course primarily by our thoughts”, Gary Player


Be daring

Each one of us may have a hidden talent. It is our choice either to try and maybe find it or else to idle while life passes by. Also, invest in the direction you want to take your life, even if that means temporary instability.

"Don’t limit your possibilities by saying you are too old to take on a challenge."


Take care of your body

It is important to eat a healthy breakfast to get your body started each day. It is also okay to have a treat once in a while but most of the time wiser choices should be done in order to feel good.

"Eat well, perform well."

Exercising before your day starts wakes-up your body and gets it ready for what is ahead of you later. Exercising regularly may improve your perspective on life, helping you set a positive mindset. It is important that people do not stop working out throughout the years or else their body will act accordingly and, besides losing the benefits of regular exercise, they will suffer the consequences of sedentarism. A usual excuse to not exercise is not having time for it, to which Duffy answers:

"You will find time for anything you are committed to."

We have to respect our body and give it the rest it asks for. Even though we have to work hard to achieve our goals, it is also important to stop and recharge when needed. The key is to push yourself when you are in conditions to do so but, if you feel unwell, you have to respect that.

"Our body is a vehicle that takes us to our goals. If we overuse the vehicle, it will not perform at its optimum and if pushed too far, it will become very uncooperative."


2. On how to set goals:


"Write your goals down and keep them visible – it helps you hit them more often."

Writing down our goals is a practice that most of us have probably heard about before. Besides writing them down, it is essential that you are committed to them. It is common that you will drop the paper or the digital document containing your goals. Duffy's advice is to turn them into a contract and to write them specific, including a deadline. These are some examples:

  • I will be completely vegan by December 2018.

  • I will run a 10k run by April 2018.

  • I will have a zero TBR by December 2019.

"When planning something daring, alongside you ‘goal’ and your ‘how to get there’ list, write down your ‘whys’."

The justification behind including our “whys” in our goals' contract is that keeping connected with the reasons why you want to achieve your goal may give you extra motivatio to achieve it. Here are the ‘how to get there’ and ‘why’ related with one of those previous examples:

  • I will run a 10k run by April 2018.

     How to get there:

  1. I will restart running on the 2nd of October 2017.

  2. I will run at least three days per week.

  3. I will run a 5k by December 2017.


  1. I want to be mentally stable.

  2. I do not want to feel tired.

  3. I want to meet other people that enjoy running.


3. On how to get goals:


 Create a clear vision of success

Create a clear vision of what your success looks like. It has to be detailed. When you are lacking motivation, look back at that vision and find strength to keep working towards your goal. If losing the desire to do something you need to do in order to accomplish a future goal, “visualization followed by actions can reignite your enthusiasm”.


Respect your goal

Respect your goal and do not accept less than initially intended. It is not at all unusual to aim for an unrealistic goal and then stop when we achieve part of it. The solution may be to aim for realistic possibilities and achieve everything you set yourself to. No more 90 something per cents.


 Undersell and over-perform

If you are falling behind on the goal you want to achieve, it may be wiser to avoid sharing it just yet. In case it does not turn into a reality, it will damage your credibility. Get closer to your goal before you share it with other people.



“The more I practice, the luckier I get”, Gary Player


“Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.”, Gretchen Rubin


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”, Michael Jordan

It is through little stretches every week that we reach goals that seem out of our abilities. If feeling you are not as apt for something as other people are, the solution may be to practice more than those in order to achieve the same results.


Divide your goal into parts

In order to reach a big goal, it may be easier to tear it apart into several stages. Let us say four, such as instructed in the book we are studying. As you get closer to your destination (may it be whatever your goal is), you will be increasingly challenged and you may even need a little help to get through the final stage. That is okay. Divide your goal into stages and enjoy reaching each one of them, being aware not to give a step bigger than your leg. When you reach each stage, it is time to evaluate what you have done wrong, since it is that experience that will help you improve your process.

You may also devide a goal that will take some time to achieve and split it into the incremental amounts that you will achieve each day or hour.

A mental trick that also can be used is to give the final goal a number. Every step of the way will then be related to a number before the final one, which you need to pass through to reach that. If you keep going, your final goal will surely arrive.


Face your achievements

“By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved, you can actually enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgement and appreciation are what give you the insights and the awareness to move forward towards higher goals and accomplishments.”, Jack Canfield

Instead of focusing on your past failures, face your achievements. Through that process you may realize you are able to achieve your current goals. If you score your achievements according to how hard it was to achieve them and compare them to your current project, you will realize this one is easier than some of those. It may motivate you.

My proudest achievements as of 2017 were:
1. Getting three jobs approx. a month after graduating college (difficulty 5)
2. Graduating Physiotherapy (difficulty 7)
3. Publishing a story for the Madeira Torres school paper (difficulty 2)
4. Writing two books, even though they weren’t accepted for publishing (difficulty 4)
5. Creating and managing the YouTube channel Gaming Readers (difficulty 6)

As you can read from the list of my proudest achievements yp to 2017, I haven’t done anything worth over a difficulty 8. That being said, I was proud I did all those at 22 years old. I even controlled my depressive symptoms to do so.

Also, if you have done something similar in the past, it is likely you will be able to achieve what you want to now.


Talk with other people

Talking with someone who achieved what you are committed to, or even something similar, may give you the insights on how to do the same. Phone a friend who you think can help you with your task and you can save yourself days of worry. You may also enhance your performance in your specific field when you share with your colleagues.

“I have also (…) learned that we are the sum of the average five or six people whom we spend the most time with.”, says Duffy. In order to help you achieve your goals, you may surround yourself with people that have skills important to you, people who motivate you and role models in general. Beware of negative people who may impact your positive mindset. Be inspired by people who achieved what you are trying to.

Feedback is the key for us to discover what to improve next. Since we are bias when we analize our behaviour, other people may be better judges. You should not accept all criticism but you should give it a thought and understand when it is valid. This works for businesses. It may be benefitial to ask your clients what their perspective is on what could be improved on a particular transaction or experience you provided. You may use questionnaires to gather feedback from your clients, as long as they are open to writing instead of simply rating.


Be committed even though you are struggling

"If you are struggling at something, simply project yourself forward in time, to how you are going to feel when it is accomplished."

You may find yourself caught up in something that terrifies you. Your mind gets stuck in fear, reducing the probability of succeeding. The simple solution is to think about a time in the future when the task you are dreading will be over and to keep going. Time will not stop because we are afraid of something and that is why we can be sure that that something will be gone by that specific time. This method works if you are running a marathon, if you are giving a public speech, if you are treating a lot of patients in a day at your private clinic. It is about always moving forward, delivering what you are expected to and knowing it will be over.

"Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you."


Formula for success

"1. Decide what you want:
2. Take action;
3. Notice what is or isn’t working (and admit it);
4. Change your approach until you achieve what you want."

2017 (last revised in 2018)