A study done at Yale University many years ago revealed that only 3 percent of the graduates had well-defined financial goals upon graduating. Twenty years later when those graduates were resurveyed, the 3 percent with well-defined financial goals had accumulated more financial wealth than the other 97 percent put together!

Upon reading this study I thought, "If people can do this with financial goals, why couldn't they do it to have meaningful, satisfying lives that make a difference for others?

The answer is of course, "They can." I have devised a strategic planning formula which my students have found to be extremely helpful. You can remember it as the R.E.A.C.H. formula.

R=Record. Write down what you want to accomplish. Writing down a goal makes it more objective and easier to remember.

E=Envision. Imagine the benefits to yourself and others of reaching your goal. Thinking about good results will strengthen your motivation.

A=Act. Take some action, no matter how small, which moves you toward your goal. This will increase your level of satisfaction and give you a stronger sense of how achievable your goal really is.

C=Consult. Gather the skills and knowledge needed to achieve your goal. As Gregg Harris, author of The Noble Planner, says, "Seek out the Solomons in your life." Find those who know about what you wish to accomplish and seek their advice.

H=Hone. Be willing to revise your plan to accurately reflect what you really want to do. Do not waste your time pursuing goals in which you no longer believe.

Try this formula by setting one simple goal that you can reach within a week. As you become proficient at goal-setting, expand your horizons with goals that are bolder and more complex. Soon you will see a pattern of achievement that will enhance your self-image and provide more meaning and satisfaction in life