Well, when talking about goals, you really enter into a subjective and very personalized area.
What I personally do is I take time every week or so and think of all the things I am fearful of. "Will I screw up a purchase order? Will I sound mediocre on the phone? Will I bobble a 'pitch' for seller financing?" Then, I write them down. Because for many people, their fear is a way of telling them what they're not comfortable with. While this is good, unfortunately, it also keeps many people from doing anything at all. With those "fears" in mind, I set small goals. "How can I overcome each of those fears?" is what I ask myself. Then I take the steps to remedy it. It may be that I re-read Dean's book, call the advisory line, talk to other investors or friends (just make sure you tune them out if they start going negative on you), or simply talk to my real estate agent. Everyday the market changes, the rules of financing change, factors change. We must change with it. Adapt, stay ahead of the game. Knowledge is a constant process. A state of being. I've always believed that the second we quit learning is the second we're dead (figuratively speaking of course).
As far as goals go, I try to set 3 types. Short-term, mid-term, and long-term. Be realistic, but don't limit yourself (this is the subjective part). Only you know your level of drive and ambition. If you're working 70 hours a week, have 3 kids, and are taking care of an elderly parent, setting a goal to look at 40 properties per week probably isn't too realistic (I'm not saying it can't be done though)!
As far as trying to set goals, you should set goals you believe you can reach, but that will challenge you at the same time (for me, looking at 25 properties in a week and calling 5 agents is possible and at the same time pushes me to MY limit). Don't set goals that are too ridiculous. Don't say, "I'm going to buy 100 properties next week". If you set all your goals way beyond your ability or means to reach them, all you do is bring about disappointment. LOOKING at 100 properties in a month is much more achievable.
I personally like trying to set higher end goals. Goals that ARE reachable, but that you will have to work at. So, even if you miss the mark, you've still made some impressive steps forward. It's the concept of running against a faster runner. You may lose, but you'll move faster than you would if you were racing a slower opponent. And if you miss a goal by a lot, then re-think the goal. Ask yourself, "Is this goal really possible?". ALL GOALS ARE POSSIBLE, but maybe not in the time frame you set for yourself. Or maybe not with the situation you're in. Take a step back, take a deep breath, re-evaluate and adjust your goals accordingly. If you "blow" your goals out of the water, then bump them up. It may be that you're under-selling yourself and your abilities. Ramp it up. Move into the next level of the "game". It's not easy to do all the time. But goals keep you focused. Focus and direction are critical to passion and energy. Push on a cement wall, and you'll probably do nothing more than get tired and look silly. Use a chisel and hammer and you're going to make progress. It may be slow, but you'll eventually break through. Focus and direction puts our efforts in the right places. We want to leverage our money in real estate...we should do so with our passion and drive as well.
*Set goals that are realistic to your ability, time, and means. Don't tell yourself you're going to purchase a $100 million dollar condominium if you've just ordered Dean's book and know nothing about real estate. Who knows, you just might be the one in one-hundred million that pulls it off, but chances are you're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. I'M NOT TRYING TO DISCOURAGE ANYONE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, UNREALISTIC GOALS WILL DO MORE TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR CONFIDENCE THAN ANYTHING ELSE!!
*Constantly re-evaluate your goals. If you miss one by a little, tweak it. If you miss one by a lot, rethink that goal. Don't lie to yourself. IS the goal possible under the conditions you've set? Only YOU know your drive, ambition, and current situation.
*If you blow past a goal, set higher goals. I could be you're underselling yourself and your abilities. Don't be afraid to overshoot (as long as it's realistic). Pushing yourself short of a goal is still going to be leaps and bounds over someone who doesn't.
*Set a goal and go for it! If you do better, great. If you don't quite reach it, at least you're moving in the right direction.
****I'm confident in saying this. If you have no goals, you will NOT succeed in the long term. No exceptions. Luck will only take you so far. Some of you may disagree, but ask anyone who has been successful, and they'll tell you goals are critical. I believe goals are like the rungs of a ladder. Try climbing one without them and see how far you get.****
"Success should never be measured by how fast we get to where we want to go, but rather by the fact that we get there" - Joshua