Most of us are aware that setting goals is crucial to success, and that applies to trucking as well. However, just setting them is not enough. If you don’t add some type of structure, you’re most likely setting yourself up for failure, which leads to discouragement. If you’re not sure where to start, here are 7 tips that will help you set goals and see them through.   

"Why?" written on chalkboard

Define Your “Why”

Following through on goals can be very tedious, especially if you don’t have a clearly defined objective. It requires a lot of discipline and repetition, which is why so many of us fail at it. It is vital to sit down and identify what you want to accomplish and why. When you’re out on the road all the time, this exercise can feel pointless because your objectives seem obvious – get as many miles as possible and provide for your family. However, the way you approach driving OTR can dramatically impact your overall experience, so figure out what you want. Is it to be healthier, have more energy, or just improve your overall sense of well-being while out on the road? Identify something concrete and let that be your guiding light. 

Belief & Visualization

Believing is half the battle. If you start out doubting yourself, then you have already lost. Once you’ve discovered your “why”create a mental image of you accomplishing it, and visualize it oftenMost successful athletes and performers practice visualization regularly. Another component of this is positive self-talk and affirmations. Tell yourself that you can do this. It will feel strange, and you may not believe it at first, but if you say it enough, eventually you will.   

Hand writing goals on lined paper

Write it Down

Writing your goals down on paper may seem outdated with the amount of digital record-keeping technology we have. However, physically writing your goals on paper brings them to life. It makes your goals tangible. Not only that but writing them down turns it into a commitment.  

When writing down your goals, be sure to use words like “I will” instead of “I would like to” or “I wish”. Once you have your goals written down, be sure to reread them daily.   

A tip for making your goals more actionable – make them SMART. Make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. As mentioned above, get clear with your goals, don’t be vague. You want to make sure you can measure them, with either numbers or dates. This will help keep you accountable to yourself. When setting goals, you want to make sure they are attainable but not too easy. You also want to make sure they are relevant to you and the direction you want your life to go. Finally, you must have a deadline. This creates a sense of urgency for yourself.  

Hand writing "Idea" "Plan" and "Action"

Action Plan

You may be familiar with the old expression, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It sounds a little ridiculous, but this adage illustrates an important point – if you look at your goal as a whole, it can seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, if you break it up into smaller daily tasks and just focus on completing those day after day, it will feel much more manageable and pretty soon you’ll be making significant progress. Add daily, weekly, and monthly goals to your big-picture goals. 


The difficult thing about motivation is that not only does it vary from person to person, but it is also fleeting. The motivation that sparked your initial action rarely sticks around, which is why it’s so important to set up reminders to help draw it out.  

Trying to save up to buy a house? Find a picture that looks like your dream home. Want to lose weight? Find an old photo of yourself. Want to get healthier for your family? You get the idea. Take a physical reminder of your motivation and put it up on the dash of your truck or somewhere else that’s easily visible. So, if you start to falter, there is a constant reminder of why you are doing this. 

Accountability road sign

Accountability & Commitment

Accountability is essential to fulfilling your commitment. If there are no consequences for failing to adhere to your goals, then you are much less likely to follow through on them. There are many ways to hold yourself accountable. For instance, you could tell a friend or family member about your goals or share them publicly on social media. Sharing your goals is a great way to keep yourself from quitting when things get tough because our natural instinct is to avoid letting people down or failing publicly.  

Evaluation & Reflection

This step is very important because realistically, you probably won’t succeed on your first attempt and that’s ok. Looking back and analyzing what worked and what didn’t, will go a long way toward your eventual success. 

Similar to the action plan, it’s a good idea to evaluate and reflect periodically and not just at the very end. Take time to review the measurements you’ve been keeping weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This will help you make adjustments along the way and ultimately keep you on track. 

Person raising hands in victory in front of city skyline at sunrise


Goal setting and follow-through can be challenging, which is why so many of us avoid it, but it’s especially difficult for OTR drivers. However, it can also be very rewarding and have a very positive impact on your quality of life. If you’re interested in working for a company that helps you accomplish your goals by providing financial consistency and peace of mind, check out ShipEX.