The Key to Setting Goals So You Actually Achieve Them

Time to read: 5 min

The Key to Setting Goals Summary:

  • Setting goals gives you a clear path on what you want to accomplish in life and keeps you organized and motivated.
  • Overview of how to set goals effectively so you can actually reach them.
  • Tips on how to stick to your goals until you achieve them.

The Process of Setting Goals

Goal setting is a driving factor in many people’s success. It can look different for everybody depending on their interests, lifestyles, and personalities. No matter how they choose to go about setting their goals, creating some sort of intention will hold you accountable and make it easier to achieve what you want in life.

Although you have probably heard it thousands of times, setting goals will help you turn your desires into reality. Without a goal, moving forward can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start. With something to aim towards, you can better map out the steps you will take to get to where you want to be.

Below is a guide to effectively defining and setting goals:

1. Make a List of Goals You Want to Achieve – Then Think About it

Start by writing out all the things you think you want in life. Once the list is complete, go back and review the list. In reviewing, really dive into the goal, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this something I’m actually willing to work towards?
  • Is this something I want for myself or do I want it for somebody else?
  • If I achieve this, will it benefit my life?

After thinking long and hard about whether these are goals you should or can actually pursue, then move forward. It is important to set goals that are attainable for you and are set for the right reasons. If not, you run the risk of losing interest and wasting time.

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2. Set SMART Goals

Following this acronym will help you create your goals effectively.

  • Specific: The more specific you are when goal setting, the more likely you are to achieve it. Ask yourself the 5 W’s – (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) as it relates to your goal.
  • Measurable: It is important to create goals you can reach, but it’s hard to get there without a way to track your progress. If there is a concrete way to measure your goal, whether it’s money, pounds, percentage, or numbers, it will keep you on track when you can see exactly where you are and what you still have to achieve.
  • Attainable: You will most likely fail at your goal if it is not actually attainable. Ask yourself if you can reach your goal with the resources and skills you currently have, and if not, adjust your goal to something more in reach for the time being. You can always get there later.
  • Relevant: If your goal is not relevant to you or your lifestyle, then you probably will not achieve it. For example, if you say you want to become a yoga instructor, but don’t love yoga, you may need to re-evaluate your goal. To determine if your goal is actually relevant, ask yourself these questions: Does this goal align with my other goals? Does this align with who I am as a person? Is this a worthwhile use of my time?
  • Time-Bound: If you leave your goal open-ended, it will be hard to achieve because time appears endless. With a concrete time in place of when you want your goal achieved, it will be easier to make a game plan to get you to that point by that time.

3.  Surround Yourself With Your Goals

The more you are confronted with your goals in everyday life, the more likely you are to achieve them. Write your goals down in a notebook or on a sticky note and put them somewhere where you will see them every day to keep them top of mind. Another great way to make your goals more tangible is to create a vision board. For example, if your main goal is to own a flower shop, set your phone screensaver to a flower, make a Pinterest board for your flower shop, or keep fresh flowers at your desk. Although it may seem silly, these tangible items serve as constant, subconscious reminders of your goals.

4. Make a Timeline

It is great to have goals. However, goals are just ideas without action. It can be hard and overwhelming to start working towards your goals without any idea where to begin. Help yourself get started by creating a timeline and action plan. List out the necessary steps to get to your end goal and break each step down into a timeline. The timeline will help hold you accountable and create mini-goals for you to achieve along the way to achieving your ultimate goal.

5. Get Started and Track Your Progress

Now that you have done all the planning and prep work, it is time to actually get started. We all have to start somewhere. Remember not to be too hard on yourself along the way because even small progress is still progress. You will get there eventually if you keep at it and hold yourself accountable.

Here is a list of physical and digital tools to help you organize and work through your goals.

Top 3 Actions to Take to Achieve Your Goals

Planning out and starting to work towards your goal can be easy. It is new and exciting, but how do you keep that momentum throughout the process of achieving your goals? Below are a few tips to help keep you motivated even when it may seem impossible:

1. Create Habits

The best way to stay consistent with something is to make it a habit. Goals are best achieved when habits are implemented. According to Healthline, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, with the average being around 66 days, for a habit to stick. The habit will look different for everyone depending on the goal. If your goal is to get in shape, designate a time and day for your workout, that way it becomes part of your weekly routine. If your goal is to start a business or get a new job, block out an hour or two on a specific day to brainstorm business ideas or research jobs. Whatever it is you need to do, create a habit around the action needed for it to become routine.

2. Eliminate Obstacles

As you plan out your goals and then timelines to achieve those goals, anticipate any obstacles. There will always be some sort of obstacles that might set you back, but if you anticipate those obstacles, you have a better chance of catching them early and eliminating them out of your way. Whether it be physical things like having junk food in the house or something like a negative mindset, these obstacles can keep you from achieving your goals.

3. Work on Environment and Mindset

Often times the fear of failure can keep you from actually achieving what you want. Make peace with the fact that things will go wrong that may change your plans. You may even fail here or there, but that does not mean you need to give up your ultimate goal. Surround yourself with people that support you and will help you get to your goal. Ensure you create an environment that is indicative of your goals. Remove distractions or anything else that will make it easy to get off track from your goal.


Setting goals is a great way to take the next step to achieve your desires. Whether you want to eat better, learn a language, or start a business, following this guide can help you create reasonable goals that you can achieve.

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