Do you struggle to achieve the goals you set for yourself? In this blog post, I am going to share my 6-step system for how to set goals and achieve them!
For so many years I struggled to make consistent progress to my goals.
I would either fall off the wagon whenever I found some momentum.
OR, I would just give up before I had even started because the goal seemed so daunting.
But, at the end of 2020, I decided I wanted to make real change in my life, and that meant going all in on my goals.
Through a lot of trial and error and learning, I have found a system for setting and accomplishing goals that has worked so well for me, and now I want to share that entire process with you!
So, if you:
- are tired of setting goals but making no progress…
- feel overwhelmed by the size of your goals…
- want a step by step plan for how to achieve your goals…
then you are in the right place! Let’s jump right in!
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- Step One: Find clarity on your dreams, values and vision for your life
- Step Two: Create a game plan for ‘how’ you will work towards your goals
- Step Three: Start taking action towards your game plan
- Step Four: Take control of your time and make your goals the priority
- Idea #1 – Create a two week rotating meal plan with dinners that take 30 minutes or less to cook.
- Idea #2 – Using your lunch break to tackle your goals or even something you need to do.
- Idea #3 – Automate things in your life to save more time
- Idea #4 – Ask for help
- Idea #5 – Eliminate things that don’t matter
- Step Five: Find ways to build motivation to your goals
- Step Six: Master your mindset around your goals
- Final Thoughts
Step One: Find clarity on your dreams, values and vision for your life
One reason a lot of us really struggle to achieve our goals is because we are setting goals that we think we have to set, or goals that are the next logical progression in the “roadmap of life”.
If you are not connected to those goals… if you lack the passion to those goals… you are going to struggle.
The first step in setting goals that you will actually achieve is by finding clarity around your vision, your values and what you want your life to look like in 3 months, 6 months, a year, 5 years, etc.
And, there are two exercises that I personally like to do this.
The Core Value Exercise
The first exercise, and my personal favourite is all about determining what your core values are, looking for the ways that you are living out of alignment with those values, and then setting goals to get you back on track.
I found this exercise when I was reading the book – Declutter Your Mind by S.J Scott. I have also heard several other people talk about this exact same method, so I don’t know exactly who created the method.
But, when I did this exercise myself, I immediately saw on the piece of paper in front of me why I was struggling so much with anxiety, overwhelm, and even glimpses of depression.
My life had become so far out of alignment with those values.
And once I was able to set goals that helped me get back on track, everything shifted.
- Now, I was working on goals that I was deeply passionate about.
- I felt like I had purpose again everyday when I woke up
- And I knew my ‘why’ for the goals which kept me highly motivated.
This is the exercise I personally recommend you start with as it is the one I have personally found the most beneficial!
The Vision Exercise
With this particular exercise, you will look at each category of your life and decide where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years within each of those categories.
Then, based on this vision you build out in the exercise, you can start to set goals that will set you on the path for building your life to match that vision.
(This method is VERY similar to the Level 10 life method)
The categories that I personally use when doing this exercise include:
- Health & Fitness
- Personal Development
- Friends & Family
Once you have done these exercises, setting your goals will be significantly easier because you will know why you are setting these goals, and you will feel a much deeper connection to them.
BUT, one thing I want to caution you about before moving onto the next step is setting too many goals.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to fix everything right here and now.
You don’t, and I 100% recommend you don’t even try.
The thing is… if you’re focusing on everything, you might as well be focusing on nothing.
Would you rather make 5% change in all areas of your life, or really focus on a couple of key areas and make 75% or even 100% change?
My recommendation is to choose:
- one focus goal that you will spend the majority of your time working towards
- two to three secondary goals that you can build habits, systems and routines around so that you are working on them in more of an auto-pilot state
Any more than this, and your focus is going to be too divided.
Step Two: Create a game plan for ‘how’ you will work towards your goals
Once you know what your goals are, the next step is to come up with a game plan!
Creating a plan for ‘how’ you will work towards your goal is great for:
- setting an intention
- identifying the most important milestones
- determining where you will need help and where you will get that help
- choosing how you will track your results
- manage your mindset and expectations as you get started
- breaking up a big goal into manageable bite-sized chunks
- turning certain parts of your goals into routines, systems and habits
But the #1 benefit of creating a game plan is simply knowing what to do next.
Have you ever set a goal on Sunday night, and then woken up Monday morning and asked yourself, what next?
Then, you wind up wasting a whole bunch of time and energy making decisions, and I would almost guarantee that some of the decisions you end up making don’t actually help you towards your goals at all.
By taking the time to sit down and build out a game plan, you will automatically know what to do next so that you can start making progress and building momentum to your goals right away.
How do you create a game plan?
Step One: Turn your goal into a result based goal.
Vague goals are extremely hard to track and you will never know your end point or what you hope to achieve by doing this. For example, if you say your goal is to drink water every day, that can raise more questions like:
- how much water each day?
- how long do you want to focus on this?
Instead, I recommend adding a specific result to your goal. So, with this drinking water example, a better goal would be, throughout the month of February, I am going to focus on drinking 8 cups of water.
Now, you have a specific result that you can track, and you have a time frame so that you know when to stop and re-evaluate what you are doing.
You will do this for each focus and secondary goal you have set.
Step Two: Create a game plan for your result goals.
Next, you want to plan out your result goal. This step includes identifying:
- what your progress goals are (mini goals, milestones, etc.)
- potential challenges you might run into
- how you will track your progress
- your deadline
Again, this includes your focus goals and your secondary goals.
Step Three: Create a game plan for your first progress goal.
Once you have created the game plan for your result goals, you will want to look at the mini goals or milestones you have identified.
Breaking your goals up this way makes them a lot more manageable.
In your progress goal game plan, you will want to identify:
- what the mini action steps are that you need to do
- what resources you will need to help you accomplish this goal
- help from a mentor
- support from your partner, parents, friends, etc.
- courses, books, podcasts, etc.
- your deadline
I recommend only creating a plan for one progress goal at a time.
If you do any more than that, you are planning too much. You never know what will happen during that first progress goal. Your goal might change. Your strategies might change. And then all that other planning becomes a waste.
Just focus on how you will get from point A to point B.
And then once you are at point B, determine how you will get to Point C.
If you are ready to create your plans, be sure to grab the FREE goal setting worksheets here which will walk you through the planning of your result goals and your progress goals!
Step Three: Start taking action towards your game plan
Once you have your goal planned out, it is time to start doing the thing!
Don’t get stuck in the planning phase of your goal. It is really easy to get stuck in this place where you are dreaming about your goals and planning them out, but you will never make any progress to your goals if all you are doing is planning them out.
How you approach this step will definitely be a matter of personal preference and/or circumstance, but I have included some ideas here that you can implement to help you start taking consistent action to your goals!
Idea #1 – Plan out your time
You need to make your goals a priority if you want to start making real change, and one of the best ways to do this is to simply plan out your time.
You can do this using:
- a Bullet Journal
- a planner
- a planning app
- your calendar
- a project management app
Use whatever you think will work best for you!
Note – I personally like to use a Bullet Journal to plan out my time. If you want to set up your first Bullet Journal, check out my full step-by-step guide here!
Idea #2 – Create goal specific time blocks
If you don’t create time to work on your goals, I can pretty much guarantee you will not make any progress.
You need to create space in your day to work towards your goals.
One way that I like to do this myself is by creating goal specific time blocks. These time blocks should be locked in so that nothing can interrupt them.
Don’t make your goal an option. Make it a priority.
Note – further along in this blog post, I share some ideas of how you can find more time in your day if this is something you really struggle with.
Idea #3 – Build routines or habit stacks
If you can get certain parts of your goal running on auto-pilot, this will make it SO much easier to consistently work on your goal. Building routines or habit stacks are a great way to get things running on auto-pilot a little bit more.
They eliminate a lot of the decision making you might have to do in a day otherwise.
Sure, you will still have to put in the time and effort to do the things, but don’t underestimate how much time in a day you waste simply making decisions.
If you want to learn how to build positive healthy habits that you actually stick to, check out this blog post for building habit stacks!
Once you are consistently working towards your goals with these habit stacks and routines, you will definitely start seeing results!
Idea #4 – Set up trackers
Tracking your efforts and your results are really great for inspiring you to take consistent action.
An effort based tracker will allow you to see at a glance how consistent you are being. This will help you stay accountable to what you are doing.
And a result based tracker will show you the progress you are making which is incredible for motivation.
Paired together, these two types of trackers can be really powerful to help you take consistent action to your goals and goal plans.
These were just a few ideas, but I am sure you can come up with even more! Take some time to think about how you have found success with any of your goals in the past, and identify what specifically you did that helped.
See if you can’t translate some of those actions into the goals you are working on right now!
Step Four: Take control of your time and make your goals the priority
It was Mark Twain who once said – “To change your life, you need to change your priorities.”
If you continue to use your limited time in the day to do the same things you have always done, you are never going to make any progress to your goals or make any change in your life.
Instead, you need to make your goals the priority in your life.
And I know firsthand how daunting this step can be.
After all, if you could find a spare 30 minutes in your day, wouldn’t you have already done it by now?
The truth of the matter is, we actually have more time than we think simply based on the choices we make.
I want you to pause for a moment and think about how much of your day you spend doing some of these things:
- cooking dinner
- cleaning your space
- running errands
- watching television
- playing on your phone
There are things that you can do to save time on all of these things so that you can find more time for your goals.
And yes, you might have to sacrifice some things, but when you know your why and keep a good balance of everything, the sacrifice won’t feel quite as hard!
Idea #1 – Create a two week rotating meal plan with dinners that take 30 minutes or less to cook.
We waste so much time in the day simply trying to decide what to eat or cook.
By creating a rotating meal plan, you take away the need to make these decisions so that you can take fast action.
And by limiting your dinners to ones that take 30 minutes or less to cook, you will be spending a lot less time in the kitchen!
Idea #2 – Using your lunch break to tackle your goals or even something you need to do.
If you get a lunch break at work, (which you should), how are you spending that time? Are you chatting with people? Are you playing on your phone?
Instead, use this time creatively.
Is there a course you need to take to learn a new skill for a goal you are pursuing? Use your lunch break as time to work on that course.
Do you have a goal to walk for 30 minutes every day? Use 30 minutes of your lunch break to go for a walk. (You can even see if any of your colleagues want to join you and you can chat on your walk! That would be a win-win for sure.)
Do you have a few errands to run? Try running them on your lunch break.
Idea #3 – Automate things in your life to save more time
Automations can be a HUGE time saver for you. And you can use this saved time to focus on your goals.
- set your bills to be automatically withdrawn from your account every month
- find a store that will let you build out an automated grocery shopping order that automatically happens every week. Then all you have to do is pick up the order
- build a rotational meal plan
- create a family cleaning routine where everyone has a certain job and pitches in
- build routines or habit stacks
All of these things once set will save you so much time!
Get creative with how/where you can automate certain aspects of your time.
Idea #4 – Ask for help
If you have a partner, ask them for help.
If you are anything like me, you will struggle a LOT with this one.
But, it is so incredibly important to ask for help when you need it. After all, there is a good chance that you accomplishing your goals will help benefit your partner too.
And the same goes for their goals. Work together as a team to determine how you can best help each other so that you are consistently working towards your goals.
Idea #5 – Eliminate things that don’t matter
Okay, in this part, I am going to give you a little bit of tough love.
There are a lot of things that we do in a day that truly don’t matter.
Or, they matter because we have created a narrative in our heads that make them matter more than they actually do.
We have very limited time in the day, and so sometimes we have to make some tough choices and eliminate some things to find ourselves more time.
One example of how I applied this in my own life is housework.
Housework is definitely something I have cut back on, and while it was a struggle at first because of these narratives I had built up myself, I have come to find it really isn’t that important, because no matter how much I clean, the house is still dirty!
So, I might as well clean a little less and use that time to work on something that will really move the needle on my goals!
Take some time to brainstorm what you can cut back or eliminate from your day!
Step Five: Find ways to build motivation to your goals
It is extremely normal to have high levels of motivation to something when you get started, and then to have that motivation dissipate over time.
And finding motivation can feel a little bit like chasing a piece of paper that has blown away from you in the wind. Just when you think you are within reach, another gust of wind comes and the paper goes flying even further.
You cannot rely on motivation to take action towards your goals.
Instead, you need to learn how to build motivation through action.
Action precedes motivation every single time!
Here are some ways you can build motivation for your goals!
Strategy #1 – Journal
Journaling is a great way to build and keep motivation. Here are just a couple of the ways it can work:
Dealing with struggles – If you are struggling with a certain aspect of your goal, journaling can help you dissect the problem and simply get it off your chest. This way, the problem doesn’t fester and become a bigger problem.
Then, once the problem is off your chest, you might be surprised to find that the answer to your problems find you.
This in turn enables you to go back to your goal, apply the solution and start taking action again as quickly as possible.
This will help keep you from getting completely derailed by a goal, (a serious motivation killer) and helps you keep pushing forward, (an awesome motivation booster).
Celebrating what is going well – When things are going really well with your goals, journaling about them can be a great way to release dopamine, which in turn can really boost your motivation.
Having a goal journal is one of the best things you can do to build and keep your motivation levels high.
Strategy #2 – Find accountability
Accountability is another great tool for keeping you consistent in your goals, which again in turn increases your motivation levels.
This can be done by:
- finding an accountability buddy
- utilizing trackers
- sharing your goals and your progress with your partner, friends, etc.
Strategy #3 – Set rewards for yourself
Rewards can be a really good motivation tool, especially if you limit yourself to indulging in rewards only once you have accomplished something specific related to your goals.
And the rewards don’t need to be anything big or fancy either to stay motivated!
Step Six: Master your mindset around your goals
And the final step to help you accomplish your goals is to work on mastering your mindset.
In 2021, I personally realized how much impact my mindset was having on my ability to accomplish certain goals. And by addressing these mindset issues, I have been able to drastically improve how I work towards and accomplish my goals.
Let’s use an example here.
If you have a goal to earn $5,000 per month in your chosen career path, but you have several fixed mindsets or limiting beliefs about your ability or worthiness to earn this amount of money, you are going to struggle.
Take a moment to think back to some goals you have struggled to achieve in the past. Can you think of how your mindset about yourself may have played a role in you struggling with those goals?
These mindsets are absolutely everywhere in your brain, and by being able to identify any areas you are struggling with, you can start to take active steps to overcome these mindsets.
A few ways you can do this include:
- listening to podcasts about mindset
- reading books
- using visualizations
- writing affirmations
- building growth mindsets
Okay, this has been a very long post! And if you have made it this far, I am sending you virtual high fives!
But, I really hope this has been helpful for you!
What I love most about this goal setting system is how much it addresses any challenges you might be running into, keeps motivation high, and encourages one small tiny step after another.
The key thing I want you to remember as you set out to work towards your goals is focusing on the next step only.
Don’t worry right now about how you are going to get to step Z. That is a surefire way to overwhelm yourself and stall any momentum you have.
Instead, worry about how you are going to get to step B. Overcome the challenges. Work on keeping motivation high. Address your mindset issues. And keep taking action, one small step at a time.
Now I want to hear from you! What focus goal are you working on right now? Let me know in the comments below!