How can we achieve life goals?
As a “Type A” person, I’ve set countless goals in my life.
All of which I was very serious about.
I made an extremely well-researched, detailed action plan.
I got really hyped up about it.
And I gave it my all.
Until I didn’t.
Something small came up and I got thrown out of my routine.
I got sick for a week, an important project at work came up or I was travelling.
And I never got back into my routine again.
Until I set the same goal again.
A couple of months later.
I was stuck in a horrible vicious cycle of guilt, frustration and hopelessness.
Until I understood what it really takes to stick to your goals:
Set your Goals the Right Way
When setting your goals, think about the following two aspects: HOW to choose them and HOW to set them.
How to choose goals:
There is really only one question you should ask yourself when it comes to choosing goals: Is this really what I want?
Be honest with yourself or you will set yourself up for failure right from the start.
Use these two questions to get clarity:
How to set goals:
Choosing the right goal is only half of the equation, setting them the right wayis the other half.
There are countless goal setting strategies out there, but in the end, they all come back to 2 fundamentally different approaches:
Approach 1: Outcome-Oriented
Goals like “run a marathon in 3 months” or “lose 10kgs by October 2018” are outcome-oriented.
If you pick this type of goal setting, it is best to use the S.
goal setting technique, because it forces you to define your goals extremely clear in all aspects.
T stands for:
> Specific: “I want to be rich” is NOT specific.
“I want to earn 100K over the next 12 months by offering consulting services” IS.
Think about the WHAT, the HOW, the WHERE and the WHEN of your goal!
> Measurable: Find a way to measure the progress on your goal.
Want to lose weight? Track your weight loss every week! Want to start your own business? Think of concrete milestones you can track to make this goal come true.
> Attainable and Relevant: Is achieving this goal realistic and possible? Losing 50kgs in one month might not be attainable, but losing 5kgs in a month seems reasonable.
Also, do you really care about this goal? Is it relevant for you? You won’t be motivated to achieve a goal that is not a priority in your life (we already discussed this above)!
> Timely: Set a deadline and make a timeline.
What do you want to achieve until when? What are the milestones along the way?
Approach 2: State-Oriented
Sometimes it is not possible to pick a specific outcome as your goal.
Instead, it makes more sense to visualise and describe your ideal state for this area of your life, the person you want to be or how you want to feel.
Here is an example: “I am the type of person who works out 3 times a week even when I am travelling.
I feel naturally energised every day without any stimulants.
I follow a paleo lifestyle and feel happy and fulfilled without alcohol and cigarettes.
Final Note: Whichever goal-setting method you choose, make sure you write your goals down!
Attach Habits to your Goals
“Motivation is what gets you started.
Habit is what keeps you going.
” — Jim Rohn
Whatever you want to achieve in life, the basis for success is almost always identifying, integrating and sticking to powerful habits.
I like to think of habits as powerful tools to automate the goal achievement process: self-insight (WHAT do I want to change?) and motivation (WHY do I want to change it?) get you started, but habits are what really keep you going.
Of course, different goals require different strategies.
But trust me, it is possible to define goal related habits for almost every goal!
Here are a few examples:
Whatever your goal is, ask yourself the following:
What habits can you integrate into your daily life that will get you closer to your goal?
Train your Brain to Stick to your Habits
Consistency is the holy grail of goal achievement.
If you manage to stick to your habits, you will soon see the benefits of compounded effort.
Research shows us a few things we can do to increase our chances to sticking to our habits — and thus, sticking to our goals:
Start Small, Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
When we have big goals, we tend to choose big actions to achieve them.
In my countless weight loss efforts, I’ve always made grand plans to transform my entire lifestyle over night: workout every day, cook a paleo meal 3 times a day, sleep 8 hrs, meditate every morning for 30 minutes and go to Yoga class twice a week.
But this is not how change actually happens.
Real transformation happens through compounding small, daily efforts over time.
If we set our goals to high, we tend to get overwhelmed and end up quitting.
Thus, change ONE habit at a time: Don’t overwhelm your brain and decrease your chances of success.
Master one habit and then move onto the next one.
And not only that, start with the smallest possible version of that habit: meditate for 5 minutes, run around the block for 15 minutes, start with a healthy breakfast every morning while keeping the other meals the same.
Incremental, compounded effort is what counts!
Optimise your Environment
Your environment can make or break your goal achievement efforts.
The people around you, your fridge, your workplace and your bedroom — they all have the potential to accelerate your success or hold you back from it.
So the question is:
How can you optimise your environment in a way that makes achieving your goal easy?
Here are a few ideas:
Track your Progress
Tracking and measuring your progress gives you immediate feedback, a sense of accomplishment and informs you whether your strategy is working or not.
You can track your habits with mobile apps like
It became clear to me in the past that I was far from clear what I wanted in life and through that lack of clarity I was unable to put any sense of order to what I was doing day I day out.
I had no sense of how to prioritise.
I thought had goal but I realised that I had kidding myself.
It wasn’t until I learned the reason as to why my goals didn’t come into fruition was I able to look against my goals, and myself by extension, and essentially start over again, setting myself modified and new goals that I knew with certainty that I would accomplish.
There will be more parts to setting goals but these are seven that I believe are extremely important.
1: If you don’t believe in yourself then who will?
Believing in oneself is the most important piece of advice that you could give too person.
I say it to my kids all the time, “stop saying you can’t do it, if you keep saying that then that will be the outcome”.
I tell my kids this not because I don’t want to help them it because I do.
If we are constantly telling ourselves or even telling others that they can’t do something then more often than not, that will be the outcome.
It is not just because of the low sense of self esteem that negative comments such as this can grow within ourselves but we are essentially telling our subconscious mind that this is true and if that is what is implanted in your subconscious, that is what your mind will deliver to you.
If you don’t believe in yourself then why should someone else believe I you.
Be cautious in of the fine line between self belief and arrogance.
people tend to shy away from arrogant people even if that person’s belief is justified through their actions.
2: if you don’t believe in the goals you are setting then why set them?
Speaks for itself really doesn’t it?
But seriously, why do people (and organisations for that matter) set goals that they either know in their heart won’t be competed or they just don’t really believe nor want to reach the goal anyway? It’s so often the case in business that a strategy document is produced that talks the talk but is then filed away in a drawer and it’s business as usual.
We do this in our personal lives too…and definitely around the month of January.
The expectation for us all to have our new year resolutions can be too much for some people and they half heartedly commit to losing the pounds that they’ve added over Christmas (and before) or to learn to scuba dive or some other activity.
Many do complete them but many don’t.
The ones that don’t most likely do not believe in the goal and it may be something that they are trying to accomplish for some other reason than their own self worth.
Maybe the influence of their partner or a friend.
The ones that do complete their goals most likely have something that the other person doesn’t.
It is their belief in the goal that allows them to succeed and it is also something else…their purpose!
3: If you don’t know why you are working towards a goal then what’s the purpose?
The phrase ‘‘On Purpose’ is used a lot but I believe the phrase has more power behind it than how it is more commonly used.
One of my kids will come to me and tell me that her sister hit her ‘on purpose’.
I’ll ask the other child what is was that made her hit her sister and she will most likely look at me, shrug her shoulders and say ‘I don’t know’.
She’s probably right, she doesn’t know why she did it.
Most likely because her sister had done something or other to annoy her but my daughter would have reacted to the situation without a real understand of why.
Sure she may have done it on purpose in the common sense of the phrase but hen I say I believe those two words to have more power is when we really look at what they mean.
We all should be doing the things we are doing each and every day On Purpose.
Just as we say things like ‘I ‘m doing this to keep on track with my project’ we should maybe get into the habit of saying more often ‘I’m doing this to keep on purpose with my project’.
Similar phrase, similar intent but the second one in my opinion gives the person who is in response to the phrase being said a bigger belief in the person saying it as their words command a greater sense of understanding what it is they are doing and why they are doing it.
They are doing what they are doing because they understand the purpose.
They have a strong sense of ‘why’ they are doing it.
Whenever we are setting a goal we should always understand why we are doing it and feel emotionally attached to the purpose for wanting to achieve the desired outcome.
4: If something is difficult, then ask for help
Who ever said that being a ‘jack of all trades’ was a good thing.
I prefer the alternate, ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.
Too often people let their egos get in the way of achieving their goals.
They say asking for help as the first step to failure.
I see not asking for help when you need it is a much quicker descent towards failure.
“Life is a checker board and the player opposite you is time.
If you hesitate before moving, or neglect to move promptly your men will be wiped off of the board by time.
You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision” Napoleon Hill – Think & Grow Rich
This quote from the book Think & Grow Rich could be applied to a lot of situations but it helps to illustrate the importance of being honest about seeking help when needed and not letting our egos lead our actions.
The more we delay on deciding to put our hand up when the need arises and ask for help with achieving certain parts of our goals, the more we risk missing opportunities.
Time will not wait for us.
Our greatest opponent is relentless.
5: It IS ok to fail
Personally, I don’t like to use the words fail or failure when talking about myself or others.
Nothing positive comes from stating that someone is a failure…and that goes for both the supposed person that has ‘failed’ and the one that is making the statement.
It is ok to fail.
How else do we learn.
If it was so easy to do things the right way first time then nobody would ever fail and we’d all be getting everything we want all of the time.
In a way, that is what we want…but life just doesn’t work that way.
How many people have quit just three feet away from gold as the old story goes? If we give up every time something does not go to plan then we will never know just how close we may have been to success.
When we ‘fail’ we must reflect on that and figure out what the contributing factors were that led to our outcome not being the one we set out to achieve.
There will most likely be some element of frustration when our goals don’t come about quite the way we thought they would but it is important not to dwell on it and get into the state as soon as possible to reflect, refocus and get back out there!
6: How aspirational does aspirational need to be?
We all get told to be aspirational at times when it comes to planning and goal setting, but how aspirational should we be?
The answer is, it’s completely up to you and it kind of goes hand in hand with the second point on this list in regards to how much we believe in the goals we set.
There’s a fine line between being aspirational and irresponsibly setting a goal that would be outside of the laws of the universe to achieve it.
Be aspirational but don’t set targets that are not attainable.
Our goals need to be specific so that we know what we are working towards and so that we know when we have reached them.
The flip side of this is to not set your goals too close within our reach otherwise there will not be enough drive and passion to build up in ourselves to push us towards making a real step towards successes.
7: Above all, enjoy your goal setting
If you’re not working towards something you will deeply have an emotional attachment to then it may be time to go back to your purpose and tweak it a little or it may be that you need to adjust your goal.
In essence this is very similar to our purpose for setting the goals that we have but what I am wanting to get across here is that we must find enjoyment in the whole process of goal setting, managing our goals, keeping focused and doing things ‘on purpose’.
Goal setting should be a never ending process so if we are enjoying the practice of ‘setting and doing’ then we’ll be more likely to succeed and more likely to set more goals when we complete others.
This month, I released a book that focuses on the subject of goal setting and how to manage your goals all the way from the beginning when you come up with the idea for a particular goal through to planning, putting it into action and achieving
I`ve answered a similar question, here it is again:
Now, I’m assuming here that you have already have some ideas for your goals.
First of all;
Simply write down your goals!
That doesn’t mean you’re going to achieve them, but I would encourage you to not skip this step.
When you write down what you want, if you’ve ever done it, then you know you’ll feel an instant boost in energy and enthusiasm when you write it.
If you do this over and over again on a regular basis, you’re going to give yourself this ongoing boost and energy.
That energy is really what you need to accomplish your goals and to take action on a daily basis.
When you lack that energy, you don’t want to take action.
But the mere act of writing down goals gives you that energy!
So don’t skip this step.
Rule number two is to be specific.
You need to be crystal clear about what you want.
It’s not enough to just say you want more money.
That’s what everybody says.
People say they want more money, or they want to lose weight, or whatever their goal is, but that’s not concrete.
Let’s say, for example, you made $60,000 last year.
Well, you know what?
$61,000 is more than 60,000.
Will that get you excited?
You made $1,000 more this year than you did last year.
I don’t think so.
If you’re 30 pounds overweight, losing a couple of pounds is still losing weight, but it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference in your health and your physical appearance.
You want to be very specific.
Like of you type in a spesific address into a GPS, it will show you a spesific way to get there.
The goal setting mechanism in your head, your subconscious mind, is a goal-seekingdevice.
Unless you give it very specific, clear instructions, like an address or a specific goal, it’s not going to know exactly what to do.
You’ve got to be crystal clear.
I’m emphasizing this point because often people say…
“Well, I just want to have a good year.
That’s not good enough.
If you look at Fortune 500 companies or any big company, they have very specific sales and revenue goals that they want to hit.
They don’t just start the year with the CEO getting in front of the board of directors and saying…
“You know, we’re hoping for a good year.
We want to make more money this year than last year.
Can you imagine that?
They have very specific goals.
You’ve got to treat your goals the same way, because you are the CEO of your business and your life.
Now, despite the self-help teachers who say, “Think big! Don’t put any limits on your thinking!” I’m here to set some limits.
Your goals have got to be realistic.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you’re making $60,000, and you set a goal of making $1 million.
That’s a great long-term goal to shoot for, but it’s very, very unlikely that you will go from $60,000 to a million in the next 12 months.
It’s possible, yes.
But for most people, it’s not very realistic.
Set that as the longer-term goal, but be more realistic about what you can accomplish in the short run, like going from $60K to $100K, or maybe $200K.
This is very realistic depending on your set of skills, and the resources that you have available.
Let me give you this example…
If you want to make $100,000/year online, and you have NO marketing skills, very limited resources, and little money to invest in advertising, while it’s technically possible, the reality is that it’s going to take some time to get there.
You’re simply not going to go from zero to $100,000 with no resources, and no marketing skills, in just a few months, or maybe even a year.
It’s not going to happen in the short-term like a lot of people are hoping for.
Now, if you have, let’s say, $20,000 at your disposal, it will be a lot more realistic to hit six figures online, because now you have more resources…
You can invest a bit more money in your advertising so you can get there more quickly.
What I’m saying is this…
Your short-term goals need to be congruent with the skills and resources at your disposal
If they’re not, what’s going to happen is you’re basically setting yourself up for failure.
Then you’re going to become discouraged and say, “Goal setting doesn’t work.
And you’re not going to take action.
The whole point of goal setting is just not to get you excited; it’s to give you stepping stones to accomplish your bigger, longer-term goals.
The worst thing you can do is to set a short-term goal that’s so out of reach that it’s just going to demotivate you.
Now, let me be clear.
I’m not saying to limit yourself.
I think it’s perfectly fine to have huge 3-, 5-, and 10-year goals.
But reverse engineer those and say, “What do I have to accomplish on a short-term in the next 12 months, 6 months, and 3 months?”
Make it very realistic so that you can get excited, and you can get your belief level up about your goals.
The next step is to create a plan of action with a deadline.
A lot of people say they’re going to accomplish a goal, but they have no clue exactly how they’re going to do it and no deadline to keep them on track.
As you’ve probably heard, a goal without a deadline and a clear plan is nothing but a wish.
Make sure that you have a plan of action that you need to take on a daily basis and a specific deadline of when you want to accomplish that short-term goal.
Now if you`d like to know more, check out my website