How to Set Successful Goals & Achieve Them

Intentional Living

set successful goals

How to Set Successful Goals | The practice of goal setting is one I’ve employed, in some manner or another, for my whole life. Whether it was childhood dreaming, youthful wishing, or adult planning, thinking up where I wanted to be has always been part of my life. The part that I’ve never been great at is the follow-through. The seeing-it-through.

Sure, I know where I want to go — and in the beginning, I’ve got all the motivation I need. But things start to slow down. I’m tired. My energy dies out. I didn’t hit the goal, and so I find a new dream.

set successful goals

Or so I lived until a couple of years ago, when everything changed. When I knew I wanted to write for a living, I had to get serious. I love writing, but making a career in the blogging world doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen with minimal effort. My goal-setting practices got serious. I started tracking progress, I tried online planners, written planners, whiteboards, chalkboards, listened to podcasts, TEDTalks, and honestly, really overthought it.

See, the secret to goal setting isn’t complicated. It’s that setting the goal, in all honesty, doesn’t do jack.

We’ve all listened to coaches and speakers tell us “if you can dream it, you can do it”, and while it’s nice to hear, things aren’t quite that simple. There’s a couple of necessary key steps to set successful goals that are less glamorous, but equally as essential. Keep reading to find out the goal setting secret you’re missing that may just transform your growth in 2021.

How to Set Successful Goals: Where to Start

Successful Goal Setting 101

Now, let’s back up for a second. I know I just told you that finding your dream is meaningless — but stay with me here. While the dream itself doesn’t do a whole lot, it is a necessary first step. Without some kind of direction, you can’t progress towards anything.

Get creative, think big, and don’t be afraid to let your imagination explore a little bit. The more fleshed out your goal is, the more excited you’re likely to be. And the stronger your emotional investment in the result, the harder you’ll work to get there.

Make a vision board, a Pinterest board, or just journal out your thoughts and ideas. Have fun with this!

Intentional living only works if you have an intent. Whether your goal is sustainability, increasing your income, working out, or anything else, decide what you want for your life.

goal setting

Know Your Why

Make sure you know the why behind your goals. Without a powerful reason behind your goals, your drive may not last long. What about this contributes to your vision for your life? What’s prompting you to take these steps?

It can be a moral obligation, personal desire, or anything else. One thing I’ve found helpful after establishing my “why” is to head to Pinterest, Google, or anywhere else, and find quotes, books, TedTalks, and whatever else to help me remember the point. It’s encouraging, and it’s a great feeling to see other people with similar motivations.

How to Set Successful Goals: The Goal Setting Secret You’re Missing

set successful goals

All right, it’s time. The #1 goal setting secret you’re missing is this. The only way to set a successful goal and achieve it with a lasting lifespan is to create a system.

What’s a Goal Setting System?

Firstly, let’s answer this question. A goal setting system is a system like any other. A series of actions, components, and parts working together to produce a result. And when you have a bad system, you get bad results. Now, I’m not sure exactly what brought you to this article, but I’m willing to bet that if the systems you already had in your life were working, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”

In order to achieve your goal, you need to create a system that produces your desired result. I’ll give you an example of something I’ve had to change:

When I relaunched my blog in February 2020, I wasn’t working a lot. Most of the time I spent on the blog, I was half-focused, distracted, and procrastinating. I had the time to drag my feet, and I used it. But as the months went by, my life got a lot crazier. This fall, I found myself working 7 days a week, “extra time” a thing of the past — not to mention my desire for a social life.

Blogging is my long-term career goal, and it’s a priority for me, but I hadn’t been treating it as such. I wasn’t producing high quality content, or enough of it. The system was broken. I wasn’t getting the result I wanted.

Thus: I changed the system. I schedule in hours every week for content creation, have a monthly goal tracker, daily to-do lists, and always know what needs to get done. If I have a crazy week coming up, I know exactly what I need to do to get ahead. Since establishing this system, I’ve hit every monthly goal I’ve set.

How to Create a System

Okay, so you’re ready to create a system. First off, know that depending on your goal, this may take a bit of time to perfect. It’s okay to tweak and alter your systems over time as you find what works and what doesn’t. Only you can find exactly what tools you need. Here are some practical and effective system tips that I’ve found work well for me.

  • If you want to get something done, schedule it.
  • Tell someone about what you’re doing.
  • Write it down (digital or paper).
  • Track your progress.
  • Set times to review your progress. During this time, go over what worked/what didn’t. Make any necessary adjustments.

Learn From It

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! It’s all a learning process. It’s not a race, and whatever your goal is, it’s worth doing right. Rather than rushing to get through it, take the time to create a system that will work long term.

As we approach a new year, a new start, and a new beginning, commit to growth. Don’t stay stuck for another 365 days. After the last 12 months, we all know just how crazy life can get — get the jump on unpredictability and choose to actively pursue the best version of yourself.

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