Smart goal criteria being handwritten
Personal Growth

How to make and set achievable goals to make your dream life a reality

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Want to know the secret to achieve your goals this year? In fact any goal at any time, not necessarily the beginning of the year.

So just how do you set goals and achieve them?

The big difference this time is to put strategies in place to make it more likely your goals will be met.

This post contains affiliate links which means that I may earn a commission if you use them. I only recommend tools that I use and trust. You can read the full disclosure policy here.

Here are the often overlooked techniques that almost guarantee that you will achieve your goals:

  • Set meaningful, SMART goals
  • Know your WHY
  • Embrace a positive mindset
  • Use powerful techniques to manifest your goals

desk with a tablet, diary with Smart goal definition


Ready? Let’s do a deep dive into the winning process to achieve your goals this time round.

12 Steps to achieve your goals

Here are 12 positive action steps to take to make your goals a reality

1. Decide what your goals will be this year

Taking steps to change your life is difficult. Do not rush this process. There is no shortcut to goal setting.

In your journal, do a brain dump of all the things that would make your life most fulfilling to you. If  journaling is new to you, this post helps you with all the details to get started.

These are my favorite journals sourced from


Use the following broad categories to analyze and reflect on how you want to
improve your life this year.

  • Relationships
  • Career and Work
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Contribution
  • Spirituality
  • Living Environment

Set goals that align with areas in your life that really need a change. For example, do you have a job you hate? Do you have too much debt? Are you in a bad relationship?

2. Identify your WHY for your goals

Watch this YouTube video about the importance of finding your WHY before we get into the nitty gritty of goal setting.

Your goal has to be driven by a big intense desire that acts as fuel to propel you and to keep you going  when things get hard and you want to quit.

And it will get intense when the excitement wanes or things happen to interfere with your intentions.

Goal setting can be a little like going to war. A war between your will power and your mindset. And usually, mindset wins over will.

So ensure that your reason for making a goal is solid and so deep and so real you can taste it.

But be warned your negative mindset will still rear its head especially if you’re embracing a different way in life or career, or way of eating and living.



3. Tackle your negative mindset

Your mind may whisper and tell you things like ” you just can’t do this… ” Then, you declare war with your mindset.

Let me explain.

A negative mindset can derail goal setting and goal crushing.

You sneaky inner critic starts whispering negative things such like, “you really can’t become that”, or “you really are not good at X ” or “you are not that smart”, or even “can you really make that kind of money?”

Banish this annoying self-doubting voice that’s keeping you stuck.

Reframing those negative thoughts

Here’s a helpful YouTube video that gives you tips to deal with negativity:

Instead of ” I’ve always been heavy so I can’t lose weight”, reframe it as “I am a determined person and I can do anything I set my mind to including losing weight. ”

Practice affirmations to keep self-doubt from discouraging you. Look back at something difficult you have achieved in you your life to motivate you.

4. The power of Visualization

This is the most powerful tool to achieve your goals.

Visualization means drawing a mental picture of you having achieved your goal or goals.
According to this article, visualization:

activates the law of attraction drawing in the right people, resources, and conditions needed to succeed. In addition, visualization encourages internal motivation, pushing us to take the necessary steps toward achieving goals.

So, you need to create a mental picture of you having accomplished your goals.

For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, visualize yourself in those tight-fitting jeans that fit you perfectly. Relish how it feels not to have to pull your tummy in to take a photo.

Or if your finances are in dire straits. Visualize yourself having enough money to buy what you need. Visualize yourself being debt-free, going on vacations doing what you want without worrying about money.

Or if you want to quit a soul-sucking job. Visualize how it will feel when you are your own boss answering to no one and not having to clock in and working undesirable hours.

You need to do the same with all your goals. Be the driver of success by visualizing, channeling and manifesting each one. This will motivate you to take the actions necessary to achieve your goals.

Another way to motivate yourself to reach your goals is to create a vision board. Make it powerful by posting photographs of yourself with each goal. Also write affirmations based on your goals and include them in your vision board.


5. Set SMART goals

It is not enough to just set a goal. What you need to do now is to embrace the idea of SMART goals.

This YouTube video shows you what SMART goals are:


Here are your next steps…

In your journal, list your SMART goals. Now that your smart goals are outlined it’s time to make a firm commitment to them.

6. Write your goals down

Smart goal setting worksheet

Micheal Hyatt states that:

the secret to accomplishing what matters most to you is committing your goals to writing.

Writing your goals down is like signing a contract with yourself. Make sure that you have written your goals so clearly and vividly that you can see yourself attaining them.

You may even want to include pictures with well-written action plans to keep you motivated. A great way to do this is to create a vision board of your goals. It is a visual of the goals you want to achieve and will serve to motivate you even more.

After you write your goals down you want to put these written goals in plain sight so you can see them daily as a reminder.

7. The Action plan to achieve your goals

Now comes the hard work. You need to take each goal and break it down into bite sized chunks.

For example
You want to write an Ebook on Money Saving Tips which you want to self publish by 30 November 2020.

Here’s a rough idea of how you would break a big goal down into mini goals:

  • First list all the things you would have to do to
  • Research the topic
  • Interviews with experts – who, where, when, how
  • Title
  • Number of chapters
  • Number of pages per chapter
  • Illustrations, graphics, pictures – permission
  • Actual writing – 2 hours a day – 8-10am
  • No of pages per day, per week, per mont

8. Monitor your progress

Check progress on your goals often but not so often that you get discouraged when only tiny milestones are reached.

You have to fine-tune your daily actions to action steps that will move you forward to achieving the ultimate goal.

A planner is great to track your progress on your goals. Every night write down your to-do list prioritizing the most important goal-oriented actions.

Create a daily checklist so that you can tick off work done on your goals.Every day you should have a few steps and actions needed to accomplish towards your goal.

Then do a weekly and monthly review and restructure where you need to.

There is no quick fix to achieving your goals. What is needed is consistent daily action to make it a reality.

You, my friend, are now on the way to crushing those goals!

But life can happen and derail your progress and so here’s what to do when that happens. 

9. Avoid procrastination

Some mornings you may wake up and you’re not in the mood for hard work on your goals.
You postpone your run. Or,you just don’t feel like hustling, so you won’t send out any pitches. Or you’re tempted to splurge on a new pair of shoes.

Watch these signs. If you start procrastinating on your goals too often, the fire will ebb, and be snuffed out.

Procrastination is the killer of so many dead dreams. Don’t let it kill your dreams of a better life, of achieving some life-changing goals.

10. Fail forward

You are on a new journey here. A journey to a better life and these goals are your vehicles to the life you desire.

However, sometimes even when you have put in all the effort,  you may fail  to achieve a goal.

So what then?

Did you ever learn how to ride a bike? You stayed on even when you fell. Get back on the back on the bike, every time you fall.

Leverage your failure. Learn from it and use it to guide your next actions.

So if you fail, fail forward, keep going but wisely.

And to drive home the necessity of failure check out this Motiversity video.


11.Be accountable

First, be accountable to yourself. Look inwards to find that fueling reason why you have to keep on and reasons why stopping is not an option.

And when you don’t reach a certain goal, see where you erred and why. Learn from it and promise yourself to do better.

However, it is also great to have a buddy. Find an accountability partner. It’s best if it’s someone who really cares about your success. Or someone on the same journey as yourself, someone willing to call you out when you chicken out and start lagging.

12.Celebrates small steps

Success is so sweet. Relish it! Indeed celebrate it. Celebrate even the small wins. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do but do something that makes you feel good and motivates you.

Be careful though and make sure your celebration is still in alignment with your goals.
So if you are trying to lose ten pounds, and you lose one pound, don’t reach for ice cream. But it is okay to treat yourself to a great movie or an awesome beauty product.

You can even have these celebrations planned out in advance as motivators for your success. Just have a way to congratulate yourself when you achieve your goals or complete certain steps in the goal achieving process.

And finally the big reveal.

At the end of the set time, see how well you did. Have you achieved the goals? Feel the pride of success. Celebrate.

Let that be your motivation for even bigger goals.


Set new goals. Now you are a champ at goal setting Onwards to new goals and new life-changing adventures.

Your turn

This quote sums up the power of setting achievable goals:

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Pablo Picasso

Let’s recap.  Achieve your goals by doing the following:

  • knowing your WHY for each goal you set
  • approach your goals with a positive mindset
  • silence your inner critic
  • set realistic, achievable goals 
  • create a checklist of daily, weekly, monthly steps to take to reach your goals

Have you set goals for the new year?  Share your goal setting process in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please help to share it to your favorite social media platforms.

Other self-improvement posts you may like:

Please pin them to your personal development Pinterest board.

Dream journalWoman smiling and arms up, fists clenchedStop watch with the words Time for change on it


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Jane is a health and wellness freelance writer for hire who believes that health is not simply the lack of disease, but the sum of all things wellness of mind, body, spirit, and soul. And that is why apart from writing in-depth research-based health articles she also really enjoys inspiring her readers with practical nurturing advice for better mental health, for living thriving, fulfilled happy lives and all in all passionately living their best lives ever. Jane is an RN, a blogger, and a teacher, who though she is no longer in the classroom she is now committed to teaching her readers how to actualize their highest sense of self. Get a dose of inspiration, learn more about taking care of your physical and mental health by visiting her Blog, following on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 

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A former English teacher turned lifestyle blogger. Content creator for blogs and websites. Book lover, scrabble addict and crime show obsessor.


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