There’s a sense of satisfaction that happens when we write out to-do lists and get to check them off. Setting your standards high and pushing yourself to reach for a goal gives you drive, motivation, fuel and can even aid in a sense of purpose in life. Often times, we can overdo this or try and set unrealistic goals too soon or maybe we don’t know what steps to take in order to accomplish the things we’ve set out to do. A new decade is here and with it, a slew of New Year’s resolutions. This new year let’s learn how to really set goals and learn what it takes to accomplish them so you can move your life in the direction that you’ve always wanted.

Setting and achieving goals

You want to identify which areas of your life need attention. Work/career, family, fun/leisure, friends/family, spirituality, relationships, and health are the major areas to focus and create these goals in. What areas are you strong in? Where do you feel secure in? It’s also extremely important to acknowledge what you’re doing well and see how you’re doing it. That same discipline and focus that you’ve applied to some areas of your life, can and should be applied to the other areas you want to grow.

You also want to identify your fears. What is stopping you from setting and achieving your goals? Are you afraid that if you take more time to yourself people will think you’re selfish? Are you afraid that if you advance in your career there will be more responsibilities and you don’t know if you can handle that? Write these down! Writing down and facing your fears and what is stopping you from achieving your goals can help overcome the obstacles that we subconsciously put in our way to keep us stuck and “safe”.

How to set and achieve goals.

Effectively accomplishing your goals takes work and creating an action plan to do it. Obviously, we can’t just write down what we want and expect it to magically appear in our lives. We have to take the steps in order to make those things happen for us. It’s not as hard as you think!

Keep it simple and make sure you’re writing out the actions that you can actually take. When you’re writing out your goals, aim for the things you can accomplish within the year and write out things that you can mark as an accomplished after it’s completed. Here are the steps to take to start getting the life you want!

5 ways to set goals and achieve them

Step #1 Decide your main life goal first.

Without having a clear direction, setting goals can feel all over the place and be overwhelming. First, decide what you truly want out of life. What is your main purpose? Do you want a long-lasting loving relationship? Do you want to become a more well-known painter or sell your artwork? Identify the major goal in life, the one that when you think about it, there’s a smile on your face. So take a few minutes, close your eyes, and visualize that thing that would make you the happiest. 10 years from now, what does your life look like and what is the main reason for that smile on your face? Write that down! THAT is your main life goal!

Step #2 Set 3-5 milestone goals that will move you towards that.

Now that we’ve figured out what your main focus is in life, the next step is about detailing out how to get there. This is the path that we follow and now the direction in life feels like it’s moving in a forward direction, instead of just trying to do whatever you can whenever you can do it and that sense of overwhelm sets in. List out 3-5 smaller goals that align with the major goal. If your major life goal is to have that long-lasting loving relationship, what does that take to get it? Some this would look like:
Main: Find love!
Milestone goals:
-Put myself out there more. Sign up for 2 community hobbies. (tennis and biking!)
-Get help with creating an online dating profile
-Set up 2-3 dates a week
-Continue to focus on myself and grow. 1 day a week check-ins. Write out how I feel and how I’m feeling about my life, find the things that fulfill me and make me happy.
Main: Become a painter!
Milestone goals:
-Buy easels and paints and brushes (research which ones and get them!)
-Paint at least 1 canvas a week
-Take photos of my work and create an Instagram account
-Learn how to market online and use social media (free!) to get my work out there
-Contact art showings and markets to set up my work

See? All of a sudden accomplishing that life goal doesn’t seem so far away and so difficult now!

Step #3 Involve other people. Get accountable!

One of the best ways to set and achieve goals is involving other people and creating accountability buddies, or even accountability groups! If you have a few people interested in setting and creating goals, get together, write out the main life goal, write out the smaller goals and then set up your monthly, weekly and daily check-in partners. These are your accountability partners.
With your daily accountability partner, send a message in the morning and set up 1-3 things that you intend to accomplish for the day (these can either be your milestone goals, or things that help in aiding towards those milestone goals. Your weekly and monthly are check-ins to assess your goals and how they are going. This is also a great time to see if you need to reassess your goals and make any adjustments. There might be smaller goals that don’t align with you anymore or just need some tweaking. Talk it out with your accountability partners! This can help to get your thoughts out and keep you on track!

Step #4 Write them out large!

You can either do this with a group of people or on your own. Go out and get large poster paper and some markers. (Make sure you’ll be able to see what you write so get the appropriate colors for the poster paper.) Write out at the top your main goal. Make this the largest font so you can clearly see what you’re aiming towards. (Remember from step #1 that thing that makes you smile!) Now underneath it, write out those 3-5 minor goals that align with the main goal and move you in that direction. Hang this up somewhere that you will see every day. This alerts your subconscious mind to drive your behaviors and make decisions that automatically align with what you truly want. Seeing this every day will have you automatically saying yes to the right things and no to what doesn’t work for you.

Step #5 Realize obstacles are part of this.

There are days when even getting out of bed can be difficult. That’s okay! You are not always going to feel motivated and sometimes there might be roadblocks and hurdles standing in your way. Resting and taking breaks are also necessary steps in order to achieve your goals. Our brains need a break and sometimes life happens. This does not mean that you’re not doing enough, it just means it’s also time to listen to your body and emotions and maybe taking the night off to binge watch that new Netflix special is exactly what you need!

How to make goals and keep them

The main thing for staying on the path to keep your goals is making sure that they align with what you really want out of life. Often times we lose sight of our goals or don’t finish off that to-do list because we’re trying to accomplish things that really don’t motivate us. Perhaps we’re listening to what other people want from us, instead of what we want for ourselves. Or maybe we’re struggling with really believing that we deserve it. If that’s the case, then I really encourage also setting even smaller goals. Making sure that you’re not trying to overwhelm yourself with an impossible to-do list daily and setting too high of expectations for the day. Things happen, if you can’t complete the tasks you set out to do for the day, that’s okay! Just move those items to the next day or see if they’re even really needed.

Sometimes the only thing stopping us are those negative voices inside our heads. Remind yourself that you deserve to achieve the things you want in life. Set yourself up with some mantras that you can repeat to yourself daily. “I deserve to love my life.” “Some days I’ll just take baby steps, and that’s okay.” “I am enough. I am doing enough.” “Resting and having fun is also part of moving forward towards what I want in life.”

And also remember, you are always loved.

Your coach,

Apollonia Ponti