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Professional Development

From Setting Goals to Achieving Them

Olivia Vizachero

From Setting Goals to Achieving Them
Inside Creative House via iStock

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Have you ever set a goal with the best of intentions but struggled to achieve it? Perhaps you set a goal but did not create a plan to execute it. Perhaps it was clear on what you “should” do, but you could not bring yourself to act. Maybe you started acting, but you did not get far enough, fast enough, so you gave up. If you struggled with goal setting in the past and want to master the art of achieving your goal, this is the specific process you will want to follow.

Setting (SMART) Goals

Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART). Instead of saying, “I want to create business,” clarify how many clients or how much revenue you want to bring in and by when. Instead of saying, “I want to advance in my career,” clearly identify the exact position you want and by when you want it. Setting SMART goals will help you formulate a road map you can follow to achieve your desired results.

Break It into Steps

Once you have a clear goal, break it down into micro-steps. Make a list of everything you will need to do to achieve your goal. Put it in sequential order. Give yourself more time than you think you need to complete each step, and put deadlines on all the tasks you identify. That is how you create your goal game plan.

Fuel Yourself Forward with a Positive Mindset

Setting and eventually achieving your goals starts with your mindset. List the emotions you feel when you think about your goal. If you think negative thoughts about your goal and your ability to achieve it, you will feel negatively, too. For example, if you think, “This is going to be so hard,” you will feel exasperated. If you think, “I’ll never be able to do this,” you will feel defeated. If you think, “This is going to take so long to achieve,” you will feel discouraged. If you think, “I might fail,” you will feel worried. Your actions are determined by your feelings and mindset. So, if you are feeling negative emotions, you will struggle to take positive, productive action. Instead, push yourself forward by cultivating a positive mindset. What feelings do you need to feel to take positive, productive action? Perhaps confident or committed or determined or resourceful. Think, what thoughts about your goal and ability to achieve it will generate those emotions?

Expect to Feel Uncomfortable

Even with a positive mindset, setting and achieving goals can still be uncomfortable. If you have ever made a plan and not followed through with it, was it because you wanted to avoid the negative emotions you would have been forced to experience if you had moved forward? Instead of avoiding these negative emotions, expect them. Because anytime you change your status quo, you will feel uncomfortable. You can choose to avoid these feelings by indulging in inaction, or you can choose to feel your negative feelings and act despite them.

Engage in Discomfort Allowance

Act despite your negative emotions. To do this effectively, make a list of all the negative emotions you will need to experience as you work toward achieving your goal. Having a list makes it easier to identify them and work through them when those emotions make an appearance.


Once you identify the feelings you need to allow yourself to experience, the last thing you have left to do is act. So, act. Follow the plan you created. Begin implementing it. And as you embark on accomplishing your goal, evaluate. Ask yourself, “What’s working? What isn’t working? What will I need to do differently?” That is how you make your success inevitable. Act. Audit. Adapt. Repeat. Until you achieve your goal.