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Setting and Achieving Your Goals (the Smart Way)


You have set a goal, visualized it, set up a dream board of pictures clipped out of magazine, affirmed it and still, nothing…

All of these steps do work, if the foundation you have laid is firm enough to support you succeeding. Why isn’t it working for you? There are a number of reasons.


Choosing a Goal that You Really Want

Do you really want to achieve this specific goal?  Is it something you want or is it an ideal that someone else thought you should have, perhaps a partner, a parent, or a teacher that you admired. Does it align with your core values?

The goal must be one that you want and its’ accomplishment is determined by you.  If your goal is for Aunty Mae to win the lottery, it’s not a good goal. “It is November 25, and I have run my first marathon” is a goal that is one you want (assuming you want to run a marathon!) and you are in charge of the steps that go in to making that a reality.

A Reasonable Goal

Is your goal realistic?  Has there been another person who has accomplished a similar goal in the world?  If you are 65 and want to be considered for entry into the astronaut program, chances are that your goal is unrealistic.  Maybe. : D

If you have a big dream and a goal that is calling you that is beyond your wildest dreams, you can make it reasonable by breaking it up into small chunks.  If, for example, you have a dream to write a novel, that’s a big dream.  

Take a look at how many words are in a typical novel in the genre you want to write in, that’s how many words you need to write. How do you find out the word count?  A simple way is to count how many words on a page and multiply it by the number of pages in the book. Voila, a rough word count.

Then you decide how many words you can write in a day, divide the number of words in the book by the number of words you can write in a day, then there you go.  The number of days you will need to write in order to finish a first draft of a novel.  And so on. 

Believe and You Can Achieve

Do you really believe that you can achieve the goal?  Let’s say that you pick a goal of losing 10 pounds and you post pictures of a model with a pasted picture of your face over hers.  You place an affirmation next to it, saying “I am now 10 pounds lighter” and you really, really want to have that weight loss.

What do you think happens when you look at that picture if you don’t believe that you can actually have it?  There is probably a small voice that says something like this…"Right…remember what happened the LAST time you went on a diet?  As soon as you got off it, you blew up like a balloon and gained twice as much weight as you lost!”

With that kind of cheering going on inside your brain, the odds aren’t very good. Affirmations work beautifully when you have the feeling, the belief that yes, this WILL happen.  When you can look at it and KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that this will come to pass, then it does.  Belief is powerful.

Accept that You Deserve to Accomplish Your Goal

One of the common underlying negative beliefs is “I don’t deserve it.”  When that belief exists, even though a person works hard to achieve their goals, there can be the element of self sabotage.  The person stops taking the steps they need to take in order to achieve their goal. 

They begin to exhibit signs of procrastination. They stop the process of completion.  There seem to be a series of obstacles that crop up and trip them, just as they are getting close to the finish line. Anxiety can develop the closer they get to achieving their goal.

Listen to how you speak to yourself and discover the underlying belief that is holding you back.  Clear that up, then the affirmations, visualizations, dream boards, etc. will work.  When you take out the trash, you immediately beautify your house and then you can paint the walls pretty colours.

Set a Reasonable Time Frame

All goals need to have a time frame.  Setting a time that is so far off in the future that you can barely see it, will demotivate. Setting a time that is too close will set up anxiety, fear of failure and possibly panic. Just like in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you are looking for the “just right” time frame.  

That is the time frame that is far enough for you to feel excited about without feeling anxious.  It is close enough that you can be excited and motivated about achieving the goal.  If you thought it was going to take 5 years to lose 10 pounds would that feel motivating to you?  I think not. You would probably just think that it wasn’t worth it…

So whether your goals are smart goals or SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed), it really is all up to you.

When you have decided on that goal that you really, really want… and you have evaluated that, yes, it is possible for you to have it, because it is reasonable… and you eliminate any negative beliefs that you might have had… and you believe with feeling, deep in your heart, that yes, you can have it…and that you deserve it, and you do…and you can see it right there, in your future, at just the right time…then, it is as good as yours…isn’t it?


“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

Image Credit: Stuart Miles

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Eva Blaskovic February 3, 2012, 9:33 am

    This is a great post, Sherie. You’ve hit upon a very important thing:

    “Do you really want to achieve this specific goal? Is it something you want or is it an ideal that someone else thought you should have, perhaps a partner, a parent, or a teacher that you admired. Does it align with your core values?”

    This may sound obvious, but it’s actually hard for people to do until they learn how to be in touch with themselves and their core values. When we are young (eg. choosing career, activities), have a need to impress someone (boss, partner, parent) or are desperate (as in to save a job or marriage), we can lose touch with ourselves and set goals that seem logical for the situation but are not, deep down, what we really want.

    The other important things you pointed out are setting realistic goals and that you need to be “in charge of the steps that go in to making that a reality.”

    • Sherie February 3, 2012, 10:01 am

      Eva, thank you so much! Sometimes the obvious isn’t very easy to see until it is pointed out to us. You are right, until people learn how to be in touch with themselves and how they feel and know what their core values are, it is difficult to make an honest goal that is within our reach. Love your comment, thank you!

  • Rob Hodgins February 3, 2012, 8:21 am

    Not reaching a goal can be soul-crushing.
    We need to examine our goals from time to time. We need to audit them.
    Dare I say that we need to “edit” them? 🙂

    That is the way we manage the goal rather than the goal disappointing us.

    Sherie, you’ve given us a number of tools that help keep the goals we set under control and will help us avoid feeling crushed when we don’t “succeed”.
    Thank you!

    • Sherie February 3, 2012, 9:59 am

      Yes, Rob, we do need to examine our goals and edit them on a regular basis! When we manage our goals, we are in control. Thank you so much for commenting!