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​Discover my top 3 secrets for how to goal set for success. Because it’s not enough to set goals. Or even to achieve them.

The key is setting goals that motivate you the entire way through and get you to where you actually want to be.

  • Happy.
  • Fulfilled.
  • To a place of contentment.

And it all starts with setting the right goals for yourself. Listen now for how to goal set for success on your terms.

Join The Goal-Setting For Success Workshop

Want to set the right goals for the year ahead? Goals that motivate you. Goals you’re more likely to achieve. And (of course) goals that bring more happiness and fulfillment to your life.

Get immediate access to my FREE workshop on How To Set Goals For Achievement & Happiness here.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:48] Well, hello there. Welcome to the Life & Law Podcast. Today we are getting into how to goal set for success.

And by success, I mean goals you’re going to actually achieve. We don’t want to set goals that are impossible to achieve or really hard. We want to set goals that we are going to achieve, but we want to go big enough, too, right? Goals that you are going to enjoy going after along the way.

Why Learning How To Goal Set For Success Is Important (& What That Even Means)

So obviously, we don’t just set goals and then all of a sudden get there. It takes hard work. It takes a lot of challenges. It takes learning new things. And you want to actually enjoy most of that process even as you are challenged and learn.

And then also goals where they take you somewhere you actually want to go – i.e., you feel actual fulfillment at the end of that goal. Once you’ve achieved it, it’s not fleeting. And so they actually get you into a place where you’re pretty happy with where you are. That’s what we’re talking about today.

[00:01:53] And…

It all starts with how you set your goals.

Goal achievement, part of proper goal achievement, is setting the right goals. And so I guess you could say we’re getting into goal setting tips for achievement today, if that makes sense.

So, the right goals means more likely to achieve them, which is what we actually want. Because what is the point of setting the goal in the first place if we’re not going to achieve it? All right…

How To Goal Set For Achievement & Happiness

Goal setting success tip number one: I want you to create a specific future vision.

You want a vision that is motivating and big and where everything feels right.

And when I say right, I’m talking about according to who you are, which, of course, if you know anything about me, means values-based. You want a values based, motivating vision that’s pretty big.

What if that feels hard (like too much pressure to see into the future)?

Now, some people say, don’t do this part. It’s too much pressure to come up with some big vision. How am I going to know, Heather, where I want to be three or five years from now? I can’t even see where I want to be six or twelve months from now or where I will be? How on earth could I create a vision that’s even bigger than that?

[00:03:11] Here’s what I would say to that…

Yes, it can be really pressure filled when you’re trying to put yourself into what will I want three years from now? What will I want five years from now? Because the fact is you don’t know. Totally agree with that.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t create a big vision that puts you out that far. And yes, I did say three to five years, but here’s how you do that.

Step 1 To Create The Right Future-Vision

Number one, you want to imagine what the perfect life and work and kind of like integrated vision looks like, thinking it’s several years in the future. Three to five years. Because it’s very hard to imagine it now. You don’t have it now, right? So this is why we go into the future.

But assuming everything you want now is what you will want, then everything that is good with your life now is going to be going on. Then you have to make some assumptions here for this visioning to work.

[00:04:12] And you have to expect that you’re never going to reach your vision.

[00:04:18] Because guess what, y’all?

Your circumstances will change, and so will you.

As you progress along the way, you’re going to learn things about yourself. You’re going to learn new capabilities, right? You’re going to learn what you are capable of. You might even go bigger. You might decide, you know, what part of what I thought I wanted, I actually don’t.

Or maybe your circumstances will change in a way that changes what you want. So, for example, if you look at people, right, we have different seasons to life.

[00:04:51] What I wanted in my 20s changed in my 30s once I started having kids, which then changed in my 40s after my cancer diagnosis and after I beat it. Which now has changed as I’ve entered 50 because I’m in a different stage of my life. I have a senior in high school and I can see him leaving. I have a 13 year old who’s about to turn 14 and will be going into his freshman year of high school next year.

A different phase of life actually makes me step back and go, you know what? Maybe I don’t want some of the things I thought I wanted. I want something different because my circumstances have changed.

So circumstances also change what you want, too.

Go into this visioning exercise expecting that you’re never going to get there because you’re never going to be able to, nor will you want to get there. But you’re creating this bigger vision for a reason. And here’s why. This is why I want you to go big. This is why I want you to set this in the first place.

[00:05:50] First goal achievement is hard, y’all.

Having a vision that’s value- based, that’s future forward, that’s really big, helps with some of that internal motivation.

It helps you to tap into it when things feel especially hard. That’s what this will help give you.

[00:06:10] Second, if you’re just trying to reflect on, well, what goals should I set for the year ahead and only going a year forward and not further out…

You’re often not going to go big enough.

You really want to feel into, what do I think I’m fully capable of? As soon as we start to back that up, we tend to think, oh, that’s not possible, or it’s not possible within the time frame. And so then we don’t even go big enough with our goals oftentimes as a result. So this is why I think this visioning exercise is so important.

[00:06:43] You want to create a longer term vision that’s at least three, maybe up to five years out to help you go bigger, help motivate you to do all that hard work that you’ve got to do once you set your goals. And you want to do that assuming current circumstances, current needs, current desires, yet knowing all those things are going to change.

And because you know those things will change, there is no pressure. Because you know well, that’s okay. I may never get there. But this at least gives me something to motivate me. And this gives me a bigger vision. I can feel into to set the right goals for the next year.

[00:07:30] Now, if you’re still having trouble after the fact with setting a vision, I want you to try one of two things.

First off, the first thing is ask yourself…What’s my perfect day?

[00:07:42] What’s my perfect day? And describe that and feel into that perfect day. How does it feel? Who are you with? What are you doing? What does it look like? How do you show up? What are your energy levels? All of that.

[00:07:56] And then if that perfect day did not include work, you want to then ask, what’s my perfect workday? And do the same thing again. Who would you be with? What would you be doing? How would it feel? What would it look like? Feel into it, vision it, close your eyes and really get into that, okay. If that’s not what you want to do or maybe that doesn’t work, then I would suggest…

Creating a vision board.

And a vision board is where you kind of take some time off and you just look at different magazines and pictures and you pull the things out that just feel good to you. Things you might want, things you might look up to, things that inspire you. And you’re going to start to see themes pop up that might be creating a vision for where you want your life to be in the future.

So a vision board can kind of help break through all of that. And then once you do that, you still want to step back and feel into that vision a little bit more and create it further out if you can. Okay, so goal setting success tip number one was to create a very specific future vision for what your life and work will look like. And be sure when you create this, that it’s very integrated, right?

So let’s say that you’re setting a business goal. Your business does not sit out on an island. It impacts the rest of your life. It impacts your relationships. So be sure when you create this vision, it is all encompassing.

You can start with the business side because you’re really thinking through the business. But then how will that integrate with your life? How will that impact your relationships?

And remember, it’s the perfect vision for you, given your current needs, desires, and circumstances. All right, so that was tip number one, or step number one.

Goal setting success step number two: create goals designed to get you closer to that vision.

Which means because your original vision was values based, your goals, you want those to be values based as well.

[00:10:17] So first you want to kind of brainstorm, like, what goals could set you up to get closer to that vision that you created in step number one, what goals would make sense and brainstorm them.

Perhaps you have a couple of very similar goals, but you think of them in different ways – put them all down. And then once you do, you’ve got to actually narrow them down and decide, okay, what are the best goals for me this next year? Which ones do I actually want?

Now, a couple of rules of thumb.

Don’t Set Too Many Goals

I do not personally believe you need too many goals. Sometimes we set too many goals. And too many goals is a lot like multitasking. It doesn’t work very well, right?

Because you also have your life. You also have your family and personal obligations. You also have your regular, everyday work. All of these things, some of them might play into your goals, but oftentimes they don’t, right? They’re just part of your life and living. And you can only devote so much time to the activities that you need to be doing in order to achieve your actual goals for that year.

So you want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure by setting too many goals.

[00:11:30] It is fine to have one or two goals. I do like to have one personal, one professional. I think that’s kind of a nice balance. Sometimes I’ve seen people with two professional or two personal and one other, but I would say don’t have more than three goals at any given time.

Okay, so you want to brainstorm your goals, and then you want to narrow them down and say, okay, which ones feel good to me? Which ones get me closer to that vision in a way that feels good to me? Now, based on where I am right now, based on my current circumstances, based on my current needs, based on my current desires, what makes most sense.

[00:12:07] And as you start to narrow down those goals, you want to also…

Check them specifically against your values.

Now most of these goals are going to be pretty values-based to begin with because you’ve set your vision based on your values and you’ve really thought through it and you made it motivating and you went pretty deep. But here’s the deal:

Sometimes we choose a goal based on a very specific value that we deem really important and forget about some of our other values. And sometimes our goals can conflict with some values but not others.

So you want to kind of check them through what are my values.

An example on how to goal set for success and checking a goal against your values.

So for example, one year I set a big business goal for growth. And I knew that, okay, one of my big values is to serve, is service based. And this really does help my growth goal – it related to growing the clients I already had and setting up much stronger relationships with them.

I also value connection and the strategies that I was picking really resonated with me. And I knew that that was going to really help me stay values based in that goal.

But another one of my big goals is family and prioritizing my family.

[00:13:23] And you could see, I’m sure that when you have a big growth business goal, how you could become misaligned with family. Now, it did not mean I wasn’t going to have that goal, but it did mean I checked through them and started to note internally. Okay, I need to have some rules, some ground rules around this goal so that I don’t do so much going after this one big goal, this growth goal, that I ignore my family and I misalign myself to that really important value.

How checking your goals specifically against your values helps you achieve them.

So it’s just something you want to do – check back in with your values, the things you think most important. I would write them down, your values and remind yourself, here’s what they mean to me and here’s why they’re important, and look at each goal and say, okay, does this align with that value?

Or at least if it doesn’t fully align with it, is there anywhere where it could become misaligned? Or either the outcome of the goal or the things you need to do to go get them. And again, doesn’t mean you have to drop it, but it does mean you want to think through those things so that you can plan accordingly and set some boundaries and standards for yourself and others.

[00:14:30] And as you go through this, you want to kind of note, okay, which values does this really align with and why it’s important? Because that helps also with that motivating piece in the year ahead. It helps you to check in when things feel really hard and remind yourself this is why I’m doing this, not just for that big picture vision, but also because this aligns with these values and here’s how it aligns with this.

And so I’m okay to do these more difficult tasks or activities that feel kind of hard. It’s worthwhile, it’s worth it.

And then finally, if you want to go even deeper, I highly recommend using what I call the Five-Why technique.

[00:15:11] Sometimes it’s hard to look at a goal, especially these bigger business goals that are dollar aligned and we can kind of see how they’re related to values a little bit, but not deeply enough. Or maybe we miss out on areas where they are more aligned, or maybe we think they’re aligned but not enough, not enough to motivate us, not enough to do the work involved.

And so one way in which to identify these things is to use the Five-Why technique. And all that is, is, okay, I have this goal, you write out the goal and I want to grow my business by 30% next year. Let’s say that’s the goal. Well, why?

[00:15:54] Well, because I’d like to make more money for myself and my family. Okay, great.

[00:15:59] Why is that important?

[00:16:02] Well, it gives me more freedom to do some things with my kids and for my kids.

[00:16:10] And I know they want to do more on their baseball and some other activities. It would be nice to be able to pay for those things without worry.

Okay, well, why is that important? And I’m just kind of spit-balling here because this isn’t actually my goal for next year and I haven’t even thought through this until I started recording on this particular example. But just to give you an indication and you ask why up to five times.

Now you don’t always have to ask five times, but I do recommend at least two to three times because otherwise you’re not going deep enough.

[00:16:42] And it can help really discern all the reasons behind why this goal is important and whether or not it’s related to a value and how deeply it’s related to one or more values. So that would be the five why technique.

It’s one of the techniques that a former client said was probably one of the most powerful things he learned from me. So it sounds super simple, but I highly recommend that you try it out. All right, so that was goal setting success step number two.

Goal setting success step number three: make your goals smart.

What Are SMART Goals?

And you’ve probably heard of this, but we’re going to talk about it a little bit today in a different way. Okay? So Smart stands for:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Relevant.
  • A time-bound.

[00:17:30] So let’s start with relevance because that’s already pretty much taken care of. When you create a values-based vision and then you pick values-based goals based on the prior two steps, you’re going to have pretty relevant goals. Goals that you feel are important goals that are motivating, goals you can get behind. So that pretty much takes the relevance.

But what about the other stuff?


Start with what’s achievable.

Okay, so look at your goal and say, okay, is this reasonable to be able to get to within a one year time period?

[00:18:05] Now do not go beyond one year because that’s too far out. Yes, you create a vision that’s motivating for beyond that. But when it comes to the actual goal itself, you do not want to go beyond a year because your brain will start to try to convince you, oh my gosh, this is so far out. This feels unachievable and it hurts your ability to stay motivated and keep going. So that’s why you never want to go more than a year.

And frankly, you do not have to go a full year. You can go shorter than that, but make sure it’s long enough to achieve something pretty decent – that you’re going big enough. I usually recommend going about six months to a year and most of my clients and I do this as well, set one year goals because we love to live by the calendar year. You don’t have to do that, but again, you want it to be long enough. So I would suggest about six months if you’re going to go shorter than that.


Now the next thing is specificity.

You want to be specific about what you’ll get to. How do you want to measure it? And actually this is specificity and measurement. I’ve never quite understood why we have to parse these two out because they’re very similar and they kind of go hand in hand.

Ask yourself, well, how will I measure, how will I know when I’ve achieved this goal? So you need to be pretty specific and you need to have a way to measure it.

A note, just because we tell you to make it measurable and to be specific does not necessarily mean that you have to have a measurement point that’s based on dollar amounts or even numbers.

[00:19:47] Or maybe there is a number that you do attach it to, but in a different way than you would traditionally think about it. So let’s say it’s a personal goal of wanting weight loss and instead of putting a particular number on the scale you measure it based on and get specific about how certain clothes fit you. Okay?

[00:20:11] So we don’t always have to have number goals and it’s somewhat going to depend on the goal itself.

[00:20:19] You could also set a goal for how you will feel so long as you’re really specific about knowing, and describing how things will feel, look and so on. That could be enough. So for example, a client of mine has a goal around wanting to spend more time with her family.

[00:20:40] Well okay, what does that mean though?

[00:20:43] You want to increase the amount of time over the course of the year that you’re spending with your family. So what does that look and feel like? She didn’t want to define it in hours.

[00:20:53] What she did instead was to be more participatory in her kids lives and she was able to describe how that would look on a day to day basis and kind of different benchmarks for increase in where she’d really ultimately like to be.

[00:21:10] So there are different ways to look at this and different ways to measure, but you want to make it specific. And measurable, how will you know when you’ve actually achieved the goal? Make sure you know that.

Okay, that’s it, y’all.

Those are my three goal setting success steps for how to goal set for success so that you are much more likely to achieve and will enjoy much more along the way. And that will get you to wherever it is you actually want to be and not end up somewhere where you’re like, okay, yeah, I achieved a goal, but this isn’t so fulfilling. Maybe this isn’t what I wanted, right?

[00:21:57] If you would like to take this much further, I have the thing just for you.

I invite you to join my How Set Goals for Achievement Workshop.

In this workshop, you’re going to learn:

  • five common goal setting mistakes to avoid, and
  • proven strategies to increase your goal achievement odds.

And you’re going to get a goal setting framework for goals that bring happiness and fulfillment.

The goal of this workshop is so that you will walk away with goals that get you where you want to be. So this workshop was actually recorded a year ago, which means the good news is it’s 100% online – you get to do it at your own time and pace.

I am going to include a link to sign up for this workshop in the show notes. Be sure you go grab it. That’s it for today. We will be back next week. Bye for now.