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How to set better goals that you actually achieve

Updated: May 6, 2021

When I was a teenager my mum moved to the UK. I visited London for the first time when I was 16 and I was instantly obsessed...not just me but my younger sister too. We became literally hooked on anything ‘British’. To the extent that I used to have all my accessories covered in Union Jack. I know. I even painted it on a denim skirt and wore it to school. This is something that actually hurts a little to admit😂 I obviously had no idea what the flag represented, for us it meant a dream, an ultimate goal of us moving here. Spoiler: we both now live in the UK. But what this shows, is how much power goal setting has.

This clear vision helped us to overcome a lot of stuff and eventually move here. Both my sister and I have very different stories, but when we were left behind in Latvia, before we would go to sleep we would imagine us living here. Now this would probably be called manifesting...which is complicated in itself but that's a story for another time. Anyway, this was one of the strongest examples of goal setting in my life. I knew what I wanted and I imagined myself achieving it and I surrounded myself with constant reminders.

Setting goals is something that lots of people struggle with. We set different resolutions in January but come February most of them are forgotten. And then in December we berate ourselves for being lazy. Sounds familiar? But how can we expect to achieve these things when they often don’t mean anything to us. These resolutions are often something that we feel we ‘should’ and ‘have’ to do. Usually they are external influences that don’t serve us.

You might have heard of SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound), I am not the biggest fan of SMART as they miss the most important part - the 'why?' question. Why do you want to achieve this goal? I genuinely believe this is the key ingredient when it comes to goal setting, is answering the question 'why?'. However, it is a useful model to run your goals through to make sure you are not missing the vital part. I also really like HEART (honest, exact, authentic, realistic and timely) model.

Tips for effective goal setting

  • Answer the 'Why?' - make it matter to you

  • Be kind to yourself - slow and steady change is often the best way to grow

  • Set yourself up for success - make it easier for yourself to achieve your goal

  • Ask for support and/or accountability from others when needed

  • Check in regularly with yourself to see where you are and recalibrate if needed

  • Celebrate all wins and achievements - come up with small rewards to motivate yourself

  • Remember - it is ok for our goals to change with time

Goal setting questions

  • What is my goal? Where do I want to be?

  • What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want to feel when I get there? How will my behaviour change when I get there?

  • Why is this goal important to me?

  • Where am I now?

  • What smaller steps I need to take to get there?

  • What can stop me from reaching my goal? What can I do about it now?

  • What is one step I can make today to move forward?

  • How can I reward myself?


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