Are you an expert at goal setting, but maybe not so much at goal achieving?

This short article will give you practical strategies and techniques for becoming a goal achiever versus a goal setter.

It seems as if many people are quite good at goal setting. Indeed, most people do this again and again every New Year in the form of resolutions. They, however, seem to not be so good at goal achieving. This is why most people set the same goals again and again every New Year. This year’s goals: (1) improve financial situation, (2) lose weight and be healthy, and (3) improve relationships. Last year’s goals: (1) improve financial situation, (2) lose weight and be healthy, and (3) improve relationships. Next year’s goals: (1) improve financial situation, (2) lose weight and be healthy, and (3) improve relationships. Sound familiar?

The problem appears to be…

that people approach goal setting much like they do dieting. They try to adhere to a temporary unrealistic program versus work to enact a lifestyle change.

The following are 15 strategies and techniques for becoming a Goal Achieving Professional (GAP):

1) Decide to become a GAP.

This helps create a new mindset, which in turn, helps influence how you will perceive, interpret, and approach the world.

2) Understand that this is a lifestyle change requiring much real estate in your brain.

This helps build up the neural network in your brain for your new mindset.

3) Understand that the journey is just as important as the perceived end.

This helps your mindset and neural network become part of your philosophy of life or lifestyle.

4) Goals must be in alignment with your values.

If your goals are not in alignment with your values, you will be more vulnerable to self-sabotage.

5) Imagine how you would feel or how your life would be different if you achieved your goals.

You can do this, for example, by meditating, visualizing, or utilizing your dreams. You can also draw or construct a collage of what your life would look like. You can also designate an object as a symbol for what your life would be like if you achieve your goals. Put these things in your daily line of sight (e.g., bathroom mirror).

6) Write your goals every day.

This helps set your course for the day as well as recommit every day to working toward your goals.

7) Set up a schedule that provides the time for working on your goals.

Building protected time daily into your schedule to work on the action steps toward your goals will help prevent procrastination and ensure that you make progress every day.

8) Acquire the additional skills needed for achieving your goals.

Ask yourself: What skills do I need or need to bolster to help me achieve my goals?

If, for example, you have a financial goal, you may determine that you need financial education. Similarly, if your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, you may need nutritional education. Or, perhaps, it may be learning to be more assertive and how to say “no.”

9) Identify barriers and do something about them.

Ask yourself: What one thing could I do that would help me greatly overcome a major barrier to my achieving my goals?

Let’s say, for example, that you do not have the physical space to work on your goals. Then one major thing you could do would be to create a sacred space designated for the purpose of working toward your goals. It could be an entire room that serves as an office, workout space, or a sitting room where you can have uninterrupted conversations with loved ones. Or, it could be something as small as a protected workspace in a portion of a room.

10) Construct a relapse plan.

Accept that you will inevitably “fall off the wagon” at some point. So when this happens, be ready with a plan on how you are going to resume. This will prevent you from beating yourself up, giving up, or feeling like you don’t know how to get back on track.

11) Take decision-making off the table.

If you have a goal of improving your finances, you most likely will create a budget as one of your action steps. Once you have done this, there is no decision to be made on whether or not you spend money on any particular item that may present itself (e.g., a really cute pair of shoes you saw online). The shoes are either in your budget or they are not. There is no decision to be made in that moment because you have already decided when you created the budget. This prevents you from justifying and rationalizing impulse purchases.

12) Replace justification and rationalization with self-accountability.

Instead of working hard to justify and rationalize buying those really cute pair of shoes that are not in your budget: “I really deserve to buy those shoes because I worked really hard this week, so I shouldn’t feel bad even though they are not in my budget because rewarding myself with this little purchase isn’t going to completely destroy my budget”…

Ask yourself: If I engage in this behavior, buying the really cute pair of shoes that are not in my budget, am I working toward or away from my goal? Then, if you choose to buy the really cute pair of shoes then you must say out loud “In choosing to buy these really cute pair of shoes that are not in my budget, I am choosing to go away from my goal of improving my finances.

13) Determine how you will reward yourself for making progress toward your goals.

This helps prevent impulsively rewarding yourself in ways that may serve against your goals. When you determine ahead of time, you can plan for appropriate rewards that make sense in the context of your goals. It would not be recommended to reward yourself for meeting a certain level of savings by splurging on an expensive item. Similarly, it would not be recommended to reward yourself for losing 5 pounds by binging on your favorite high calorie foods. Instead, a reward may be engaging more in a particular interest or hobby, that does not involve food or big expenses that you may have been neglecting (e.g., taking time to finally read that book you have been hearing about) or physically unable to do (e.g., hiking a more advanced trail).

14) Recognize inherent rewards of making progress toward your goals.

Realizing, for example, that you are no longer winded when you walk up a flight of stairs will validate that you are on the right track and serve to further motivate you to keep going.

15) Form a success team.

Let others know of your goals and tell them how they can support and encourage you. You can, for example, catch up with your best friend by meeting for a walk versus meeting for dinner.

What has been your experience with goal setting and goal achieving? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


Use of this site or materials presented on this site does not create a patient-therapist relationship of any kind between the user and Cristy Lopez, Ph.D. This site and information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for formally working with a professional for assistance with physical, psychological, spiritual, relationship, career, leadership or other challenges.

All reviews, testimonials or endorsements of services offered through CristyLopezPhD.com, and any other site I might have affiliated with my name, reflect the personal experience of those individuals who have expressed their personal opinions on my services and that those opinions and experiences may not be representative of what every client may personally experience with any endorsed service.