A Little Guide to Setting Life Changing Goals

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in career coaching, Counselling, Counselling Blog | 0 comments

Goals to Change Your Life


You’ve probably thought about your goals before.

Probably even a lot!

Sometimes you’ve achieved them and sometimes you haven’t.  The success or failure of our goals hinges on a number of variables.  Fortunately there are some overpowering ones we can control.


Your Mindset Isn’t Everything … But It’s a Lot!

Do you want to make changes or enhancements in your life?

Would you like to be happier and healthier and wealthier?

Your answer is probably something along the lines of … “well, of course I do!”  You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t.

But sometimes we need to refocus on ideas we’ve lost sight of.  These questions are an important part of adjusting your mind and your direction. Having a purpose is necessary for achieving a goal with any consistency.

It’s about creating awareness and insight. It’s about finding information that will assist you along your journey, and it’s this information that will help you take the first step towards shifting your mindset.


What’s the difference between a resolution and a goal?

Resolutions come and go. They’re merely statements—something that might just sound good, or something you’ve heard along the way.  Often when people try to make goals they end up as resolutions.

They don’t have a plan or a timeline associated with them.  In other words, there’s no way to make them real. They’re easier to stop or quit because they’re not written down, and even if they are written down, there’s no action plan to make them happen.

So, if you have had resolutions in the past, how did they work out for you?  Probably about the same as my resolution to eat a little less sushi this year.


Goals on the other hand

A goal, on the other hand, is like a promise to yourself. It helps set your internal compass, your internal GPS system.

What’s your compass set for in your life right now?

What are your mindsets or beliefs that are set in place right now?

Goals are flexible and they allow free interruptions, while resolutions fly out the window as soon as you hit the first speed bump. You’re best served by long-term goals that are realized in maybe 6 months, or 16 months, and even if life issues show up from time to time, your goals can adapt and flex along that journey.

Goals often change, and they’ll evolve as you evolve. I’ve had a number of goals that I’ve set for myself and I thought I would have reached them 10 years ago. Well they haven’t been achieved to that degree yet. So, what do I do? I adapt and adapt my goals along the way.


Why Do Goals Work Better than Resolutions, Wishful Thinking, Etc.?

When you are goal setting, it puts you into the planning and execution mindset. Goals will lead to result-producing activities, which are the key foundational things that assist your goal achievement.

As you’re starting to think of what it is that you want, remember that it’s not only what you want in business, but also what your staff and customers want. What are their business goals and personal goals? It’s useful for you in your career advancement to understand the goals, needs, wants and desire of others.

It’s so important to bring it back to what’s in it for them?

You may have the best course, book, or service out there, but if nobody has a need for it, you’re not going to be successful. It’s not something they want, and it’s not a part of their goals. So, understanding what your staff and customers want will assist you in retaining and maintaining good quality employees and clients. If you meet their goals, you’ll make alliances and keep them around much longer.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”
– George Edward Woodberry

It’s easy to feel like failure is the end of something, but there is a decision (and many micro decisions along the way) that is the real end of a goal or dream. This is worth remembering because it helps you to stay calm and carry on. Remember the story about the tortoise and the hare?


Visualization and the Law of Attraction

As we go further into your goals, guided visualization can be very helpful.  It’s a bit tricky to do this in print, because you can’t just sit back and think.  But if you take a moment and reflect as you read, you will get a lot more out of this:

Create a picture one of your goals in your mind.

What can your mind conceive? The more detailed and specific, the better. The more emotionally involved you can be with your goal, the stronger it becomes.

So, for example, how will it feel when you achieve that goal?

What will it look like, smell like, sound like, taste like?

What will occur as you progress towards the realization of the goal?


Next, the Law of Attraction. Right now, don’t think about an elephant and don’t think about a snowstorm.

What did you start to think about? Probably an elephant in a snowstorm, or a snowstorm in an elephant, or an elephant, or a snowstorm. Don’t worry that’s normal. When we’re focusing on something we want, that’s what we’re giving attention to, and what you give attention to grows.

Visualization and goal setting gets you into planning and action mode, which is the key to creating your successes.

Once we determine how we see, feel and hear about not only our goals, but also about ourselves and others, we set the goal in motion. We start to think about what it is that we really want in our career or business, and what we need to do to achieve that goal.

Are Your Goals Smart?

Are your goals SMART?

Having focus certainly helps keep your goals in line, but your goals also need to follow a model. The one I particularly like is called the SMART goal:


Specific or strategic. Is your goal clear and unambiguous? Your goal should be something very specific—something that can easily answer the 5 “W” questions.

Measurable. How will you know when you’ve achieved it? How can it be measured?

Attainable. Is the goal realistic? Can it be achieved within a specific timeframe? Is it reasonable?

Relevant or results-oriented. Are your goals in line with your current task, project or focus? Are they in one defined direction? This is particularly important within your business and career enhancements.

Timeframe. Goals that have a clearly defined timeframe include a target or a deadline date along the way.


As you look at these characteristics, they start to assist you. And within that, the Law of Attraction comes into play because these are all things you want to have. If at any time thoughts pop into your head that you don’t want or don’t like, it’s an indicator to shift back into the direction of what you do want.

As you focus on your goals and goal achievement, remember that it’s a continuous, life-long improvement project with multiple goals. You may have a large umbrella of goals that contains smaller goals specific to your journey of life. Once you achieve the goal, it’s time to reset and move forward with another one. And as you commit to each goal, the SMART goal approach will help you achieve it. It will help you to achieve all the things you want to achieve!

I’d like to suggest you take a few moments to consider some of the goals you’d like to have. Are they SMART goals?

Do you have them structured that way?

Your goals will also be easier to achieve if you have a good support community. There are so many communities online, that you could help you if you don’t have someone to share this kind of thing with.

Find someone to share your goals with—someone who will be supportive of you and your goals. Perhaps it’s a good mentor, or perhaps it’s a professional coach or professional counselor. These individuals will be of great assistance to you in achieving your goals. They can help you with your accountability, they can help you with your focus, and they can even help you in defining what those are.

So, do you have a coach, a mentor, a professor, or an accountability associate? You can develop these relationships, and if you don’t you can always hire them.


Why you need to write down your goals

Remember that unwritten goals are just a wish list (sometimes called resolutions), and that a wish list on a scrap of paper won’t do you any good. Writing down a goal changes it from a wish list to a direction. So, how about if we make it a goal? Let’s make it a goal and write it out.

Have you written goals in the past? How did that go and what happened?

If you think about it there may be one or a few critical reasons that your goals did or didn’t work out.  We learn from our past experiences, from the experiences of others, and from those who have provided us with expertise along the way. I’ve learned many things and now I’m able to assist others.

Writing down your goals is one of the best ways to give them focus. But you can’t simply write down your final goal. You need to also have a game plan.  And you need to review your goals frequently.

Who do you live with or associate with that will help you achieve your goals?

They’ll be integral in helping you achieve your goals. Positive masterminds can be beneficial to you as well. If you’re not familiar with masterminds, there’s some great information in Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. It will be a very valuable resource for you.

Your goals should be something that can easily be described to a complete stranger. They need to be clear to you as well, so remember your timelines — your dates in the calendar and the targets that are there. How will you know you’ve reached your goal?

As Stephen Covey put forth in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you need to “begin with the end in mind.” Know what it will be, what it will be like when you achieve it, how it will feel, what you will see, what it will sound like, and what excitement you will feel when you’re there. Take a few breaths and visualize on that as you go forward into your new life.

And always remember your goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.


We’ve covered a lot here.  What is the key takeaway for you?


Images courtesy of Robert degennaro and Steven Depolo, respectively.