What comes to mind when you hear, “setting goals?” Be honest. Is it like being back in school with an assignment you dread? You keep procrastinating until at a certain point you just decide it’s not worth your time and effort so you skip it all together? Maybe it’s perceived boredom that’s stopping you. If that sounds like you, it’s time for a major shift in mindset. Rather than approaching the goal setting process as a daunting task, think about who you can become, what you can accomplish and how your life is going to change for the better. Why go through the motions of life reacting to whatever comes your way and end up with many regrets at the end of your life wishing you had done something different when you had the opportunity? There is a better way. It starts with creating a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Jim Rohn, a well-known author and motivational speaker, said, “I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they do their lives.”

Don’t let that be you. Step three of our four step journey has you taking the one to two life areas needing improvement, focus or action (Step two), and putting them into a solid plan. Hang with me . . . this process will be well worth your time and effort.

As you know, sometimes goals span more than one year. For example, if you aspire to obtain a higher level leadership position and that requires obtaining a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, your 2019 goal may be to take some preliminary but necessary steps: select the university, meet with a counselor to help determine which program to pursue, request tuition assistance, obtain transcripts, sign up for the first class, etc. Perhaps, your focus area may be health and wellness, and your goal is to obtain a healthy weight which may include losing 25 pounds, very doable for a one-year goal. No matter what your goals are, it is important to use the “SMART” goal method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. Using the health and wellness goal as an example, your goal could be stated as follows: “To become healthier, I will lose 25 pounds by January 1, 2020.”

If you are like many, including me, you may have had a weight loss intention for the last several years but have found yourself, year after year, burdened with the same 25 pounds. Why? There are many reasons why this could be. The first may be that it was simply an intention, a wish, and there was no actual plan, no action steps, nothing written. To make this intention a reality,I’d like to offer a goal setting process that is not only comprehensive and inspiring but it can significantly increase your chances for success. Trust me, this method takes the goal setting process to a whole new level.

  • State your Intended Results. Take your focus area, your intention, and create a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound).


  • Create a Future Vision. Take out your journal and write. Standing in the future with your goal already fulfilled, what is life like? What are you feeling? How has your life changed? Capture your inspiring thoughts. Write until there is nothing more to say.


  • Determine Required Resources. List the resources you will need to meet your goal, resources already available to you and resources you will need. Using the health and wellness goal as an example, you may have a friend who is also interested in losing weight this year and you can team up to be accountability partners. Resources you may need include selecting and enrolling in a formal weight loss program or perhaps hiring a professional life coach who is specially trained in helping clients reach goals. Having the right resources and support will be critical for your success.


  • Reward Yourself. As you complete action steps and achieve milestones, reward yourself. You may give yourself a sizeable reward for achieving a major milestone, a smaller one for completing an action step. Rewards do not have to be monetary. Decide what kinds of things you would like to reward yourself with. A sizeable reward might be a weekend away to a fun place. A smaller reward could be a non-monetary reward such as giving yourself an afternoon alone to do anything you want, read a good book while enjoying a candle-lit bubble bath, hiking, biking or whatever brings you joy. As part of your planning process, jot down rewards, large and small.


  • Create Milestones. Create important milestones to assess progress. In the case of the health and wellness weight loss goal, you may have milestones for each five pounds lost. The more pounds lost, the more significant the milestone, resulting in a more sizeable reward.


  • Develop the Action Plan. What specific actions will you take to achieve your goal? How will your eating plan change? Are you researching weight loss organizations to find one best suited to your needs and budget? What about exercise? An action step might be, “I plan to work out three times a week for one hour.” Consider attaching a reward for critical action steps completed.

While the above process takes a little more time to prepare, it also significantly increases your chances for success. It also gives you a vision of what life looks like when you’ve achieved your goals. It’s inspiring, comprehensive but also very achievable.

As part of the goal setting process, it’s important to note that there are things that often get in the way of successfully achieving our goals. Despite our most admirable planning efforts, sometimes we encounter obstacles, things we cannot see for ourselves, underlying beliefs such as fear, doubt, or some other disempowering belief. An underlying belief is like the pesky weed, which, until pulled out from its root, continues to air its ugly head. This weed is your underlying belief, you believe you are someone you are not, not good enough, not smart enough, not worthy. Until that belief is discovered and removed, we can be held back from achieving our goals. As much as you want something for yourself, a limiting belief may leave you stuck and inhibit your success. As part of your 2019 goal setting process, consider reading my blog post,

“Why Many Fail at Achieving Their Goals: A Deeper Look at a Chronic Problem,” http://www.robbiekcarlson.com/category/leadership

You may have heard the quote, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Why live life by default going through the motions of life, when you can create the life you desire, be who you want to be, accomplish what you want to accomplish, and spend your time and effort on what is most important to you? Start with building a strong foundation looking deep within yourself to discover your life purpose and core values (step one), determine your focus areas/your goals, based on what is most important to you (step two) and then create a solid plan for your life (step three). Be totally inspired, wonderfully fulfilled and tremendously enthusiastic about your 2019 New Year’s Eve celebration and toast . . . Cheers! You are a giant step closer!

Join me next week for our fourth and final step, “Take Action and Enjoy the Journey.” You won’t want to miss it!