How to set goals that will change your life

Learning how to set goals is the most important step to achieving them and changing your life.

And, it’s my belief that you want to see your life change for the best if you clicked on that link to read this article. So, let’s talk about how we can make that happen for you.

You always want to write your goals down, yes. And, of course, the goal is amplified if you have a visual piece attached to it. The idea is always to keep motivated toward reaching the goal, right?

But lists of goals and vision boards can’t stand on their own. Without the basic knowledge of how to really set goals that are achievable, lists and boards have little value or potential to take you to where you wanna be.

Here are the actionable steps you can take to set goals that will take you to the next level.

Struggling with actually reaching your goals?

work on your mindset

This needs to come first. Before anything else, you have to work to reverse limiting beliefs and voices from your past.

If you don’t believe first that you can achieve a goal; if you don’t believe that you can change your situation and circumstance, you will never achieve the goals. 

There are these automatic negative thoughts that we have that are mostly subconscious. But we are talking to ourselves throughout the day, telling ourselves things like, “I’ve never been creative,” “It’s never worked before, and it won’t now,” “I’m too old to start my own business,” “I’ve gained so much weight, I’ll never get it off,” and “There are already too many people doing the same thing.”

If you don’t believe me, the National Science Foundation found that “an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.”

It won’t necessarily be the easiest thing to change your mindset. But, I’m certain you’ll find that when you do start to work on shifting your paradigm, viewing the world from a more positive vantage point, you WILL see a lot of things fall into place.

Without a deep and genuine belief that you can reach your dreams, they will go on realized by the next person. I do believe we were put on this earth to fulfill a purpose. BUT if we don’t work to reach our full potential, that purpose doesn’t just go on unfulfilled. Someone else is gifted the opportunity to capitalize on those talents.

Make sure it’s you.


set 90-day goals

You set these goals for the year, right? “This year, I want to start my business.” Well, there’s so much that I could say about that particular goal. Way too general, for one.

But, sticking to time increments, when you really think about it, a year is a LONG time.

And setting goals over such an extended time period does a couple of things:

  1. It makes us feel like we have all of the time. And we just don’t, really, if we want to reach our goals in any sort of timely fashion. Enter procrastination.
  2. It demotivates us. Doing something every day for a WHOLE YEAR? Ughh.

As I mentioned before, 3 months is a great period of time to set goals, and mentally make them more achievable.

So, to make your big goals more manageable, and to keep you consistently motivated, make sure to break up your year into smaller increments, particularly into quarters.


do a brain dump

You’ve done a brainstorm before. If you’re in the working world, you’ve done it countless times.

So, why not try it out for your dreams and goals? Brainstorm, or “brain dump” what you want to have achieved at the end of your life, at the end of five years, at the end of one year, at the close of a 90-day period.

Whichever time increment you want! (90-day time periods generally work very well, though, when it comes to setting achievable goals. More about this in a lil bit.)

If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of a big goal or dream, break it down into smaller moments you want to create throughout the year. This will keep it mentally manageable, leaving you feeling more secure in your ability to achieve them.

The tip comes from a recent guest, Jasmine Star, on the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast to create “champagne moments”. For those who don’t drink, “Martinelli moments”, or whatever you wanna call them!

Sidebar- if you’re doing the whole bullet journal thing, this would be a GREAT layout idea.

To sum it up: set goals by starting to envision the smaller moments you want to create. Write those moments down, and create actionable goals around them!

Another way to use brain dumping is to look at the goals you want to achieve for the year, right? Then, take those goals and brainstorm every single little action you would need to take to see that goal through to fruition.

For example, let’s take the same example of starting your own business. What are some tasks that you know you’ll have to complete? You only know what you know about starting a business, so start there.

Maybe you need to do some research. Write that down. Maybe you’d like to visit or look at other businesses that are similar to what you want to start. You’d need to make sure a website is available, along with all socials, etc. The list goes on and on, my friend.

Once you’ve written down your comprehensive listing of actions to take to achieve your goal, organize them.

Put them in order of completion. What comes first? What do you have a good idea would be last?

It sounds like a lot. Admittedly, it is. But the title of this post is not how to quickly set goals. It’s how to set goals that will change your life. We out here trying to actually see these goals take place THIS YEAR. Gotta put in the real work to make that happen, friend.

I’ve made it a little easier for you in the Crush Your Goals Worksheet, though! There’s a section particularly for this exercise to help you organize everything.

Download it by signing up at the end of the article.

break tasks into daily to-do’s!

So, now that you got your mind right, you have your 90-day goals, AND you have organized all of the tasks to accomplish them, what next?

Assign those tasks to daily to-do’s! This is where the lists come in, and actually help you toward achieving your goals.

BTW, these planners come highly recommended, and would help with all of your goal organization:

  1. The Happy Planner
  2. An undated Passion Planner (my good friend made a review video about this and all the other notebooks she’s using in 2020! Check her out here.)
  3. Panda Planner

A daily to-do is my life-saver. It saves time trying to think about what I should do from day to day. It gives more focus on what needs to be handled, and comfort knowing I’m inching closer and closer to reaching my goals.

They will change from time to time. That’s okay. They should! There’s no way to tell EXACTLY what you have to do every day to achieve the bigger 90-day goal. So, if you see there needs to be alterations, make them ASAP. (One of the benefits of having all of this laid out beforehand.)

Also, make sure to refer back to your bigger goals from time to time to make sure you are on track. Don’t get lost in the weeds of the daily to-do’s, convincing yourself your busyness is getting you there.

The goal is always to be productive. Leave the busy at home.

I’ve chosen to track my to-do on a Google Doc for the simple fact I can look back at the accomplished goals, as well as quickly and easily update them, i.e. move them to another date or to my “later” section. I LOVE the feeling of crossing those puppies off, too.

But do what works for you!


use a habit tracker

Have you found that you have a bad habit of having bad habits?

If these habits aren’t getting you closer to your goals, consider using a habit tracker. A lot of bullet journal enthusiasts swear by trackers because it gives you a visual of what you’re doing on a daily basis (and what you’re not doing).

So, say for instance you want to drink 3+ bottles of water every day (which is an actual goal of mine). You’d create either a document or a journal spread that allows you to track whether or not you are meeting this goal DAILY.


With the habit trackers, you can clearly see gaps in your consistency. They also help you identify if there are distractions around those misses. Plus, if you see that you are literally never doing this thing, you can evaluate, “is this really that important to me?”

It might be time to set a different, more relevant goal for yourself.


distance yourself from the outcome

When we set goals, we tend to attach ourselves to them.


No, but what I mean by that is if it doesn’t turn out exactly as we see it or want it to, we feel as if we are a failure. We didn’t make it, and that means we are incapable, less than somehow. We attach our self-worth to the outcome.

And, honestly, just no. That’s not the truth. Especially if you put your all into it by following all of the steps to set and achieve the goal.

So. If things turn out differently than what you envisioned, it’s important to look at it logically, with less emotion. You’re correct in seeing that you might not have reached the goal. But try to evaluate it. “If I know I did everything I could to make this happen, what are some of the reasons it still didn’t?”

Were there extenuating circumstances? Was it a matter of timing, and maybe more time needs to be dedicated to it to see it through?

It might sound a little contradicting because who wouldn’t be emotionally attached to their own life-changing goal?


But the very nature of a goal or intention is to set you in the direction of it.

You are going down this path toward something you envision, absolutely. And God, the world and universe CAN work with you to give you EXACTLY what you want. But, a lot of times, it just doesn’t work that way.

Life is utterly unpredictable.

And because this is the case, the best mentality to have while working your butt off toward reaching your goal or fulfilling your intention is to recognize variance. You could not hit the mark at all. And that’s okay. In those cases, we gotta learn to get back up and try again. OR, you could reach your goal, and far succeed it.

The point is: set your goals, work toward what you want, but remain open.

“How to recognize emotional attachment; if your happiness rests upon what you expect from something or someone.” -Anonymous


are you ready to set goals?

We went over a ton in this article. To recap, here are the tips to set goals that will change your life:

  • Put in the work to change your mind around limiting beliefs. You will when you believe you can.
  • Make your goals more achievable by breaking them into smaller 90-day time increments.
  • Brainstorm lists of moments you want to see take place, as well as the tasks to reach your goals. (Make sure to grab a good planner!)
  • Consider implementing a habit tracker to see where you stand on a day-to-day basis, and to evaluate what’s really important to you right now.
  • DO NOT attach the outcome of your goals to your self-worth. Move through life remaining open to inevitable shifts.