A 4 Step Guide to Successfully Set and Achieve Your Goals this New Year

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

What would be a win for you in 2017?

Imagine for a moment, that you’re one year from today and your goals are achieved.

What has happened in your life for you to feel fulfilled and satisfied?

Imagine that you’ve reached your fitness goal and you’re in amazing shape, full of energy and feeling confident.

Or, imagine you finished that book you’ve wanted to write, or that you got the dream job or promotion you’ve been aching for.

Imagine having your finances in order, being out of debt, and even saving money each month.

You can do this! The New Year is an opportunity to make your vision become a reality!


By setting powerful and strategic goals that support your success toward your vision.

“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.” – Tony Robbins

4 Steps to Successfully Set and Achieve Your Goals

Step 1: Get clear on your priorities

We can’t overhaul our entire life in one year.

So you need to determine the most important priorities for the next 12 months.

You can start by making a list of all the goals you have, but you need to narrow it down to 2-3 goals at the most.

We’ll call these your “Wildly Important Goals” or WIGs.

The authors of the book 4 Disciplines of Execution point out that, “The first discipline is to focus your finest effort on the one or two goals that will make all the difference, instead of giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals.”

By committing to just 2-3 goals you can put your full energy into executing them effectively.

What are the three goals that would make the biggest difference in your life?

“This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.” – Scott Reed

Step 2: Think bigger and stretch the limits

Your WIGs should be a little scary. These are your Wildly Important Goals! They should be stretch goals that push you to the edge of your comfort zone.

Nothing remarkable happens in our comfort zone. Set stretch goals to raise the bar on what’s possible in your life.

Stretch goals aren’t unrealistic or beyond our ability to achieve, but they push us to take the extra step and not sell ourselves short.

Don’t settle this year. Set some powerful and inspiring goals.

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

Step 3: SMARTEN-UP your goals

You’ve heard of SMART goals but we’re going to SMARTEN-UP our goals.

We’re going to add a few extra layers to the goal setting process to make your big and audacious goals as iron-clad as possible.  


Think carefully about each goal and the outcome you want to create. It should be specific enough for someone else to clearly understand and imagine it.


Goals must be measurable in order to track our progress. We need to quantify habit change to achieve it. For instance, if you have a fitness goal you may frame it by including how much weight you want to lose or how many days per week you will exercise.


Your goal needs to be compelling and appealing to you. Consider why you desire to achieve this goal. What will your life be like if you don’t? How will your new lifestyle be better? Create a captivating reason “Why,” and boost the importance of your goal.


Based on your current circumstances is your goal realistic? It’s important to set our goals out of our zone of comfort but we don’t want to have a complete pipedream.

If your goal is to become a millionaire next year but you’re currently struggling to pay your bills, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Your goal needs to be believable for you. We have to walk before we can run.


To avoid procrastination it helps to have a deadline for your goals. We will have long-term and short-term goals and all of them can be organized in a timeframe.

You might have a goal of getting a new job in 4 months. You then would consider the smaller milestones to get there, such as job search, networking, applying, etc, and deadlines when those objectives will be accomplished.


This idea is about keeping yourself motivated and inspired along your journey to reaching your goal. Let’s face it, even when our goal is appealing, it gets hard to keep our zest and gusto when we encounter obstacles.

The process will be painful and tedious at times, so whatever we can do to keep ourselves enthusiastic is helpful. Think about ways to reward yourself along the way, or how to make the process more fun. How can you gamify your goals?


The more our goals fit who we are the better. Consider how you can really own your goals. Does your goal align with your values? Is this really your goal or is it someone else’s desire for you?


Help other people in your life understand your goals, particularly your closest relationships. The more people we enlist in the process the more support we can have. Create accountability partners by sharing your vision with others and helping them understand why it’s important and how they can help if they’re willing.


Even with all of these steps covered we must still be prepared for setbacks and challenges. So be prepared by considering ahead of time the obstacles you might encounter. The more prepared you are for the reality of this journey the better equipped you’ll be to bounce back and persevere.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

Step 4: Write out your goals

Our goals are a map to our desired destination, and a map is easier to follow when it’s clearly written out and reviewable.

Writing out our goals is crucial to stay focused, determined, and intentional.

Here’s a template I recommend that covers everything we’ve discussed thus far.

1. What are the three wildly important goals you would like to achieve this year?

Now, for each goal answer the following questions.

2. Why is this goal important to you? (What is the impact of doing or not doing it?)

3. How will you know you have achieved it? (Measurable result)

4. Let’s say you have achieved it, how do you feel? (Appealing and enthusiasm) 

5. What do you see? Describe yourself and your environment; what is different? How about your lifestyle; how has it changed?

6. What do you hear? What to people say to you? What do they say about you? What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?

7. How will achieving this goal affect the other areas of your life? Financial, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Professional, Relationship, Other

8. What has kept you from achieving this in the past? (Prepare for obstacles)

9. What skills, tools, knowledge, resources, and people do you have to help you?

10. What has to happen for you to achieve this goal?

Once you’ve answered these questions, a good way to frame your goals is from author and Coach Michael K. Simpson.

He encourages framing goals this way: “From X to Y by When.”

This covers where you’re currently at, the specific result to want to create, and the deadline when you will have it completed.

Write your goals out and keep them in a place where you will see them and can review them.

Follow this process for each goal you have this New Year and you’ll be on the way to creating masterful goals.

Photo credit: EladeManu