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7 Steps to Setting Goals You’ll Actually Attain

7 Steps to Setting Goals You’ll Actually Attain

Person writing down their goals on a notepad.

By Angella Ocheltree

We’ve all fallen short of a goal at one point in time. Maybe it was the resolution to lose those 10 pounds that have ticked the scale upward or the desire to learn a new hobby? Why can it be so difficult to ingrain new routines that will enrich our lives?

It’s because we are creatures of habit. Our minds naturally follow the path of least resistance. Once a pattern of thought, feeling, or action is “wired” into the mind, our subconscious mind protects that pattern. And this is why making lasting changes seems so hard. But it doesn’t have to be. These simple steps can help you further your personal growth in every aspect of life—once and for all.

SB11. Reassess

Instead of saying, “I want to be a better partner,” how about going to therapy? While everyone else is focusing on fitness and finances (which are both important), why don’t you also prioritize your mental health and well-being? When others set goals to do and achieve more, perhaps you need to slow down, explains Dr. Shatavia Thomas of Dr. Shay Speaks, LLC.

2. Set Goals That Are Right For You

“We often get drawn into a fad diet or a trendy takeaway instead of assessing a goal or strategy’s fit based on our personality and circumstances. The latest meal plan might not be good for your blood type or medical condition. Literature on setting goals reminds us that these objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART),” says Thomas.

3. Figure Out What is Truly Motivating You

It sounds easy, but it’s crucial to ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal and how this change will affect your life.

4. Uncover Why You Failed to Make This Change in the Past

Take stock of how you approached this change previously. Analyze why past approaches didn’t work.

  • Was the goal achievable?
  • What actions did you take?
  • Were you consistent?
  • Did those closest to you encourage you?
  • Did your words support your success or sabotage it?

5. Forgive

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not condoning bad behavior.

  • Forgive yourself for past failures.
  • Forgive others for hurt, pain, guilt, shame, etc.

6. Create a Mental Image

The mind is a powerful tool. Decide where your life will be in one year and take time to create a detailed vision of what you would like your career, finances, relationships, health, happiness, charity involvement and so on to look like 365 days from now.

7. Make a Plan

Write down a measurable plan for achieving your goals and be sure to include clear instructions and a realistic timeline. Break it down into one year and then divide in half for six months. From there, divide in half again for three months.



  1. The best answer is: C. It’s best to create specific goals that you will actually keep.
  2. The best answer is: C. When you’re making a change, it’s important that the motivation comes from within.
  3. The best answer is: A. You will occasionally slip up. Forgive yourself and move past the setback.
  4. The best answer is: False. Allow yourself time to feel the craving.
  5. The best answer is: B. It is more effective to move toward something, rather than away from something.
  6. The best answer is: A. You have no way of measuring your success.
  7. The best answer is: False. There is never a perfect time to do anything.
  8. The best answer is: C. You’ve already created a success pathway in your brain.
  9. The best answer is: False. Changing your habits and patterns is difficult, so it’s natural that you would feel ambivalent.
  10.  The best answer is: B. You must learn from failure and harness it into success.


10 to 8 correct: You are primed to make some big changes!
7 to 4 correct: You’re ready to change, but things are still holding you back.
3 to 0 correct: You may want to change, but right now you’re going about it in a way that guarantees frustration and failure.

Angella Ocheltree, Right Path Hypnosis,
M.J. Ryan,
Dr. Shatavia Thomas, Dr. Shay Speaks, LLC,

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