Achieve What You Want: Tips for Goal-Setting

Hi all,

Why are some people successful?

Quite the question to start a new Getting Candid article, right? And how to measure success? What IS success?  All big questions, but in today's post, we're going to be looking at tips to setting attainable goals and being successful in your own way.

Success comes in many ways. It can be financial or work related, but it can also be about relationships, friendships or even sports and hobbies. But unless you're Aladdin, you can't just wish to be successful and have a genie pop out of a lamp to offer you 3 wishes. It's true that sometimes, some people can have a bit of assistance in achieving that success, whether if from a connection, from a monetary perspective, or perhaps you had a mentor/teacher that helped you achieve that success. But otherwise, it comes from hard work. My motto in life is that if you really want something, you have to go out there and get it yourself and the goal of this post is to help you plan and focus on achieving your dreams!

So where do we start? Well, envision what would truly make you happy in life. I'll wait. Go ahead: close your eyes and think. What would make you truly happy in life? Start there and then begin jotting down ideas. It's important that we are looking at goals that motivate us that enrich us and that fulfill us. Aspiring to do something only for financial or peer-acceptance reasons (but that you find boring actually) will be much harder to achieve and it's not something you're likely to see through for long.

After writing them down (did you? If not, do it now!), check each one of your goals and make sure they are and let's get started with the first of your goals.

Is it:

Specific & Measurable?

For example:

"I want to work at an advertising firm."


"I want to run a marathon in 6 months"


"I would like to lose 10 pounds in 5 months"

These all have a specific goal that can be measured (you either have a job in advertising, or you don't. You're either ready for and run a marathon or you don't. You either lose the 10 pounds in 5 months, or you don't). By it being measurable, it'll help you monitor to see if you're on track to achieving your goal as time goes on.

A non-specific or measurable example would be: I want to be great at a sport. What is great? At what sport? In how long? See the issues that arise?

Attainable & Realistic?

Often times, people create goals that are not realistic. Set yourself up for success by creating a goal that is realistic. For instance, don't expect to run a marathon in a week if you've ever only ran a mile in your life. Instead, plan for a few months of regular practice to achieve your goal.

Tips for Goal-Setting:

Break down a large goal into several smaller steps:

Feel the goal might be too tough to reach? Or take too long of a time? Try breaking down a large goal into smaller steps. Start by writing down all of the steps that are needed to achieve a larger goal. This helps a very large and big dream or goal seem more achievable and manageable.

Have a timeline and stick to it

Having a timeline for when you'd like to achieve your goal will keep you on check to see if you need to reasses steps necessary to achieve your goal. It has also been said that the longer it takes to complete a goal, the less likely it will become true.

Setbacks are normal

Remember setbacks are normal. Don't give up. If it was meant to be easy everyone would be able to do it. Make sure to be catching any unhelpful thoughts that could be impeding you from achieving your goals. Learn about how to catch unhelpful thoughts here, here and here.

Pay attention to your surroundings

There's a lot of research that supports that a positive environment leads to positive outcomes. Same is true for a negative environment and negative outcomes. So what do I mean? If you're goal is to lose 10 pounds over a period of 5 months. Make sure the environment around you is filled with healthier choices. Having junk food in your house, eating out, and sitting next to cupcakes at work will only make it harder.

Don't force anything too extreme.

Remember, all goals should be attainable and realistic. But even an attainable goal can be made unattainable, or hard to see through if you make too much of an extreme change. For example, you can't go from eating junk food around the clock to only eating healthier. Try to slowly incorporate healthy foods into your diet. Or like the example we used before about the marathon: Can't go from not moving at all to a marathon in a week. But remember, it doesn't mean you can't do it eventually!

Reward yourself

Yes! This is the best part: for every small success, reward yourself by giving yourself a special treat to yourself (clothing, nice dinner at a place you've been wanting to go to). This will go a long way towards seeing your goal through.

What goals will you set for yourself? And how do you plan to achieve them?

Let me know in the comments below!


Dr. C

Disclaimer: Information being provided on this page is general in nature and is not intended to replace or serve as therapy. Should you be experiencing emotional distress or difficulties at school, work, or with relationships, it is encouraged that you contact your insurance health provider to locate a mental health professional in your area. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others at your nearest emergency room.