Setting Effective Goals Part 3 - Putting it All Together

John Middleton
August 23, 2022

Find a Goal that matters enough to work on it over a long time

  • Looking for the goal - something that fits me
  • Answering the question. What do I want?
  • Why is it important as a goal
  • Make it specific
  • Make it energizing add to the importance by adding some excitement by pairing it with something fun like travel or learning that will make working on it easier
  • Settling the goal - document it and talk about it with others. Say it out loud.
  • Develop confidence in your goal - Moving forward with confidence involves practice as well as time limits
  • Move forward with a framework for modifying keeping what we want and removing what isn’t working — The main purpose for the goal needs to stay in focus, the framework should serve this purpose and remove barriers.

    The progression:

  1. Set an important and exciting goal
  2. Develop a list of skills we will need to accomplish the goal
  3. Develop a plan (involves Time, Tasks, and Habits) needed to reach the goal
  4. Set a time to evaluate/re-evaluate and improve specificity or add details that make it more appealing/give you more energy to put in the work
  5. Decide when you want to make your goal public and set a date. When you get to that date you can shift it but you should start with a deadline…but not too far out

    With the first step, we want to spend some time just dreaming about ideas that excite us without judgment or evaluation… no idea too crazy or ridiculous.

There are endless choices and eventually the elimination of options needs to take place. We need our ideas and dreams to go into a different kind of process and we need to keep them seperate.  The next step needs to evaluate a few key emotional and practical factors. There is a tension that exists between what we want and what we think is possible. When ideas go into this machine of our practical evaluation and thinking they often come out the other side looking beat up and may not be as appealing as the idea we were excited about.

So, in order to keep our focus and energy we need to spend some time up front on design and assessment of the dreamers list:

  1. What we think we can accomplish (this is the thinking mind and really can’t energize us)
  2. What we want to be able to accomplish (this is the dream that will push us and give us freedom to explore)
  3. What we can accomplish now (this will tell us where to start)
  4. What we need to invest in order to improve something greater to achieve our dream (this will tell us what it will cost but not completely stomp on the dream)

Choose one of those things in between what we can accomplish now and what we want to and turn it into a goal. Ask others to help keep you accountable and on track. Work through ways that will help you work toward your goal and achieve it. Celebrating the small victories will help keep you motivated in pursuing what you want to get done.

  • Identify the scope of the goal, make it inspirational and ambitious
  • Plan. Start simple. Remember you can develop and increase complexity as you go?
  • Break it down and document the steps
  • Break it down into smaller steps as you work. Make sure your steps are not just growing your list but making the list better - easier to put into action
  • Find research methods limit distraction or set limits around research so that it doesn’t get out of control…make sure your research energizes the work and sustains progress.
  • Look for tools and resources that will make you more productive or add value
  • Find what makes you feel confident when thinking about and setting new goals. Try to stick with things that energize you, keep you feeling good, feeling focused on the bigger picture. Rather than spinning you off into tangents that waste time.
  • Keep track of your goal with others. Find people who can push you to do your best and remind you when something needs to get done. Pick your collaborators carefully. You want someone who will help you express and reach your own goals rather than trying to advance or push another agenda.
  • Find resources to help with goal setting and achievement
  • Timers
  • Support Systems
  • Habit Tracking
  • Skills Mapping etc
  • “What do I have around or already own that could help me?” ie. notebook, planner, timer
  •, bike, exercise equipment,

Making the Plan

  • Research the steps involved
  • Document the steps
  • Define a goal for motivation - designing a goal that comes with everything we need to succeed at it is a priceless exercise. If you can spend some time every day working on it, you can build up momentum over a long period of time. If you started today what might you be able to accomplish in a year or in a lifetime of refining your goals and intentions for deep personal fulfillment?
  • Develop (or find an existing) systems to record/refine your progress, get feedback and make new discoveries. All these things will help as you work to improve your goals so that they become more and more motivational and more and more achievable. Maybe even inspiring.

Research can include looking up inspiration on the internet, reading helpful articles or noticing what helps you and what doesn't. That leads to documentation. Documenting the steps you are taking and what you are doing can be very helpful. Looking back at what you have documented can remind you which steps to take again. This can help you develop a plan or system to stick to. Here you can record your progress and get feedback and make adjustments to all of it accordingly.

Build the Habits needed to complete the Plan - This one will be a little harder and mostly will try to provide resources to help you find the way you like to work. Most of us have developed our habits following someone else. At some point…this point, we must forge our own path.

Habits play an important role in creating a plan. Instead of continuing to follow in others footsteps, figure out what helps you most and stick to that method. Schedule your habits in a way that creates the most productivity and greatest outcome. Using tools like habit trackers can also be helpful. You can look back at what habits have been completed during the day and also take a look at which were most helpful or in what order they were most productive.

Here are a few additional reading references that might help you zone in on the Design Elements that could help you define and reach your dream goal… Here is a quote i really like from one of the articles:

A goal is a dream with its work boots on.”

Rachel Hollis

Tocino-Smith, Juliette. “What Is Locke's Goal Setting Theory of Motivation? (Incl.. Examples).”, 24 Mar. 2022,

Sicinski, Adam. “Creating a Life Resource List to Help You Achieve a Goal.” IQ Matrix Blog, 11 Dec. 2018,

“Personal Goal Setting: – Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.” How to Set SMART Goals - from,

John Middleton