How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

Blogger and researcher provides tips and tricks on setting achievable goals

A guide to Goal-Setting and Process-journaling

Everyone knows what it’s like to work towards something but get stuck in the process, and not know how to move forward.

You aren’t alone, trust me! One of the most critical aspects of starting to work towards something is realizing that you need to take it one step at a time: instead of trying to do “whatever it takes” to work towards a big goal, make each “step” of your process a smaller, achievable goal. These smaller goals are just as critical to your process as getting to that one big goal, and achieving each of these goals is just as worthy of celebration!

How do you do this?

Let’s start with a goal-setting example:

Before you buy the car, you need to make sure you have money saved up for the car, and you have money to make insurance payments. You need to figure out which insurance to go with. You need to figure out what kind of car you want to buy and make sure you get the best deal on it. In other words, your big goal might be buying a car, but in reality this big goal is made up of a list of smaller goals that you need to achieve to get there. These are the things you need to tackle first.


How are you going to achieve each on of your smaller goals? Here are the 4 main steps I would recommend:

  1. Make a list of your goals and write it down
  2. For each of your goals, list what steps you’re going to need to take to achieve this goal.
  3. For each of your goals, name how you’re going to measure your progress
  4. For each goal, give yourself a deadline(s)
With the car Example:
Saving up $20,000 to buy car -Save X Amount from monthly paycheckEvery month, Savings for car should grow by X amount07/31/2020 (1 year)
Save up for insurance (budget: 500/6 months)-Save Y Amount from monthly paycheck
-Look into A, B, C insurances; get advice from financial expert
-Every month, insurance savings should increase by Y, and every 6 mo, $500 should be ready to pay for insurance07/31/2020 (1 year)
Find car-Do research through consumer reports
-Ask friends for recommendations
-Find the best deal
-negotiate price
-Every week, spend up to 2 hrs doing research (~30 mins every day)
-Enter findings into process journal
07/31/2020 (1 year)

Now, not only do you know how you’re going to achieve each one of these smaller goals, but you also know how you are going to achieve your larger goal of buying a car! If you follow each one of these steps, you’re going to get to your big goal!

This smart goal setting strategy can be used to successfully achieve goals you might set for multiple aspects of your life! Whether you’re setting personal goals or even larger career goals, it’s always good to have a plan of smaller, achievable steps.

What happens if things go wrong?

There is always a possibility that your something in your plan will go wrong. In fact, just be prepared for it! But if and when something does go wrong, there is no need to get stressed out. The best part about working towards smaller goals is that you can adjust smaller steps instead of having to adjust the larger goal. For example, say you’re saving up to buy a car, and you find the car you really want, but it’s not available at any of the dealerships near you. What do you do? Do you give up on the car that you’ve wanted for so long, or is there a possibility that you can work something out with the dealership or with the help of friends?

You can work these things out! Part of setting achievable goals is knowing how to be flexible about them too. You might have to adjust your goals, and you may not get somewhere as quickly as you want to, and that’s okay. It’s also about the lessons that you learn along the way.

This brings me to my next tool-

Process Journaling

If you’ve read some of my other posts, like the one about applying to Grad school, I talk about process journaling soo much, and it’s because constantly writing things down has really helped me with some of the anxiety I have about various aspects of my life. It gives me a way to clear my mind while also allowing me to document my thoughts.

Your process journal is a great way to document your progress and your reflections and thoughts as you make your way towards a goal!

The last and probably the most important tool: having a positive attitude. As cliche as this sounds, it really is possible to accomplish almost everything if you’re in the right mindset, and making a plan by breaking every goal down into smaller steps really helps with that too.

Here are some resources to help you get started with goal-setting:

free! process journaling + goal-setting worksheet and template

You can download this google doc to your computer. Even though these have helped me with goal-setting and accomplishing my goals, remember that what works for you might be different! So feel free to customize these however you like!

And if you have any suggestions for me feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂

For more tips on tricks for success, check out my other blog posts:

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  • How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

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