Simple Steps to Goal Setting

Does the phrase ‘goal setting’ make you want to down a whole pint of ice cream?  Have you tried to set goals in the past but the whole process just morphed into a confusing jumble of ‘shoulds’ and made you feel like you failed before you even started?  

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Goal setting can actually help you get what YOU want out of your life. 

What do you want?

The first step of goal setting is to identify what you want.  This can be hard because there is so much out there telling you what you SHOULD want for your life.

You are perfectly capable of deciding what you want all by yourself!

If you don’t know what you want yet, or even if you think you do, take a moment and make sure you truly know why you want to do it by playing the why game.  Playing the why game is just asking yourself over and over ‘why’ you want a particular thing:

I want to lose weight.


I want to be less tired.


I can’t do all the things I want to do.


Because I get out of breath too easily.


Because I am out of shape cardiovascularly

You can check out more about the why game here.

Define your goal in concrete terms  

Many goals start as abstract goals.  In order to make a plan to achieve these goals you will need to create some concrete goals that will help you towards your abstract goal.  

In the case above, maybe you realize you want to get in better shape (maybe you will lose weight in the process, but really, you most want to not be out of breath). ‘Get into better shape’ is an abstract goal.  There’s no way to know that you actually have achieved it.  A concrete goal might be to be able to run a 5k.  If you run a 5k successfully you will have achieved your goal. It will also result in you being more healthy and not being out of breath climbing the stairs.

If this sounds confusing, check out Abstract vs. Concrete Goals for a quick explanation.  Setting a concrete goal is a vital part towards actually achieving your goals and is often forgotten.  So make sure you have a concrete goal in mind before you start making plans!

Get super specific

If you’ve identified some concrete goals that you want to achieve – pick ONE.

Really just pick ONE.

You will have time to achieve the others too.  Just pick the one that YOU most want to do because it will make the most difference in your life.

Now get really specific about what that goal really is.  This is what people often refer to as setting SMART goals.  I explain what SMART stands for, plus all that you really need to know about making your goal truly smart in my post 3 Steps to Writing Smart Goals.

Check it out and then come back here 🙂

Break down goals into tasks

Once you have your goal defined, you will need to break it down into the steps that you need to take to achieve it.  No goal is reached without DOING something!

Just like turning abstract goals into concrete goals, making a plan with tasks is another vital step towards actually reaching your goals.  

This step often gets forgotten.  You make a resolution, but you don’t really know how to get it done, so it just languishes in the back of your mind until you decide you will never get it done and give up. 

Don’t let that happen.  Take the time to sit down and write a plan to make it happen.  Make sure that your tasks are small, simple, action steps.  These steps are how you will actually reach that goal! 

If you want some help with that, check out But I Just Don’t Know Where to Start!  I explain exactly how to break down a goal into tasks.

Do those tasks and establish those habits!

Once you’ve got the plan all laid out you can devote your energy to just doing each task one at a time.  If you keep doing them you WILL get to the end of your plan and achieve your goal!  

Many goals require establishing a new habit.  New habits are powerhouses – they create a lot of good, but they suck a lot of energy.  I haven’t written a habit post yet, but definitely recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear if you want a book that will help you conquer creating new habits. If you click on the link below and buy, I may earn a small commission.

Because you have broken your goal into these tasks you can concentrate on just the task at hand.  Once you have a plan, just trust it and focus on doing the next step!

What are those steps again?

What is your goal?  Do you have your plan to achieve it? 


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