GOALS worth setting and how to achieve them

Goals and how to approach them

According to a Harvard study, 83% of people do not set goals. And, for those that do, there are varying degrees of success but the likelihood of bringing one to fruition increases depending upon how you approach it. For instance, simply having an idea has about 10% chance of happening. Setting a timeline to achieve it brings the chance of succeeding to 40%. Telling a trusted friend means that you’ll have a 65% chance of realizing that goal. And, when you ask someone to witness your personal accountability to yourself to achieve the goal – it goes all the way up to 95%.

I spoke about some of my Goals that never saw the light of day a couple of weeks ago. Some goals are small and as important to me as the big ones. For instance, If I can stay present and in the moment for an entire day, I consider that a goal achieved – it’s not always easy. A big reason why some of those goals fell by the wayside, was that I never really developed the goal to a point where it became a must. When I was writing my book Round Trip, having never done such a thing before, I would frequently walk away thinking “what am I doing? I don’t know how to write a book” Or – do I really want to tell people what was in my head and heart? Did I want to admit to the world that I felt like a big fat failure most of the time? On and on it went. 

Meaningful and SMART

But this particular chapter of my life and all that it represents was so important to me that I could not stop thinking about how some of my message might be useful to others. Telling that story has deep meaning for me. There was always a vision and that made this particular goal worth setting. Once the end goal was set – the lighthouse if you will, more smaller supporting goals followed that would help me get to where I wanted to go. 

I started Coach Training while I was writing and was made aware of a popular acronym for goal setting called SMART which allows us to set goals that are more likely to be achieved. SMART stands for 

S specific 

M measurable

A actionable

R realistic

T timely


If we start with “Specific”, I could picture myself holding that book in my hands – especially after I painted my version of a map of Canada that would become the cover artwork. And I could see myself  talking about it to others even when I thought I might be biting off more than I could chew. I felt compelled to tell the tale of my trip across Canada and let others know that sometimes the things that scare us the most are the exact things that we need to face. In retrospect, writing the book was the easy part. 

To be Measurable, I wanted to produce a completed manuscript and publish it. And, I wanted to finish it in 2020 as I had the time to work on that particular project.  But that would be a dream unfulfilled if no one ever read it. So once the book was released it was time to redefine the measurable part. How many copies do I want to sell and in what period of time? I’m still working on that one. By the way – shameless plug – it’s on Amazon and there are some in stock.


Which leads to Actionable. At the beginning, I simply had to organize my thoughts and start typing in some sort of organized fashion. Early in the process, I could not preoccupy myself with publishing dates or quantities to sell. It likely would have scared me enough to stop. By looking at the process in terms of the next few actions, I kept my focus on the present and kept typing. Early on, it was to write about a specific incident during the trip or to write for a certain amount of time. These action items changed a lot and I rolled with it as I worked towards the end goal.

Realistic – I have to admit that I had no idea how realistic it was for me to write and publish a book. Relevant may be a better representation of my R word. The story that I wanted to tell was personal, and I hoped, useful for others. People who like to travel would learn a little bit about Canada from coast to coast and middle aged women would see that they are not alone in feeling like a square peg in a round hole from time to time.

T. and Worthwhile

Timely – I remember giving myself different milestones. Like finishing the first draft by May 15th and finishing the edits by September 15th. Chunking the project down into manageable pieces gave the added bonus of celebrating an important marker when I completed it and helping me to gain momentum to get to the finish line.

I believe that the most significant step however was getting into the right frame of mind and making the goal one that was worth setting for me. Coaching helped with that as I had numerous discussions to hold myself accountable. Once I make a promise to myself with someone that I trust as witness – it pretty much always happens.  That Harvard study did note a 95% success rate – it works!

Why are goals important?

Initially, my goal had meaning only for me. That being said, I believed that my story could help others. When my kids were little, I used to tell them to try to leave things a little better than they found them. If you can improve something for someone else or for yourself – you’ve done something significant. And success is contagious. Goals gives us direction and motivate us by giving us a purpose. Not to mention the feeling of complete and utter satisfaction of checking one of the important ones off your list. Done! I do love to collect check marks! And when Round Trip was listed on Amazon for the first time on April 9th, 2021 – I was beside myself.

Opportunities come up daily and I decide then and there if they’re worth pursuing. Does it have meaning?  If so – a goal is born and I work towards it. I’ll make it SMART and find an accountability partner to keep me honest.

So- what is something that you really want in your life that has meaning for? What is your lighthouse?  Is it on your wish list or your “let’s get it done list”? Have you defined it as a SMART goal and set yourself up to be accountable to your progress? 

Have a great week!

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