Why Setting Goals will set you Up for Success

by Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist 

A goal properly set is halfway reached.” - Zig Ziglar

New years resolutions seem to just be a thing that’s shared around the dinner table on December 31st. A study done by Statistic Brain, which analyzes New Year’s goals claims that a mere 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals while 92% of them end in failure.

But imagine if these resolutions were taken seriously? What kind of person would you be, what kind of society would we create, what kind of children would we raise if only half of us achieved our new years resolution?

Read below:

Why setting goals will set you up for success

1. Setting goals is the first step in realizing your aspirations 

realizing your aspirations

Locke’s study, shows that over 90% of the time, goals that were specific and challenging, but not overly challenging, led to higher performance when compared to goals that were too generic such as a goal to do your best. So though you may have great aspirations for your life, setting specific goals broken down from your general aspirations will improve the likelihood of it becoming reality. 

2. Setting goals leads to greater success

In a Havard MBA study that polled their graduates on goal setting found that the 3% that had written down their goals after graduation were earning 10 times the other 97% put together.

3. Setting goals Helps you measure progress and keeps you focused


Sometimes our minds and emotions can make us discouraged but seeing progress and that you’re moving in the right direction can keep you on track and focused on the task and next step. We live in a world of data, and goal setting is data that we can use to encourage ourselves to move forward and track our progress.

4. Setting goals help you know more about yourself

Sitting down to think about your goals for the year, 3 years, 5 years, and then plan it out will force you to really think about what your passionate about and your overarching purpose(s) in life. Being serious about your goals and looking at what you are willing to do and sacrifice to achieve them will lead you to the core of your being. Many people wander through life without knowing their why. Setting goals is a great first step in knowing your why to the question : why am I here? 

4 ways to form achievable goals

1. Dream Big and Work Backwards.

First invision where and how you want to be in 5 or 10 years and work backwards. Create your ideal picture then ask yourself what you would need to do to achieve this.

Depending on how big your goals are you can set multiple goals throughout the year. You know yourself best. Just make sure it is not too easy but also attainable.
A 5 year goal may be too scary or big for those who are just starting out on goal setting, but that doesn’t matter, start with 1 year, this year, and work that into small goals.

2. Be specific


General goals will mean general results. Be specific and better yet have measurable goals, like, “I want to be able to climb Lion’s Rock together with my kids by May”, or “I want to be able to walk 30 minutes without my knees hurting”. Or “I want to lose xxx weight and have a healthy fat percentage and muscle mass.” Or “I want to be able to have 25% or more deep sleep for at least 5 consecutive nights.” The more specific you are the easier it will be for you to track your results.

3. Make it emotionally compelling

emotionally compelling

Be more emotionally invested in this goal as we are emotional beings. We are people who are wired for love and belonging and so often times even financial or health goals can be set based on our emotions.

For example, if it’s a health goal, you can word it as such ‘ I want to be able to join my kids/grandkids in their activities in order to connect with them, be it skiing, hiking or just traveling when I’m older in age’. Or if it’s a financial goal, it can be something like ‘I want to be able to provide my family with a comfortable life so that we can create more memories together rather than spend it working’.

4. Set goals for yourself and not others

On this same line, we need to make sure we are setting goals for what we want out of life or who we want to become. It’s good to have people speak life into our lives, but sometimes there are other motives behind this and it’s always best to go back and have that conversation with yourself. When I’m confused, which I often am, I include  God into this conversation and have Him direct my paths and thoughts because in the end, He has created me and given me the skills to be who I want to be. He knows me better than I know myself.

for yourself

A goal based on pleasing others simply won’t be sustainable and you’ll end up giving up. On the flip side, for those who veer towards Type A personalities, that are driven, competitive and have clear set goals, these people tend to forget about important relationships in the process because they are busy trying to achieve this goal. Our bodies and brain are wired for community and loving relationships. You will burn out if you don’t rest and you won’t find that true fulfillment without investing in these nourishing relationships.

4 ways to Implement Your Goals in order to Succeed

Coming up with a goal and writing it down is the first step, but actually planning out your goals to achieve them is another task in itself. The process is as important if not more important than setting the goal. 

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” - Arthur Ashe

1. Accountability 

Telling people about your goals and sharing it with them for accountability will lead to a higher success rate. Dr. Gail Matthews, a clinical psychologist from Dominican University of California showed that those who write down their goals and share their goals with a friend, were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their goals.

2. Community


You will be more likely to achieve your goals together with a friend who’s working towards the same goal than doing it on your own. Better yet, surround yourself with people who have already achieve what you want to achieve and feed off of them. It will be hard for you to visit McDonald’s when your community of friends is choosing a salad or healthy stir fry.

3. Time Bound

time bound

With your larger goal in mind for the year, set goals for the quarter, then the month, and finally the week and days. Setting micro goals with the same accountability and community support will make it easier (and more fun) to achieve your big goal. There’s a reason why we now have all of these gadgets to keep us healthy. Because psychologically we like to achieve these micro goals, be it just knowing we walked 10,000 steps today or slept 7.5 hours the night before.

4. Small Steps with Expectations

Breaking up the goal into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily are important. A daily task, just one task, will seem less daunting than a monthly or quarterly goal. Lao Tzu’s quote puts it aptly ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. 

We are creatures of habit, and creating small steps to create a small and what may seem unimportant habit like walking or running 10 minutes a day, or shutting off the phone at 11pm 3 days a week will make it easier for you to achieve that larger goal of perhaps running a marathon by the end of the year or fine tuning your sleep habits and sleeping earlier.

A last word ….

Our minds are powerful. Science shows that our thoughts create our reality. So it’s important to expect things to go well. Believe in your goals and your mission. Believe in yourself. At the same time, remember that it’s a process. Don’t be afraid to ‘fail’ when there are setbacks. Failures and learning from failures are an important part of success, some would even argue that it’s essential. I personally don’t even like to use that word, to me, the setbacks are just part of the learning process to optimize myself to succeed.

cheering goal

Hopefully you’re both motivated and convinced about the importance of goal setting. I hope that this article more than any other, will stimulate a response and an action. Knowledge is useless without change and action - so get on it!

I personally like to use the S.M.A.R.T goal setting method that can be found online. The below worksheet is a reference taken from smartsheet.com 



Crafting S.M.A.R.T. Goals are designed to help you identify if what you want to achieve is realistic and determine a deadline. When writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals use concise language, but include relevant information. These are designed to help you succeed, so be positive when answering the questions. 


Write the goal you have in mind


  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Who needs to be included? 
  • When do you want to do this? 
  • Why is this a goal?


  • How can you measure progress
  • How can you know if you’ve successfully met your goal?


  • Do you have the skills required to achieve the goal? 
  • If not, can you obtain them? 
  • What is the motivation for this goal?
  • Is the amount of effort required on par with what the goal will achieve?


  • Why am I setting this goal now? 
  • Is it aligned with overall objectives?


  • What’s the deadline
  • is it realistic?

Review what you have written, and craft a new goal statement based on what the answers to the questions above have revealed SMART GOAL

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