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How to Change Your Life By Setting Goals

You can TRULY change your life by setting goals...and here's how to get started!

As you well know, I’m a fanatic about setting goals. Why? Because I’ve experienced firsthand the fruit and fulfillment that comes from setting a goal and working hard toward it. In addition, without goals, you have nothing that you’re aiming for. And complacency and floundering are often the result.

Goals give you passion, purpose, motivation, and drive. You wake up each day with intention: you have a plan and you have direction.

While you might not end up as far along as you’d hoped to be at the end of the year, if you set goals and whittle away at them each month, week, and day, I promise that you’ll be farther along than if you did nothing.

How to Get Started With Goal-Setting

If you’re brand-new to the idea of setting goals, please do yourself a tremendous favor and start small. The surefire way to experience goal-setting failure is to break off way more than you can chew.

Consider your priorities and where you want to be in a year from now. Think about the time you’ll have to invest. Then, choose 3-15 specific goals for the year. Write them down and put them in a very conspicuous place (i.e. on your fridge, as the screensaver on your iPhone, on your bathroom mirror.)

Free Printable Goal-Setting Worksheets

To help you out, here are two printable and customizable Goal Planning Forms you can download, type into, save, and print. Or, you can just print them and hand write your goals in. These printable forms were made to go along with the steps in this post.

Break Your Goals Down Into Bite-Sized Pieces

Once you have those Yearly Goals in place, take some time to map out a plan for how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Write down the specific steps you will take each month to get where you hope to be in a year from now.

I encourage you to take this two steps further and break your monthly goals down into weekly and daily goals. You don’t have to do this for the whole year right now, but definitely make a plan for January.

Then, at the end of January, review the progress you’ve made and create a plan for February. Continue to do this at the end of each month and I can guarantee you that you’ll have a very productive year.

Don’t Give Up

You’ll probably tweak some of your goals as the year goes on. You might even throw some goals out the window entirely. That’s totally okay.

Whatever happens, though, do not give up. If you get knocked down, pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

Little bit by little bit, you will change your life… all because you set goals, broke them down into bite-sized pieces, and followed through with them.

4 Related Posts You Should Read

4 Things That Will Keep You From Goal-Setting Success

Why You Should Set Financial Goals

Why Moms Need to Set Goals

Q&A: How Do You Decide Your Yearly Goals?

What’s your best advice for someone who is brand-new to the idea of setting goals?

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  • denise says:

    I’m really only making 2 goals this year. Since I’ve never really done this before. #1: Read the Bible everyday! I personally am following Rachel Wojo’s challenge and then with my husband we’re doing a free ebook I downloaded because you spotlighted it! #2 Follow the budget my husband and I set up. Our biggest areas to tighten our belts – grocery and eating out. We’re really working hard to spend as little as possible in those areas!

    Thanks for the part you’ve played!

    PS tonight I made freezer burritos and freezer meatballs!

  • debbie says:

    First of all thanks so much for all your inspiration!! As I look at all you accomplish year after year it sometimes discourages me because your goals are so amazing! So, for you newbies, I’d say; Do not compare your goals to other people’s!! And Crystal I can’t believe it but because of you I memorized the book of Colossians in 2012!! Thanks so much I couldn’t have done it without you!

  • Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for doing posts on goal setting. After last year I need some control and positive accomplishments. In 2012 I had our son, I was diagnosed with rare pancreatic cancer and successfully treated, our son was diagnosed with reflux and torticollis (neck muscle injury) and that was only two months of the year! 2013 is a clean slate and a year for growth.

    • Amy says:

      Amen! Thank God 2013 is a new year, clean slate and I pray a year of positive accomplishments like you said! 🙂 Last year both my husband and I were in the hospital…we’ve never been in the hospital for anything other than me for childbirth and it was both for rare, rare things. His was a complication for a medicine he had to take and mine was for rare (1% or less) complications from having my gallbladder removed. Thank God for insurance and new blessings every morning!
      I hope 2013 is better for us all! 🙂

  • Sarah Ann Wong says:

    I’ve gotten much better at meeting goals by using the SMART system. I like that you mentioned making mini-goals with shorter time frames. Even a SMART goal can seem overwhelming if it’s a year away and you can’t figure out what to do tomorrow.

  • LISA H. says:

    Start with realistic and simplistic goals.
    Make 1 goal for each major sector of your life – Personal, Mothering, Family, Financial, Faith
    Post these goals in an area where you get ready in the morning, nightstand for evening reflection, and in your car. (We do a lot of thinking in there – make it into a positive!!)
    When you reach your goal, and you will, it is YOUR goal, replace it with an additional goal – never stop improving yourself and your mind – just start now and simple!!

  • Victoria says:

    My advice would be celebrate each and every step along the way no matter how minor it might be. This might sound silly to some but when I am out there training for a marathon I often clap for each mile that goes by, it gives me a boost to attack the next one. I told a friend who I help train for a marathon last year, don’t get so focused on the finish line as the only success, instead set your goal on the next telephone pole and then when you make it there, get excited about it and use that energy to pull you to the next one, and then repeat that until you reach the finish line. In other words let your mini successes pull you through to the goal zone.

  • Jenny says:

    I agree about starting small. Last year I tried to bite off more than we could chew and fell flat on a couple of our goals. One step at a time is much more effective. I also think using a journal or some type of financial software makes a big difference. Keeping track of everything really helps.

  • Lee S. says:

    Thank you so much for your goal setting post. My husband and I had one goal for the last few years, buy a house! This past February we did just that. Then for the rest of the year we had some financial issues and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t until I saw these posts the last few weeks did I realize what it was. We had accomplished our goal and did not replace it with another and so we wandered aimless. We are so excited for this year now. We sat and made goals together again and are looking forward to our new adventures!

  • shannon says:

    This is great advice and I am not new to goal setting but since my son was born 2 years ago, it seems as if I now lead a completely different life than before. It is like I forgot how to set goals and complete them to my previous standards. That’s it. I have sadly lowered my standards for myself and it is so irritating. I barely keep my head above water just providing basic needs for my family and myself. However, I have completed such goals in my past as achieving my MBA, promotions in my previous career, and paying off our home and vehicles. I don’t understand why I don’t have the motivation to do more in my home like I once did when I had a career and went to school. Now that I’m a SAHM, I struggle to have discipline to achieve these same types of results in everyday family life. I have become a weaker minded person and want more for my son and family. I mean I want to set my limits higher and I know I have the time and the ability to do so but I lack the discipline to start and complete them and I know that nobody but me can gain such discipline. It is just something I will pray about and re-teach myself to have accountability once again. Thank you for your post. It is so encouraging. You are an amazing woman!

    • Bonnie says:

      Shannon, I can relate to what you have written. I have also struggled in the same way. I also struggle with discipline now that I am at home. I work from home so not only am I trying to be disciplined with caring for my family, I also need to be organized with work and being able to balance them both. It has been very hard the past two years- my son is also almost 2- to achieve that balance. For example, before, I knew if I gained a few pounds because of work clothes and I would do something about it. Now, being at home it is very hard to stay disciplined because I am in jeans or workout clothes. It is a challenge to go from the organized structure of working outside of the home to being at home, all day every day. It takes so much time. I have taken the advice from this site and have made only 2 goals at a time of something that bothers me since staying at home that I know I must change. They have included reading the Bible daily, cooking one fresh meal once a week (I am not a great cook so most prior meals were easy casseroles), take a walk with kids once a week, etc . Once I was able to focus and make the change consistently, I added to those goals. This blog is a great place to start for focus! Best of luck!

      • shannon says:

        Bonnie, you are so kind. It is reassuring to know I am not alone and I found that just writing this out, it made me feel rather accountable. It is amazing at how writing out a plan for goals is so powerful. It sounds like we are both on the right track and I’m sure we will find challenges along the way. I can’t imagine working on top of being a homemaker. Thank you for your reply. It is certainly encouraging and today was the first day I actually realized how much more productive I can be if I am thoughtful about my actions and measure my results as well as working on having discipline. I pondered alot today and thought well I had a means to an end with all of the other achievements I made. My means to an end now is living a more fulfilling Christian life and improving the lives of my family. I also am going to work on reading the Bible daily and really appreciate your post. Good luck to you too.

  • Great advice! I just posted my 2012 recap today – having goals really forces you to accomplish something – and even if you don’t meet all your goals, at least you’ll get farther along than if you didn’t set any at all. Plus, by looking at what you did and didn’t accomplish, you’ll have a good feel for what you need to work on!

  • Marie says:

    One of my “mental” goals this week was to write goals for 2013! But I was feeling overwhelmed and behind the gun and not knowing how or where to start! So once again this was a timely post. I appreciate everything you do! My life has been so enriched by this blog.

  • Sandy McFadden says:

    I love anything that will help keep me organized and on task.

  • Jessica says:

    I am doing goals this year for the first time. I am really excited about it. Thanks for the inspiration. I really think you have a great blog. I love getting information and motivation to be a better person AND save my family some money;). Happy New Year.

  • Ruth Reilmann says:

    Suggestions for your book reading: any books by Dr. Wayne Mack. He is a Biblical counselor who has authored many wonderful books. ie: The Fear Factor, Maximum Impact, Preparing for Marriage God’s Way, God’s Solutions to Life’s Problems, and others. He has been a pastor, Master’s Seminary professor, and now a missionary along with his wife in South Africa. He, along with his son Joshua and son-in- law train native South African pastors so they can in turn train their congregations. Any books he has authored through his 75 years of life are wonderful.

  • Lauren says:

    Great tips. I would add the idea of sharing some of your goals with other’s. I find that when another person knows of your goal, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable. It’s almost like you made a promise to your friend and they are watching to see if you will follow through. And then, when you’ve reached the goal, you’ll have someone to share your excitement with.

  • Nicole says:

    I really love all of your inspiration to set goals! It reminds me of a series by Mike Bickle from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City called ‘The Power of a Focused Life’ that I listen to over and over again. You should check it out:

    You’ve inspired me to set my goals for this year (both big and small)! I am so excited to have stuck with it everyday this year 😉 Four days is four days more than before!!

  • Megaera says:

    O M G Thank you soooo much. It’s so hard to find things for free. Bless you. Paying It Forward is going down as a goal.

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