The ongoing Journal of Journal Life

Guide to effective goal-setting in 2016

As discussed in our previous article ‘Setting Goals Isn’t Working‘ it is almost habitual for many of us to set New Year’s resolutions in January only for the momentum to fall away by the end of the month. However, if you follow our guide to effective goal-setting and focus on having the right mindset, you can achieve amazing things in life!

Here are some key steps to successful goal-setting.

  1. • Align to your values. Think about the people, places, habits and things that are most important to you. Consider the emotions and feelings you want to experience. Identify the people, places, habits and things that give you those emotions. Consider where your life is not in alignment with your values. What would you need to do to resolve this?
  2. • Set your vision for the future. What does the future look like for you? Go into as much detail as you can here. For example, if you want to move house where do you want to go? What will your house look like? What kind of area will you be in? How many rooms will the house have? Do this for all areas of your life and get absolutely clear on what you want.
  3. • Ask yourself why your vision is important to you? If you ask yourself 5 times ‘why is this important?’ your answers will indicate how strong a sense of purpose you have. The stronger the ‘why’ the more likely it will be that you will commit to taking action. You will also be more likely to stay on track when things get challenging.
  4. • Create your own success map. You don’t create the life you truly want by sitting back waiting for it to happen. It is important that you believe you can achieve it and want to take action. Start with your vision in mind and map out the big milestones to get there. Prioritise your milestones then break each one down into baby action steps. Focus on the first action, schedule time to complete it and get going. Move on to the next action and start creating momentum. Before long you will develop the belief and confidence to accomplish all your actions!
  5. • Forgive yourself and others. Sometimes feelings of guilt or resentment can hold us back. This can be either towards ourselves or others. A common example is telling yourself that you’ve failed before so will fail again. This is simply a limiting belief. The reality is that failure is a great way to learn and grow. Some say there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Forgive yourself. Support yourself the way you would support others. Learn from previous experiences and set out steps that will get you to where you want to be. None of us will live our lives without making any mistakes.
  6. • Create positive habits. This takes time; some say it ranges between 30-60 days to create and embed a new habit. What positive habits could you create that will help you to get closer to your goal? Do it every day, stay with it, keep scheduling and completing the habit. After 30 days it’ll start to get easier and will gradually become a habit. You can then consider other positive habits that would help you to make progress. Happiness and Habit guru Gretchen Rubin has some great habit related downloads available for further reading!
  7. • Create momentum and celebrate successes Make sure your big goal, your milestones and small steps are all visible. It is important that you have sight of them every day to keep your mind focused. Do what you can every day to move you closer to that life that you want. Acknowledge and reward the progress you make. Celebrate each small step and each milestone along the way.
  8. • Journal Take time out to invest in yourself. Journaling around each of these steps is a great way to support your goal-setting. It will increase your self-awareness around the actions you can take and the challenges that come up. By reflecting and writing down your thoughts, feeling and actions you can get amazing insights. Be sure to journal around them.


If you work through each of these steps with commitment and self-discipline, you will develop the mindset required to ace goal-setting in 2016. Ultimately, you will have the toolkit to achieve a happier and more purposeful life!

You CAN do it!


Journal Life: Career Journal
This is our career design journal and toolkit. We made it to cut across the bad advice, confusing tools and warped ideas of 'success' in the career landscape to provide a way of listening to yourself first. It's free and it works. Sign up below to get the first chapter, email course and community access for free and start transforming your career today.
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