How to Set Goals that you WILL Achieve {Part 1}

It’s January, which means people around the world are trying to get themselves organized and making some goals.  Woohoo!  If that’s you, let me ask you a question – how are you at finishing those goals?  If you’re like most people, I’m betting the answer isn’t positive.  But, no need to throw in the towel, I’m here to help you learn how to set goals you WILL achieve!

Last week, I mentioned that I will be doing a focus on organization this month, which is one reason I wanted to talk about setting goals.  How does that relate to getting organized, you ask?  Well…

You can’t achieve your goals unless you get your goals organized!

When I wrote up today’s post, it ended up being really long, so in the interest of your sanity, I’m breaking this up into two posts!  

Today, we’ll talk about different types of goals (generally speaking) and why people tend to fail at finishing them.  Then, tomorrow, we’ll continue with how to approach your goal setting so that you WILL achieve your goals (and you’ll definitely want to stop in tomorrow because I’m going to give you a free PDF to get you started!).  

Sound good?

A little background…

You guys know me as a blogger…but, by day, I’m a Product Manager for a financial software company.  I manage a team of folks and it’s our responsibility to create the application interface that will be used by investment professionals.  While, my direct team doesn’t get our hands dirty with actually coding of anything (that’s for our talented engineers to handle!), it’s our responsibility to come up with the ideas, work with the database teams to integrate the necessary data into the application and set goals.  We set lots of goals!  

Not only do we set those goals, we have to work with all of the various teams to make sure those goals are accomplished.  If we don’t achieve our goals, we’re not doing our job.  You could say we’re very goal oriented.

So…outside of work, that mindset is still there, so no matter what I’m doing, I’m generally setting goals along the way! 

This time of year, everyone is making resolutions for the new year and as we all know….most people will give up on most, if not all of their resolutions.  I looked up the stats and only roughly 10% of people follow through on their goals.  If you think of that another way…

~90% of people do NOT achieve their resolutions!

Are you one of those folks?  I know I am definitely guilty of setting up resolutions that I haven’t kept in the past.  This is why I stopped calling them resolutions and switched to the word GOALS!  That one switch will be a step in the right direction for getting your mind on the right path for success!

Since I have lots of experience with goal setting, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my tips for how to set goals that you WILL achieve!

Types of Goals

Before we go any further, let me break it down into two categories and I’m going to keep this simple.  There are BIG goals and there are SMALL goals.  

Big goals are the long term goals that will require a significant amount of work and time.  These won’t be achieved overnight and will require planning.  These might take 6 months, 1 year, or multiple years to achieve!  Since these goals take work and planning, they are also the goals that usually never get finished by most folks.  

For example, I have a goal of organizing and cleaning out my entire house.  I can promise you this will not happen overnight and will probably take most of this year if I do it right and stick with it (and side note, no, my house isn’t a total garbage dump and I’m not a hoarder, I just have a lot of crap I need to get rid of and some overall organizing that I’d like to do!)

Small goals are shorter term goals that won’t generally require a lot of work or time and can usually be accomplished with one go.  They may stand on their own and have nothing to do with any larger goals, or they may be a stepping stone for a BIG goal.  

For example, cleaning out a closet would be something I could do in one go, but would ultimately be a smaller goal towards achieving my big goal of cleaning out my entire house.

You should have both BIG and SMALL goals in your life!

Whether you realize it or not, you do have big and small goals.  If you’ve ever tried to lose weight…that’s a big goal.  Same for saving money for a down payment on a car or a new house…those take time and planning to achieve!  Likewise, small goals would be taking your lunch to save money (to put towards the down payment fund) or to ensure you’re eating healthier (to work towards losing weight).  

Do you need to write down every goal you have and map out ways to achieve it?  Not necessarily, but I would highly recommend it for all BIG goals and that’s what we’ll talk about more tomorrow!

Why People Fail

I’m sure there are many reasons why people don’t follow through on their goals, but these are the three big ones in my opinion…

1. Unrealistic goals:  There are a lot of things that I’d love to do with my life, but some are just not realistic.  And guess what guys…you usually KNOW you can’t complete that task, right?  So, why do we put that on our lists and set ourselves up to fail?!  Simply put…by saying it’s our goal (or resolution), we feel like it might motivate us to finally make it happen.  While I think that is true to an extent, there are just some things that you will never, ever accomplish and that is okay!

2. Failure to think through and plan:  Even if this is something they know they can do and may really want to do, most folks that don’t follow through on their goals do so because they fail to plan for it.  

3. No follow through or motivation:  Finally, let’s say someone identifies a goal they think they really want to do and they know they can do it.  Let’s also say they even go the extra step and make the adequate plans.  Sometimes, people still fail to finish their goals because they don’t follow through with their plan or they lack the motivation to put in the time.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these?  If so, that’s okay!  Tomorrow, we’ll start working through some of these to get you on the right track this year!  It’s time to make 2015 the year you make your goals happen!

EDITED: If you want to learn more, be sure to check out How to Set Goals you WILL Achieve, Part 2!  Be sure to download your FREE printable to get started on setting your goals!


Your turn friends…what are the main reasons you fail to follow through on your goals?  Do you fall into the categories above, or do you have other obstacles that prevent you from achieving your objectives?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment and let me know!


  1. 19


    This is simply amazing, Vicky! I love how clear and structured your instructions are. You are clearly a goal setter and achiever, and this is evident in your post ! Looking forward to checking out the part 2 of this! Awesome job!

  2. 21


    Great post, I have worked in the corporate world for 25 years and there are definitely lessons that have spilled over into blogging life.

    • 22

      Vicky says

      I hear ya! I guess it just shows that it’s hard to separate the 2 worlds :) (not that that’s a bad thing…I’m grateful for the skills that I use in my day job that can help me in the rest of my life!)
      Thanks for stopping by & leaving a comment, Andi! :)

  3. 23


    I think “Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods” may be not new favorite quote. That’s the perfect way to approach all goals. I know what works for me is writing down my goals and looking at them every day. I like to be able to look at something and come up with a mental timeline of when I’m going to achieve it or make steps on how I’m going to achieve it. I’m definitely very visual in that sense. Like you, I stopped using the word “resolutions” and instead just set goals for myself. It’s made a huge difference, and I’ve been able to accomplish a lot more.

  4. 25


    Amen to all of this! Being clear with yourself on WHAT your goals are, WHY they are the way they are, and HOW you can realistically achieve them is oh so key. You’ve hit every nail on the head here! And nice day job, Vicky! You’ll have to give me tips on maximizing both full-time life and blog life for once I graduate college. :)

    • 26

      Vicky says

      Thanks Erica! :) As for tips for managing FT work and blogging…it’s hard! Planning ahead and using any apart minute to work on things is key. Oh…and a lot of nights with little sleep (it helps that I already have insomnia from time to time, lol). You’ll handle it well…you seem very on top of things!

  5. 27


    I like to do at least 2 things EVERY DAY to get me toward reaching a big goal. So I like the small goals along the way to keep you motivated.

  6. 29


    Love the idea of the goals…and the BIG and SMALL goals. I need to get into that mindset more and not stumble across too many obstacles!!

    • 30

      Vicky says

      It’s so hard to let obstacles derail us…I’ve been there so many times, so I completely understand!! Hopefully, this helps a little bit! I try to look at my smaller goals each week when planning out my week to see what is do-able. Sometimes, if I know it’ll be a crazy week, I don’t worry about it for that week. Then I’m usually ready to get back on it the next week! :)

  7. 31

    Tanya Patxot says

    I really like number two. WOW that hit something. So many even myself I have seen made goals and didn’t think it through. I saw just why I honestly have failed and others have failed. That was so good. It’s eye opening that we make decisions that set us up for failure.

    • 32

      Vicky says

      Hi Tanya! I SO glad this was helpful and eye opening!! It’s so easy to set ourselves up to fail if we’re not paying attention, which wouldn’t be a problem except how much it affects us when we feel like we’ve failed at something!

  8. 33


    This was a really good read for me today. Just yesterday I mapped out my promotion plan for the first six months of 2015 for a direct sales company I represent. I’ve already been promoted several times, and I find that a six-month plan is easier for me to manage. One of my favorite things to say to my team to get them to make a real plans is that if you want to achieve it, you have to be able to measure it. Thanks! I am going to pin this to our team board!

    • 34

      Vicky says

      Hi Julie! I agree! We do the same thing at work…we have our yearly goals, but we only really plan out 2 quarters out at a time (aka 6 months). SO much can change between now and 6+ months! I always like to re-evaluate after each quarter to be sure I’m on track with where I need to be (both work and personal goals). Thanks so much for sharing with your team! :) I hope it helps them!

  9. 35


    Hi Vicky! This was the PERFECT post for today :) I love the idea of breaking down big goals in to managable tasks. It definitely makes it feel like you are accomplishing something that will lead you to the bigger outcome. I know I definitely fail because I set too many goals that I just don’t have time to finish..although that in itself is an issue of not being motivated. I saw myself in so many parts of this post. I look forward to reading tomorrows post and filling out your PDF!! xo Liz

    • 36

      Vicky says

      Hey Liz! I am right there with you with making TOO many goals for myself. That would’ve been a good one to add to the list of why people fail…I think I’ll add a comment on that in tomorrow’s post ;), although I do have a box on the PDF that might help with this one! So glad this was helpful!! :)

  10. 37


    I have always failed at achieving my goals in the past because I have never written them down and came up with a plan. So this year I really focused on coming up with a plan. I want to loose the last 10 lbs of baby weight. How am I going to achieve this? Go to yoga twice a week, use my fitbit to watch my calories each day, and try to get in 5,000 steps at least twice a week.

    • 38

      Vicky says

      Sounds like you are off to a great start, Rose! Isn’t it frustrating how HARD it is to lose 10lbs??? It just doesn’t seem fair, lol. I like your plan and it definitely sounds achievable (as opposed to telling yourself you need to hit the gym for hard core cardio 5x per week or something else that just might not be sustainable!). Best of luck! I know you can do it! :)

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