Get my Planner!
A holistic, sustainable planner designed to align your work + wellness.
VISIT MY SHOP
I create holistic, sustainable paper goods for socially-conscious changemakers.
Shop owner, content creator, and advocate. Fan of hydration and organization.
Productivity is the name of my game, and finding effective ways to set goals is a huge part of that. Goals provide us with a framework for the changes we want to see in ourselves, our life, our business, or even our family or community. But if you want to actually achieve the goals you set you’ll need to do more than just write them down, and I’m here to help!
I have a simple four-phase method for achieving goals and I’m going to walk you through it.
I’m only going to say this part once, so listen up because it’s important: you will not reach your goals if you are incapable of developing new habits.
And developing new habits as an adult is hard because our brain has undergone a process called synaptic pruning, which removes the neural pathways we don’t use very often. In order to develop new habits, it helps if you place the new habit along the same neural pathway as a habit that is already well-formed. I have an entire blog post and podcast episode that breaks this down in much more detail, but an example would be:
After I make the bed in the morning, I will journal for 5 minutes next to the window.
I never forget to make the bed in the morning, so by connecting my new habit of journaling to that well-formed habit I connect it to the same neural pathway making me more likely to remember it. I’ve also identified details about the new habit, such a specific period of time (5 minutes) and location (by the window). My best tip for habit stacking is to start small and work your way up. Want to meditate? Start with 1 minute. Want to start working out? Start with a 5-minute workout you can do at home and make it part of your routine.
Want to see this visually? Try clicking through this Instagram Post I created.
Once you understand how to develop new habits, you’re actually ready to set some goals! My favorite method for setting goals is called SMART and it stands for:
S – Specific – You should make your goal as specific as possible so that you can really focus your efforts. This helps you feel motivated to achieve it. Think about why this goal is important to you, who is involved in it, or what resources you’ll need to accomplish it, and include them when you write down or record the goal.
M – Measurable – If your goal is measurable it will be easier for you to feel a sense of accomplishment at each phase of progress, making you more likely to complete the goal. To make it measurable try being specific about the quantity, size, or other quantitative elements that pertain to your specific goal
A – Attainable – Your goal should be something that is achievable with your skills, resources, time, etc. Try to be realistic with yourself and set yourself up for success rather than failure, even if that means setting a smaller or simpler goal initially.
R – Relevant – It’s hard to care about a goal if it doesn’t really matter to you. That’s why making sure each goal is relevant is really important. Think about the future and how this goal will help move the needle toward your bigger dreams and goals.
T – Time-bound – Goals without a deadline are merely a dream, my friend. Would you run a race with no finish line? No. You can always adjust if needed, but make sure you identify a clear time frame or deadline for each goal and I also recommend having a schedule for regular check-ins along the way (the next section tells you exactly *why* this is important*).
This section is short and sweet! DOSE stands for:
D – Dopamine (reward hormone)
O – Oxytocin (love hormone)
S- Serotonin (calm hormone)
E – Endorphines (willpower hormone)
And DOSE is the magical cocktail of hormones your brain releases that give you that good ol’ sense of accomplishment.
This is why it’s important not to only give your goals deadlines, but to also schedule regular check-ins to observe and celebrate smaller milestones along the way. You’ll get a little boost from the DOSE release and feel more connected and motivated to achieving the goal.
For example, if I’m hoping to get 1,000 new Instagram followers this year it will help if I do a check-in each month not only to look at the numbers and stay on track but also to celebrate my progress and get that DOSE so that I stay motivated to see it through to completion.
This acronym is one of my own creation, but it might be the most important one I’ve listed, and here’s why: you can set all the goals you want and you can research Habit Stacking until your eyes bleed but if you are physically lacking the motivation and energy you need to see your goals through you’ll come up short.
I want to set you up for success, and that’s why this one is actually the most important. It stands for:
H – Hydration – Proper hydration drastically increases how efficiently our entire body operates — including our brain! You’ll think faster, focus longer, and feel more motivated, creative, and energized if you are properly hydrated. (Need help? Check out my hydration course!)
O – Organization – You don’t need to be meticulous, but having systems in place makes you more efficient which means you waste less energy (or time, money, etc). Here is how I plan and organize my day.
N – Nutrition – What we eat also has a profound impact on how we feel, and making sure you are eating foods that fuel your body will help ensure you have the energy to keep working at your goals. A quick tip: focus on plants and foods that are grown in the earth and strive to have whole foods comprise at least 70-80% of your diet. (here’s my hydrating meal plan eBook, or you might consider my upcoming Nutrition Course which beings January 11th).
E – Energy – It’s important to keep your energy up throughout the day, and one of the best methods for this is through regular movement. Try focusing for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break to get up, walk around, and stretch! You can also think of this as positive energy or mindset — focus on positive affirmations and speaking kindly to yourself about your goals and progress.
Y – Your “Why” – Knowing why you’re doing something makes it a lot more inspiring. So, “why” have you set these goals? What’s the big picture? What’s the final result? Identify it and keep it near to you so that you can reflect on it. It will help you stay motivated, but will also help you stay focused and identify what should be prioritized (does it move you toward your “why” or not?). Mood boards or dream boards are a great way to visualize your “why”, I also love putting them on my desktop wallpaper (like a photo of your kids or dream vacation) or creating a Pinterest board.
And there you have it, a simple 4-phase method that will ensure you don’t just set goals, but actually achieve them. Feel like you need one-on-one coaching for a big project? Make sure to check out my Strategy Sessions.
The ultimate guide for clearing the clutter, defining your personal style, and dressing your best with less.
Learn the basics of proper hydration, learn how to eat your water, and explore 20+ of my favorite recipes.
Thinking of creating your own customized planner? This eBook will walk you through the entire process.