Achieving Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

By Leon Ho, Founder of Lifehack

Learning how to properly set your goals will enable you to live your dream life.

Every year, millions set goals and only a fraction of those millions cross the finish line. Science says only 8% of people can actually achieve their goals.

If you’ve been having issues creating and staying with your goals, you’ve come to the right place to achieve any goal.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about creating, setting, and achieving goals that you have in mind. Together we’ll create a plan that will set you down the path of success.

If you’re ready to hold yourself accountable and begin goal setting right, let’s get started. We are going to help you set goals and achieving anything you want in life.

What is Goal Setting and Why is it Important for Goal Achievement?

Goal setting is when you have a desire in mind and then plan to achieve that task to achieve any goal and move forward with bigger goals you want to achieve to improve your life. You’re going to need to create a plan for any significant dream or vision you hope to accomplish. When you set goals the right way, you’re formulating a plan for success. You will have to get out of your comfort zone, but that’s how you become the best you.

To begin your plan for success, keep these steps to achievement in mind:

Start Small For Achieving Goals

Choose small, easily achievable goals. Quitting coffee for one single day a week; or waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal each day. Once you’ve built a habit of setting and achieving small goals, you’ll be mentally focused and ready to tackle bigger obstacles like a career change or getting into shape.

Find Your Life’s Purpose

It’s important when deciding your major goals that they align with your life purpose. If you fail to do this, then your goals won’t have meaning and it will be difficult to stay consistent.

Set a Specific Date

Set a specific date when you want to achieve your long-term goals. You don’t need to achieve your goals on an arbitrary day, but you must create meaningful deadlines so you feel obligated to work hard every day.

Why is Setting Goals and Achieving Small Wins Important?

Empower You

Effective goal setting creates unshakeable confidence that will propel you forward through life. You’ll start the snowball effect, and your short-term goals will lead to your long-term goals which lead you to success. When you plan for your future, you’ll be able to tangibly realize the fruits of your labor.

It’s hard to create goals when you don’t have a clear vision of what you want in mind. When you force setting yourself to set goals, you’re talking to your inner being and questioning what it is you truly want out of life. Living with purpose makes it easier to continue pushing forward every day.

Utilizing the proper goal-setting process gives you the tools you need to achieve your dreams and desires.

Check out how setting goals leads to a fulfilling life for more proof of the incredible power of goal setting.

Give You Feedback

Once you start setting goals, you’ll be able to understand yourself better and set for yourself the best action plans. Unless you’re living inside of your dream, it’s going to be difficult knowing if that’s where your true desires lie. When you’re setting goals and accomplishing them, you’re getting intimate feedback from your inner self.

You’ll start understanding what it is you truly want out of life. Until you start experiencing life, it won’t be so straightforward what your true dreams are.

Help You Avoid the ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

Shiny object syndrome is getting distracted from one idea to the next. It can stifle your growth significantly. If you don’t have the proper success mindset, it will be hard to see your goals through until the end.

Setting multiple goals is healthy, but you won’t be able to achieve any of them if you’re getting distracted from your initial focus.

Trying to achieve too many things at once will lead to confusion and burnout. Stick with what’s most important to you. Stick to your goals and follow the small steps to achievement for what’s best for you.

Why People Fail to Reach Their Goals

There are 3 main reasons why people fail to reach their goals. The good news is, whether you currently fall into one, two, or even all three categories, you can put the following solutions into action right now.

Not Taking Action Plans Consistently

Your goals will remain goals if you fail to take the action required to achieve them.

People who don’t take action to achieve their goals might suffer from:

  • Procrastination — failing to set for yourself a goal or continue the necessary work.
  • Analysis paralysis — needing everything to be perfect before starting.
  • Lack of commitment — just doing what’s easy and convenient; not tackling the hard stuff.
  • Excuses — blaming external factors for lack of progress.
  • Unable to handle failure — easily gives up if failure or mistakes are encountered.
  • Results-oriented thinking — putting all the focus on the results rather than the process

Taking small actions every day will have a compounding effect. Going for a 30-minute walk in a single day might seem pointless, but going for a walk every day will lead to drastic changes in your appearance. If you’re having difficulty staying consistent, try to aim for a few performance goals that you can follow through on each day.

Banking small wins will give you the confidence to continue on your path of success.

Not Picking the Right Goal

If you don’t choose the right goals you’ll end up becoming frustrated due to a lack of progress or lack the enthusiasm to stay motivated.

You’re picking the wrong type of goals if they are:

  • Not in line with your life goals
  • Aren’t motivating or inspiring.
  • Too big and overwhelming.
  • Unrealistic

Choose a goal that is possible to achieve. Having ambitious goals is a good thing, but wanting to become an astronaut is highly unlikely. Pick a goal that you could see yourself striving for every day that is realistic. You won’t have any trouble staying motivated when you’re inspired and your goals have a sense of purpose.

Not Picking the Right Goal

If you don’t choose the right goals you’ll end up becoming frustrated due to a lack of progress or lack the enthusiasm to stay motivated.

While we’re used to getting things at a push of a button, the reality is that long-term life goals are just that, long! You’ll need to plan every step accordingly so that you know which direction you’re headed in.

Without a plan, you’re destined to walk around aimlessly. You don’t need to plan every minute of every day, but learning how to utilize time management is going to do wonders for your results.

Do You Need a Lot of Willpower to Achieve Your Goal?

Willpower isn’t a necessary element to achieve your goal and it’s a mistake that many people fall into. Your aim is not to dig deep and muster up the same willpower a mother needs to save her child from under a burning car. You’re looking for a combination of motivation, consistency, and willpower that will help you to set realistic goals.

You can unleash the power within yourself without the help of business coaching or a productivity coach. The barrier to achieving success lies with you. Setting personal goals will give you the willpower for the road to success.

A classic example of overexerting willpower is college students studying for finals. In the final week leading to it, students muster up all of their willpower to study and find that everything immediately collapses. Students will eat anything that they can find, pick up smoking to destress, and many are fine with sitting in their sweatpants all day.

Seeing as willpower isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, what you need is a solid system that keeps you focused and motivated throughout a challenging process. Here are some things to consider:

Delve Into Choice Architecture

The idea behind this is that choice architecture is stronger than sheer willpower. If you are trying to eat healthily, the first thing to do is deal with cravings. This means clearing out your fridge and cupboards of anything that will take you away from that goal. Replace junk food with healthier options. Buy more fruit instead of candy and chocolate. Buy more vegetables rather than popcorn or crackers.

Build The Essentials For Success

Be Aware of What Makes You Happy

This allows you to find the motivation you need to push yourself forward. This can be done in various ways like delving into your past or trying new hobbies.

Be Open to Changes

Willpower is still an essential piece, but it’s not the only thing that you need to find success. Consider that you might not know everything. It will make it easier when you have a setback and need to reflect on what went wrong.

Incorporate Methods To Boost Willpower And Other Aspects

Plot Progress

Knowing what you’ve accomplished will give you evidence that you’ve been successful in the past. When you start doubting yourself, take a look at the progress you’ve made.

Get Tough

Your determination to overcome tough spots in life is vital when it comes to achieving and setting smart goals and personal goals. You’ll hit roadblocks and your willpower is what will get you through hard times.

Forgive Yourself and Learn From Mistakes

Being able to forgive yourself will allow you to move forward quicker. When you aren’t hindering your own progress by feeling sorry for yourself, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals much easier.

Your Ultimate Solution for Goal Setting

In this section, you’ll learn the steps of achieving and succeeding when setting the goals.

1. Set SMARTER Goals

Understand What You Truly Want To Achieve

Aim to understand what types of goals you’d like to achieve.

To do this, you can use the 5 Whys framework to dig deep into your desires. The purpose of this framework is to be asking yourself the question “why?” five times. Every single time you ask why you’re getting to the source of why you started goal setting in the first place.

Let’s say your initial want is to ‘make more money.’

Why do you want to make more money? “Because I want to buy a big house.”

Why do you want a big house? “Because living in a big house is comfortable”

Why does only a big house make you comfortable? “Because I have a big family, with a wife and three kids; we need a big house for everyone.”

Why do you want a big house for everyone to live in? “Because I want them to live in a comfortable place.”

Why is that? “Because I love my family and I want them to be happy.”

Can you now see the clear difference between the initial want and the true purpose at the end? In this example, you thought you wanted more money; but in reality, what you truly want is for your family to be happy. While making more money and getting a big house could do that, how you treat your family and the time you spend with them are key elements too.

How To Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals and start accomplishing significant personal goals with personal accountability – without limiting beliefs.

  • Specific – What is the direction and meaning of the goal I’m pursuing?
  • Example: I want to lose 50 pounds.
  • Measurable – Will the goal be able to be measured?
  • Example: Every week I will weigh in and measure my progress.
  • Attainable – Is the goal realistic?
  • Example: I have spare time and money to devote to losing weight.
  • Relevant – Does the goal align with my inner self?
  • Example: Yes, I want to look good during the summer.
  • Time-Bound – When will the goal need to be met?
  • Example: I have a year to lose 50 pounds.
Set Specific Goals

Goals that are vague or generalised are ineffective because they lack direction. Keep in mind that you’ll need targets to guide you. Make it as simple as possible to get where you want to go by identifying your destination in detail.

Set Measurable Goals

Use specific numbers, deadlines, and other details in your milestones so that you can track your progress. How would you know that you’ve achieved your target if it’s as simple as “reduce expenses”? If you have a 1% reduction in a month, what would you do in two years if you have a 10% reduction? You lose out on the joy that comes with thinking you’ve accomplished something if you don’t have a way to track your progress.

Set Attainable Goals

You can only demoralise yourself and erode your trust if you set a target that you have no chance of achieving. However, fight the temptation to set too simple targets. At best, achieving a goal for which you didn’t have to work hard can be anticlimactic, and it can even make you dread setting potential targets with a chance of failure. You achieve the required balance by setting practical and daunting targets. These are the kinds of targets and types of goals that force you to “lift the mark,” and they have the most personal fulfilment by fulfilling these challenging goals.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be important to the path you choose to follow in your life and work. You’ll build the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want if you keep your priorities consistent with this. Set expectations that are disjointed and contradictory, and you’ll waste your time – and your life.

Set Time-Bound Goals

This means you’ll be able to recognise when you’ve achieved something. When you’re running on a deadline with your goals, your sense of urgency rises, and you’ll do more quickly.

The above is a great example of SMART goal setting that will get you started on creating a successful plan. You want to have every step written down before you start your life-changing mission. Being efficient when planning your goals will make it easier to accomplish them.

Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

Take Action

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Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Setup SMART goals for yourself. Write them down and use them to accomplish significant personal goals with personal accountability
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Take reference of these 20 SMART goals examples

2. Plan Your Goal

Start With Set Milestones

Goal setting starts to have a real impact when you see your hard-earned work turn into results. Setting milestones will help you to achieve your goals. To create a milestone it has to meet the following criteria:

  • It’s challenging
  • It can be completed within the span of a month
  • It’s concrete

Map out your plan — Break down your plan into milestones. These will be bite-sized steps that once completed you can check off on your way to completing your long-term goal.

Create a backup plan in case any milestones fail — You should have a back-up plan in case life gets in the way.

You might find the following quick example helpful:

Let’s say that your goal is to get a new job. You could map out this goal using a plan such as this one:

  • Decide what kind of job you’re looking for
  • Scope out potential employers
  • Start submitting applications
  • Continue applying every day
  • First interview
  • Put in your 2 weeks
  • Celebrate your new job!

When you have a plan like this, you’ll quickly be able to start ticking off items from your list, which will encourage you and motivate you to keep going until the finish line.

Create Actions

If you want to achieve your goals you need to focus on taking the right actions. Your actions should have:

  • Intention – Why you are doing something.
  • Value – The benefits that this task is bringing you.
  • Cost – What you have to give up or invest to achieve that value.

Have A Reward System

Setting up a reward system is going to make it easier to achieve your goals. When you’re seeing the results you want and getting to celebrate them, it’ll be easier to continue creating bigger and more impactful goals.

  • Every time you complete a milestone, reward yourself
  • Ensure that the rewards are proportionate to the milestone. IE: If you applied for a job that doesn’t mean you should buy yourself an expensive suit.

Schedule The Tasks

Keep yourself on track by planning your actions. Block scheduling is one method to ensure you’re staying on track.

But despite all the planning done, remember that plans can still fall short. Planning around Planner’s fallacy means ensuring that you have a back-up plan in mind and are open to the idea of reviewing and making adjustments to your milestones or plans should you fail.

Don’t Get Stuck In Planning Fallacy!

Plans don’t always go according to plan. Don’t get stuck trying to force your plan, go with the flow.

The issue is that when you put together a plan, you can become stubborn when your plan changes. Here is how you can avoid it:

  • Don’t immediately doubt yourself
    You’re better off making two big assumptions: we have some inability to plan properly, and we’re blind to it.
  • Pay attention to your track record
    Overconfidence is one of the roadblocks you can face when planning. When you have hard data about what you’re capable of accomplishing, you won’t plan for something that you can’t achieve.
  • Deal with uncertainty
    • Worse-case planning: As the saying goes “plan for the worst” this is all about determining the worst possible scenario and figuring out how to overcome it.
    • Flexible-planning: Instead of focusing on the result, you’re putting more focus on the actions that get you to the results.
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

Take Action

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Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Set challenging milestones that can be completed within a month – this will help you to achieve your goals.
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Create the right actions to achieve your goals.
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Reward yourself by celebrating small wins.
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Stay on track by planning your actions with Block Scheduling.

3. Act on Your Goal

The third step is to follow through on your goal setting. With a plan, it should be pretty clear cut, but consider the following things to make acting on your goals much easier:

Start Small And Schedule

There are all kinds of tools and methods to help you schedule tasks. Just be sure that they align with the milestones you’ve planned.

Here’re some options for you:

Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

Take Action

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Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Setup a to-do list app to keep track of your goals – both short and long term. (See above links for suggestions)

Review Progress Consistently

Make it a weekly activity to review your progress. If you’ve made a small step towards your goal, celebrate it through your reward system. If you didn’t, consider what you need to do to make sure you’re staying on track.

Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

Take Action

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1 Action
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Review your progress. If you’ve made progress, celebrate with a reward. If not, consider what you can change to get back on track.

Create An Environment That Helps Your Goal

If you’re in an environment that hinders your success mindset, you have to think of ways to change your environment. Things like cleaning your desk, letting more natural light in, being around different people could be what you need to get your mind into focus.

Imagine this scenario:

You have a goal to lose 20lb of weight in the next 6 months.

If you tried to get fit without a road map, then you’d probably fail to achieve your aim.

However, by getting your environment right, such as by only stocking healthy food in your home, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.

Add to that making yourself accountable — perhaps by getting your partner on board with your goal — and you’ll start to find the motivation you need.

If you keep reviewing your progress and reward yourself every time you hit one of your incremental targets, then you’ll have everything you need to help you reach your weight loss goal.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg for consistency. You can run into other problems with consistency such as:

  • Your dreams aren’t your own – You might be taking on your social circle’s dreams or your parents. When this happens, it’s going to be hard to stay consistent.
  • You may feel overwhelmed with your dream – Chasing a dream is a huge undertaking because it can be mentally taxing. Trying to become a famous singer can lead to disappointment due to it being unrealistic. On the flip side, having a goal to create music every week is going to drive you in the same direction but without the unneeded stress of becoming famous.
  • You have a cluttered mind and no organization – Organization of your mind and your space is key to thriving. If you’re easily distracted or suffer from an unclear mind, take a few moments to take deep breaths throughout the day or meditate to center yourself.
  • You’re lacking a why – Why do you want to pursue this goal? Why be consistent with this habit? Knowing the answers to those questions is critical to be consistent. Not only that, but you need to have a great reason (or more) to keep at it.

Practice, Practice, Practice

While the SMARTER goal system can be a great way to set goals, this is only the start of your story.

It’s here where deliberate practice can shine.

Before deliberate practice, you have naive practice and purposeful practice.

Naive practice is where most people are at and it satisfies the following conditions:

  • You treat your goal like a hobby where it’s something you do once in a while.
  • When you practice, the scale of the challenge is low. You raise the bar in small increments or you continue to perform the same thing. For example, you may be playing the same song on an instrument or writing the same form of article.

For purposeful practice you have to:

  • Tailor your goal to something more specific. For example, instead of practicing the same song constantly, add a layer of challenge to it. Say you’ll play the song multiple times in a row without making a single mistake.
  • Develop a strategy to help you achieve your objective.
  • Have a clear and concise reason to push yourself.

To be someone who deliberately practices, you have to:

  • Satisfy the previous conditions of purposeful practice
  • Ensure the practice you’re doing is in a performance-based field. I.e. The field that you’re practicing has a clear distinction between those who are experts and those who are novices.
  • Have a system or mentor to guide you

For further ideas to make things happen, grab the Make It Happen handbook to condition your mind for action.

4. Stick With Your Set Goals

Create A Solid Accountability System

An accountability system is a solid way to ensure you are committed to holding yourself accountable and working towards your set goals. It’s an extra incentive to be performing your best. Examples of additional accountability are things like giving people or yourself updates on your progress, recognizing progress, and celebrating. This is a key way to stick to your goals, and of course, reach your goals.

Having an accountability partner provides an extra incentive as the ideal partner will encourage you to stay motivated and focus on your set goals.

You can also add another layer of challenge by involving money. Paying a trusted friend at the end of the week if you don’t hit your goal is a great incentive to perform.

Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023

Take Action

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1 Action
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2023
Find an accountability partner that will encourage you to stay motivated and focus on your goals.


If you want to achieve what you want in life, these tips and strategies are Lifehack’s proven methods to setting and reaching goals. Start by setting a SMARTer goal and draft an action plan to visualize the steps you can take to get closer to what you want.

If you tend to procrastinate on big goals, this is your go-to-guide: What Is Procrastination And How To Stop It (Complete Guide).