The 5 Step System to Setting Goals You Will Actually Achieve

The following is a guest post by Mike from


A Method to the Madness


Every year I set goals for myself. I’ve always been a goal oriented person with something in mind to chase after to motivate me.

A few years ago, I got myself in the habit of actually writing down my goals. I heard a saying once: “It’s only a dream until you write it down. After that, it becomes a goal.”

Maybe your dream is to lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle. Maybe it’s to finish your first 5k or 10k, or maybe you even dream of starting your own business. It’s not too late to make 2017 the year that your dream becomes your goal.

Write it down and work towards it. Once you write your dream down, get smart about it using the SMART method.

The SMART method for creating goals isn’t something I made up – in fact, I first read about it while reading through an article about how elite military units train.

The SMART method for creating goals is this: create Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timed goals. Occasionally you’ll see the R stand for Relevant, but I prefer Realistic.





A Specific goal is pretty self-explanatory. Get detailed when you create your goal. My advice is to think of something that you want to do and then break it down into smaller incremental goals.

Maybe you want to run a half marathon this year – set yourself some smaller goals of running 3 miles, then 5 miles, then 7, then 9,  and then 11 miles that will lead you to your ultimate goal of running 13.1 miles.

It sounds a little counter-intuitive that to get specific you first get vague, but that’s the beauty of it. Set your ultimate goal first and break it down into smaller detailed goals second.

Accomplishing your minor goals will build your confidence in your ability to accomplish your major goal, as well as keep you motivated.



The Measurable part of the SMART method refers to how you will measure your progress and success on your way to your goal.

How are you going to measure your running of half marathon? Well that’s simple- in distance and time! But not every goal is that easily measurable.

If you create a specific goal like starting a business, you can break that down into the numerous steps you might want to go through to create one, such as creating a website or developing your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) prototype. How would you measure those steps to achieving your ultimate goal of starting a business?

You need to pick Specific goals, but also be absolutely sure there is a way to measure your progress.


Attainable and Realistic


The goals that feel the best when you meet them are the ones that took the most effort and the most hard work and elbow grease.

Attainable and Realistic go hand in hand with each other. The idea of an attainable goal is to set yourself a goal you can accomplish. I don’t mean to say you should create a goal simply because you already know you can do it.

An example of this would be creating a goal of bench pressing 185 pounds for 10 reps when you already know that you’ve done it before. By attainable, it’s meant that it is something that you can eventually accomplish, and not something out of your reach like bench pressing 450 pounds in one month when you’ve never benched before in your life.

Create a goal that you can Realize with some good old-fashioned effort! The goals that feel the best when you meet them are the ones that took the most effort and the most hard work and elbow grease.

Sure, sometimes it might truly suck to do things while you’re doing them, but when you finally get to the end? That’s a sweet feeling. When you look back on all of your hard work and you can say to yourself “I’m proud of myself for doing this, achieving this, and it was all worth it,” you will truly feel on top of the world.






Finally, we reach the last part of your goal – Timed. Setting yourself a goal with no timeline just makes it a lot easier for you not to follow through on it or to keep procrastinating. Set yourself a goal to be accomplished in a specific time frame. I’ll give you an example of my own:

One of my own goals for this year is to be able to hold a handstand for 10-20 seconds by July 4th. I know that this is a skill I can learn through training myself to build the proper muscles and to build the proper balance, but also I can measure how long I can hold the handstand while going through my training leading up to the big day. By setting a deadline to achieve my goal by, I am much more likely to follow through on the work it will take to conquer that challenge.


Putting It All Together


At the end of the day, creating a SMART goal only gets you halfway there.

Sure, you’ve created yourself a goal, but now you need to follow through on that. You need to motivate yourself however you can to get the job done.

Maybe you motivate yourself by rewarding your good effort – give yourself a cheat meal day if your goal is to drop 10 pounds. I’m not saying you should gorge yourself, but allow yourself a slice of cake or something every few pounds. Or maybe you motivate yourself by watching pump up videos on YouTube.

Get yourself going whichever way works for you, but be absolutely sure you get yourself going and motivated to put in the work.

Doing the work is the other half of the journey to accomplishing your goals. It’s going to take hard work. It’s going to take discipline. It will more than likely require you to sacrifice. Maybe you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier to go for a run because you have no time after work when your kids are out of school. You need to prioritize and track your goals in your life or else you will not follow through on them.

Success takes hard work and effort. Put in the work, put in the effort, and achievement is close behind.



This was a guest post by Mike over at – a blog about setting and achieving goals. Go check out his blog here for some great advice on how to set goals that you will stick to.


I am a twenty-something coder in training, amateur weightlifter, and newly minted website owner. Aside from coding and lifting, my other hobbies include writing, drawing, reading, and the occasional video game. I live in the ever-wonderful Los Angeles, California where I was born and raised.

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