How to Set Goals You’ll Actually Stick To [Goal Setting Series – HMHE Ep 13]

Published on 6 Dec, 2022

Show Notes – Ep 013: How to Set Goals That You’ll Actually Stick To [Goal Setting Series]

Are you tired of disappointing yourself over and over by not following through on your goals? You’re not alone. Studies show that about 40% of people who set new year’s resolutions have given up by February 1st, and only around 10 – 15% have actually followed through by the end of the year. We’re not very good at goal-setting!

I too have struggled to accomplish my goals in the past, but ever since I learned that my follow-through problem was actually a planning problem I’ve approached goal setting in an entirely different way. And, I follow through and achieve my goals with more ease than ever before.

On this week’s episode of the podcast, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step process that you can use to create smart goals that you’ll actually follow through with. I also share why most people fail at reaching their goals, the mindset that we want to be in when setting our goals, and personal examples from my life.

This is the first episode of my three-part goal-setting series.

Below is a brief outline of episode 13. Please listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts.

This picture includes a goal setting journal and office supplies.

Why do most goals and New Year’s resolutions fail?

Working towards our goals can build our self-confidence, fuel our personal growth, and help us develop more self-trust. But if we fall short of our goals year after year, goal setting can erode our self-esteem.

Some of the most common reasons why we don’t reach our goals are:

    • The strategy that we use to set goals doesn’t work
    • We don’t approach our goal with a growth mindset
    • We don’t fully commit to our goal
    • We don’t do the deep inner work to grow into the type of person who can reach the goal
    • Our goal is based on what other people think we should do, not what we actually want
    • The goal doesn’t align with your values. The most powerful goals align with your North Star (aka your personal mission statement). If you’re unclear about your North Star then please sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive an email series that will help you identify your personal mission.
    • We’re trying to achieve too many goals at once
    • We forget about our goals

Typically you set a goal because you want something in your life to change, but if you don’t understand how personal change happens then you may be setting yourself up for failure.

In his book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, James Clear describes the three levels at which change occurs.

    1. Outcome (what you get)
    2. Process (what you do)
    3. Identity (your self-image and worldview)

When setting goals we need to consider all three of these levels in order to create goals that we’ll actually follow through with, but typically people only focus on the “outcome.”

In this episode, I focus mostly on (1) outcome, and next week I’ll dive into (2) process and (3) identity.

The Goal-Setting Mindset

There are a few important things that I want you to remember as you set your goals and when setting new year’s resolutions.


    • Set your goal from a place of self-love and a desire to grow because you find it enjoyable. If you’re setting goals because you think you’re broken and you need fixing then it might be good to focus on self-acceptance first.
    • Don’t set goals from a place of fear and self-judgment.
    • Make sure your goal aligns with your values.
    • Approach your goal as something that you will grow into. It gives clarity and direction to your personal development work.
    • View goal setting and achievement as a journey, not a one-time decision or change.
    • View this process as an experiment and an opportunity to develop more self-awareness about what does and doesn’t work for you.

Journal Prompts to Help You Get Into a Healthy Mindset

    1. How would I approach goal setting if I already believed I was worthy and enough just as I am?
    2. How can I show myself more love in the coming year?
    3. How might my life look different if I didn’t care what other people thought or expected of me?
    4. How can I say f-you to the patriarchy and white supremacy culture this year?
    5. What do I truly want to create or do in the next year?
    6. How am I going to apply the lessons that I identified in my year-end review to the new year? How am I going to approach this year differently?

The Goal-Setting Process:

Below is an outline of the process that I described in this episode. Please tune in to the full episode to hear a description of each step and personal examples from my life.

First, get yourself into the right mindset. You can use the above prompts to journal and reflect.

Next, brainstorm 5 – 10 goals based on your answers to the above journal prompts.

Pick one (yes, just one!) goal to focus on this year.

Make your goal a SMART goal.

    • Specific: Make sure there is no way to misinterpret your goal. You can do this by making it as specific as possible.
    • Measurable: What will you measure? How will you measure it?
    • Attainable: Is your goal realistic? If not, make some adjustments to scale it back.
    • Relevant: Get clear on the WHY behind your goal.
    • Time-bound: When will you know that you’ve achieved your goal? Give yourself a clear start and end point.

Next, set a start date and an end date. What time frame will you give yourself to reach your goal?

Now it’s time to break your goal down into four milestones that you’ll achieve through the year (or your goal’s specific time period). For each milestone choose an outcome, a stepping stone on the way to achieving your larger goal, and a date that you’ll achieve that outcome. These outcomes can scale up throughout the year so that your self-image grows as you hit each one.

Now it’s time to do some troubleshooting. What obstacles could stop you from achieving your goal? Develop a plan to overcome each of these obstacles.

Lastly, commit to your goal! This brings closure to the process. It’s the moment when you make a commitment to yourself to make every effort to achieve your goal.


Now that you’ve set a smart goal that is aligned with your values, rooted in self-love, and achievable, it’s time to develop the systems and identity that will support you in achieving your goal. We’ll dive into that next week!

Until then, happy goal-setting!

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Featured image: Photo by Alexa Williams on Unsplash Podcast music: “Bounce” by Coma-Media on Pixbay
This is a picture of Eva Peterson. She is the host of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast and a life coach for changemakers and aspiring activists.

Welcome! I'm Eva, host of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast and blog. This is a place for changemakers, advocates, and aspiring activists to learn, heal, and get inspired. As a certified Life Coach, Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and follow activist I'm here to support you in expanding your impact while thoroughly enjoying your life!

Self-care for Changemakers:
Be an Agent of Change Without Sacrificing Your Health