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How to set realistic and attainable goals,fourteen steps.


Attaining realistic and attainable goals can be challenging, but with the right approach and mindset, it is definitely possible. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of successfully meeting your goals.

1.Set clear goals

black and white dartboard/realistic and attainable goals

Clearly define the habit you want to change and the specific outcome you want to achieve. Make your goal specific, measurable achievable, relevant, and time-bound. (SMART) The more detailed you can be, the better. Include everything you will need. What people will be essential?

I write my weekly and monthly goals in my bullet journal, which most users lovingly refer to as BUJO. However, I struggle with being realistic. I have a habit of being a little too enthusiastic in this area. But I’d rather schedule too much than not enough. (I’m that way with food, too. My mom always said my appetite was bigger than my stomach.

Setting clear and realistic goals is an important step in acheiving success and staying focused. Even silly goals need a plan. Let me explain. I’m determined to wear my longer skirts this summer, at least once a week. Why, you ask?

For one thing, why have them if I don’t wear them. Right? And if I don’t wear one a week, I’m donating them! The other thing? I like looking feminine and while one can certainly look feminine wearing anything, I feel feminine when I wear a skirt. And the final thing?

I always feel uncomfortable in the longer ones. I see other women wearing them and they look great in them. It’s just me. So I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone and going for it. I wore one yesterday and my husband said I looked great and why didn’t I wear them more often. So, there’s that. Sometimes goals can be frivolous and that’s OK. It’s even OK for Christians.

2.Identify your goal objectives

Start by clarifying what you want to achieve. Ask yourself what you truly want and why it matters to you. Consider your long-term vision and break it down into specific objectives.

a.Assess your motivations for your goals

When I started writing and publishing I knew my goal from the beginning. I wanted to leave something tangible. Years after I’m gone, I wanted my words to live on. In my first book, Depression as a big voice!, I even wrote how years from now someone will run across my book and it will strike a responsive chord with them. They will borrow it or buy it and after they read it, they will be encouraged.

But when it comes to setting goals for the actual writing, that’s a bit more difficult because it’s really more of the nitty-gritty stuff which I’m not so good with.

b.Seek God’s direction in goal-setting.

As Christians, we need to seek God’s direction for setting goals. There have been times in my life when I’ve thought I needed to set a goal but I didn’t prayed about it. I may have gone ahead anyway, but I would soon realize God had more important goals for me. Pray for wisdom first before you decide on the goals you want to pursue.

We can have different goals for different areas in our lives all at the same time. My skirt-wearing-goal is just one very little one. I have goals for my spiritual life, my physical life, my emotional life, and my relationship life.

3. Make your goals specific

Clearly define your goals in precise terms. Avoid vague statements and be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying, “I want to get in shape,” you can say, “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next three months.

  • wear a skirt once a week
  • walk 2+ miles a day, 6+ days a week
  • eat salads twice a week
  • be in bed by 10:00
  • get up between 6-6:30

Those are just a few of mine.

4.Ensure your goals are measurable

If you don’t have a system for measuring your goals, you will never know how you’re doing. It’s the basic tenet for reaching any goal but you would be surprised how many people don’t figure this out. It’s the golden rule of goal success.

My mother was always getting “sick”. According to her, she was sick “sick” for “weeks and weeks.” It was mostly depression. For my sake and hers, I started keeping track. Each time she would have a spell, and she would say she’d been sick for weeks, I would tell her exactly how long it had been. This actually helped her have a more realistic view and encouraged her.

It helped me because I got very discouraged and worried until I realized this was her pattern. Once I did, I counted the days and reassured myself that she would get better eventually. I could reassure her as well.

I even keep track of the times I don’t feel well now because I know how easy it is to make things worse by thinking we’ve been sick longer than we think. This goes for moods, too. This really works, especially for depression and anxiety.

It’s imperative to measure your progress. You can use any system you want. You can use an app, paper and pencil, a journal, whatever works for you.

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5.Set realistic and attainable goals

Set goals that you can measure so that you can track your progress and determine when you have achieved them. Define specific criteria or indicators that will help you assess your success.

For instance, if your goal is to save money, specify the exact amount you want to save within a certain time frame and then save a little every day. If it’s to walk ten miles a week, begin by walking half a mile a day and keep it up. Then add another half mile each day and so on.

a.Unattainable goals

While it’s good to aim high, it’s important to set goals that are realistically achievable. Assess your current resources, capabilities, and constraints. Consider the time, effort, and resources required to accomplish your goals. Setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration and discouragement.

6. Break down your goals into smaller tasks

Instead of trying to change everything at once, start with small, manageable changes. Break down the habit into smaller actions that are easier to incorporate into your daily routine. This makes it less overwhelming and increases the likelihood of success.

Divide your goals into smaller, manageable tasks or milestones. Breaking them down makes them less overwhelming and allows you to focus on one step at a time. Each smaller task should be actionable and have a clear deadline.

Let’s say your goal is to walk a mile every day. Start with five minutes of walking, and increase it daily to get to your mile. Small, easier to reach goals empowers us to keep going.

7. Stay consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to meeting our goals. Try to to do something every day that gets you closer to your goal, or on specific days and times, to reinforce the behavior. Over time, it will become more automatic and natural.

But meeting our goals takes time, and setbacks are normal. Don’t get discouraged by occasional slip-ups. Instead, view them as learning opportunities and adjust your approach if needed.

8.Set deadlines for your goals

Deadlines create a sense of urgency and help you stay accountable. Be realistic when setting deadlines, considering the complexity of the task and the time available to you. This may take few attempts before you get it right. That’s OK.

I’m great at thinking I can do more in one day than is humanly possible. I have to tame my goal-setting by really thinking through what is possible and what isn’t.

9.Write down your goals

Documenting your goals increases commitment and clarity. Write them down in a journal, on a vision board, or in a digital format. Review your goals regularly to stay focused and remind yourself of your objectives.

I regularly check my bullet journal to access how well I’m doing and make adjustments.

10.Track your goal progress

Keep track of your progress as you work towards your goals. Regularly assess how far you’ve come and adjust your approach if necessary. Use tools like habit trackers, journals, or apps to monitor your daily actions.

Bullet Journaling

I use a bullet journal to track a number of issues. Some items I track are walking distances, water consumption, sweets, sleep schedules, and moods. I like bullet journaling because I can adapt my journal to my changing life.

The possibilities are endless with a bullet journal. Here’s a good example.

11.Stay flexible

11.Be flexible in goal-keeping

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While it’s important to have clear goals, it’s also crucial to remain flexible and adaptable. Circumstances may change, and you may need to adjust your goals or your approach. Embrace change and be open to modifying your goals when necessary.

For example, I might have a goal of 5,000 words to write every week for my next book but then “life happens”. So I regroup and adjust my goals. I try not to feel bad about it but I don’t give up trying to hit my goal for the next week.

If we simply give up because we didn’t reach our goal this time, we’ll never get there. We have to get right back on track.

12.Seek support and accountability

Share your goals with a trusted friend, family member, or mentor who can provide support and hold you accountable. Having someone to share your progress, challenges, and successes with can help you stay motivated and focused.

Think about how you would encourage your friend if they shared with you how they had screwed up. Talk to yourself like that.


I have a goal of being in bed by 11:00. My app on my phone gives me an alert forty-five minute ahead of time to wind down. If I don’t meet my goal, I have to color a square red in my journal. My husband helps me meet this goal by kidding me if my wind down goes off and I’m not getting ready for bed. This is one habit I’ve changed very successfully because I tracked it.

Remember, setting clear goals is just the first step. It’s equally important to take consistent action, stay disciplined, and maintain a positive mindset as you work towards achieving your objectives. When I mess up my scheduled bedtime one night, I get right back on track the next.

13.Celebrate goal milestones

Acknowledge and reward yourself for reaching milestones along the way. Celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, will help reinforce the positive changes and keep you motivated.

Celebrate small victories along the way to stay motivated, maybe a special coffee drink, maybe a piece of chocolate, or some time to yourself.


Setting and meeting goals begins with understanding why you want to meet a certain goal. It should be consistent with what God has called you to do. (Health goals are the exception. God wants all of us to have the best health possible.)

If you’re trying to meet a goal to “one-up” someone, that’s not a good reason. Goal-setting should be for personal growth in an area. Therefore, no one else can set goals for you any more than you can for anyone else. I know. I’ve tried.

Remember, goal-reaching is a gradual process, and everyone’s journey is unique. Be kind to yourself, stay committed, and embrace the growth mindset. With persistence and perseverance, you can successfully achieve your goals.

God bless and have a great day.