12 Simple Steps to Achieving Your Goals!

“There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.”   George Washington Carver

Are your daily actions bringing you closer to your goals? If not, do not expect the things in your life you need and want changed, to change.

It feels comforting to hear motivational speakers tell us how to achieve the goals to make our lives prosperous. It’s very inspiring to read books and articles on how to overcome the challenges in life to achieve your desired goals.

All of these are great for encouraging and empowering you to set and pursue your goals. But, the key to achieving any goal is that you must put feet to your faith.

No more New Year’s resolutions

We are only two weeks away from 2014. Many people will set New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the new year, but most will give up by the end of January. A few years ago, I decided to stop setting New Year’s resolutions and began setting three to five challenging and empowering goals.

Instead of waiting for the beginning of the year to set unfocused and generic goals, me and my family start working on our personal and family goals a week before Thanksgiving. By the end of the first week of December, we have solid goal achieving plan.

Our goals plan is not written in concrete or unchangeable terms, but it gives us a starting point and a destination to reach. People often ask me about the plan we follow to set and achieve our family and personal goals.

I share with them our simple goals plan. I do not promise a magical formula that provides a guarantee your goals will automatically happen if you follow our twelve steps or you will have no struggles and everything will happen in your life the way you want at the exact time you desire.

In order to achieve your goals, you must make sacrifices, commit daily, overcome challenges and work your plan. No one can do it for you. It is your responsibility.

The Twelve Simple Steps

If you are passionate about achieving your goals our Twelve Simple Steps to Achieving Your Goals will help you write and implement an achievable goals plan that will forever change your life.

1.  Spend quality time alone with God developing your goals.

I advise you to get alone in a quiet place by yourself away from the distractions of life and begin to seek God’s face.

Put away your mobile devices, shut down the computer and turn off the television. Tell your family and friends this is your set time for seeking God’s face to hear His directions and you do not want to be disturbed.

2.  Define your goals in writing.

It is very important that you take your pen, paper and a Goals Matter! Planning Sheet with you during your quiet time. Record in detail the goals you desire to accomplish because you are fooling yourself if you think you can remember everything that comes to mind in your quiet time.

When you begin to define your goals in writing make sure they are SMART: SpecificMeasurableActionableReinforcingTrackable. Written goals will help bring better clarity to your life. When you document your goals you create a road map to focus your directions.

3.   Create measures to success.

Now that you have defined your goals, the next step is to create ways to measure your progress. It is not enough to say I have a goal, but you need to have a way to measure your progress. You define your measures for success by:

    1. Term (length of time)

  •  Short Term (within a year)
  • Medium Term (within three years)
  • Long Term (over three years)

    2. The Life Area – spiritual, relational, physical, social, financial, mental or professional.

    3. Dates – Start date, target completion date and actual completion date.

Adding these measurables to your goals brings a greater energy and excitement to achieve them. If you don’t meet your measurables please don’t give up, you may need to make some readjustments or changes. You may need to quit doing something one way and try doing it another way.

4. Define possible opportunities for success.

Are you ready to define your opportunities for success? What potential opportunities do you know about that will bring you possible success or someone connected to you? Is it a job promotion, a more lucrative career, a new investment or a great business deal? 

One technique that I found very helpful to focus my goals planning was to list several opportunities for success in accomplishing a particular goal. I personally like to list three to four opportunities. Let’s use the example of a goal of losing 20 lbs. in four months.

Here are a few things I would list as possible opportunities for success: I will physically feel better, I will be more confident, I will have to buy a new wardrobe and I would be able to participate in more physical activities.

You can list as many opportunities for success as you desire. Your list will become a huge part of your motivation to achieve your goals when times of discontentment, discouragement and doubt come.

5. Identify obstacles to success.

Now that you have spent time alone developing your goals, you have written them down, set measures to success and defined possible opportunities for success everything should be smooth sailing, right? Wrong! Obstacles will come to attempt to distract and detour your goals plan.

You may be able to identify some of the obstacles in the beginning, but some will come out of nowhere. You may feel fearful about going after your goals because you know that opposition will come. You may think your life will be easier if you stay in your comfort zone, but opposition will come even if you stay in your comfort zone or not. So you might as well do what you need to do to accomplish your goals.

When you are growing and moving towards your goals, your vision pursuit and passion to succeed will equip and empower you to deal with any obstacles. You will gain strength to overcome your opposition by remaining focused on your goals.

I suggest that you identify at least three obstacles that you feel may try to prevent you from achieving your goals. List the potential obstacles that you have identified for each of your goals on your Goals Matter! Planning Sheet and begin your journey of overcoming them to successfully achieve your goals.”

6. Breakdown goals into manageable action steps. 

When you have a large goal that you want to accomplish, the best thing to do is break your large goal into smaller more manageable action steps.

If you focus on the enormity of the large goal it can become too overwhelming. If you try to do the large goal all at once it can lead to certain frustration and quick burn out. If you take the large goal and break it down into smaller measureable action steps you set yourself up for success because you make your large goal more obtainable. It is much easier to bust a large stone with several small strikes than one big hit.

If you have a large goal you want to accomplish our Goals Matter! Planning Sheets have a section where you can list at least ten smaller action steps with a begin date, target completion date and an actual completion date. Taking the time to break your goal into smaller manageable action steps will put you on the right road to your goals success.

7. Identify people, resources or skills needed.

What resources or skills do you have or need to acquire to accomplish your goals? Who are the people you will need on your team to help you achieve your goals?

You may have to take a class or do an in depth self-study on a particular subject to educate yourself on a new skill or re-educate yourself on an old skill that you will need. Trust me; you are going to need help from others. Don’t be ashamed or too prideful to ask for help.

You can’t do it alone. You will need the support, encouragement and someone to share ideas with. Identify and acquire the resources, skills and/or people you will need and go to work.

8. Demonstrate a progressive attitude.

What occupies your thought life can have a tremendous influence on your attitude. What you think and say will play an integral part in your ability to achieve your life goals. You must possess a progressive attitude that moves you forward in spite of the opposition and barriers that are present. What you feed your mind will eventually come out in your talk and actions.

How you think will determine who you are and what you do. When you catch yourself thinking defeated thoughts or speaking negative words, immediately replace them with positive words and empowering thoughts.

If you don’t, your defeated thoughts and negative words will over shadow any attempt to have a positive and progressive attitude. The surest way you get your thoughts in order is to have them aligned with your overall life’s vision.

9. Take action.

What actions have you taken to turn your goals into reality? Once you have a written goals plan it is time to take action. It is your responsibility to make daily decisions to do something to move forward.

You can’t wait for the right deal, the right people to support you or the right situation to happen before you take action on your goals.

You could have written the most captivating, compelling and challenging goal possible, but if you don’t take a course of action to implement your plan, your goal will remain just a wonderful dream. Once you have a desired goal, you can use our Goals Matter! Planning Sheets to properly set your goal in detail and then take immediate action.

10.  Monitor your goals regularly.

As you move forward with your goals, you will need to periodically monitor them. It is important to know where you stand in your goals progress in order to make any necessary adjustments or changes. 

You may find you need to go right instead of going left or you may have to extend the time of when you can complete an action step or the overall goal. You may discover that a goal you may set needs to be eliminated because it no longer aligns with your overall life’s vision.

Monitoring your goals regularly will give you the view of where you are and whether or not you are on the right course to completing your goal. The Goals Matter! Planning Sheets are great documents to regularly monitor where you are on your goals progress.

11. Reward yourself.

I don’t want to make achieving your goals all work. You have heard the saying, “all work and no play makes you dull”. During the process of reaching your goals you need to implement rewards that follow key steps in your action plan. This will enforce your desire to move forward to the next step on your way to accomplishing your big goal.

Please make your goal achievement a fun and exciting process. Now don’t overdo it with rewards because you still have an overall goal to reach. Your minor victories deserve applause!

You can establish bigger rewards as you accomplish more steps to your overall larger goal. This recognition will enforce where you are going and provides an incentive to get the job done.

12.  Keep moving forward

Please know that when you take action, opposition and obstacles will try to take you off course. They will come at you daily with a relentless arsenal trying to hinder your forward progress. I admonish you to:

a. Commit to your specific goals path regardless of setbacks, challenges or failures.

b. Continually surround yourself with people who will encourage your forward movement.

c. Consistently show up every day to do the work necessary to achieve your goals.

d. Confidently operate in your abilities, talents and gifts.

e. Courageously fight through the temptation to quit.  


If you are ready to create an effective goals plan, sign up for our FREE blog updates and download our Goals Matter! eBook on our website. You can also download our Goals Matter! Planning Sheet in our resources section under LTI worksheets to help you set workable goals. 

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for email updates.
Plus get a FREE copy of 12 inspiring messages from my popular book Vision Impact!


Bernard Haynes is the CEO of Lead to Impact. He is the author of Vision Impact!, Goals Matter! and It's In You to Win. He teaches and trains individuals and organizations using his inspirational, interactive and instructional EmPowershops. His life assignment is to help bring out the color within people lives by encouraging, equipping and empowering them to realize and live out their God-designed vision.

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    Excellent post, Lincoln. Sound advice and I appreciate and agree with your number one, God first. If we’re outside His will we’re “chasing the wind.”

    You touched on something very important and rarely covered by most people in number five, “but opposition will come even if you stay in your comfort zone.” Awesome point! People tend to think they’re safe if they don’t take some chances. This is like being in a boxing match or any kind of match of skills and not ever going on the offense. If we only play defense eventually we’re gonna get clocked. Might as well learn to live moving forward and taking the blows as they come.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks, Floyd even though you called me Lincoln. I like the analogy you used with the boxing match. A great fighter counters with a defensive and offensive strategy. If he continually stays on the defense, he will get knocked out.

      • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

        I’m so sorry! The passion you shared is similar to his style and I’ve been thinking about him lately since I haven’t heard from him. Please forgive me, Bernard!

        • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

          Not three minutes after I responded to you a new post from him showed up in my inbox… weird, huh?

          • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

            I got the post from Lincoln.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Great advice, very thorough.
    I struggle with rewarding myself. Life is found in all the moments- big and small. I have to enjoy them, to embrace them otherwise I’ll look back not remember anything but the struggles.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks TC. I am passionate about helping people setting and achieving goals.

      • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

        Your passion shows and is greatly appreciated. There’s enough fake people out there via for our attention. Thank you for being open and honest. God bless.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Wow, a very detailed and powerful approach. I like how you start with a humble attitude of prayer. I find that’s essential!

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks Loren. I am taken a more detailed approach to my writing.Prayer is the key.

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    There’s a lot of meat here, Bernard. I really appreciate all your teaching on goals. Thanks for the good ideas!

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks, Barb. I really appreciate your encouragement and inspiration you have provided with your writing.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    These tips are so great that I had to read this post again! We can achieve every goal we have if we follow this formula and change our mindset!

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks for the comment Kimanzi. You said the key word, mindset. In order to move forward with achieving our goals is to change our mindset. I appreciate your insights from your blog and book that has helped me change my mindset.

  • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

    Great goals and tips Bernard. Keep moving forward is a big one for me. You are such a great “voice” in the areas of goals.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Dave, thanks for your encouragement. I love encouraging, equipping and empowering people to realize and live their God-designed vision.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Writing down and planning our goals and dreams is huge. Powerful things happen when we take the time to write out and plan for our future. Great post!

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      You hit the nail on the head about writing our goals. We just witnessed the power of a written goal. My wife and I wrote a goal that we wanted to accomplish before the end of the year. We stuck to it, we had to make some changes, but in the end we accomplished everything we wrote.

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

        That’s great!

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

    Bernard, #11 reward yourself is Huge and Critical. Most times we work so hard on goals but never reward ourselves which is why we never want to do them again. Its all phycological. Thanks for sharing this.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Lincoln, it is good to hear from you. I found myself going from goal to goal without rewarding myself for achievement. I need to touch bases with you in the next few weeks on a something I am working on.

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

        Sure thing.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Breaking things down into manageable steps is a big one for me. If I don’t do that I tend to get discouraged and lose hope early on.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Breaking your goals into smaller steps is the ticket in accomplishing a goal without getting discouraged and giving up.

  • http://lifesignatures.blogspot.com/ Lawrence Namale

    This is it. If someone would read this and implement just this post alone for 2014…that would be it! Great blue print right here. I love the way you started it…making generic goals for 2014 would not cut it. Translating the goals in to a daily to do action rythm is important I love this post. Blessings.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks Lawrence. After failing at achieving my goals, I wanted to development a simple plan to help me set and achieve my goals. These simple steps have given me a excellent plan to implement.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Great job! I like that you emphasized seeking God, planning AND taking action. So many spend all their time planning and never make a move to make their dreams come true.

    • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

      Thanks for your comment. We have to move from talking, researching, planning and take action to make our dreams a reality.