May 24, 2015


How to Set & Achieve Goals

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This week’s topic, or challenge, is setting and achieving goals.

I have received so many emails from friends and readers telling me how difficult it is to set achievable goals. Others tell me that they just have too many goals and don’t know which one to tackle.  Others find themselves totally confused about what it is they want to do with their lives, their business, their blog, their relationships, their home, etc…

Well, first thing first.  This may sound simple, but a goal is something that you want to achieve. I underlined the word “you” because often times I see way too many women, especially Latina women, trying to achieve goals that are not their own.  They are going to school, or finishing up a degree, or working in a job that they don’t really want, but ended their because they were following someone else’s expectations of what and how they should be.  You need to own your goals. So, the first thing you might want to ask yourself is:  What do “I” really want for myself? (without the mental audience or chatter talking back to you).

Can goals be considered “dreams”? I don’t personally like to think of goals as dreams.  Let me tell you why.  Consider how it sounds when you say outloud:  “My dream is to …”

Now, say this phrase outloud:  “My goal is to…” Which one sounds more possible?  The goal right?  My point here is that language makes a difference, especially in the level of confidence you place on yourself when you’re trying to accomplish something.  So, from now on, you have goals.  You have achievable goals.  Let the dreamers keep sleeping…

Tips to Set & Achieve Goals:

  • State your goals very clearly. The more detail you attach to your goal, the more direction and focus you’ll have.  State or write down WHAT (you will do), WHEN (you will accomplish it), and the WILL (determination) to do it. For example:  “I will launch my online jewelry store on November 30th, 2010.” The more detail you add to your goal, the better.  For example:  “I will launch my online jewelry store (with 12 pieces of jewelry items) on November 30th, 2010″.
  • Consider your skills and abilities: Don’t set goals that are not aligned well with your skills set and your abilities.  When we set goals that require more than we can chew, the end result is pure sabotage.  Take a look at your long list of skills and ask yourself if you have the skills required to achieve goals.  If you don’t, there is no need to give up on your goal — but you might need to find or hire someone else with those skills set.  Remember, one of the most important part of setting a goal is having a clear vision, not necessarily the skills to achieve them.  You can be the visionary, and let someone else be the doer, the implementer.
  • Be realistic. Think about your resources:  time, emotional energy, money, abilities, support systems.  Don’t set yourself up.  Set goals that are aligned with what you can realistic work on right now.  Don’t let the excitement lead you to denial.  The most achievable goals are those that are realistic and within the scope of what we can do without over-exerting ourselves.
  • Be flexible and patient. While it is very important to set concrete, clearly stated goals, it is also essential that you recognize that is just fine to change the parameters of your goals.  If you find that the date you had set for a particular goal makes no sense, go ahead and change it.  After all, it is your goal.
  • Don’t set goals that are dependent on other events in your life: This is a BIG one for lots of women, especially mothers.  I often hear moms say:  “I’ll start working on my jewelry business when the kids are older…or when they go back to school…” Setting a goal to be dependent on another event, another person, or some other action, takes away ALL your control over your goal.  Yes, realitistically speaking you might not be able to start your jewelry business until the kids go back to school, but it is best to set a specific date, unattached to your kids or some other priorities.

The Mental Chatter

Raise your hands those of you have had amazing goals and ideas in your life, but allowed the mental chatter to take control.  What do you hear in your head when you think about that thing you’ve been wanting to do for so long?  Who’s voice is it?  Your parents?  Your spouse?  Your friends?  El que diran?  Well, you’re just gonna have to zip their mouths and keep going.

Here’s a secret (one that Seth Godin reminded me of, during a brief conversation at an event):  the scarier your goal, the more you should GO FOR IT. If it feels scary, embrace it.  If it feels crazy, awesome!

So, what’s one goal you plan to set this week?

Don’t know where to begin?  Here are some tips:

  • Think about those big things or goals you’ve been having for quite some time.
  • Think about that one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but the mental chatter kept drowning it.
  • Think about what others are doing, that you would LOVE to do also.
  • Ask yourself what is the one thing you would do for free, everyday, and feel great about it.

Homework: Write down your goal(s).  It can be one, it can be ten, but make sure they each meet all the criteria mentioned above (e.g., clearly stated, realistic).

Announce your goal in the comments section below:

Did you know that public announcements of goals makes them more achievable? Makes sense.  When you tell others that you plan on achieving something, you hold yourself more accountable…

This Thursday: We will discuss next steps on how to achieve your goals…

In the meantime, join the conversation on the facebook fan page, where we’ll go into more detail on the concepts discussed above.

Any questions?  Thoughts?

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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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  1. I want to organize my day more so I can get my work done, have time to do fun stuff with the family, fit in social media and exercise. I am scheduling my day hour by hour via excel. Nerdy but its working so far . I think sharing does help you be more accountable! love the new site!

    • Julie, that’s a goal that I’ve been preparing for myself. Social media is so powerful that it can easily disrupt your schedule it you just take a “peek” at your facebook, twitter messages or your email. One thing I’ve been able to do so far is to not check emails early in the morning — but that’s SOOO hard. I like your idea of organizing your day by the hour. I think I should try something similar, but have an alarm ring every hour to remind me to move on to the next thing. I actually use those kitchen/cooking timers when I’m writing a post. I give myself 30 minutes at first. This reminds me that I need to have a lot done within 30 minutes. I then add another 30 minutes to finish it up. It really helps — I used to spend hours on posts…that was a waste of time…

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