by: Yuri Elkaim

Helping you with your dietary and fitness goals is only part of what I do.

I also try to help you understand the psychological process that’s behind achieving your goals, and making your dreams a reality. If you’re feeling stuck or confused on how to set goals and achieve them quickly, I’m going to share my best tips with you today, too.

If you’re thinking “Forget it, Yuri. My dream life is so far out of my reach”, let me assure you that wherever you are today (regardless of your circumstances), things can drastically change for the better.

All it takes is proper goal setting and commitment before you realize that your dream life isn’t as far away as you thought.

The #1 Reason People Don’t Achieve Their Goals

The main reason people don’t achieve their goals is simply because they don’t have a plan in place to achieve them.

This is why learning how to set goals is so important.

Sure, you can daydream and use your imagination to think about what you want, but having a vision is only part of the process. You must also take action each day to get closer to your goals, which is why having a clear plan in place for goal setting is crucial. 

How to Set Goals: A Step by Step Formula

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Quickly

Have a Vision

Sometimes knowing what you want is easier said than done. But you must know what your goals are in order to achieve them! And don’t forget- every detail matters.

If it’s a healthier, leaner body you’re working towards, what kinds of foods do you see yourself eating each day for that body? What type of exercise do you envision yourself doing? All of these factors contribute to the vision of your goals, while making them seem more real and achievable.

The more detailed and inspiring your vision and end result is to you, the more likely you are to take inspired action each day towards achieving your goals. 

Write Them Down

Once you know what your goals are, write those babies down.

Not only does putting your goals down on paper give you more clarity (and help you refine your thought process regarding what you truly want), but the impact of writing down goals has actually been studied and proven to increase success. 

At Dominican University in California, a study was conducted by psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews on goal setting. The purpose of the study was to determine whether writing down and sharing goals with another person had a stronger impact on achieving them.

In her study amongst 149 participants, she found that those who wrote their goals down had a significantly higher success rate in achieving them than those who didn’t (1).

She also concluded that those who wrote action commitments accomplished much more than those who didn’t. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Separate Your Goals into Long-Term and Short-Term

Once you’ve put your goals down on paper, I recommend having both long-term and short-term goals. A long term goal would fall into the 5-10 year category, while a short-term goal would be in 3 months, 6 months or a year, for example.

Dividing your goals into separate categories can help take away some of the overwhelm that can come with goal setting, and break your goals down into actionable and manageable steps.

For instance, one of your long term goals may be to buy a home.

And while it’s not impossible for you to become a homeowner overnight, it’s not as likely. Buying a home may require a few years of saving for a down payment, which would fit in your long-term category. On the other hand, you may set a goal to give up gluten in order to have more energy, and that would fit in your short-term goal category.

Create an Actionable Plan

Every goal you write down must have actionable steps to help achieve the goal.

When writing your goals down, specify how you intend to achieve them.

If your goal is to buy that luxurious dream home, you may plan to put $1000 aside each month towards a down payment. This is an actionable plan that makes achieving your goal entirely measurable, and therefore realistic and possible!

Feel as Though Your Goals Have Already Happened

You may be familiar with the Law of Attraction (or The Secret) and how to use it in terms of setting goals.

But regardless of your personal views or beliefs on manifestation, many books on goal setting suggest using one of the main Law of Attraction principles to get what you want: to envision and feel your goal as if you’ve already achieved it.

The reason this may work is because it suggests to your subconscious mind that you’re already having the experience you desire, which is said to attract the things you wish to have to you.

Your subconscious simply cannot distinguish between a dream or reality, which is why new-age philosophers swear by this method when learning how to set goals.

To envision and feel your goal as if you’ve already achieved it, write down your goals in the present tense. For this exercise to be effective, be sure to feel the emotion of achieving that goal as you write it down.

For example, you might write:

I am so happy and grateful now that I have the healthy body of my dreams. I feel overjoyed and relieved that I can now feel confident in anything I choose to wear.

Spend some time with this exercise and don’t rush it. The more emotion you can attach to your goals, the better. Besides, it’s the feeling of the having that new house or car that we’re chasing—not the actual house or car. (So go to that open house, and go test drive that car!)

Knowing how you want to feel when you achieve your goals can also help you refine your goal setting process.

Align Yourself with Your Goals

Knowing how to set goals can help you stay focused on achieving your desired result.

Let’s say, for example, you were offered a promotion at your corporate job with a very attractive salary and benefits package. This job would require you to move halfway across the world and would be a long-term commitment.

However, your long term goal was to become self-employed with a non-location dependent business in just two years. Shiny opportunities can be hard to turn down, but may end up taking you further away from your goals.

This is another reason why writing your goals down and attaching the emotion to them is helpful. They can allow you to remember why you’re working towards your goals in the first place – and eliminate any distractions that take you off course.

This isn’t to say your goals won’t change from time to time—of course they will, and that’s perfectly fine.

But when you align yourself with your goals each day by making decisions based on the results you’d like to achieve, you can achieve your goals much quicker than you could’ve imagined.

Envision Your Goals

Using a Vision Board to Achieve Your Goals

Vision boards are one of my favourite visualization techniques for setting and achieving goals.

Vision boards can help to quickly connect you to the feeling and emotion of what it’s like to already have your desires, and allow them to feel closer within your reach.

A vision board is something you can create at home on a weekend afternoon. All you need is a poster board, glue and some magazine cut-outs of your visions and goals.

Vision boards are also helpful when it comes to getting re-inspired and excited by the goal setting process (and your dream life). 

How to Make a Vision Board

To make a vision board, you can choose cut out photos from magazines of your ideal lifestyle, career, state of health, house, car and even your ideal partner. You can put whatever you’d like on your vision board, as long as it’s something that makes you feel a positive emotional charge when you see the images.

Once you have all of your images, glue them on your vision board and place your vision board somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. Spend a few minutes looking at it and connecting to the emotion of the pictures you’ve chosen… and watch the magic happen.

As you can see, it’s easy to learn how to set goals, and it’s something you can do anytime and anywhere to improve your overall happiness and quality of life.

In Summary: How to Set Goals That Get Results

1. Know Exactly What You Want:

Knowing what you want, in detail, is the first step to setting any goal.

2. Write It Down:

Putting your goals down on paper helps you gain clarity on what you want to achieve, and increases your success in achieving them.

3. Categorize Your Goals into Short or Long-Term Goals:

Separate your short-term goals from your long-term goals to create a realistic timeline for achieving them.

3. Create an Actionable Plan on How You Will Achieve Each Goal:

After the “what” comes the “how”. Once you’ve written down your goal, specify which steps you will take each day to bring you closer to achieving that goal.

4. Create The Feeling of Already Having Achieved Your Goals:

Attaching emotion to your goals helps create a more compelling vision of your goals and fires you up. Having an emotional connection to your goals may help speed up the rate at which you achieve them.

To connect with the emotion of achieving your goals, write them down in sentences in the present tense and say how it would feel to have them. Creating a vision board with images of your goals is also helpful to increase your emotional response.

5. Make Decisions Based on Your Goals:

To stay on track with achieving your goals, ask yourself with each decision you make: “is this getting me closer to my goal or pushing me further away?”

It’s the smallest steps towards your goal each day that create the most powerful impact, and before you know it, you’ll have achieved your goals.

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.