• Maud Vanhoutte

9 Golden Rules To Set Up Your Life Goals And Make Them Happen


A clear vision ensures clear goals; without a clear vision, you will hardly achieve your full potential. Do you know where you want to be in 1, 3, or 5 years? Do you have a clear understanding of your personal life mission? Do you know how to successfully achieve your goals?


If you have the feeling that you could achieve more to move forward with your life, but you are unsure about the process, then this article is exactly what you need. You will find 9 golden rules to help you set up your goals to get closer to your dream life.

The word goal itself has many synonyms, it can be found under the form of dreams, desires, outcomes, ambitions, objectives and so on. More and more researches tend to demonstrate that happiness is directly linked to the pursuit and the achievement of dreams rather than dreams themselves. If you think about it and try to find an example, it seems to be true. Isn’t restoring an old car and turning on the engine for the first time more satisfying than driving in it afterwards? Studies have shown that people who already have everything don’t have any more goals and are thus less happy than others.

Have a look at this study:

Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative? Philip Brickman and Dan Coates (Northwestern University) and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman (University of Massachusetts)

How exciting is it to set up goals, to follow the steps, and to feel proud with our accomplishment? It sounds inspiring, however, we don’t always know how to set goals that we can achieve. Follow our 9 steps to set up your life goals to move forward with your life.

1. Start focusing on the big picture rather than small details

Let’s start with the top of the funnel. What do you want? Think broad and think deep, settle for overarching ambitions, try to figure out your real needs. Do not focus on the details, do not focus on the ‘how’ just yet.

Determine your status quo, what is your current situation? Focus on 4 big areas of your life:

  • Family and friends

  • Relationship

  • Work

  • Sports/culture/society

Do you balance those 4 areas well? Do you have the feeling that one area needs your focus for some improvements? That might be the area you want to start with.

Keep in mind that a small desire might hide a way bigger need and that fulfilling the small desire will not accomplish what you thought it would.

2. Understand your real needs to set up your goals

The Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow

The Hierarchy of Needs is a tool created by Abraham Maslow, "A Theory of Human Motivation", comprising a five-tier model of human needs. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.

When setting up your goals, start checking how far you are in The Hierarchy of Needs. Always ensure that a need is fulfilled before moving up to the next one. You will hardly feel accomplished and self-loved if you struggle to meet your basic needs.

The Human Basic Needs after Anthony Robbins

If The Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow was not enough for your needs assessment, use The Human Basic Needs scale from Anthony Robbins. For each of the 6 human basic needs, ask yourself how much the need is fulfilled in your life (on a scale from 0 – very little, to 10 – fully):

  • Certainty

  • Variety

  • Significance

  • Connection/Love

  • Growth

  • Contribution

3. Write down your goals

How can writing down your goals help you achieve them? Well, don’t under-estimate the power of writing down your goals if you actually want to achieve them. First, many of us focus and learn better when writing things down rather than just hearing, thinking, or reading them. As writing things down helps us to memorise them, by writing down our goals, we will keep them in mind, as well as the steps to achieve them.

Writing down your goals will also assist you with the steps, the solutions and the ‘details’. Because you will spend time thinking of your goals and projects, you will question your resources and skills to come with answers and solutions. Writing down your goals doesn’t simply mean putting a few words on paper. When writing down your goals, you want to be very specific, you might need to use visuals, photos and graphics. When doing this exercise, simply imagine that someone else will need to understand exactly your project without any additional explanation. Once you get there, you know that you did a great job writing down goals that you are already more likely to achieve.

4. Big goals, big preparation

Some goals can take many years to be achieved, so what is an hour or a few hours of your time to structure them properly? When focusing on goal setting and goal achievement, rushing isn’t usually the answer. What will happen if you don’t carefully set up your goals and try to immediately rush to achieve them? You may fail! And, what usually happens when adults fail? They give up completely and move on with a new project – when they dare to focus on a new project…

Adults don’t like failures and don’t handle failures well. When setting up your goals, you want to carefully plan and prepare the different steps and possible scenarios. By doing so, you can move from one step to another towards your goal instead of rushing there and facing the risk of failure. You won’t be able to magically achieve everything overnight. The key is to understand that achieving your goals can take time and be seen as ongoing work. Steps towards a goal are steps away from our comfort zone; it is important to respect the step instead of jumping out of your comfort zone without a parachute.

The "comfort zone"

5. Set up S.M.A.R.T. (F.) goals to get closer to your dream life

You can’t achieve a goal that is not S.M.A.R.T.(F.): specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely and fun! Being happy is not a goal, being successful neither. “I want to move on with my career” is not a S.M.A.R.T.(F.) goal. In this example, I don’t know what I want, when, or how. In order to achieve your goals, you need to clarify them. Turn all your unclear objectives into S.M.A.R.T.(F.) goals that you can (and will) achieve.


Are you guilty of setting unsmart goals? Here are some unsmart goals examples: “I want to be happy”, “I want to be fitter”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want a better career”, “I want more traffic on my website”, “I want my business to be more successful”, “I want to be a better manager”. Those goals are too vague, they are not clear enough and don’t invite you to take actions.


Let’s use the following example “I want to be a better manager” to turn it into a SMART F goal:

  • Specific: I want to be more supportive and available for my team – I will take more time for individual meetings and listen more to their suggestions. I will also let them know that I notice and appreciate their achievements

  • Measurable: I will know that I am successfully moving on with my goal thanks to my team members’ feedback and implication, as well as my own observations

  • Achievable: I will set specific times during the day for individual catch-ups and I will highlight my team’s accomplishments and great work every Friday

  • Relevant: By doing all that I will be a better manager for my team. We will all achieve more together.

  • Timely: I will seek for the first feedback after 2 weeks, then a month, and so on. In 3 months if I don’t see significant progress, I will enrol in a management training class.

  • Fun: Every time you can, add fun to your goals. It makes it easier to achieve

6. Adopt the power of positive thinking

As you can’t be both positive and negative at the same time, simply decide to focus on positive thinking. Negative and positive thinking are both contagious; it is up to you to decide what you want to share. If you start to adopt a negative state of mind towards your goal or project – thinking that it is too hard, not for you, impossible to solve… you simply block your creativity and your ability to come with positive ideas and solutions.

Starting a new project and moving towards a goal’s accomplishment isn’t an easy adventure. You might not instantly see your progress and sometimes you might consider giving up. Please, don’t, this is when you will need all your resilience. It is now time to do the opposite of step 1: stop focusing on the big picture and start focusing on little, easy and realistic steps. Also, don’t forget to look back at what you already accomplished!

7. Allow steps, improvements and feedback

As we mentioned before, achieving goals can take time. It is essential to allow time and to respect the steps in order to achieve your goal. Don’t beat yourself up if things are not immediately perfect if you need to readjust a few things, or simply if you don’t succeed the first time. Do you think that you walked the way you do since day one? No, you failed, many times, but you didn’t give up, you tried again and now, you walk perfectly with a good balance. If the result isn’t immediately perfect simply learn from the experience and make it better the next time. Use experience, feedback and perspective to make your project better.

8. Get ready to learn and to change your plans

As you are moving towards your goal, you might decide to change or adjust your plans and it is perfectly fine. Simply because you decided on something one day doesn’t mean that you are stuck with a project. We are all growing and evolving, and, sometimes, yesterday’s plans are simply not a good fit anymore for today’s life. Another reason for changing plans can simply be your new experience, new knowledge or new skill set that allows you to better structure your goals.

9. Reward yourself and celebrate

In order to appreciate your evolution and progress, you need to notice them. Be sure not to focus too much on what isn’t perfectly working to focus on what works well and what to be proud of. Too often we focus on what needs to change instead of appreciating what we already did and achieve. To boost your progress, be sure to notice every accomplishment and realisation. Thanks to those personal marks of appreciation, you will feel stronger and more confident to face the next step.

Be sure to reward yourself when you achieve something great and when you think that you made good progress. By doing so, you release dopamine in your body, and it is scientifically proven that this will give you more willpower for your next action.

So, are you ready to set up your life goals now? A coaching consultation is always a good addition to meditation and introspection as it helps you with relevant questions to find your best answers!



Contact us to book your Set Up Your Goals Coaching Session (2 hours)

Antoine Chevalier & Maud Vanhoutte

Contact us:

+61 (0)2 9569 6906

contact@newreflection.com.au

www.newreflection.com.au

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