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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Psych Yourself up for "Sexy" Goal Setting

We have vacuumed the last of the evergreen needles and tinsel, college kids are once again gathering belongings to head back to school, and maybe, just maybe, I know what day it is. (Wednesday, right?)

One goal this year involves writing more consistently. Too bad Deacon doesn't agree

The New Year brings the promise of fresh beginnings and resolutions (or not). But this year, 2020, begins not only a new year but a new decade.

Out with the old, the past ten years, the wishes not realized, the pounds not lost, (the book not written) and in with the new, the next. But, how do we accomplish goals that have eluded us thus far? According to Marie Forleo, who quoted a study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, "most people make the same resolution ten times without success (


Let that sink in for a minute. Are you among the many that have attempted a goal without achieving it? I know I am. So, how do we approach goal-setting with a new perspective, one that is "guaranteed" to move us forward instead of standing in the muck of mediocrity? I am going to go out on a limb and say that most goals are not to achieve "average."

Most goals are highfalutin, grandiose, and in many cases, unrealistic. Does that mean we shouldn't make them? Absolutely not! Wayne Dyer is quoted as saying, "everything that exists was once imagined." Imagine the possibilities of dreams realized, goals met.

Instead of giving up, maybe we need to turn the page along with the calendar and change how we look at goals and goal-setting.

There are countless goal-setting techniques. The internet is swarming with science-backed, history-cited, and even personality-based goal procedures. 

How do we choose the one that is going to work? 

Honestly, I'm not sure. 

BUT, I have researched a few techniques for you to ponder. 

Starting point:

My personal goal-setting method has been primarily based on experience working as a therapist in a medical setting. In this position, we were required to establish long term & short term goals for each patient/client with specific, measurable objectives within a time frame. For example:

LTG: Client A will improve speech intelligibility of 3-4 word sentences with minimal verbal/tactile cues 80%of the time during conversational speech. 

STG: Client A will increase correct articulation of /r/ during single word repetition with verbal cue provided 75%of the time, and tactile cue provided 50% of the time with 80% accuracy. 

These goals are measurable, objective, have limits and qualifications, and are quickly established as met or not met. To transfer this type of goal-setting to a personal target would look like this: 

LTG: I will run a half marathon in 6 months.

STG: week one - I will run/walk 3 miles x3 / week with an average speed no less than 13 miles/hour, running 80%of the distance. This is measurable, objective, and can be noted for habit-tracking abilities.



This type of goal-setting is actionable but not very "sexy." These goals are equivalent to a buttoned-up blouse and an argyle sweater. So, I was on a quest to find a goal-setting technique that I thought was interesting, achievable, and just a tad snazzy. 


I researched 3 individuals with goal setting advice/techniques - Shetty, Burchard and Forleo. I am beginning the three week series with Jay Shetty and his On Purpose podcast. 

Shetty breaks down his criteria for setting goals into 4 parts. 

1) Growth. Shetty begins with the theory that goals should have a growth quality. In other words, the power behind the goals should involve a new skill or habit that requires learning. 

2) Observe opportunities. I loved this aspect of Shetty's podcast. He is asking listeners to establish criteria for yes/no/maybe. We've all heard this before.

If it's not a HELL YES! It's a NO

In Shetty's goal-setting world, this is the prime opportunity to prioritize what we see as a yes, a maybe, and absolutely not. (ok, he just said no, but I like to be emphatic about this.) He asks the listeners to get clear.

Get clear on your vision of what the goal is and what it really takes to achieve that goal. This isn't "I'm going to run a half-marathon but only run one day a week - that should be good." Do the work and set the boundaries. THIS is the hard part. When everyone is going out for drinks, and you KNOW you need to run ten miles at 7am the next day - what is your criteria? Is this a yes/no/maybe? We have all been there - knowing what needs to be done - but struggling with the reality and going into what Shetty calls a default mind. Don't allow default-brain to take over grey matter - honor these commitments, honor yourself. Follow the criteria established.

3) Action Plan. Write down the action to achieve the goal. This is where those "unsexy" short term goals come in. Shetty takes it a step further and suggests a minute by minute breakdown. If we are only looking at the big goal, Shetty states, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Small incremental steps offer reinforcement when completed. Shetty recommends breaking down the plan into what are you doing? When are you doing it? How are you doing it, and why are you doing it?

Example: I am running at 7am, outside, with my husband, for 3 miles at a 12-minute pace. Why? And this is key - why? Because I want to run a half marathon. (LTG) Why? Because I want to - challenge myself, be healthier, be stronger, be more athletic. The why that lives in your soul should exist within the long term goal. The "why" is the driving force.


Just so you all know - there will be NO running in my future; this is simply a modifiable example for this post. 

4) Learn, launch, love. Shetty finishes with what he calls the 3 L's - Learning, launching, loving. Explore, take risks, and have stability. He states that if one of these is off-balance, then the goal for success will also be off-kilter; the target will appear unattainable.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to Shetty. He is entertaining, and his information is practical but inspirational.

Week Two of the upgrade to a "sexy" goal-setting technique will be an in-depth look at Brendan Burchard's method for achieving goals.

In the meantime, I am going to think about how I can create an action plan that follows a strict set of criteria in order to achieve one of my goals this year.

What are your goals for 2020? Share in the comments or on Facebook/Instagram.

Thank you for reading.

Love and Luck,



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