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How to Achieve Goals | The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

It’s all about the systems

Admin Nas Academy

29 Dec · 6 mins read

Knowing how to achieve goals and plan them out effectively doesn’t always come easily to people. After all, there are a lot of moving parts when moving towards accomplishing your goals. goals. It requires planning, execution, and self-motivation. But, we often think that, because we keep getting sidetracked from our goals every New Year, that must mean that we’re just not the “goal setting type”. Right? 


Goals infographic

The truth is, if you want to achieve a goal – you absolutely can. It doesn’t matter your personality type, it doesn’t matter what you believe about yourself, or your lifestyle. If you dedicate yourself to a goal, want it bad enough, and create the right system for you – you can get it done. 

What Is a Goal?

Goals are targets that we set for ourselves to bring us closer to the lives we want to live. Our goals are our dreams, our ambitions, and what we hope to accomplish in our time on this planet. They can be anything from vague concepts in our minds of a life we want, to actionable goals with specific deadlines – the only difference between them is that actionable goals with specific deadlines are much more achievable.

Goals can be something we want to happen on an ongoing basis in our lives – like working out 4 days a week. Or they can be “completable”, such as reading 20 books in 20 months.There are long-term goals that can take years to achieve with smaller, short-term goals or objectives – like building a 6-figure business for example. Or, you can have short-term goals that are less of a commitment and take less time to achieve. This could be landing your first client for that 6-figure business, or simply traveling to a new country this year.

Understanding the difference between long-term and short-term goals can be very helpful when learning how to achieve goals effectively, so you know how to break them down and get started.

Why Do People Struggle to Stick to Their Goals?

After the first 30 days of setting a New Year’s resolution, less than 25% of people actually stick to them – and less than 10% follow through entirely. Why is this? We clearly want these things, many of us think about them non-stop, but we can never make them happen. 

The reason why will vary from person to person. But often, it comes down to a few simple mistakes that we tend to make without even realizing it: 

  • We pick goals that aren’t really motivating to us
  • We take on too many big goals at once
  • We don’t create an actionable system to follow through on them

All too often, we expect ourselves to write 7 books, travel the world, and build our dream house all in the same year without making a solid plan – and then we wonder why we can never follow through. 

We don’t know how to achieve goals because we don’t know how to set ourselves up for success. We make vague targets and follow trends of setting New Year’s resolutions rather than setting conscious goals paired with a sustainable system. 

We focus on the outcome, and not the process when, in fact, the process is the most important part.

Woman struggling to focus

Goals can range from being vague like: “I want to be fit”, to specific goals saying “I want to write a 300 page book by December 29th”. Most of us will create vague goals for ourselves every year. But the problem is that these kinds of goals aren’t actionable, and they don’t give our brains a clear direction as to what steps we need to take to achieve them.

Meanwhile, writing a 300 page book by December 29th gives us a guideline. It’s something more tangible and urgent for our brains to latch on to.

Now you might find that you actually do write goals like this every year, but you still don’t achieve them. Why is that? Because giving yourself a deadline still doesn’t give you a clear action plan. As James Clear says in his best-selling, Atomic Habits, “goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress”.

The key to reaching goals is building a life system that you can follow and put as much importance in as you do getting up and out the door for work on time. So this year, instead of setting vague resolutions with no plan – try and set actionable goals and support them with a sustainable system to keep them going. 

And, by the end of it, you just might see that you are actually more capable than you think you are. 

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Achieve Goals

1. Identify your goals and write them down

The most essential step to moving yourself towards achieving a goal is to actually identify them, and write them down. This step takes your vague concepts, and makes them real. In fact, the simple act of writing down goals has been proven to make you 42% more likely to achieve them. 

Action: Grab a pen and paper to write out a list of your ideal goals. Think of everything you want to bring into your life. They could be specific habits you want to build, projects you want to accomplish, general lifestyle changes, or places you’d like to go. Even if you’re not sure you 100% want them but they’ve been on your mind – write them down.

2. Organize your goals into categories

When it comes to goal setting, it’s important to look at how we are balancing goals in each area of our lives. If we only focus on reaching goals in our career, then we’re neglecting other areas of our lives like health, or family. But when our priorities in life aren’t balanced, this can actually hold us back from actually achieving goals of any kind. 

Stickers that help to be organized

The real idea behind setting any New Year’s resolutions or goals is to get ourselves closer to living a better life, and that can only come when you are balancing all of the areas of your life that are important to you.

Action: Take all of the goals that you’ve written down on your page, and start to divide them up into categories. Organize what goals you have and try having at least a couple in each important area of your life. This could be: family, work, personal, health/fitness, financial, spiritual, relationships, and any other category you think is relevant to you. 

3. Assess each goal you’ve written down

Once you’ve written out all of your ideal goals, now it’s time to assess each one of them.

First, you want to assess everything, and actually see which goals are ones that you really truly resonate with, and which one’s might be best left behind or revisited later on. When you look at each goal, ask yourself:

  • Why do I want this goal? 
  • Does this goal motivate me?
  • Is this goal something I want, or feel pressured to want?
  • Is this a goal that is in my control? 

Once you do this assessment, see if your reasoning behind each goal actually resonates with you. The goals that you will want to focus on are those that you feel motivated to do, that feel true to you, that make you happy, and that you can control the outcome of. 


For example, becoming an Instagram influencer with 100k followers this year is a goal, but getting 100k followers exactly is dependent on many things outside of your control – the algorithm, your audience, competitors, to name just a few. It’s likely that you’re not going to hit that number exactly, and then you’ll feel unmotivated. 

However, a goal to post an Instagram video every 3 days is a goal where the outcome is in your hands. 

After this exercise, you should be able to identify which goals are actually important to you, which are actually feasible, and which ones you might be able to let go of to make space for what really matters to you. Identifying these goals might also highlight some of those goals that you struggle to stick with the most, and show you why exactly that is.

Action: Take each of your goals and go through all 4 questions: Why do I want this goal? Does this goal motivate me? Is this goal something I want, or feel pressured to want? Is this a goal that is in my control? The goals that resonate with you the most after asking yourself these questions, are the ones that you’re going to keep. Leave the rest behind. Now you can write out a new list with your focused goals.

4. Prioritize

When someone asks you to write out all of the goals you have right now in life, you’ll likely have a lot. Or, maybe you’re already hyper-focused on a few select ones – if that’s the case, you’re already ahead of the game!

The next important step in learning how to achieve goals is learning how to prioritize them. In order to actually start making progress on your goals, you want to pick a few that you want to get started on today. One of the many reasons people are unable to stick to goals is because they simply take too much on at once, and expect too much from themselves in too short a period of time. 

It’s important to remember that prioritizing doesn’t mean you have to forget about other goals for good, it just means that they aren’t going to be a focus right now. 


How many goals you choose to prioritize right now is going to completely depend on your situation and what your goals actually look like, but if you are really struggling to make changes, simply start with 1-2 smaller, short-term goals. Then as you check it off and start finding a system to hold yourself accountable, you can start to add more in or take on bigger, long term goals.

Action: Take a look at your list of goals and ask yourself: In the next X days, what do I want to make moves on? Find which tasks are the most exciting, and that you feel you need right now in life. If you’re taking on a few goals at once, have a balance from different categories, and make sure they don’t conflict. 

For example, don’t choose “travel to a new country for the month” and “see your family more” at the same time. The two might conflict and pull you away from achieving the other. Instead, pick one to prioritize at this moment, and keep the other with the rest of your ideal goals on a “wait-list” to tackle later. Any time you aren’t prioritizing a goal or you think of a new one while you’re in the midst of tackling another, write it on this list so you don’t forget about it, and so you don’t get distracted. 

5. Turn your goals into smaller steps

The next step is organizing your goals so they aren’t just broad concepts, and vague ideas like: “get fit”. The most important step in how to achieve goals is turning them into tangible concepts that you can act on. For example: “getting to the gym 4 times a week” is going to be more specific. But then, “getting to the gym Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays” is going to be even more actionable. 

After that you’re going to want to break it down into all the steps you need to take, and smaller milestones that are going to get you there. The more you can break down a goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. 

If you’ve been in “goal setting mode” for a while, you may have heard about the term SMART goals. SMART goals mean:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound

It’s important to note that not all of your goals have to be “SMART”. For example, being closer to family is still a goal, even if it doesn’t check off all the points of being SMART. However, once you start to define smaller, short-term goals, objectives and specific tasks that are going to help you reach that goal, you have to make them SMART in order to actually be able to act on them.

Smart goals infographic

You will first want to identify your main goal, and then break it down into smaller goals or objectives that are going to help you reach it. For example, if your goal is to spend time with family, then a smaller, more specific goal might be to visit them once a month. Then, you’ll want to break it down to maybe you’ll go for Sunday dinner at the beginning of each new month. Then, consider what action steps you need to do to make that happen. Perhaps you need to set a reminder on your phone for tomorrow, to call your mom and set it up. Then, you’ll get to creating a system to keep it going (more on that later).

Depending on the goal, you might not have to break it down too much if it doesn’t have many moving parts, but the only way you will know how to achieve goals you lay out for yourself, is to give yourself clear action steps to get yourself there.

Action: Take your goals and narrow them down as much as possible. Identify your goal, and then break it down into a SMART goal. Then, if needed, break those down into smaller goals or objectives that will get you to that bigger goal. Then, identify what action steps you need to get yourself to each of those objectives that you can start acting on today. 

6. Create a system

Once you have narrowed down your goals and know all of the action steps that you need to take, the thing that is going to keep you to those action steps is the system you put in place. Your system is going to be your plan, your routine – the ultimate guide that will keep you out of that 10% that doesn’t follow through on their goals each year. 

Creating your system is going to solve the problem of: how am I going to take on these goals? When you start your system, lay out your deadlines for each step of your goal, from your action steps to the final thing. Make it visual and see everything that needs to get done, and then build a system that is going to help you to accomplish those action steps. 

Your system is going to be completely dependent on you, your schedule, your life, and your personality type. To get started, try considering what habits you need to implement in order to get these things done. Consider contingencies, rewards, and more. Here are some examples of helpful habits and strategies you can try implementing into your system:  

  • Put your goals up somewhere you will see them everyday

Keep a visual representation of your goals – whether it be written on a post-it note, or created in images on a vision board. Seeing this every morning before leaving your room is a great way to keep yourself focused on your goals before you start each day.

Breaking down goals infographic

  • Write your goals down every day

Many of the most successful people out there consistently write down their goals. And while having a vision board in front of your face to review every day can be very helpful, the continuous act of writing down these goals can help you focus even more. The Best-Selling author of Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo, wrote down “I am a New York Times Bestselling author” 15 times a day on her journey to becoming one. And now, she is.

While you don’t have to do it any one particular way, the act of regularly writing down your goals daily in the form of “I am…” specifically, can help you to become focused on these outcomes, and start to believe that they are already yours.

  • Reward yourself

If you keep up with a habit or hit a milestone that you’ve set out for yourself – reward yourself! The only reason we do anything in life is because we get some kind of reward out of it, whether it be an internal or external. Try generating some kind of reward system for yourself to keep you motivated. Buy yourself a coffee, watch a movie – whatever you find to be rewarding, come up with a system that allows you to indulge in it if you hit your targets.

  • Plan for the setbacks

What are some things that you can foresee holding you back before you start achieving goals and taking on your action steps? Do you struggle with motivation? Specific thoughts, limiting-beliefs or doubts that come up and hold you back from achieving goals? Are there specific people or things in your life right now that are holding you back? Identify these obstacles before you hit them, and make a contingency plan so that you can still accomplish your goals, or at least an alternative that is going to help you reach the ultimate reason behind why you have set your goal. 

  • Tell people

As you begin your goals, start by telling people about them. Get your friends to hold you accountable, your Instagram followers, a therapist – somebody who can remind you why you are on this journey in the first place. 

  • Daily or Weekly check-ins

It’s important to evaluate your progress as you go along. Consider taking an hour out of your week or 30 minutes a day to review your goals and your progress. Remember to come back to the driving force behind your goal: your why. Review it, remember it, and take a look at if you are still resonating with it. Take a look at whether or not your systems are working, if you feel out of balance, in balance, burnt out, or if your priorities have shifted. Giving up goals consciously is just as important as setting them in the first place if they aren’t serving you. A great weekly review tactic is to list out what is going well, what isn’t and where you can improve.

Action: Take your action steps and start to create your system to help you achieve them. How much time a week are you going to commit? What days? What tasks are going to be due when? How are you going to alter your lifestyle or implement habits to help you achieve these goals? Establish a system that works with your lifestyle, and make this your commitment to achieving goals you’ve set out for yourself from now on.

7. Stop Planning

The planning process, for many of us, is the most exciting part of goal setting. You come up with this solid goal, a system, everything’s in order, and you’re pumped to get started. But often, many goals get stuck at this stage, and forever remain a plan. We simply spend too much time thinking about it, and not enough time actually taking action.

When you hit this point, simply trust that the plan you have is good enough. You’ve thought about it enough, you have all you need – all you have to do is pick up one action step you can do today, and start.

Action: Take an action step on your list that you can do right now, and TAKE ACTION!

woman dancing of happiness

The most important part of going on any goal setting journey, is to remember to give yourself breaks. Be kind to yourself along the way, and allow yourself to make mistakes. If you don’t hit an objective, it’s okay! Set another one, and get back to work. The “all or nothing” mindset is what deters people from picking up their New Year’s resolutions once they miss a target at the end of January. 

Not only this, but the mindset of “once I achieve this goal, I will be happy” can also become a great de-motivator when we find that the outcome wasn’t everything we thought it would be. 

Letting go of expectations and comparison is a crucial step in learning how to achieve goals that will actually bring us closer to our ideal lives.

Start the New Year Off Right With Michelle Khare

If you want to get started on achieving one of your goals, this is your chance! Michelle Khare, athlete and YouTuber with over 2.4 million subscribers is launching her own course right here, at Nas Academy, to help you conquer any challenge in 30 days.

As the host of the popular series Challenge Accepted, Michelle is an expert in goal setting and  achieving, and has taken on some of the toughest challenges out there in record time. She’s worked with highly successful people at the top of their industries – from astronauts at NASA, to Olympic athletes. And now, using their secrets to success, she’s going to help you conquer any challenge you have in just 30 days.

Sign up now, and start your challenge today. 

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