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3 Tricks for Achieving Your Goals

Jana’s note: I’m working on improving my goal achieving prowess. I’m pretty good at setting them. Achieving them? Well, that’s not always as easy because sometimes I get bored and stop or get frustrated and stop or life gets in the way and I stop. The tips in this post are quite helpful for someone like me and I plan to use them as I continue working through some of my goals in progress. Also, if you’re a resolution setter, with the new year approaching, these are some solid tips to help you not quit those, either.


Many of us fail at achieving our goals. We go through life with a myriad of goals, only to achieve some and not others. When this was happening to me, I became frustrated. I knew there had to be a way to better achieve all my goals. I read books and listened to others to see if I could figure out the secret ingredient to hitting my goals.

In time, I realized that there was no secret ingredient that would magically help me achieve all my goals. But that doesn’t mean I gave up.

Through much trial and error, I found 3 things that have helped me with achieving my goals. In this post, I share them with you in hopes that you too can start attaining more of your goals too.

#1. Break Them Into Smaller Steps

No matter what your goal is, I want you to write it down. Leave some space underneath it so you can add some information. Do this for all your goals. Your next step is to now figure out how to break that goal into smaller goals. The key here is to make a bunch of smaller goals so that as you hit them, you will be motivated to keep going and eventually reach your big goal.

For example, a couple years ago I wanted to pay off my student loans. At the time, the balance was $20,000. For me, seeing this huge number overwhelmed me. I thought that there was no way I could pay off that debt. As I made my monthly payment and saw the balance drop by $100, the goal seemed even more insurmountable.

But then I did what I am telling you here. I broke this goal into small goals. My first small goal was to get the debt down to $15,000. The next goal was $10,000 and then $5,000. Suddenly, I had more motivation to pay off my debt.

Instead of focusing on $20,000 I focused on $5,000. Just pay off $5,000 I kept telling myself. I created a separate spreadsheet and tracked my payments. Seeing me progress towards my goal excited me and motivated me to keep going.

After I hit $5,000 I began all over again, trying to hit $5,000 a second time.

This trick helped me to pay off that debt in just under two years. Each time I hit my smaller goals, I celebrated by going to dinner to my favorite restaurant. So take some time and figure out how you can break your large goal into a smaller set of goals and then celebrate when you hit them.

#2. Keep Your Goals In Front Of You

Another trick I found to help me stay motivated was to keep my goals in front of me. Too many times I would write my goals down in a notebook, close it and not look at it again for months. When I would open the notebook a few months later, I would see my goals and be like “oh, yeah, I did have that goal”. I was a victim to the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind”.

To overcome this, I started to keep my goals out where I can see them. On my desk and computer monitor is a number. To most people who see it, they just see a number. But to me, that number equals freedom. It is my number for financial freedom, the net worth that allows me to retire and live life differently.

Of course, there are some goals you don’t want on your desk for everyone to see. Luckily, there are various things you can use here to get this trick to work.

  • Put sticky notes on your mirror in the bathroom.
  • Put a reminder in your phone and set it to send the reminder to you at various increments.
  • Make the goal your lock screen on your phone.
  • Use a free tool like FutureMe. It allows you to write yourself a note and pick a date in the future to send it to you.
  • Tell friends and family so they can bring up your goal in conversation.

#3. Use The Power Of Visualization

One underrated trick is to use the power of visualization to your advantage. Many professional athletes use it all the time. Basketball players envision shots going through the basket. Soccer players envision their kick getting past the goal keeper.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to use this trick. I use visualization all the time. Every day I take a little time to be by myself. I close my eyes and visualize my goals in detail. For a while, I was visualizing our dream house.

I got so good at this visualization I could see little details, like blades of grass. Doing this exercise helped me to stay motivated to keep saving for our down payment and to keep looking when it seemed like all the good houses were everywhere but where we wanted to live.

You too can use visualization. Look at your goals and start picturing life with the goal being met. I used visualization for my student loan debt too.

I pictured my life without the student loan debt. I felt the weight off of my shoulders. I pictured how I could use that money for investing or saving for a dream vacation. Doing this motivated me to keep pushing through the tough times and pay off the debt once and for all.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I can’t guarantee that using these 3 tricks will help you reach your goals. But you won’t reach your goals unless you keep trying to find something that motivates you to keep pushing forward. I’ve been using these for a couple of years now and have told friends about them too.

Many of my friends tell me today how they visualize all the time now. They also tell me how breaking their goals into smaller pieces really helps them push through the long road that they had to travel down to reach their goals.

I encourage you to give these a try and start experiencing what I have already experienced – reaching your goals more often than not.

About Jon: Jon writes at Breath of Optimism, a website where he helps people think positively and be the best person they can be. You can also find his motivational quotes on Pinterest.


  1. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    100% yes to baby steps. it’s how i managed to finally be successful throughout my health journey and basically achieve every goal i set out for myself. when you try to tackle THE WHOLE LIST, it becomes so overwhelming that i usually end up tossing it aside saying “f*ck it”.

    when i have a large goal in mind, i break them up into smaller pieces, prioritizing them. then i only look at #1 and work on that. when i finish #1, i cross that off and look at #2…doing this also gives you motivation because you’re actually crossing things off your list!
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…This and that….My Profile

    1. Don @ Breath of Optimism

      Good to hear Kathy. Even my to-do lists were a struggle in the past. I would see an endless list of things, get overwhelmed and do something else instead. I learned to prioritize my list and only put important things on one list and other things on another.
      Don @ Breath of Optimism recently posted…Creating Unconditional Confidence: How To Build Self Confidence QuicklyMy Profile

  2. Rebecca Jo

    This is perfect for all the goals everyone is getting ready to make for New Years.
    I’m trying exactly what you said – I’m keeping it in front of me – a planner with small goals, notes to keep me on track. Fingers crossed it helps 😉

    1. Don @ Breath of Optimism

      Good luck Rebecca! I think you will find keeping them in front of you will help a lot!
      Don @ Breath of Optimism recently posted…Creating Unconditional Confidence: How To Build Self Confidence QuicklyMy Profile

  3. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Baby steps are the way to go! It makes things a lot more manageable for me.

  4. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    Like you, Jana, I’m really good at setting goals but so-so when it comes to achieving them. For me, it’s about keeping them simple (like breaking it down to manageable bites) and also not setting so many. I get overwhelmed, which leads to doing nothing. So now I try to figure out the 1 or 2 most important goals and focus on them.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…3 Myths About Hate and How We Rise Above ItMy Profile

    1. Don @ Breath of Optimism

      A couple goals at a time is another great tip. Thanks for sharing!
      Don @ Breath of Optimism recently posted…Creating Unconditional Confidence: How To Build Self Confidence QuicklyMy Profile

  5. Linda Sheridan

    Excellent advice. Agree with all. Creative visualization is
    Fun, too. Affirmations get me through my life.
    I only learned this a little over 10 years ago and it’s changed my life for the best.
    Love, Steph’s Momma

    1. Don @ Breath of Optimism

      Same here. Looking back, I don’t know how I survived without my daily affirmations.
      Don @ Breath of Optimism recently posted…Creating Unconditional Confidence: How To Build Self Confidence QuicklyMy Profile

  6. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I love the idea of breaking goals down into smaller goals! Big things can be pretty scary when you start thinking about trying to achieve them, so smaller bite size pieces seem way more achievable!


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