3 Steps to Setting Achievable Goals

Many people tell me they don’t make resolutions, because they don’t work. They can’t seem to keep them. And, apparently it’s true. Every year I see the same reports telling us how many people don’t keep the resolutions they make. No encouragement there.

So, in the past I have shared some broad resolutions which are more life directions than actual resolutions. HERE is an example. HERE is another. And, ONE MORE.

I know this, however, seldom do we hit a target we haven’t yet identified or located. So, if you want to improve in certain areas of your life, you need some new direction to get you there. You’ll have to make some changes in what you are currently doing.

Call them goals if you want. That seems to be a more popular word these days, but decide a few areas in which you want to see improvement, then put some goals in place to help you get there. Making positive lifestyle changes isn’t easy, but it really does start with that simple of a process.

To help you get started, let me share some thoughts on setting goals you can actually reach.

3 guidelines I use for choosing achievable goals:


Make sure you can make the goal measurable. Don’t say you want to lose weight. Decide how many pounds you want to lose. Don’t say you want to read more. Say you want to read one book a month – something like that. You want to read your Bible more? Then set a goal to read one chapter per day. Not “save more money”, but save $50 per pay period, etc. Put an actual number to the goal you can track to see your progress towards it.


Set a goal you can actually attain. Otherwise you’ll give up easily. If saving $50 per pay period is completely unreasonable, then decide the reasonable number. It probably should be some stretch to make it worth celebrating later (which is a key component in goal setting), but make sure you can do it. Losing 10 pounds per week is going to be tough – perhaps even unhealthy, but two pounds per week might be a goal anyone can do with a little discipline.


Pick goals you are passionate enough about to put the energy and discipline in it to achieve success. Do you REALLY want to lose weight? Do you TRULY want to do better with your finances? Is reading your Bible ABSOLUTELY a goal worth pursuing? Your degree of motivation will likely determine how committed to achieving the goal you remain.

If you think through setting quantifiable, reasonable and motivated goals, and then you consistently practice them for a month, or two, or better yet three – you’ll be we’ll on your way to successfully completing them. And, the satisfaction from that will be worth celebrating. And, please celebrate. It’ll keep you wanting more progress towards your goals.

If you are really serious about this process and want more, read THIS POST on writing a Life Plan.

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10 thoughts on “3 Steps to Setting Achievable Goals

  1. If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    Gtdagenda. com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  2. Yes. I like the New Year because it gives me a “strong “ starting point. But I also set goals at other times of the year. The point is, I need to have a starting point and ending point or I don’t “grow through” and change. My starting point is usually on my knees, I usually can’t achieve a goal without God starting it. My ending point is like the old testament times where something has changed and you build a monument and celebrate God. Usually that monument is gratitude written and shared with others, giving God the glory and what I call: “heavenly hindsight”, the ability to look back and break into a soul smile because I see God and what He did!! AWE-GOD!

    Twitter: kmac4him

  3. Pastor Ron! Some of my goals for the new year:
    — To run a half-marathon officially
    — To blog more consistently (at least one post a week)
    — To read more vigorously (aiming at 52 books this year)

  4. To be honest, I have found that following Christ is all about change! He seeks to make us more like Him, right? That sounds, to me, like a life of resolutions. Every day there is something I need to lose, get more of, do less of…etc.
    Twitter: bryankr

    • That is true! The heart of the gospel is change. I find that the Holy Spirit does change me, He challenges me in spurts of time, which are goals by the way of our human perspective, but by the way of His Kingdom Perspective, He is changing us! As usual!!
      Twitter: kmac4him