by | Feb 1, 2019 | Personal Development

Welcome to 2019.  If you are anything like me, your inbox is likely jam-packed full of offers and advice on how to reach your goals in 2019.  What I haven’t seen is how to really set your goals powerfully so that you can realistically reach them.  This goes way beyond setting resolutions and SMART goals.  In this post, I am going to share how I set my own goals and how I help my clients set theirs.

One of the things I am super excited to be involved in this year is Natalie MacNeil’s Conquer 100.  I have been a part of the Conquer Club for many years, and have contributed regularly to the content in this powerful incubator, but this year I am stepping up my role as a recognised Coach inside of the program.  Conquer 100 is about making the first 100 days of 2019 your most powerful yet and we do that in a very specific way.

This process coupled with what I know about setting goals from 13 years as a coach means that I have a wealth of experience in knowing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to setting you up for success.

First of all, why is it important to set yourself up for success?

This may seem like a stupid question.  Of course we want success, we want to achieve our goal.  But it runs much deeper than that.  Unless we have a very healthy relationship with failure, then every time we fail to achieve a goal that we set, we are creating or reinforcing a pattern in our minds that we are a failure.  Over time this wears us down until we are fearful to try anything new.

That’s why you need a system like the one I am about to share with you to apply to anything that you want to achieve.

There are a couple of places that I see people make a mistake in their goal setting, even if they have a created a SMART goal. (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, Timebound)

I call them ‘should’ goals.

These are goals that people think they ‘should’ achieve, or even more damaging, ‘should’ want.

These might be goals like, ‘I want a 6-figure coaching practice.’

Or, ‘I want to lose 10kgs’.

Or, ‘I want to change my career.’

Now there is nothing wrong with these goals in and of themselves, and I typically work with clients on these types of goals frequently.  The problem arises if there isn’t a strong enough reason behind wanting these outcomes.

Setting and Achieving Goals

And this is the most common cause of failure that I see in goal setting.  There isn’t a strong enough WHY behind the goal.  The more reasons why you want something, the more likely you are to do what you need to do in order to achieve it.  And the more reasons that you can come up with that give you an emotional response, the more powerful it becomes.  Even if you don’t think you are an emotional person, emotions are still a very useful tool in achieving goals.

Step 1 – What will your goal give you?

Think of what the goal you are setting will give you on an emotional or core values level.  For example, freedom, flexibility, security, adventure, fun, love, belonging etc  When you find something that really makes your heart sing and can then see how your goal helps you reach that feeling, it is much more likely to stick.

Step 2 – Write down the reasons you want that goal

Write down as many reasons why you want that goal, that are linked to that feeling.  The more reasons you can come up with, the more powerful this becomes.  It is important to write them down too.  Firstly the act of writing them down helps your brain to get onside with your plan, and also having the list handy is a great tool when you don’t feel like doing the actions that you need in order to succeed.

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Now, and only now, can we focus on the big picture goal.  This is another place I see people set themselves up for failure.  Their expectations of what they can achieve are often inflated and therefore they get disappointed with lack of progress.  This is because they are trying to focus on a goal that is too big.

Let me be clear here, I like big goals.  I love stretch goals.  I adore Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs).

But let’s understand their purpose and where they fit in the process of success.

Your big, stretch BHAG is a great target.  It’s like planning to go to the moon.  You can absolutely get there, but we need to break that big goal down into smaller goals because otherwise you are going to find it really hard to stay focused on that big picture AND focused on every step it takes to get there.  It’s hard to be in macro (big picture) thinking AND micro (details) thinking at the same time, and so we need to break that goal down into sub-goals.

In Conquer 100 we call these sub goals Sprints.

A Sprint is a goal that is related to your big picture goal, but something that is easier to focus on for a period of time like 100 days.


If we use one of the goals I mentioned about as an example.  If I was building a 6-figure coaching practice, then one of my Sprints might be to get more clients.  If we apply SMART principles to this sub goal, it might look like, “Enrol 5 high end ideal coaching clients into a 3-month program at $5000 each.”

Step 3 – Take your big goal and break it into Sprints

Take your big goal and breaking it into a SMART Sprint goal to work on over a shorter time period.

Step 4 – Identify your milestones

From here we can further break that goal down into milestones.  Some milestones for this example might be:

  • Conduct 10 market research interviews
  • Identify the pain points and desires of potential clients at that level
  • Create a test offer and get feedback on it
  • Tweak and optimise the offer
  • Share the offer with my audience and networks
  • Schedule 10 discovery calls
  • Enrol 5 ideal clients

These milestones are the guideposts as you work through the steps you need to take to achieve your sprint.

Now we are getting close to having a plan that will support you in achieving your goal, but there is another important stage – breaking the milestones into micro-tasks.

The reason that this is important is to do with our brain wiring.

We are all hard-wired to stay safe, and as far as your unconscious mind is concerned, ‘safe’ is right where you are.  Any attempt to change that status quo can be met with unconscious self-sabotage.  Self-sabotage can take on many forms, but the most common are procrastination and perfectionism.

What is actually happening is that your unconscious fear centre has been triggered and it has gone into a fight/flight/freeze response.

This is usually an indicator that the task you are trying to achieve is too big, and your unconscious mind deems it ‘unsafe’.

The way to get around it, or as I like to describe it, fly under the radar of your fear centre, is to break your milestones down into smaller and smaller tasks.

Step 5  – Brainstorm

Brainstorm every tiny task involved in each of your milestones

The more you can come up with, the better.  This will then become your map towards success.  Each small task will take you closer and closer to your much desired goal and you will have set yourself up to really succeed.

5 Steps To Success With Any Goal

  1. Find an emotional or values-based reason for the goal
  2. Write down as many reasons why you want that goal
  3. Take your big goal and break it into a SMART Sprint goal to work on over a shorter time period.
  4. Identify 5-10 milestones
  5. Brainstorm everything required to reach each milestone




Whilst this process may seem overwhelming to begin with, it really is worth putting in the time and effort to set yourself up for success.

I’d love to know how you get on, so leave me a comment or shoot an email to


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