Setting Goals that Work for You

Set Yourself Up for Success

Some goals are better than others. If you choose productive goals, you can achieve much more. Our biology is wired in a way that habits and routines are some of the most powerful tools we have for self improvement and direction.

Best Type of Goals:

The best kinds of goals have the following characteristics:


Text My Mom Every Day


This goal has a repeatable nature. It’s something you do every day. Repeatable goals are powerful because they form habits.


Do 20 Pushups


This goal is very clear and countable. When you review your goals (you should) it will be trivial to determine how you did.

“I did 19 pushups!”

Great, you almost had it, but the goal was 20. You can do it, try again!


Take the dog out when I wake up


This goal has a trigger in trigger. That’s awesome! Remember habit building? Having an anchor or a trigger attached to your goal allows you to piggyback on existing habits to encourage the behavior that you want.

Bad Goals

Obviously, if some types of goals are good, others are not-so-good. Let’s have a look at the kinds of goals that lower your odds of success, and how to improve them!


I want to get better at basketball before tryouts


This goal actually has one good component, and that’s the fact that it set’s a deadline. Deadlines can be powerful tools to motivate yourself. However, what does “better at basketball” mean? If your mom thinks you’ve gotten better, is that good enough?

I will shoot at least 15 free throws and 15 jump shots every night after dinner until tryouts.

better example

The new goal checks all our boxes from before. It’s measurable. (15 shots each, no excuses.). It’s repeatable (every night). And it even piggy-backs on something your probably do every night, eat dinner.

Pretend you know two kids at the local high school. They’re both equally skilled at basketball today. Now give each of them one of those two goals. Come tryouts, who do you think will have improved more?

Steep and Unspecific

I want to lose 50 pounds


Ok, how? What are you going to do? There’s no specifics to this goal. No action required. Just step on the scale and see how you did.

You have lofty aspirations. That’s great, but let’s see if we can come up with some better goals.

Take a 20 minute walk each morning before breakfast

Learn and make 1 new salad recipe each week, while I make my shopping list.

better examples

Losing weight is hard, I need to put that out there. Forget about the scale for a moment. Now image you have two friends who want to improve their health. One of them has a goal to lose X pounds/kilos. The other one picks just one of the two habit based goals. Which sounds healthier to you?

I’m betting on the healthy habits every time.