Many people set goals to get in better physical shape. Maybe they want a tighter butt, six pack abs and arms ripped like rope. But what about emotional goals? Learning how to set goals for success is key if to a fulfilling life.

No matter what we look like on the outside, it’s who you are, and how you feel on the inside, that really dictates the quality of your life. Self-confidence reflects the relationship we have with ourselves. The better that relationship is, the better our relationships with others will be.

Many of us could use a good self-esteem boost. What’s the best way to do that? Through goal-setting.

How To Set Goals For Success


Not sure how to set goals for success? Then look to S.M.A.R.T. goal setting as a way to get started.

To really set yourself up for success, you need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten around to? Perhaps a project you have yet to complete it. Deep down this lack of completion may have caused your self-esteem to take a hit.

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to clean out the garage. You’ve probably said to yourself, “I’ve really got to go through the garage and throw a bunch of this junk out.“

That’s a decent start, but as goals go, it’s pretty vague. Here’s how to apply smart goals to get the job done.


Specific Goal: I am going to clean the garage, throw away old and unused items, and re-organize it.“



How to set goals for success requires you to set measurable goals. How else are you supposed to know if you’re making progress?

That’s a good start. But how do we make that Measurable? Let’s add some words that will help us know when and if we complete our goal.

Measurable Goal: “I’m going to clean out and re-organize the garage so both cars and all of our bikes will fit.“

You need to be able to measure your progress toward your goal to be certain you are staying on track. So you could decide to spend 2 hours each Saturday and Sunday for the next four weeks. If you do that, you will know you’re on the right path. If you don’t meet these milestones, you’ll know you’ve fallen off track.


Now let’s talk about whether or not your goal is Achievable. Well, other people have cleaned out and organized their garage, so you know it’s possible. You have the desire and you’ve carved out an appropriate amount of time to complete the job. So yes, this certainly seems like an achievable goal.


Making sure your goal is achievable is one of the most important aspects for how to set goals for success.


You know your goal is really achievable, but is the schedule you’ve set for yourself Realistic? The only question to ask in this particular scenario is: “Can I commit to 2 hours per Saturday and Sunday for the next month?” If not, then you need to make some adjustments. While it’s understandable you want to get the job done as quickly as possible, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. So be sure your schedule is realistic.


Lastly, you’ll need to set a Time-bound deadline for the attainment of your goal. Will this task be completed in 4 weeks? Will it take 2 months? Choose a deadline that’s reasonable but motivating at the same time. It’s a balance between being practical and slightly pushing yourself. A date too far in the future could kill your motivation – so could a date too soon.


Making sure you set realistic and time-bound goals is key for how to set goals for success.

To sum it up, we started with a goal of, “I’ve got to clean out the garage and throw out a bunch of shit” and ended up with, “I’m going to spend 4 hours every weekend for the next 4 weeks cleaning out and re-organizing the garage so both cars and all of our bikes fit”

Now you have a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (SMART) goal with built in milestones to help you get there. But more importantly, you’ve made a promise to yourself, and keeping this promise is what will enhance yourself self-confidence and self-esteem.

James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.