How to easily achieve your goals

How often do you set yourself goals, but then fail to achieve them?

It's not a good feeling...

But it probably isn't that you aren't committed enough, or don't have enough willpower.

It's more likely that you are going about how you set and work to achieve your goals in the wrong way.

Last week's blog looked at where you might want to set goals.

This week, I examine 7 different ways you can define and act so that you can easily achieve your goals - including my favourite...

How you do this will transform your success.

Which one works best for you?


This is probably the most well-known of all goal-setting techniques, and for good reason: it is very effective.

In case you haven’t heard of it, SMART stands for:

S - Specific (what exactly are you going to achieve?)
M - Measurable (how will you know when you get there?)
A - Achievable (something that you personally can achieve))
R - Realistic (self-explanatory…)
T - Time-bound (you need a deadline!)

If you are new to goal-setting, it’s worth using this model as a baseline.

However, it is not the complete answer: when SMART was famously and successfully used across GE by Jack Welch, some teams’ performance was transformed by using SMART goals, while others’ wasn’t.

So there are clearly other factors at play here.

Other goal-setting methods try to address these…


My favourite acronym, BHAG stands for:

Big, Hairy Audacious Goal.

This builds on the SMART approach: but the focus here is that the goal being set must be a stretch goal - you can’t get away with setting unambitious, easily-achieved goals, just to be able to tick them off (which you can do with the SMART methodology).

As the inventors of BHAG state:

BHAG is clearly a positive adaption of the SMART approach - but as with any discipline, methodologies keeping moving on.

Recent approaches to goal-setting introduce even more of a focus on the psychological dimension.


A slightly unfortunate acronym for goal-setting (you don’t want to feel it is going to be hard!), this stands for:

H - Heartfelt - you need to have an emotional attachment to the goal you are setting
A - Animated - visualise the positive feelings you will get from achieving your goal
R - Required - you must feel really motivated to achieve your goal - you need a sense of urgency and necessity
D - Difficult - the goal needs to be challenging!

This approach combines the psychological dimension with a BHAG flavour.

It was originally defined in relation to personal goals in the 2009 book by Mark Murphy, “Hundred Percenters”, but can equally be used for career/ workplace goals.


One of the newest models of goal-setting, this uses the power of visualisation to help motivate you to achieve your goals, PLUS (unlike HARD) overcome obstacles along the way.

(For more information on this, read Gabrielle Oettingen’s 2014 book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking”).

W - Wish - what do you want to achieve? (It should be realistic but compelling.)
O - Outcome - how will you feel when you achieve it? (Visualise the positive impact…)
O - Obstacle - what might stand in your way? (Imagine your personal or contextual obstacles)
P - Plan - how will you overcome these? (If/when [obstacle] arises, I will do [action to overcome it].

For the scholarly among you, this combines one proven technique known as “mental contrasting” - the WOO; with another technique called “implementation intentions” - the P.

The big advantage to this approach is that it includes consideration of what happens when the going gets tough - which it almost certainly will.