Q: How do I set goals and stick to them?

2 min

Goals are tough. It can be difficult to bring yourself to set them. But majority of the time, it’s most difficult to actually attempt achieving them and follow through.

Dear Ellie,

I am the type of person who likes to set goals. I am usually very excited about the goals I set.

However, when I am almost able to reach the goal, like 90% of the time, I give up. Any tips to help me push through the last 10%.

~ Apprehensive Allie in Atlanta

Lauren, today’s Dear Ellie columnist, breaks it down for us:

Dear Goal Setter,

I believe in goal-setting and might be considered a goal-setting addict. On New Year’s Eve, most people are excited to drink champagne and dance the night away. Not me; I’m eagerly awaiting the following day so I can break out my new journal and set new intentions for the upcoming year. Did I say that I love goals?

Give yourself a big hug for setting goals and being diligent enough to complete 90% of them. Now, let’s get you across that finish line.


Every year I set the goal of getting in shape and eating healthy. It’s horrible because it is way too broad. Have you ever heard of a SMART goal? Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Instead of my original plan, I may reframe it into this: I will walk 12,000 steps a day, each morning, 80% of the month, and track it with my iWatch. Check your intentions and see if they fall in line with the SMART parameters. If not, try reformulating them. I think attainable is the key word in this acronym. We want to make sure you set yourself up for success.

Dig Deeper

Next, I want you to be very honest with yourself and answer a few questions. Try to move past the first answer that comes up and ask yourself, ‘and what else’ to dig deeper.

  • Why do you set goals?
  • Do you expect to achieve your goals? If the answer is no, why?
  • Are you afraid to achieve your goals? If so, why?

Knowing your why is key. If you start a goal not expecting to achieve it, you will self-sabotage until you give up. The last question resonates with me. I am going through a significant career shift, and some of my goals are very lofty; and I haven’t broken them down into SMART intentions, so they seem daunting. I’m afraid of the unknown and catch myself ‘spinning’ when I think of the what-ifs. The outcome; I stay paralyzed in fear to stay in my comfort zone.

I have saved the best for last. I’ve been on a Mel Robinson kick and am eating up her Audible series called Start Here. Episode 7 is for you! It’s a no-nonsense, 30-minute gem on goal setting. She distinguishes between dreams and intentions, and sets HARD goals, which is another acronym to break down your objectives into achievable nuggets. I won’t recap her thirty-minute talk in this article, but I will say it’s worth listening to and the best news; it’s free with an Audible subscription.

To summarize, something is holding you back. It could be creating goals that are not attainable, or it could be fear. I do not doubt that you will move through the last 10% once you address the issue. I’m not going to tell you that the process will be easy, but if you are savvy enough to invest in yourself by creating goals, I know you have the determination to see them through!

Hugs + Lashes,

Ellie + Lauren

Lauren Baxter

Lauren splits her time as an artist, writer, self-professed health and wellness junkie, and community builder. She is is most passionate about helping divorcees thrive and believe that great partnerships are still possible.


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  1. I set goals that I can meet and as I meet them I make them a little harder each time. It’s amazing what you can accomplish!

  2. I couldn’t agree more! It’s better to create an attainable goal, so you have completed something or to make a goal that forms a daily sustainable habit. ❤️