Setting Goals

New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap primarily because they fade and we go back to the way things have always been. However, there is a way to set goals for 2024 and make them stick! In this blog post, I share how to make goal setting a valuable (and fun) activity towards transforming your life.

Goal Setting is Planning

The mere act of goal setting sets in motion a plan to achieve certain things. There are certain steps to make your plan stick and to make your goal setting activity enjoyable, fun, and worthwhile.

First, set aside some time to create your plan. January 1 is a great day to do that but you could do it any day you choose. I like to do my planning on Sunday, but life does get in the way sometimes. The main thing is to get it done so pick a day and do it. If it doesn’t happen when you planned it, just reschedule it!!

Step 1 - Reflection

The first step is to reflect upon your achievements and setbacks from the past year in all areas of your life that are important to you like family/relationships, finances, health, career, and recreation. You get to say whatever you consider an achievement or a setback/failure has been for you. But write it down so you can see it in front of you. This list will help you in creating improvements over the next year.

For example, my biggest setback last year was not reaching my desired weight. However, my family goals were met and I consider those goals a great achievement. I had weekly family dinners with my siblings and traveled to see family so I feel great about that.

Get out your laptop or a notebook and list the categories with a column or row for achievements and setbacks. Here are 2 layout examples:



Achievements & Setbacks


Weekly Dinner with Siblings; 3 Trips to See Son








Weekly Dinner with Siblings; 3 Trips to See Son


Step 2 – Core Values, What You Love, & Your Mission Statement

Once you have listed your achievements and setbacks, you’re ready for step #2. Step 2 includes 3 things:

  • Your core values
  • What you love
  • Your mission statement

Writing these 3 things down creates the context for your goals. This is the most fun step!

As we age, our core values, the things we love, and our mission statement can change so it’s a great idea to do this exercise annually.

For me, my most important core value has remained the same and that’s the feeling of freedom. I just love that feeling! So, it’s a very important core value for me. You can list as many core values as you want. After you have listed them, see which ones are the top 10, top 5, top 3, and top 1. It can be exhilarating to do this!

Once you have listed your core values, make a list of everything you love in life. Listing everything you love in life is probably the most fun to do and can be done in 30 minutes or even less. Just start listing anything and everything. Don’t dwell on this. Get it done quickly. You can always add more later.

Your list can include every day simple things like flowers, sunsets, and/or the color green. And it can include bigger things like hot air ballooning or mountain climbing (those aren’t on my list but they could be on yours!). My list includes things like cats (even though I’m allergic, I love them), making a difference, movies, flowers, cool to cold weather, public speaking, family time, research, and so much more.

After you make this list, look it over and think about how you can create your year/your life so that all of these things are in your life.  

The last thing you do before you start setting your goals for 2024, is to write your personal mission statement. You have listed your core values and everything you love in life. From there, what do you feel or strongly believe your personal mission statement is? My personal mission in life is simple to enjoy life. That simple mission statement underscores everything I do for my self and others. Your mission statement can be as simple as mine or it can be more involved. It’s your mission statement. Don’t let it trip you up. Create it and move to the next step. You can always change it!

Step 3 – Setting Your Goals for the Year

When setting your goals, keep your core values, the things you love, and your mission statement in mind. They will be the context for what you want to achieve in 2024. Put them somewhere where you will see them on a regular basis. Or you can put them in your planner to review them monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.

Remember goals must be measurable and specific with a due date. For example, if you want to lose weight, select the weight you want to be and when you want to achieve it. To be realistic, make goals per week, per month, per quarter. For example, a realistic goal would be to lose 1-2 pounds per week and 4 to 8 pounds per month.

Set short-term and long-term goals. Short-term would be in a month or a quarter. And long-term would be in 6 months and a year.

Step 4 - Strategies to Achieve Goals

Setting goals is one thing and achieving them is another. Here are a few strategies to help you achieve your goals. 

  • Set 3 types of goals for each goal: Dream Goal, Target Goal, and Acceptable Goal. For example, using a desired weight goal, I would say that 120 pounds would be my dream goal, 125 a target goal and 130 an acceptable goal. I would be ecstatic to reach 130 pounds!!! But I secretly would love to be 120! That IS my dream goal. Setting Dream, Target, and Acceptable goals can help you achieve your goals and stay motivated.
  • Using the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement, called Kaizen, strive for 1% improvement by setting small, short, and reachable goals until you reach your ultimate goal. (Kai means good and Zen means change.) Use a planner (tangible or digital) on a daily basis and review your progress weekly. Your weekly review provides context for setting your goals for the next week.  
  • Develop and track habits that will help you achieve your goals. For example, my health goal includes getting 7-8 hours of sleep. I use Apple’s health app and my Apple watch to track my sleep. I also created my own “habit tracker” sheet to track my weekly progress for sleep and 5 other “habits” that I want to develop. By tracking these habits, I can see if I’m making any improvement over time and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Here’s a glimpse of what my habit tracker looks like:









1. Up before 7

2. Hours Slept

7-8 hours

3. Weight

4. Weight Variance

5. Exercise


6. Asleep by 10

In my habit tracker, “exercise” just requires a checkmark. However, it could also be total time, like 30 minutes. My weekly weight goal will change whereas my sleep goal is always between 7 and 8 hours. If you like my habit tracker, click here to download a copy for yourself. You can easily make your own using Microsoft Word.

Step5 - Dealing with Obstacles/Set Backs/Failure

There are plenty of sayings about goals, planning, and failure. Here are some of my favorites and one by me:

  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • “There’s what you plan and then there’s what happens.” ~ Pam Terry (me!)
  • “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” ~ Thomas Edison
  • “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”
    ~  Gloria Steinem
  • “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
  • “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ~ Yogi Berra
  • “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

Failure will happen. That’s life. Things will not go as planned *sometimes* but not always. But by setting goals and planning, you WILL make progress. Without a plan, “you’ll end up someplace else,” as Yogi Berra so aptly stated. The way to deal with obstacles, setbacks, and failure is to:

  • Create your list of core values, all the things you love, and your mission statement.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals for the year.
  • Track your habits daily, review weekly, and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Strive for 1% improvement by planning daily, reviewing weekly, then planning for the next week.

Step 6 - Motivation & Commitment

Having commitment is much better than having expectations because expectations create disappointment. With commitment, you can always re-commit.

For example, my daily planning and weekly review were totally absent from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. I traveled at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the rest of the time I was extremely busy with the holidays and work. I just did not have time to do any planning. I got things done but I am itching to get back to my daily planning as I can see how much more I get done when I am planning daily and reviewing weekly. I am re-committing to my daily planning and am looking forward to my own goal setting for 2024.

Motivation is a key component to creating and transforming a life worth living! Creating your life from the context of your core values, the things you love in life, and your mission statement can be incredibly motivating. What can motivate you even more is surrounding yourself with at least 1 or 2 people who support you and your achievements and root for you even when you fail. We need healthy, positive, and supportive relationships in life to nurture us. Find them and cultivate them!

The biggest motivator for any goal is your “why.” The stronger your why, the more motivating it can be. Failure can be a big motivator as well. Failure can spur you to do better or to achieve that thing that you failed to do. Overcoming a failure can feel triumphant and we are feeling and sentient beings!

Failure can make us feel dejected and depressed depending on our personality. Achievement is one of those things that makes us feel good and when we achieve something where we failed, that triumphant feeling is magnified. Motivation and inspiration are great feelings. Learn to cultivate them. They can help you overcome obstacles.

Bonus Step -Public Speaking Goals

Setting public speaking goals that are measurable can include the number of times you speak, identifying target audiences or organizations where you want to speak, and/or the number of videos you create (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) to name  a few.

Here are some suggestions for creating measurables goals regarding improving your public speaking:

  • Quit saying “um” and “you know” when speaking. This goal would be measurable by recording your presentations and seeing if you said any of these words.
  • Obtain 10 testimonials from audience participants that you can use on LinkedIn and your website.
  • Use pausing to slow down when speaking – again, this goal would be measurable by recording your presentation and seeing if you used pausing. Any type of skill improvement could be a goal but you would need to review your recording to measure the outcome.
  • Take public speaking training or coaching to improve your public speaking skills to become confident, compelling and engaging.


Lastly, everyone should know that any goal should be S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

  • Specific – is the goal clearly stated?
  • Measurable – is it measurable? How will you know it was achieved?
  • Attainable – are their reasonable resources available, what is the strategy?
  • Relevant – is this goal aligned with your values?
  • Timed – when will the goal be achieved?
  • Evaluated – when will you evaluate it?
  • Reviewed – after you review it, what is the reward and is there a new goal?

Peter Drucker is attributed to S.M.A.R.T. and Professor Robert S. Rubin of St. Louis University to E.R. I like the E.R.!

In conclusion, as you embark on your goal-setting journey for 2024, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how this information has been helpful to you. Do you have any questions or additions you'd like to share? Your feedback is valuable, and it can help me continue to provide content that supports your goals and aspirations. So, please feel free to share your thoughts and insights in the comments below!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Pam. I teach entrepreneurs to be fearless & compelling speakers online and in person and how to easily promote and run their own online workshops, webinars, and online courses. 

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