How To Achieve Goals

December 17th, 2008 by Kevin Ngo

So you want to know how to achieve goals. Good. Here it is… (also see How to Set Goals)

Step 1: Figure out exactly what you want

Step 2: Create a plan (action steps)

Step 3: Schedule in the action steps on your daily to do list

Step 4: Do it, take action

Step 5: Measure progress every week or two, note what’s working and what’s not

Step 6: Do more of what’s working, cut out what’s not working

Step 7: Repeat steps 5 and 6 until goal is accomplished

If these steps on how to achieve goals are clear and make sense to you, skip down to the conclusion, it may contain a way of looking at goals you’ve never thought of. Otherwise, read the rest.

Step 1: What do you want?

See How to Set Goals. This sounds silly but make sure you actually want what it is you’re trying to get. Make sure it’s your goal and not someone else’s. Write down why you absolutely must achieve that goal. If it stirs you emotionally, you’re on track. Keep those reasons near by. You’ll need them when things get tough. This is the reason part of how to achieve goals.

Step 2: Create a plan.

A lot of people recommend mapping out the path you want to take from where you are to where you want to be. The challenge is how are you going to draw a map of something if you don’t know what the path looks like? That’s like going to Google maps, typing in an address, and having Google give you a blank screen and telling you to draw the map yourself. So what do you do?

One way is by finding someone who’s been where you want to be. They’ve traveled down that path before and can not only help you draw the map but can also tell you the shortcuts as well. That’s the power of having a mentor. They can save you years of trial and error since they’ve had to make the mistakes themselves and can tell you what to do and what NOT to do.

Another way is by “cheating”. Remember those mazes we all did as kids? Trying to get from point A to point B can be frustrating when you keep running into dead ends. So what was the best way to do those mazes? You now the answer, working the maze in reverse. You start at the finish line and go backwards to the start. It works because we can predict which path will lead to a dead end more easily. I know you did this, be honest. 🙂

So how do you “cheat” in terms of creating your plan? The basic technique is to visualize already having the goal that you want. From there you would go “back in time” and see what the last step you took that led you to the goal. Then look at the step that led you to that step and so on until you get back to where you currently are now. It’s not going to be perfect of course, but if you’re stuck on the planning part, this strategy will at least give you some idea of what direction to go.

Mapping out the path is looking at what “should” happen if you take certain actions. Reverse mapping is looking at what would’ve “likely” happened that led you to the goal.

For example, say you’re in school and want to get a 4.0 gpa. See yourself in the future with that 4.0 gpa. Now look back at how you got there. You likely not only studied quite hard but you also stopped watching so much TV as well. You likely even asked some classmates to study with you. You also likely started on projects earlier than normal. This would then lead you to make the decision to start on that project right now rather than later. You get the idea. This is the strategy part of how to achieve goals.

Step 3: Schedule it.

A goal without a deadline is a dream. A plan without action steps is a bad plan. Actions steps that aren’t part of your schedule are useless. Unless you’re actually scheduling your actions steps into your daily schedule, it’s pointless. By scheduling I mean you’re writing down what you will do, what day you will do it on, and at what time on that day you will begin it onto your calendar. Schedule it and treat it like a doctor’s appointment. Do it no matter what. This is the commitment part of how to achieve goals.

Step 4: Take Action.

Take action. Just do it. Period. This is the most important part of how to achieve goals.

Step 5: Measure progress.

You don’t have to be perfect in terms of what actions to take. The important thing is that you take action, meaning doing something towards the attainment of your goal. As you go along, keep adjusting your aim. You’re probably going to be off at the beginning. That’s okay.

I took a beginning archery class in my college days and was actually quite good at it. My first few attempts at the beginning of each session were mostly off, but the more I shot the arrow, the more information I got as to how to adjust my aim. As the class went on, it took less and less shots for me to make the right adjustments. I ended being one of the highest scorers in the class which also consisted of several intermidiate level archers.

So keep adjusting. The more action you take, the more experience you get, the better your aiming will be.

When you go for a goal, you will be knocked off course every now and then. Someone comes by and bumps into you, causing you to go another direction. You see something out of the corner of your eye and it catches your attention so you stop and stare at it for a while. Something gets in your way and blocks your path. All of these are obstacles. That’s life. Things happen. Your task is to keep adjusting. Know what’s leading you closer to your goals and what’s not. Do more of what is and less of what isn’t. This is the adjustment/aiming part of how to achieve goals.

Step 6: Take notice of what works and what doesn’t.

The only way you will know what’s working and what’s not is by constantly taking action, lots of it. If that Ab Roller you bought on TV isn’t helping you loss weight even if you’re doing it a whole 20 full minutes a day for 3 whole days a week, then you need to adjust your strategy. Not everything you do is going to work. Even if something works for someone else, it might not work for you.

This goes without saying but be intelligent. If you don’t lose any weight after 3 days of exercise, know that you probably haven’t given it enough time. If you start a business and don’t make profit after 2 weeks, that doesn’t mean it’s not working. This is the common sense part of how to achive goals. I know you’re smart enough to figure this step out so I’ll end it here.

Step 7: Wash, rinse, repeat.

If you continue to do more and more of what’s taking you closer to your goal, and less of what’s taking your further away from your goal, then it’s just logical that you will eventually reach your goal. Now how long it will take you will depend on how quickly you recognize what’s working and what’s not working. Again, this is where having someone who’s been down the path you want to take will be a tremendous advantage. Getting help from someone who knows how to achieve goals that you want is invaluable.


So that’s the basics of how to achieve goals. Don’t worry too much about the details. Figure out what you want, make a plan, and just do it. Don’t try to find the perfect path or be afraid of making mistakes. Taking action in the wrong direction is better than not taking action at all. When you take action, you learn. When you don’t, you just theorize, and that is a guarantee you won’t get any closer to your goal.

Now let me share with you this piece of insight on how to achieve goals. Goals are not a future event. If you keep goals a “future” thing, it will never happen. Let me explain. When you set a goal, to make it real, it must effect your current daily actions. If it doesn’t, it will always remain a goal, never becoming a reality. By making a decision to obtain a certain goal, you must alter your current actions in some way in order to shift your current destiny. No new action, no new destiny.

So what it really comes down to is this:

Realized goals are nothing more than the result of deliberate changes in your daily activities caused by the creation of the goals.

If you set a goal and your schedule for the week looks the same as last week, your future won’t be shifted. It all comes down to the actions you will or won’t take today.

I would guess that most of you reading this already know the process of how to achieve goals. I think you can ask someone who has failed their whole life how to achieve goals and they’d be able to tell you the basic steps. Now what probably happened was that too many obstacles got in the way, obstacles that they believed were bigger than them. So they gave those dreams up and settled for what life happened to hand to them. You were meant to create your own destiny. Your decisions on what to do when obstacles come up will determine everything.

What separates those who achieve and those who don’t, is the decision of “I will” versus “I won’t”.

Will you keep going even when faced with defeat after defeat or will you back down and give up? Will you keep pushing forward even when those challenges seem too big for you to handle or will you turn around and run away? Will you keep fighting even when you think you’ve got nothing left or will just throw in the towel? Will you still believe in yourself despite the rejection and laughter of others or will you lose hope and settle for a mediocre life like most do? Will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror and stand proud or will you look away in shame and disgust?

Either you will or you won’t. The choice is yours.

Until next time…

Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.

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