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How To Set Goals That Boost Your Bank Account

Every year we make goals: Business goals, Life goals, Fitness goals. Some we achieve and some we don’t. Truth be told, most of us fail to reach our real goals. You know the one’s that will make us truly happy, feel fulfilled and get rich.

Why is that?

To be frank, it’s because you suck at writing and achieving goals. Now don’t get all in a huff just yet. It’s not completely your fault. Strategic Goal setting is hard and you are probably not setting your goals in a way that works for you. For too long neither did I. Not to mention it’s very rare that when we decide to do something, will we do it without some kind of reward or crazy Special Forces level discipline sprinkled with consistent action.

Time for a little confession;

I haven’t always set goals the way I’m going to show you. Because I moved from corporate (where project management goals are very analytical) into the entrepreneur world. And I didn’t quite understand the power of my subconscious mind to achieve my goals.

That was a critical key of the puzzle for me when I started my journey as a solo-entrepreneur, getting my brain primed to achieve my goals. I mean I used to set goals, but there was no meaning behind them, no emotion to spur me on, no burning desire associated with the goal. My goals were just a whole bunch of targets filed in date order in an excel spreadsheet. Woohoo! Now that’s living life to its fullest. OK, not really.

Once I started working for myself I found that the traditional goal-setting strategy that I used while in corporate and coincidentally touted in millions of books, seminars and expensive programs — just did not work for me as a solo entrepreneur.

I became hell-bent on finding out how one goes about making sure you succeed at reaching your goals. What is the trick to keeping motivated when the going gets epic mini-series tough?

So, I went on a quest to figure out why and started looking into studies on goal setting (yawn.)
Next, by observing how the crazy-silly-gumby successful people achieved their goals. Then as I started doing private coaching I also noticed more reasons why most of my clients were not reaching their goals.

After all that, I combined my experience with what was absorbed by and/or knocked into my skull into a plan. That plan lead to a quest to figure out which combination of strategies and tools would help me achieve my goals. After a few classes in the school of hard knocks to add some insights, I finally figured found what worked for me.

To date I’ve only shared these with my private clients.

But ‘cause I like you, today I want to share those strategies with you, as I’m confident they will help you reach your goals as well. If not, then maybe you do suck.

I set my standards high and, gosh darn it, you should too:

Goal setting is an art. What I found out is that in order to achieve what I wanted I had to write my goals in full color and detail. You’ve probably seen this tactic before. Writing goals such as “I want to own a big house,” or “I want to lose some weight,” or “I want to conquer the Eastern Seaboard and enslave the inhabitants” are not good. Why? Well, the first two are really vague and aren’t very motivating. The last one means you need serious therapy and is kinda outside the scope of my expertise.

Whereas writing your goals in detail such as “I will own a 4000 square foot center hall colonial” or “I will lose 5 pounds” will really excite you. Why? Because you can see a clearer picture of success and knowing what success looks like helps you stay motivated until the end. It also gives you a greater sense of satisfaction to boot.

The other tactic to use is to set goals that are hard, but not impossible to reach. What I figured out was that when my goals where just a tad more complex I subconsciously went to greater lengths to achieve them. I pushed myself and my creative juices really flowed. See, success at reaching your goals will happen most often when you focus on the right details in the right way.

Acknowledge that it will be hard slog:

When I set out to accomplish a goal, I’m confident that I will achieve it. But, at the same time I know getting there will be a hard slog (has anyone ever had an easy slog?)

This is where I combined the strategies I learned while working in corporate to the entrepreneurial way. Let me explain, setting goals is nothing more than figuring out all the steps needed to reach the end destination.

So, without going loony and over-thinking things to death, I not only take the time to write goals that are measurable and in a step-by-step fashion, but I also take the time to flush out the obstacles that I know I will encounter on my way to success. Lo and behold this strategy has increased my chances of meeting my goals two-fold.

Woo-Woo-ism meets Reality:

For those that don’t know me, I’m a left brain kind of gal. That means I’m not completely sold on the idea that just picturing what I want in my mind will somehow come true. That feels more like wishful thinking to me.

That’s not to be confused with the power of visualization which is Frosted Flakes™ awesome and I do believe that you attract what you think of most.

This strategy that I’m about to disclose gets me in trouble with some of my friends and my hubby, because they accuse me of always being “pessimistic.” But, I argue back that I’m just being “realistic.”

You see, I’m not opposed to imagining what the finish line will look like, but over the years I’ve noticed that thinking positively about how I will feel when I realized my goal while at the same time thinking realistically about what it will take to get there serves me better.

In other words, flushing out the steps and imagine going through those steps to achieve my goal rather than imagining pretty scenes of when I reach my goals. This strategy also helps me to be more confident, prepare, and plan a hell of a lot better how I’m going to reach those goals.

Bonus Tips:

We all slack off at times when working towards our goals even if you have the best system for goal setting. When that happens to me here is what I do to keep the Mo going.

I make sure I prop cues in my environment to remind me about my goals. And nope, I’m not just talking about writing post-it notes and slapping them on my computer screen or bathroom cabinet. That’s good and helpful.

What I do is something a bit more strategic that Jedi mind-tricks my subconscious into giving me a hand. For example, say my goal is to get my six-pack abs back, then I would leave a magazine lying on my coffee table with a chick with really tight abs on the cover. Or, I would leave healthy snacks where I normally have a Fritos bag. Based on your goal figure out a cue that will trigger your desire to put that notch on your belt. The trick is to make sure the cue has meaning and is clear for you.

There you have it three sweet tips to ensure you set realistic and powerful goals and then help you achieve those goals that applied to your business will boost your bank account. Pretty cool, eh?

So, now that summer (mid-year)  is upon us I ask you – Where are you with your goals? Did you set realistic concrete goals or vague pie-in-the-sky ones? Did you meet the goals you set in the beginning of the year? Why didn’t you? And if you did, was it one a real goal that makes you really happy and fulfilled? Or was it one of those low hanging fruit ones like “Try to not lead police on a three state chase that ends in a glorious explosion at the bottom of a canyon.”

Download my free sheet on setting goals that boost your bank account. This is exactly what I use to set my goals. Give my system a try for the next quarter and let me know how it goes or I will write bad things about you on the Interweb.


  1. Yvette – I must admit to some pretty weak goal setting and reaching so far this year. In part because I wasn’t specific enough and also because I saw the potential obstacles, but underestimated how much of a detour they would create. So, off to revamp those original goals to be way more specific.

  2. The same thing happened to me, Yvette! When I quit corporate I set some goals just because “I was supposed to.” They had no meaning, no oomph, and no passion behind them… so nothing happened!

    I love how you make goal-writing more tangible and accessible here. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yvette – I love the piece about leaving mental cues to fuel the desire for the goal to be accomplished. I had big goals for this year and although my son’s illness is happening, I am proud to say that I am still moving them along although at a slower pace. This is a good time (end of Q1) to remind people about goal setting. Thank you for writing this informative article.

  4. Yvette,

    You’re funny! Did you know that? I know you are right brained, but I really feel you are expressing your voice more authentically in this blog (I have not stopped by in a while but I noticed these few lines that stood out and made me pay attention):

    observing how the crazy-silly-gumby successful people achieved their goals.

    And this is hysterical:
    Did you meet the goals you set in the beginning of the year? Why didn’t you? And if you did, was it one a real goal that makes you really happy and fulfilled? Or was it one of those low hanging fruit ones like “Try to not lead police on a three state chase that ends in a glorious explosion at the bottom of a canyon.”

    I love how you spiced up goal-setting with reality and with fun! Makes me want to read more!

  5. I love the Jedi mind trick, Yvette! haha! And… and it DOES do its magic, but I notice that for some people, it disappears over time. I recommend they move those ab pictures (a favorite one) from time to time. Its the hard work part that I finally figured out. Maybe hard is not even the word to use. For me it was recognizing that it is a formula that is made up of steps… and as long as I do them, of course fueled by my authentic passion, they will be realized. key word is DO.

    I LOVE this one… “thinking positively about how I will feel when I realized my goal while at the same time thinking realistically about what it will take to get there serves me better.” This is what I want to contemplate along with the practical steps… how its going to feeeeeeel. Sometimes I can actually get in that magical zone and actually feel it now.

    Thanks for breaking it out and gifting us with your Jewels, Yvette!

  6. As your left-brained comrade and prior corporate manager, making lists is one of my things. But, I’ve found, just as you noted that setting goals because you should and just having them be like tasks on a to-do list does not work. All three of these tips are great ways to make it happen…and I LOVE that your sassiness and sense of humor are showing through!

    Jennifer Peek
    Find Your New Groove
    Left-Brained Strategy for Right-Brained Businesses

  7. LOVE your straight talking Yvette! Your step by step instructions on realistic goal setting is great. I think everyone needs a left brained thinker in their corner at all times!!! Your reality check will set people on the right track. Dare to dream and dream away but be strategic! Many thanks!

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