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How to set goals AND achieve them - whenever you set them

Two champagne glasses and bottle in an ice bucket

Yes, it's that time of year.

Time for SMART goals and words-of-the-year and jubilant social media gurus telling you all about THEIR outrageous goals.

First week of January, and you might already want a way OUT of this whole New Year's Resolution conundrum. 

So, that's what this blog is all about. About how to set goals AND achieve them - whenever you set them.

But not before I tell you a little bit more about some key approaches I've come to love and loathe over the years. 

So here goes: 


First of all, your vision. Your vision is often a multi-year picture of where you want to BE, where you want to go. 3, 5 or even 10 years into the future, this is all about letting your imagination go wild and visualise what you would like YOUR future to look like. 

❤️The reason we LOVE a good vision is twofold. 

One: your brain is AMAZING. If you let your brain visualise the future it will act as if it's already happening! Making it much more likely that it will - indeed - happen. 

Two: If you don't know where you're going you're VERY unlikely to get there. THAT's why we create a vision. So that we have something to work towards. 

⚠️Warning: The downside of a vision is that you stick too rigidly to it. A vision is a GREAT point to aim at, but you still want the flexibility to diverge from your path. To try something new and see where that takes you. Your Vision is your North Star, NOT a roadmap with detailed instructions!


How often have you set SMART goals? I probably don't have to tell you. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound, is what SMART stands for. 

❤️The reason we LOVE a goal is because it's measurable. We know EXACTLY when we've hit it. Because we can see it on the scales, in our bank account, on our project plan. 

⚠️And yeah, that's also its downfall. Because we are over-optimistic about our ability to achieve our goals, there are too many other factors we could only barely grasp when we set the goals, and there are probably around 2,000 other reasons, excuses and distractions that make you abandon your goals halfway through February. 


I posted a poll in my community, Pick 'n Mix, asking about goals. And one of my community members said she'd rather think of intentions. 

Intentions are much more 'now' focused, the day-to-day actions you take, and often talk about relationships, with yourself and with others. 

❤️ The reason for LOVING intentions is that you're much less attached to the outcome. You're committing to the PROCESS, the day-to-day 'doing' of the thing you've set your intention for. 

⚠️The danger of this approach is of course that you can lose track of where you'd like to go, of your destination. 

Word of the year 

Are you on Facebook or on LinkedIn? Yes, over the last few days I've literally felt BOMBARDED with messages asking me what MY word-of-the-year is. The reason for this, as far as I can tell is to give an easy to remember your intentions (see above). 

❤️ You've got to love the simplicity of this idea. 

⚠️ I think it's TOO simple. Because I think, quite frankly, that it's very likely you'll have more than ONE intention: for your career, for your relationships, for your creative projects, for your finances. What are you going to do? Remember FIVE words? 

How you want to FEEL

This is something that was introduced to me last year. One coach said: How do you want to FEEL in 2023? 

❤️Again, you've got to love the simplicity of this. 

⚠️This approach has its merits, but requires emotional intelligence and emotional literacy to spell out EXACTLY how you want to feel. Also, say you want to feel 'happy'. What does that mean for you? Does that mean excited? Joyful? Peaceful? 

The definition of what - essentially - is a fleeting feeling is difficult. It's also - I'd argue - almost impossible to pinpoint exactly WHEN you're happy and maintain that happiness! 

What you CAN do though, is to set your (here it comes again) INTENTION to return to a higher level of happiness every time. To agree with yourself to BE happier in 2024.

No, the way I've resolved the whole New Year's Resolutions conundrum is by applying the Be - Do - Have approach

To HAVE (achieved) something you need to BE someone to be able to DO something to make that happen. 

❤️ The reason I LOVE this approach is because it combines both the OUTCOME (the HAVE) with who you have to BE and what you've got to DO to achieve that. You're the visionary and the doer, all rolled into one. I also love it because the BE and the DO come BEFORE the HAVE. Meaning that you become less attached to the outcome. 

⚠️ And yes, there is a warning. Because the order IS important. Too much focus on the DO or the HAVE will mean you'll never be happy or content. Because there is always a next goal to aim for, a next thing to do. 

So there you have it! My very first blog of 2024. AND my tip on getting clever around New Year's resolutions, whenever you choose to make them. 

Wishing for you that you can BE the person you want to be and DO what you want to do, so that you can HAVE the best 2024! 

I can't WAIT to see what you'll make happen next!


Tineke Tammes supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artistnever-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler.

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