Make Your Goals Stick



If you are not crystal clear on your goals,

and if they are in any way vague, or if there’s any obscurity around them whatsoever, it’s highly unlikely you will ever get where you want to go.

Now, if you have ever done any kind of goal setting before, and you found it boring or ineffective or anything like that, this is going to be a refreshing change of pace.

Because we are going to put in place a very effective process that ensures you a very high probability of actually achieving your goals.

First we are going to list the goals and dreams you have for a better life. We are going to get very specific about these goals.

Whatever your goals are, we are going to brainstorm them and get them all down on paper. Then we are going to narrow all those goals down and identify your top 5 highest priority goals.

These are the things aside from money that will absolutely make the biggest difference in your lifestyle.

I can’t stress enough how important this process is, and I want you to do this even if you think you already have your goals clearly defined.

Why Most Goals Suck

Most people confuse hopes and dreams with actual goals. And the fact of the matter is, the majority of those who set goals, simply don’t achieve them.

Just take into consideration all of those New Year’s resolutions that fail. Here in the US about 50% of the population sets New Year’s resolutions.

Want to take a guess at how many actually achieve the goals they set for themselves?

The answer is only 8% of those goals are ever successful according to a study by University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

You can actually increase the probability of achieving your goals by as much as 900% when you follow the formula I am about to lay out for you now.

Step 1: Brain Dump

Create a dream sheet where you can fill in the things that you want.

Imagine that you have 10 million dollars in your bank account right now.

Now with the thought of having this much money I want you to list things in these three categories of Having, Being, Doing.

What do you want to have that was out of reach to you until now?

A car, a house, or a boat.

What do you have now that you would want to get rid of?

Your job, debt, a bad relationship.

What have you always wanted to learn but never had the time to do it?

Become a chef, learn a new a language.

What would you want to experience, what would you want to do?

A dream trip to an island for a few weeks, or a safari trip through Africa.

What experiences have you always dreamed of doing?

List everything and anything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about how outrageous it may seem. Now is not the time for judgment. List everything that comes to mind here.

Step 2: Prioritize

From the list you just created, give each item a priority of 1 – 3.

With 1 being the highest priority, 2 being important but not crucial, and 3 being something nice to have but not incredibly important in the near future. Think of the things that will truly motivate you.

Go with your gut here. Don’t try to rationalize your way out of it. If the first thing that comes to mind is a 1, leave it and move on.

Step 3: Choose your top 5

At this point you should have a huge list of goals and dreams and each of them should be numbered from 1-3.

Now look through your list and find your top 5 number 1 goals and relist them separately in order from highest/most important to least important.

Now you have determined your top 5 highest priority goals.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting off on the path to success is they don’t have any clarity on where they want to go. Most people have a vague idea or they come up with some ambiguous dollar amount that they want, they wish for, or they hope for.

But they have no real clue how they are ever really going to actually reach their goals. And the first step to becoming the master of your destiny is getting crystal clear on your biggest goals.

Your most important priorities in your life right now.

Because no dollar amount alone is going to motivate you to do that.

Making Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.

Most people don’t do nearly enough to make their goals anything more than a wish or a hope.

Not you because you are going to set goals like a pro. When you set your goals the S.M.A.R.T. way you will find you consistently hit your goals more often than not.

Many leaders find that they are hitting their goals between 80-90% of the time frame they set.

So, what are S.M.A.R.T. goals?

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific and Strategic
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant and Results oriented
  • Time-bound


The first term stresses the need for specificity rather than vague and obscure. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous.

To make goals specific they must be created to make it obvious what is expected so there is a clear understanding of where the target is. The strategic part refers to the reason it’s important and what’s involved.

Measurable is a term that stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable it’s not possible to know whether progress has been made toward successful completion or how to determine when you have succeeded.

Attainable refers to the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch you it should seem possible to accomplish and not too far outside of reality for you.

The idea is to create goals that are challenging and yet have a high probability of success with your current resources.

For a goal to be relevant and results oriented, it should move you closer to your vision of your ideal life.

A goal that supports your vision and where you want to go and is in alignment with what you want to accomplish in your life is considered a relevant and results oriented goal.

Time bound stresses the importance of grounding your goals within a time frame by giving your goal a target date. A commitment to a deadline adds a sense of urgency to push you to meeting a specific deadline.

This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goals criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise.

So, now I hope this helps you understand how to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

Let’s make your goals smarter.

Don’t worry this is easy.

Before we jump into working on your top 5 goals and making them S.M.A.R.T. goals I want to demonstrate the difference between goals that are S.M.A.R.T. vs. Goals that are not.

Now let’s say that your first goal in the brain dump exercise was to quit your job.

Here’s what a broad goal looks like.

I want to replace my income at my job so I can quit.

A SMART goal would look something like this.

I will start my Internet business by June 15, and will invest $500 in advertising per month, by Sept. 15, I will be at my target of $200 per day, which will match my income at my job. Once I have consistently hit my goals for 30 consecutive days, I will feel comfortable enough with the income from my new business to hand in my resignation letter, which I will do on Aug. 15 of 2017.

Do you see the difference?

One of the big differences between successful leaders and average people is their ability to set powerful goals and consistently work towards those goals by taking action. The most important thing is that your goals motivate and inspire you.

Every single day you should look at your goals and imagine what your life will be like when you’ve reached your goals.

Picture yourself walking around in your new house

Picture yourself sitting behind the wheel of that new car, or handing in your two week’s notice and sleeping in instead of hitting the alarm clock.

What does it feel like?

The more real your goals feel the more they will inspire you and something magical will happen.

Every high performing professional in every industry all have complete clarity, drive, determination, focus, and they are inspired.

And this is how they do it.

This is how they are able to be more effective and accomplish so much more in their lives.



  1. Hi Adam,

    That was so very well written. The importance of setting SMART goals cannot be over emphasized. It makes for easy accomplishment, through proactive steps.

    Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound are what professional and result-oriented individuals and businesses employ to get what they want anytime.

    Thanks for this motivational piece which provided us with steps to set good goals!

  2. Hey Adam,

    Sticking with a goal makes good sense especially if that goal is pursued logically.

    It is not enough to play in having a goal, but the practice of it is what really matters.

    I love the idea you have shared when it comes to making goals stick. Making a list of things in the categories of Having, Being, and Doing is sure a very good step we can identify with.

    More so, making a goal SMART is the ultimate!

    • Hey Paul,

      Thanks for commenting on this post.

      I think that when you go through the exercise and find out what you really want in the categories of Having, Being, and Doing, it is easier to discover what is really driving you.

      When I started out my goal was to make tons of money. That was the goal that was supposed to drive me every day. And of course it didn’t work because I had nothing to work with.

      I like how you said that “making a goal SMART is the ultimate!”. It really is.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What is Your Time Worth?My Profile

  3. Hey Adam,

    This is quite a timely piece of information on goals. It has given new insights to start setting and pursuing goals that are practicable and realizable.

    Applying and practicing the SMART Acronym to business is cool. It should guide me into getting better results in what I have set myself to do!

    • Hey Steven,

      I am glad that this content is relevant to you. It is the kind of praise that keeps me doing what I am doing.

      There are many times I write content and wonder if anyone will care what I have to say, and to here that what I wrote is helpful really makes my day.

      I really hope that you are able to apply these techniques.

      They do a great job of keeping you on track and giving you the courage to say “No” to things that would stray you from that path(i.e. Shiny object syndrome).
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What is Your Time Worth?My Profile

    • Hi Carl,

      You are absolutely right. When making a goal SMART it will have a higher chance of success.

      I think a lot of that has to do with the process of thinking about the goal and fitting that goal in to the SMART criteria. But, the process can be used in any aspect in our lives.

      For me, for example, It is easy to say, “I will abstain from alcohol”.

      Yeah that is a goal, but it doesn’t have much thought behind it. It is just something that I think and them affirmed to myself maybe once, maybe more.

      But when I went through the process of making that goal SMART, I really had to think about that goal and what I wanted from it.

      Did I want to quit drinking for a week, a month, a year? I really had to process it and think deeply, and that helped make it concrete in my mind.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What is Your Time Worth?My Profile

  4. Hey Adam,

    For everyone who truly wants to gain traction with their goal, it is important to be absolute about it.

    Goal setting is important and must be given all the necessary motivation for achievement.

    Personal and business goals should be clarified so that efforts to achieve them would become easier.

    • Hello Winford,

      I totally agree with you. I remember when I started working online I had a hard time believing that something like goals would help me in any fashion. And I would half heartedly make a goal like, “I want to make money online”.

      That goal never gained any traction, and it helped me solidify the belief that goals were magical mystical things that wouldn’t apply to someone like me.

      It wasn’t until a mentor walked me through this process that I started to understand what goal setting was like. It is a full on task that involves really looking deep and figuring out what will drive you. And you need to really think about how you are going to reach that goal, which helps solidify that goal in your mind.

      I think what we hear about goals it is something akin to a New Years resolution. Something simple that won’t embarrass us at the next years party when someone ask on the progress.

      But when thinking business, we can’t be so flippant. This is our livelihood here. Taking the time to clarify a goal and ensure that it will actually motivate you instead of put you off of it is crucial.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What is Your Time Worth?My Profile

    • Hey Black,

      I was always the opposite. Any time I would come across an Internet post on SMART (and we all know there are tons of them out there), I would roll my eyes and move on to something that I thought would actually help me.

      The ones I did read would only go in to the definition of SMART and how to fit a goal into that criteria.

      But, I hardly ever ran across a piece of content that told me how to really flesh out the things that were important to me at. I think that was always the missing piece. That was the magic that people were keeping to themselves.

      I think that figuring out what will really drives you is just as important as making a goal SMART.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What is Your Time Worth?My Profile

  5. Hello Adam,

    I really like this post and how helpful it has made goal setting.

    But what if you do everything right but you still don’t achieve your goals? What then? Do you give up or keep going?

    For instance, the SMART goal of example you gave of:

    “I will start my Internet business by June 15, and will invest $500 in advertising per month, by Sept. 15, I will be at my target of $200 per day, which will match my income at my job. Once I have consistently hit my goals for 30 consecutive days, I will feel comfortable enough with the income from my new business to hand in my resignation letter, which I will do on Aug. 15 of 2017.”

    What if you invest that amount but lose it all and don’t get even $10 per day let alone $200 per day?

    Do you give up or keep going?

    How do you keep going when your goals don’t work out?

    • Hello Joseph,

      I think that if you run into a situation where you are not able to hit your goal it would be a good idea to really go over what you are asking yourself to do.

      Many people come to online business with the goal of making $10,000 a month. For someone with an annual salary of $40,000 it may be hard to comprehend what $10,000 month would be like.

      In the case of advertising, it would be best to start at a place that is comfortable. Places like Facebook don’t like seeing people open an account and start their first ad at $50 a day.

      You need to work up to that amount or they will flag your account. While working up to that amount you will be learning and you may even get a few winners on your way up to your goal budget.

      It is always a good idea to look over your progress on pursuing a goal. If it is clear that you are not going to reach that in absolutely no way, then it would be best to break that goal into smaller more digestible chunks.

      Maybe get to the point where you are able to spend $500 a month in advertising, or get to a point where you are making $200 dollars a day and then revising you marketing strategy until you are only spending $500 a month to get that $200 a day.

      Remember, your goals are meant to push you to the point of being uncomfortable, not impossible.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…What Are Notifications Doing to Your Productivity?My Profile

  6. Hi Adam,

    Goal setting is a primary requirement for succeeding at anything one does. It allows you to focus on the most important things at every stage of your endeavors.

    Equally important is to ensure that your goals are S.M.A.R.T as this would ensure that you consistently hit your goals like you’ve rightly said.

    However, I’ve heard about a new variant of the S.M.A.R.T goals, and it’s called the C.L.E.A.R goals. It stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, Refinable.

    Whether you chose the former or the latter, the bottom line is to make your goal setting effort alive with these 5 pointers.
    Hafiz Akinde recently posted…Personal Branding For Bloggers: 10 Strategies That Actually WorkMy Profile

  7. Hey Adam,

    This post was crystal clear!

    I really didn’t realize how important goals were until 2 years ago despite the fact that I started blogging 4 years prior.

    But yes, you definitely want to have clarity with your goals. I started using the SMART technique as well as created mini goals under bigger goals, which were the hurdles I wanted to overcome.

    Goals give you direction and thresholds to attain. This is the motivation we all need and being more detailed about them in mini goals will give all of us the edge to keep going.

    Thanks for sharing Adam!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…What If You Can Only Blog Once A Month?My Profile

  8. Hey Adam,

    Great content here and really gives goal setting a new aspect instead of the normal “dream boards”

    I believe if you set dates then you will achieve them by then, or at least very close to achieving them. My friend experienced this, where he set a goal of getting a couple thousand dollars by a set date…the day before his set date, he did it!

    I don’t know how it works, but it seems to just work!

    Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day! 🙂
    Marie Yovcheva recently posted…What I Used To Go From 0 To Over 330 LeadsMy Profile

  9. Hi Adam,

    I really like this post.

    I didn’t previously know about S.M.A.R.T. goals, but now I do.

    Regarding taking action, you are right that the differences between successful leaders and average people is their ability to set powerful goals and consistently work towards those goals by taking action. Taking action is really difficult but possible with the tips you shared here.

    Thanks for this.

    • Hello Katrina,

      I am glad that you were able to learn about SMART goals through me post.
      It is easy for me to forget that not everyone has the same knowledge as I do. Sometimes when I create content like this, the internal critic mocks me and gets me to second guess the need for a blog like this.

      I wanted to comment on your statement about taking action. Usually doing an action is really easy. Such as shooting a video, writing on something you have great knowledge on, or even taking a walk. It is the build up in our minds that make those tasks so difficult. And that is what usually stops us.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…Top 10 Productivity KillersMy Profile

  10. When it comes to being successful or obtaining the level of success that you want, setting and following goals are important.

    When you have no guidance, failure is sure to come. You have to reach for something everyday and stick to the task at hand.

    The things you have mentioned in this post are great. I like how you said to prioritize your goals and dreams.

    You can’t go after everything at one time. Being focused and organized helps you to achieve maximum focus and clarity.

    Great post!

    Lawrence Berry recently posted…How To Raise Your Credit ScoreMy Profile

    • Hello Lawrence,

      Thank you for the great comment. You hit on a good point that really got me thinking.

      We tend to try to do everything at one time and stress ourselves out because we have so much important stuff to do.

      I find that people skip the prioritization step for many reasons, but I feel like it is the most important.
      There is only one thing that can be out top priority. Having five top priorities never works. When you can drill down on that one truly important thing, focus and clarity will be easy to get.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…Top 10 Productivity KillersMy Profile

    • Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on this piece.

      It took me a long time to quit giving up on my goals. For years my goals never helped me do what I intended them to. The biggest reason for this is my goals were always vague.

      I mean, that usual goal of, “I want to make more money.” This is not a very motivational statement.

      What is more? Is that nickel you picked up in the parking lot “More”? It’s more money than you had before. So technically the goal is completed, and your mind has moved on to something else.

      The biggest part of achieving goals is the proper setting of goals.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…Top 10 Productivity KillersMy Profile

  11. Hi Adam,

    Goal setting is powerful and especially if you it is logically followed to the end.

    All that is needed to make it work must be followed and taking the right steps for achievement must apply.

    The SMART acronym is a time tested approach to goal setting and its a good thing that businesses and individuals can put it into practice for real!

    • Hello Celine,

      We have a hard time just sticking to the directions, don’t we?

      Like you said SMART is a time tested approach to achieving goals. But, we as humans think that we can fix it, or make it work for the times we live in. The reasons why we don’t just stick to directions can go on.

      But if we just follow the steps we will be able to benefit from the process.

      I appreciate you comment, Thank you.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…Top 10 Productivity KillersMy Profile

  12. Hi Adam,

    This was indeed a great read, and very in-depth. I really admire the time you’ve put into this post, as it has turned out to be fantastic and very helpful.

    Speaking of setting goals, I’ve always loved the acronym SMART when applying it to setting goals. This acronym also helps me to make more out of my goals. Thank you so much for the wonderful read. 🙂
    Artice Upchurch (A.D. Upchurch) recently posted…Cult of Work: How to Survive If You Are a WorkaholicMy Profile

    • Hello A.D. Upchurch,

      I am glad that this article was helpful.

      I love how this acronym makes you feel like you are doing goals right.

      “I just set a smart goal.” is so much nicer to say than “I just set a goal.”

      For the longest time I wondered what made other peoples goals so much smarter than mine. I was being left out because I just had goals.

      It became clear a few years later when I realized that smart was an acronym and not just a way of these guys saying their goal was better.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…Top 10 Productivity KillersMy Profile

  13. Hi Adam,

    The importance of goal setting for personal or business venture cannot be undermined.

    Goals give directions for success and if they are smart then it would be magical enjoying them.

    I guess, this post should be bookmarked for future reference because the information contained is timeless!

  14. Hi Adam,

    Indeed, making our goals stick should be the most important thing in our life. We all dream of better life.

    We should decide that we will keep working at our goals until we reach it. There’s no turning back, you stick to it consistently and keep moving forward, no matter what.


  15. HI Adam,

    I want you to know how much I enjoyed your piece on goal setting. I have been aware of the S.M.A.R.T. system for a while.
    Upon reading your post, I was able to see that even though in my mind I was being specific, in fact I have not been, or at least not as much as I need to be.
    You have a great voice for relating in very understandable terms, an aspect of life everyone can benefit from.

    Thank you again, and I look forward to reading more of your work.


  16. I like your clear and simply laid out explanation and action plan for establishing our top 5 goals. I totally agree that getting clear and specific is vital to achieving success in any field of life.

    I am very happy to be reminded of the SMART system for making goals; it really is effective.

    I would also suggest that along with clear goals is the need for a powerful self belief system so that the goals can be actioned consistently and not fall to the wayside as they easily can be. What do you think?

    Many thanks for a great post Adam

  17. Hi Adam

    Thank you for sharing this article. I especially found the S.M.A.R.T forumula very helpful.

    Your idea of if you had 10 million dollars was pretty ingenious too. Really makes you focus on what you really want and what is most important.

    I’ve heard others talk about the importance of visualization but I really haven’t tried it enough. I really should give it some honest effort after I set my goals.

    Thanks again for sharing this great article. Take care my friend…