Skip links

Annie’s 5 Steps For Setting And Achieving Goals



It may be September, but there is still four months left to make significant strides in work, life and love before the end of 2019.

If you have tried to crack the code for setting goals in 2019 and haven’t achieved them, don’t worry you can apply these steps so you have an action plan to create your goal setting process for living and loving life during the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Many start off so enthusiastic with their goals, yet fail to maintain momentum throughout the year. Because they haven’t achieved what they set out to do, they beat themselves up, lose hope and let their goals fall by the wayside.  What so many don’t realize is that we don’t need to be more motivate, we need to be more focused, disciplined and ruthless.

If you haven’t set the right goals for yourself, it will be super hard to make consistent progress. A couple of studies provide empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools:  accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals. There is now a study at Dominican University demonstrating that writing one’s goals enhances goal achievement.   Get crystal clear on what you want to achieve between now and the 31st of December.

The real challenge here is getting really honest with yourself and determining if you are willing to go to any length required to achieve your goal. So many people want the results but don’t want to put the footwork in. So get real about not just choosing your goals but the time, energy and commitment you are willing to invest.

As Tony Robbins says “Remember: The pursuit matters just as much as the goal. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want, and don’t give yourself a hard time about not achieving your goals”

I have found it works much better for me if I set goals quarterly, because a year feels too restricting to me and I put immense pressure on myself. Also, it means I don’t feel I have let myself down if after a month I haven’t completed what I set out to do. Once I have completed my goals for that quarter, I set new ones for the next quarter. If I am still working on something at the end of one quarter, I carry it over to the next.

When I have to adjust my schedule because my agent has set ambitious deadlines for my next book, I focus on working really hard at that deadline and make progress before I move onto the next thing. It’s all about progress, not perfection, as long as we are moving forward, that’s what counts.

Here are my 7 steps for goal setting success:


In order to lay the foundation for success, we must be in alignment with our goals, they MUST matter to us. Unless we are in alignment with our goals, we will always struggle to achieve them.

How do you do this? You discover your WHY. That’s the thing that inspires you, awakens your spirit and gets you out of bed every day, makes your heart smile and your soul sing.

It is what fires you up, pumps you up and excites you.  The two things that I could spend hours doing where time literally disappears are; 1) helping others to take their life to the next level, as I am obsessed with bringing value to the lives of others. 2) Writing; as this always unleashes my creativity.

When you align your goals you will have a vision for your life, which will help you tear down the barriers that are constantly holding you back from achieving them. In order to align your goals it’s crucial to remember to dive deep and figure out what your WHY


Commit to a detox mind diet and decide from today not to indulge in or dwell in any negative thoughts or emotions, or allow anyone to hook you into any negative talk or gossip for seven consecutive days. Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Don’t allow any of this ‘realistic nonsense’ to put a damper on your dreams.

You might not realize it, but your everyday language has a major impact on your life, complaining can become a habit. It attracts more of the same and isn’t helpful one bit. It can subconsciously sabotage your success around your goal setting and achieving your goals.

It’s extremely challenging, to abstain, but it’s worth it as it’s rewarding and powerful. Self awareness is the prerequisite to change and it’s amazingly effective to discover how fearful, stressed, destructive and non- productive we can be at times without even realizing it.  If you want a different result in your life, you need new capabilities.

We all deserve success and happiness in life but many of us aren’t allowing ourselves to accept good fortune in.


Stay 100% focused on what you DO want, not on what you DON’T want. Break down the action points. On a piece of paper, get clarity with your goal setting, write down every single action you will have to take and chunk down the more detailed tasks to help you create your master to-do list. How much money do you need to put aside or to earn? What new skills will you need to learn? What new disciplines, habits or behaviors will you need to build into your life? Who can you ask to support you? What contacts, connections or resources could be helpful? Who do you need to let go of?

Write down your goals, and identify a critical path to define the most crucial steps that must happen for your goal to become a reality. Begin with the end in mind. Take a sheet of paper and make 3 headings across the top; 1.What I want. 2, Why I want it. 3. To be achieved by.  Keep these brief and concise.

Constantly remind yourself of your ultimate goals. Remove distractions. When working on your goals, don’t allow yourself to steer off track by checking your social media or turning on the TV or making calls to friends. Not being focused and allowing yourself to be distracted will hold you back from achieving greatness and smashing your goals.

Take some photos of inspirational words and images of your goals. Use them as your screensaver on your laptop, iPod or phone. Print out a small A4 sheet with them on and laminate the sheet and keep it to hand or place it by your bed or desk so you can constantly look at it.  Remember the brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, so you need to constantly feed it images of your goals.


Mind-mapping is very effective when goal setting. Use a large piece of paper or a white board to write down everything you can think of about your goals. Dive deep, keep drilling down.  This is a great way to create a goal plan and to brainstorm. Its power lies in its simplicity.  Divide them into smaller, more accessible parts.  E.G. Finances, Personal, Social, Work, Health, using keywords or small sentences, keep writing until nothing else pops up for each one. Now look at your goals, select one or two you want to achieve in the next quarter and write the tasks you will need to accomplish behind the goals. They need to be a) specific; what, where, when, b) measurable; how will you track them? what is the evidence? c) attainable; is it possible in the time frame you have set d) relevant; is it aligned with your truth, your core values, your soul? e) time frame; what is this, does it need to be readjusted or carried over into the next quarter? Leave lots of space to play around and flesh it all out.



Don’t short change yourself by not allowing yourself the chances of success. Build your ideal life through goal setting. A goal without a strategic plan is a wish. By setting goals that are strategically aligned and sticking with them you can create action – reward loops that cultivate good habits.

Start with the toughest action that you fear most. This will make the rest of them so much easier to accomplish. Set time aside regularly to review your goals. Practice cognitive restructuring to change the way you think if you drop the ball regularly and don’t honor your commitment to yourself.  Get excited. Feel how it will be to smash them. Sense it, visualize it.

Focus on self care, staying calm, engaged, focused, and productive. Learning to bounce back from adversity is essential. Goal setting is a process that promotes purpose and helps you to clearly establish what you would like to achieve.

Goal setting is a skill. Keep practicing, as you become more confident at goal setting you can raise your bar to tap into your full potential and increase the level of challenge.

In the words of Steven Pressfield “It’s not too late to become the hero of your own journey”

What would you do differently? What other ideas can you add to this list I may not have mentioned? What’s the biggest challenge you’re struggling with around goals right now that I can help you with?

If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend.

I’m Annie Ashdown, Author, Success coach, Cognitive Hypnotherapist,Speaker, based in London. I write about everything I’ve done wrong as a woman personally and professionally whilst out there in the trenches.

I work with high achievers who want to conquer imposter syndrome, crush self -doubt, and de-escalate anxiety. I help them knock down the wall that’s causing them frustration and standing between them and their next level of success so they can get closer to the dream life they’ve set their sights on.

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it, share it with a friend.

Don’t forget to comment below.

I publish new posts every week, so be sure to check back soon and let me know the kind of content you would like to see more of on this blog..

If you are ready to catapult your life to the next level, grab my FREE worksheet with 5 simple steps here.

The Confidence factor is now available on Kindle here.