This is a guest post by Brittany Trama.

You know the feeling. You’re motivated, excited, and focused as you work toward your dream.

Then life happens. The initial excitement you felt fades away. You want more traffic for your blog or website, but it becomes harder and harder to make yourself sit down and write. You  find yourself creating excuses. Days and weeks go by. Those ambitious goals you dreamed up are nothing but far-off fantasies dancing around in your head. You feel guilty for not following through and say to yourself:

  • I’ll never be able to stick to my goals.
  • I don’t push myself hard enough.
  • I need to stop being so lazy.
  • I’m a failure.

But I have great news for you…

Your dreams don’t have to fizzle out like a defective 4th of July firecracker. In this post, you’ll learn:

  • Why getting crystal clear about your goals will amplify your results
  • How to achieve goals by measuring your progress to stay on track
  • How to break goals down into smaller, manageable chunks (so you don’t feel overwhelmed)
  • How to prepare like a pro for inevitable setbacks that could derail you
  • 3 word-for-word scripts that you can use to find an accountability partner
  • A quick step-by-step action plan that you can implement today to start reaching your goals

Here are three steps for creating goals that matter to you.

Step 1: Use This Secret to Craft Great Goals

Determining the outcome you want to achieve is the first step. An outcome goal is the end result and it sets your direction. When thinking about your outcome goal, it’s extremely important to be crystal clear about what you want to achieve. As a rule of thumb:

  • Vague goals will get you mediocre results.
  • Specific goals will get you amplified results.

Why? Because… [Tweet “Vague goals aren’t goals, they’re wishes (wisdom from @brittanytrama on #Unsettle)”]

I want to blog regularly is an example of a vague goal. Here’s how to turn that wish into a specific goal:

  • Ask yourself: What is the outcome you’re hoping to achieve by blogging “regularly”?
  • What does “regularly”mean to you? Every day? Once a week? Once a month?

These questions would turn that vague goal into a specific goal, like this:

I want to write 2 guest posts per week so that I can grow my email list to 500 subscribers within the next 90 days.

By getting specific, you’ll get a better idea of which steps you need to include in your plan of execution so you can take your goal from wish to reality.

The 90-Day Timeframe

In the example above, I set a timeframe of 90 days. Our brains have a difficult time envisioning anything  beyond 90 days in the future.

In her book, The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start a Successful Business, Monica Mehta explores the role of brain chemistry in entrepreneurship.

“Your short-term goals are the motor that drives you toward your aspirations, little by little. To harness the motivating power of the green light, set only a few short-term goals at a time. Each should ideally take no more than three months to achieve.”

Next, you’ll need to track your progress.

Step 2: A Simple Method to Stay on Track

“Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so.”


Performance goals help you track and monitor your progress towards your outcome goal. It’s impossible to improve performance without measurements.

So, your performance goals need to be measurable and trackable.

Take a look at your current situation.

How can you increase the likelihood that you’ll reach your goals? For example, if your outcome goal is to get 500 subscribers within 90 days, one performance goal could be:

  • I will increase the number of guest posts published per month from 0 to 2.

When setting performance goals, ask yourself:

  • What benchmarks can I use to measure my progress?
  • How will I know if I’m on the right track?

Breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable parts is the final step.

Step 3: Think Small to Achieve Big

You have no direct control over outcome goals, which can be challenging.

For example, you can’t control how many new subscribers you get each month. Even if you create amazing content and promote it on popular websites, there’s no way that you can force readers to physically push the subscribe button.

Another challenge is that outcome goals can feel unreachable. Refer to the previous example of growing your email list to 500 subscribers. If your list currently has 50 subscribers, the idea of a 900% increase (from a psychological standpoint) seems daunting. That’s because growing an email list involves many factors and doesn’t happen overnight. You have to write guest posts, get traffic, create opt-in offers, etc. Man, just thinking about everything you need to do feels downright scary.

Once fear starts kicking in, it's difficult to take action. That’s why breaking a goal down into actionable steps that you have direct control over makes it a lot easier to focus your efforts. This is where process goals come into play.

We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.

Warren Buffett

While you can’t force people to subscribe to your email list, you can:

  • Create the best content on the planet
  • Write guest posts for popular blogs in your niche
  • Develop a good reputation by reaching out to other bloggers and adding value.

Process goals are the stepping stones that will lead you to your goal. If you consistently work on them day-by-day, you'll successfully reach your larger goal. Example of a process goal:

Every Monday between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, I will research bloggers, find out what their needs are, and draft 4 email pitches that include 3 ideas for guest posts.

Supercharged Goal Setting in Action

I know – that was a lot of information to take in. Don’t worry, though., I’m going to walk you through this process step-by-step. Let’s say that your outcome goal is to have 500 subscribers on your email list within the next 90 days.

Outcome Goal – Increase my email list to 500 subscribers by 9/27 (90 days from now).

Since I’m just starting out and I don’t have a lot of content or traffic yet, my best bet is to focus on getting more traffic to my website. One way to do this is by guest posting on sites that have a lot of traffic. So my performance goal will be to write more guest posts.

Performance Goal  – I will increase the # of guest posts published per month to from 0 to 2.

I haven’t written any guest posts yet, so I’m starting from 0 and working my way up to 2 posts per month. Now, I need to think about what I can do each day to meet this performance metric.

Process Goals

  • Every Sunday between 5:30am to 7:00am, brainstorm blog post topics and add them to my blogging plan in google docs.
  • Every Monday between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, research bloggers (find out what their needs are) and draft 4 email pitches that include 3 ideas for guest posts.
  • Every Tuesday from 5:30am to 6:00am, send the email pitches to 3 bloggers.
  • During the week (Monday – Friday), write 500 words per day.

Prepare for Setbacks By Creating a Contingency Plan

If you’re busy like the rest of us, you can expect to have any number of events happen to throw you off your game.

Proactively planning for failures can boost your chance of success.

When I started planning  solutions to my potential roadblocks in advance, I gained the confidence that, no matter what happened, my progress wouldn’t be completely derailed. Instead of having to make a tough decision during a moment of weakness, I simply referred to my contingency plan.

The concept of if-then planning was developed by psychologist Peter Gollwitzer. His study revealed that people who deliberately planned for failures were 70% more likely to achieve their goals vs. people who reacted in the moment to unexpected setbacks.

Using the process goal, during the week (Monday – Friday), write 500 words per day as an example. Two potential roadblocks immediately come to mind:

Roadblock # 1 – I’m too distracted to write.


I start getting distracted by Facebook, Reddit, and social media while I’m trying to write,


I will purchase a special notebook for my writing projects and use that instead of trying to write on my laptop. This way, I won’t be tempted to constantly check my Facebook.

Roadblock # 2 – I don’t know what to write about.


staring at blank sheet of paper causes me to freeze up,


instead of trying to write, I will explain the concepts out loud, as if I were speaking to a close friend and use my iphone to record myself. Next, I will playback the recording, transcribe exactly what I said word-for-word, and edit as necessary.

You Don't Have to Do This Alone!

I’ve found it extremely helpful to have an accountability buddy. This is someone who shares similar goals, so you both have each other to lean on and keep each other accountable. So how do you find an accountability partner? Well I’ve got great news for you: it’s a lot easier than you think.

The best way is to connect with fellow Unsettlers in the in Unsettle Facebook group! Reaching out to people can feel awkward and uncomfortable. You may be thinking to yourself: What do I say? How do I reach out? What if we don’t have anything in common? That’s why I’ve put together 3 word-for-word scripts you can use to start connecting with people today.

Script # 1: Finding an accountability partner

Hi [Name],

My name is [Your Name] and I’m a fellow member of the Unsettle private Facebook group.

I set a goal for myself to achieve [Your Goal]. I noticed that we both have very similar goals so I decided to reach out to you. I’m looking for someone to keep me accountable. This would include weekly 30-minute check-in calls to make sure we’re both on track to reach our goals.

Would you be interested in being accountability partners? If so, I’m available for our first accountability call:

  • Tuesday, after 7pm EST
  • Thursday, between 5pm and 8pm EST
  • Sunday, any time after 2pm EST


[Your Name]

Script # 2 – Asking for advice

Hi [Name]

I saw your post on the Unsettle private Facebook group about how you were able to build your email list to 1,000 subscribers in such a short period of time. I have a couple of questions about [add your question]. Is it okay if I sent them your way to get some feedback?


[Your Name]

Script # 3 – Adding value to the community by sharing your knowledge

Hi [Name]

I saw your post on the Unsettle private Facebook group where you said you needed help with figuring out the best way to approach bloggers about guest posting. I've successfully pitched 4 bloggers this week and have received 4 guest post opportunities. I'd be happy to share my tips with you! Would you be interested in having a 30-minute skype call?

I'm free:

  • Tuesday, after 7pm EST
  • Thursday, between 5pm and 8pm EST
  • Sunday, any time after 2pm EST

Please let me know if any of those times work for you.

My skype name is skype.name

I’m looking forward to chatting with you!

[Your Name]

Your 5-Step Action Plan for Crushing Your Goals

Step 1:

Grab a sheet of paper or create a new blank document in Google docs.

Spend no more than 5 minutes writing down where you want your life to be three months from now.

Next, circle one goal that you can reasonably achieve within the next 90 days. Remember, make it specific.

Example: I want to lose 10lbs within in the next 90 days.

Step 2.

Do an assessment of your current situation.

What’s one thing that you can start doing right now that will increase your chances of successfully reaching your goal? How will you know you’re on the right track? What benchmarks can you use to measure your progress?

Example: I will increase the # of times that I go to the gym each week from 0 to 1.

Step 3.

What steps will it take to get there?

Take 2 minutes to break your goal down into smaller steps.

Example: I will attend Zumba class on Wednesdays from 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Step 4.

Write down one potential roadblock that could derail your progress. Decide how you prepare for it, using the IF/THEN framework of preparation.

Example: IF I encounter X, THEN I will do Y

Step 5.

Go to the Unsettle Facebook group.

Find one person that you’d like to connect with. This could be someone who has given you advice in the past or someone who is working on something similar as you. Send them a friend request (so your message doesn’t get sent to their spam folder).

Reach out to them using one of the 3 scripts above.


You’ve completed the action plan and are well on your way to crushing your goals this year. Give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve earned it! I know that staying motivated isn’t easy but, try not to get too down on yourself. Success takes time.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Brittany Trama is a Productivity Coach who helps ambitious entrepreneurial women with soul-sucking jobs, find the time and focus to build their side business so they can earn enough money to finally kick their 9-5 to the curb. Get her free 4-page guide: “The Quick Guide to Creating Bulletproof Goals” — free for Unsettle readers.

27 thoughts on “Follow These 3 Proven Steps to Crush Your Goals This Year

  1. Urban Renstrom says:

    I like your 90 day time horizon. It also happens to be 1/4 of a financial year.
    Sir Dave Brailsford set targets for his professional Team Sky cycling team of winning 1 Tour de France in 5 years time. As it happened it was 2 in 4! However, the incremental changes he focused upon was 1% improvements. And 1% better each day sum up to massive difference over a short time period.
    Things like the riders washing their hand more often, using different pillow in the hotels. Each a tiny 1%.
    My mind (and maybe I’m not alone) looks for the instant ‘hit’ of a big win.
    Guess I need to recalibrate and look for the success in ‘this’ day and how it builds up after the 90.
    Very good post.
    Looking forward to more.

  2. Elia says:

    I love the 90 day thing too. I get caught between wanting instant gratification and being able to see the big picture but being overwhelmed by how to get there. Great post!

  3. Liv says:

    Hi Brittany, great post. I just followed this advice and created a plan for one of my promotion strategies, thank you!

  4. Brittany says:

    Thank you Urban! I didn’t know that about Sir Dave Brailsford. It’s so true that making tiny incremental changes can have a huge impact.

  5. Alysa says:

    Hi Brittany! Hopped over from the Savvy group. Really liked the tip about having a contingency plan for goals! Such a useful tip. I’ll be implementing that one today.

  6. Maggie says:

    What a comprehensive post, Brittany. Thanks for the level of detail provided. I am a big picture goal setter, but will use some of your techniques to break those large goals into smaller steps that I can be accountable for.

  7. BJ says:

    Hello Brittany,
    Thanks for this awesome post!
    You just came right in, I just joined unsettler facebook group. And with your tip of finding accountability buddy is a great way to utilize this group. I loved all your tips! I will definitely plan to take actions on them for my new blog. thank you.

  8. Brittany says:

    Hi Alysa :) I’m glad that you’re implementing one of the tips! Let me know how it goes and if I can help you in any way. And thank you for the shout out on Twitter!

  9. Luna Darcy says:

    Hi Brittany and Sara,
    Life always happens and based on my experience, I know life has a really bad timing most of the time.
    I am a big fan of asking for advice and I love to learn from other people’s experiences.
    Thanks for the easy to follow guide!
    Have a happy Friday!

  10. Shana says:

    Hi Brittany! This is such a great post. I love how you break it down into chunks that really help avoid the overwhelm of starting big projects. I’m going to start using this method for everything, because I really have a problem with letting the distant future run away with me. Thanks!

  11. Brittany says:

    Hi Luna! Thank you for leaving a comment :). Life does happen, that’s for sure! That’s why I like to expect the unexpected and plan for it. I know that some days I’m not going to be in a good mood or not feel motivated so I make a plan for it.

  12. Brittany says:

    Hi Shana! Breaking things down into smaller chunks makes them seem a lot less overwhelming. That’s so awesome that you’re going to put my advice into action! Please keep me posted on how it goes.

  13. Lucien says:

    Yes, One small step can change your life. (kaizen)
    Thanks for this article very helpful.
    Lucien from France.

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