A Plan to Succeed: How to Set Goals & Why It Works

2 min read



Goal-setting is a simple activity that helps us to achieve big things by breaking big goals down into small steps. Here is an easy process for understanding, setting and achieving goals.

Why goal setting works

The process of deeply thinking about what our goals are helps us to identify what is really important to us and what we hope to accomplish. Often, going through a goal-setting exercise will help us to uncover information that lets us better understand what we value and want to achieve most. 

Additionally, writing down a goal makes it easier to focus on achieving it. In fact, in a study about goal-setting at the Dominican University in California, Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve their goals than those who do not write them down.1  

What is goal setting? 

Goal-setting is the process of getting a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, defining a specific goal and making a plan to achieve it. The following steps are part of one approach to goal-setting: 

  • Envision your future - consider what you want to achieve
  • Choose your goals - defining specific goals will help you achieve your vision
  • Make a plan - break down the small steps needed to achieve each goal
  • Map your path - anticipate challenges along the way and how you will overcome them
  • Define success - determine what success means to you. It’s a highly personal question! 

How to get started with goal-setting

There are many ways to set goals that will help you achieve success. Choose a process that feels comfortable and works for you. One easy way to get started is by using InStride’s 6-step goal setting worksheet to help you choose your goals and make a plan to succeed. 

The most important thing in goal setting is to take the time to invest in the process. You are more like to accomplish goals that you have been able to thoughtfully consider and include as many specifics as possible for. A general goal is better than no goal. But the more specific a goal can be, the better! Your chances for success increase as you add details and planning to your goals. 


1“This Is the Way You Need to Write Down Your Goals for Faster Success.” Inc.Com, 6 Feb. 2020, www.inc.com/peter-economy/this-is-way-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-for-faster-success.html.