Life Planning Coaching Financial Planning

The Amazing Power of Clear, Written Goals (Backed up By Action)

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Clear, written goals based on our purpose and life priorities can be incredibly powerful. Here are some guidelines for setting goals that can add meaning to our lives and dollars to our bank accounts:

  • Establish SMART goals aligned with your personal mission statement in all areas of your life. 
  • Develop action steps for each goal, and consider the benefits to be gained from moving forward, along with the losses to be avoided. 
  • Add deadlines for action and determine who will hold you accountable. Coaching and accountability are important parts of the process. Identify a competent coach or inspiring mentor.

If your “what” and “how” align with your “why,” the possibility of success increases. If we are intentional about setting goals, embracing them and taking action, we will ultimately achieve goals that really matter to us. 

Timelines should be reasonable so you make slow and steady progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A Challenge for You

If you are unsure whether goal-setting is for you, I challenge you to give it a try. The process can add meaning to your life in ways that are hard to imagine. 

Think about being more present and confident as you move forward on your life’s journey. With goals, you will have a roadmap and some understanding of what that road will look like. 

From Goals to Action

Goals are just dreams without action. For example, a goal of investing $300 each month is noble, but it will not be realized unless you take action steps such as budgeting, avoiding impulse purchases and adding the money to your investment account(s) every 30 days or some other frequency.

The process of taking action in a consistent and organized way follows setting goals in the most important areas of your life. The timeframe will vary depending on the nature of the goal. I often encourage clients to think in terms of one-, three- and five-year goals. We also discuss next generation or legacy goals, which can have a time horizon of 200 years or more.

A Positive Feedback Loop

As you reflect on your progress and how well you are doing, you will likely feel motivated and inspired to keep going. You will probably also feel a sense of joy. If you have a financial goal and see that you can meet it, you might even find yourself raising the amount you save per month, for example. 


To visualize is to create a mental image of what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to save enough money to take a dream vacation at age 50, see yourself reading a book on a specific beach in a specific country. Find a picture of what that looks like and post it where it can serve as a reminder and a subconscious motivator. 

Seeing what you want can build a fire under your goal action steps. In the above scenario, you might feel driven to call your financial advisor and revisit your plan to make sure you will have the money for that dream vacation.


Write affirmations or statements as if you have already accomplished your goal. If having the money for a dream vacation is your goal, you might write, “I went to Tahiti, and loved the beaches, people, art and seafood.” Place these affirmations in your line of sight around your home. They will subconsciously help you internalize your goals and the possibilities for achieving them.

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This content is developed from sources believed to share accurate information, and provided by Kelly Financial Planning. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and materials provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.