How to Set Effective Goals

By Ellie Bozmarova

We all know setting goals is helpful. But what about those times in the past when you set a goal and it didn’t work out, or you just forgot about it?

Today I’ll show you how to set effective goals using author Robert Dilts’s Logical Levels of Change (see below). I use this when coaching people who are ready to make a big change in their lives. 

If you can, read on with a pen and paper in hand to create your next goal.

The Problem

Most people set a goal, then take action at the bottom of the pyramid first. This route requires a lot of willpower and effort. 

Here’s how it typically looks:

  1. If you want to start a consistent meditation practice, you might buy a mat or pillow (environment).
  2. You tell yourself you’re going to start practicing every day (behavior).
  3. You read books or take classes to practice a technique (capabilities).
  4. You decide that when you’ve practiced every day for a month, then you really have a meditation practice and can now call yourself a meditator (identity).
  5. When that habit is in place, you might say, then you’ll really value mindfulness and taking care of your mental, emotional, spiritual well being (values).
  6. You might even be able to help others through your practice (mission).

This is how most of us create goals. And it’s how most of us fail to create lasting change in our lives

Eventually, we just lose focus and fizzle out.

The Best Way to Set Goals

Start at the top of the pyramid.

  1. How is this new habit connected to your mission? How might a meditation practice, for example, help you assist others or become who you want to be?
  2. What identity would you need to have a consistent meditation practice? 

Maybe you adopt the following: 

“I am a regular meditator (yes, even before you have a “solid” practice). Every time I practice, my mind gets stronger and I feel better. I’m a healthy person.”

You might have to practice, like with affirmations, but you’d be surprised how simply deciding this is your new identity can help.

  1. What values and beliefs do you have as part of your new identity? 

You’d probably value your peace and health, believe meditation is effective and useful, and that you don’t have to practice perfectly to benefit.

  1. If you already had a practice you loved, what might it look like? 

Now you can explore skills, take classes, read books, all of it.

  1. You do what someone with your new identity would do—you practice consistently. 

Choose what’s reasonable for you. You might practice at different times of day, or have a set daily schedule.

  1. By this point, you might look around and realize your environment is perfectly suited for your practice because you added to it over time. The pillow and mat came your way.

You can use this technique with ANY goal you have. 

Try it out and let us know what happens next!

Check out episode two of The Chorus Podcast where MK sits down with Lindsey Carter, CEO and Founder of SET Active to chat about dealing with stress and anxiety, healthy social media habits, and the power of goal setting.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you start preparing your goals, this conversation will help you create and stick to those daily mindfulness goals!

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