Unlock Your Potential: A Guide to Goal Setting that Sticks


Michelle Kim

It’s no longer January, so why am I still stuck on goal setting? Goal setting is an essential part of successful growth and development. Whether it's personal growth, career advancement, or simply wanting to be more productive, setting goals can be the key to unlocking our true potential. However, the challenge lies in setting goals that actually stick.

Last year, I discovered a physical planner that not only met my high standards but also inspired me to seize control of my time and focus on what truly matters. As I flipped through the weeks, I came to the realization that my time is incredibly valuable, and I want to spend it on activities that align with my values and aspirations.

If I’m revisiting this topic in March, my goals must be getting stickier, right? In this blog post, I'd like to share with you the four guiding principles that have helped me set goals that stick and how you can apply them to your own life.

1. Write it down, say it aloud, tell a friend

The first principle to setting goals that stick is to make them tangible and to hold yourself accountable. Writing down your goals helps solidify your intentions and serves as a reminder of what you want to achieve. Additionally, saying your goals aloud and sharing them with a friend or family member can provide a sense of accountability and support. This external reinforcement will encourage you to stay on track and continue working towards your objectives.

Whether you prefer physical or digital planners, start by finding a tool that you look forward to using. Here are a few recommendations from some of the amazing women who attended WISE’s January 2023 fireside chat on goal setting:

Physical tools: 

Digital tools: 

2. Make it a daily habit

Consistency is crucial for achieving any goal. Where it makes sense, deconstructing your goals into tasks that you can incorporate into your daily habits helps to maintain momentum and prevent procrastination. Whether it's by setting aside dedicated time each day, using a planner/journal, or tying a goal-related task to an existing habit such as drinking your cup of morning beverage of choice – I celebrate putting my attention toward doing something that will propel me closer to achieving my goals. As you consistently work on your goals, you'll develop discipline, resilience, and a sense of accomplishment that might very well become self-replenishing in its own right. It’s unrealistic for me to work on every goal every day; however, seeing how my to-do list for the week or month relates to my goals is enough to keep me going!

3. Intentionally set attainable vs stretch goals

It's important to strike a balance between attainable and stretch goals. Attainable goals are those you can reasonably accomplish within a given time frame, while stretch goals push you beyond your comfort zone and challenge your limits. By setting both types of goals, you ensure that you are making steady progress while also striving for growth and development. This balance helps maintain motivation and prevent discouragement from setting in when faced with challenges.

4. Give yourself grace

Perhaps the most important principle in setting goals that stick is to give yourself grace. We all experience setbacks, and it's important to remember that nobody is perfect. When you stumble or encounter obstacles, don't be too hard on yourself. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the lessons learned, dust yourself off, and continue moving forward. By cultivating self-compassion and resilience, you'll be better equipped to navigate life's challenges and achieve your goals.

If you’ve tried and failed at goal setting in the past or the process leaves you feeling stressed, here are some resources recommended by women from our January goal setting fireside chat:


Unlocking your potential and setting goals that stick is a journey that requires commitment, perseverance, and self-awareness. By applying these four guiding principles – writing down your goals, making them a daily habit, setting attainable and stretch goals, and giving yourself grace – you'll be well on your way to achieving your dreams and making the most of your valuable time. Embrace the process, celebrate your successes, and continue to learn and grow along the way. Your future self will thank you for it.

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