Boss Lady

How to set the goals for success – and actually reach them


As business owners and career women, we set a lot of goals. These might be financial goals, or growth and development goals, or work/life goals… no matter the focus, the goals are there. And no matter how much we may want to reach them, for some (most) that’s just a pipe dream. We need to understand how to set the goals for success and then reach them.

How to set the goals for success – and actually reach them

We lose our focus. We get stuck. We procrastinate. We get distracted by something shiny. We lose our enthusiasm. There are so many reasons to stop working towards the things we want, but this guide is here to help you get going again.

Financial goals

Let’s start with financial goals, because can be an incredibly touchy subject, as everyone’s financial situation is unique. We all have certain obstacles and responsibilities, from rent and mortgage payments to expensive medical bills and other debts. However, there are certain financial goals that everyone can aim to achieve, regardless of your starting point. Here are a few of the best financial goals to include in how to set the goals for success.

Save for Retirement

Life is short, and before you know it you’ll be ready to retire. Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial goals everyone should be saving for. Many employers offer a 401k option to employees, but if your company does not or if you’re self-employed, consider opening a Roth IRA and start setting aside 10-15% of each paycheck for your retirement.

Pay Off Debt

Wouldn’t it be great to live a debt-free life? Knowing that you owe large sums of money is never a good feeling, but luckily, paying off your debt is a really actionable financial goal that you can tweak to fit your budget. Utilize the help of an online budget tool to outline where your money is going each month. This will give you a bird’s-eye view of your finances and allow you to allocate the necessary money to pay off any debts you may have.

Live on Less Than You Earn

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people are regularly living above their means. Living on less than you earn simply means evaluating how much money you’re bringing in each month, and making an active effort to live below that number. Things like cooking your meals at home rather than eating out, buying a more affordable used car, and cancelling subscriptions to services you can live without are all meaningful and effective ways to live on less than you earn, which will leave you with more money to save and invest.

Have Multiple Streams of Income

Having multiple ways to make money each month will not only put more money in your pocket, but it will help you feel more financially secure should you get laid off from one job or need to take time off. Having multiple streams of income can come in many forms, from a salary job, investments, rental properties, side hustles, and more. Choose a few that work for you and start making that money as one of the strategies for how to set the goals for success in your finances!

The alternative to the SMART goal strategy

Whether you’re straight out of education, battling a 9 to 5, or a fully-fledged freelancer, you will have come across the ubiquitous SMART goal. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

It’s the acronym we hear bandied about an awful lot, but it doesn’t exactly inspire you to take action, does it? Those overwhelmingly sensible and realistic goals don’t quite give us the tingles. We came across a fab alternative to SMART goals – formulate CREATIVE goals.


The goal stretches you in some way – you won’t simply fall into reaching your target. Example – someone that fears all things video, might create a daily live streaming habit. It doesn’t feel comfy, but it makes an impact.


You’ve written down this goal, and review it (and any sub-goals) regularly.


Your goal is well-defined. If you are vague about what you want to achieve, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Example – Instead of aiming to “create more content”, aim to “publish one blog post, and send one email, every week”.


Frame your goals in a positive way. If you’re focusing all your energy on what you don’t want, that’s exactly what you’ll be inviting in. Sod’s law.

Example – Rather saying you want to “stop slacking”, say you want to “spend one hour each day, writing with no interruptions”.


Those SMART goals had something right! Deadlines are a huge motivating factor, even when they’re self-imposed. Locking in a time to review and analyse your progress make it significantly easier to measure your success.

Example – Don’t aim to “sell 20 copies of your e-course”, aim to “sell 20 copies of your e-course by the end of May”.


Make sure each of your goals is aligned with your bigger dreams. Take some time to really connect with what you want from your life and business, and shape your goals accordingly.


Your goal should have an actual impact in your life – it should be something you genuinely care about.

Don’t create your goals based on something that someone else is doing, think about what makes sense for you, your tastes, and your style.


You should like doing the work. That’s the single most important factor here, and yet the single most ignored. If you actively enjoy an activity, you’re so much more likely to see it through. It’s common sense.

A word of warning – goal-setting itself can become another form of procrastination, so try to keep the golden rules in mind:

  • Restrict yourself. 2-3 big juicy goals over a 90 day period is more than enough.
  • Break your goals into simpler tasks so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
  • Check in with yourself regularly. I like to review my progress on a Sunday evening, and plan my steps for the following week.
  • Don’t be afraid to pivot. If you’ve been working on something that no longer feels in line with what you want to achieve, sack it off and start again, with something that feels good.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

Recommended for you