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The Secret to Setting A Successful Goal

The Secret to Setting A Successful Goal I learned something interesting about change when I studied addiction.

One heartbreaking thing about addiction is that people can – for example – do the work to decide not to do drugs anymore, actually stop using, detox, stay clean for awhile –

And then an old friend calls unexpectedly, and they relapse back into using.


Someone in recovery doesn’t typically just wake up and decide “okay, I’m going to go do drugs now.”  

Usually, there was a set of people, things, or circumstances that went along with the habit – and these become triggers for relapse.

Maybe you have a group of friends, and someone always brought drugs when you got together, and one thing would lead to another.

Or maybe every time you smoked, you’d sit on a certain green couch by the back window in your house.  So every time you see that couch, you have the urge to sit down and smoke.

Or perhaps you had a stressful job with a terrible boss.  So every time your boss yelled at you, you’d get through it by going home to drink and unwind, which turned into a binge.

A funny thing about behavior: We don’t make a conscious choice every time we do something.

We unwittingly build – or at least allow – a whole external structure of support around each behavior we engage in.  We actually make relatively few deliberate decisions every day about how we behave.  To a surprising degree, we simply respond to things around us.

So if you stop drinking, and you go to work and your boss yells at you again, you can go home and grit your teeth and say “I will not drink, I will not drink, I will not drink…”

But chances are, there could be a day when you’re tired, you’re hungry, your car broke down, and you just plain run out of grit and willpower.  So you say “Well, just one isn’t so bad.”

Permanent change IS NOT accomplished only by altering the behavior you want to stop or start.

You need to dismantle all the things that support that behavior and made it comfortable.

You need to address the group of friends, the emotions, the green couch, and perhaps even the terrible boss.  Consider and plan for the things that actively supported and created the conditions for that behavior.

So: A less successful goal typically focuses on the behavior:

“I want to stop smoking.”

more successful goal acknowledges the behavior and everything that supported it.

“My major goal:  Stop smoking.  Along with that goal, here are some smaller goals to achieve:  Get rid of my green couch, rearrange the furniture, find a new route home from work so I don’t pass that convenience store anymore, and ask Nancy if she will eat lunch with me away from the back break room.”

I’m not intending to sit and pick on smoking, drinking, or drugs here.

In fact, society tends to look down its nose at substance use even as it engages in pretty similar patterns in other areas:

Let’s say you take upon yourself the ever-present goal to “eat healthier.”

But maybe every time you drive past McDonalds on your way home, you get a craving for french fries.  And so every day becomes this torture of “do I stop or not…don’t stop, don’t stop, awwww heck….I’ll just get some today.”

Sound familiar?

The McDonalds is your green couch in this case, and you need to get rid of it.  You’d have a lot more success if you actually just found a new route home.  Once the cue and convenience is gone, the craving lessens too.

(We’re not comparing addiction to french fries to make light of addiction here – rather, to point out that this pattern is simply a human one, and it’s found everywhere.)

I’ve been using lifestyle examples because most of us intuitively understand them.

But the same idea applies to your business and creative work.

Current habits always have an external structure of triggers and support.  In pretty much all areas, successful goals take this into account.

IMG_0344So how do we take a less-successful business goal and transform it into a more successful one?

We just have to fill in three blanks:

  1. Here is what I am trying to change (or: Here is what I keep doing instead of the thing I want to do):
  2. What supports what’s currently happening?
  3. Here’s how I can expand the description of my goal to address these things:

For example:

Original goal:  Watch all the CreativeLIVE educational videos I paid for and haven’t watched.

1. Here is what I am trying to change (or: Here is what I’m doing instead of what I want to do):

I spend my evenings wasting time on Facebook/Netflix instead of learning.

2. What supports what’s currently happening?

Well, for one thing, I am tired and feel like I need and deserve a break at the end of the day.  Watching Netflix lets me zone out and I don’t have to think anymore.  Facebook is the same, it’s just sort of mindless and it doesn’t demand anything from me.

Keep going:  What supports the tiredness?

Well, I get going on Netflix, and I stay up late.  Then I have to get up early, and by the time I finish dinner, I’m too tired to learn.  It’s sort of a cycle.

3. Here’s how I can expand the description of my goal to address these things:

My goal is to finish watching two CreativeLIVE courses.  To do that, I’m going to set a firm bedtime of 10pm every night, and I’ll set an alarm for 9:40 to remind me that it’s time to get ready for bed.  I’m roping off Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights for watching CreativeLive.  Wednesdays, Fridays, and weekends are totally up to me.

Before dinner on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I’m also going to set my laundry basket on the couch in front of the TV so I can’t plop down.  I’ll open my office door, turn on my computer, log into CreativeLIVE – so that all I have to do is sit in my chair and hit play.

So, instead of trying to force yourself to rely on willpower to sit and learn at night –

– which let’s be honest, might last about two or three nights – you recognize what prevents you from doing it, and build in rest and downtime to look forward to.

You’re also giving yourself a seemingly-silly but important reminder by setting a laundry basket on the couch.

Go ahead and roll your eyes, but if you’re used to just flopping down on the couch, you might be tired the first few nights and say “I’ll just sit down for a minute.”  Then, on comes Netflix.  Finding a way to actually block yourself from doing that, and easing the path to your office until you get into this new habit can make a big difference.

As you set your goals, business or personal, be sure the goal itself includes a structure to support your new behavior.

A couple other quick examples, just so you get the hang of this way of thinking:

Want to spend more time doing personal creative work?  Well, what’s supporting your current pattern of pushing it off?

Are you scared to reach out to people because you hate talking to strangers?  Make that an explicit part of your goal:  “My goal is to get started on doing personal work by asking my best friend to pretend to be a stranger so I can practice talking with her, and then have her sit with me while I make three phone calls.”

Want to change your eating habits so you don’t feel so sluggish while you work?  That’s hard to do with a pantry full of the same old stuff.  A change in eating is a change in shopping.  A successful goal isn’t “I’m going to eat less sugar.”  That sets you up to stare longingly into your pantry.

A successful goal is “I’m going to find five vegetable-based recipes that sound delicious, put all the ingredients on my shopping list, and not allow myself to buy anything that’s not on the list.”

This takes the triggers out of your pantry and creates structure to support the new habit.

Whatever your goal:  Make it more comfortable to achieve it – and less comfortable to keep doing what you’re doing.

(Click here to tweet that!)

Does reading this twist your stomach with anxiety?  Or are you frustrated figuring out how to apply it?

I’ll be replying to every comment that comes in between now and Friday.  If you have a hard time seeing how you can apply this to a goal, or just need someone to cheer you on – leave me a note.

I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

GWYWThis is post is part of a series.

Last time we uncovered the crucial thing most people forget to do before they set goals.

Next time?  We’re covering what to do when you set a goal – then realize you’re terrified you’ll actually achieve it.

Yep.  We’re going there.

Need a reminder to come back?  Hop on my email list.  I’ll send you a note when it’s ready.  Plus, I’ll shoot over a free copy of How Clients Make Decisions About Money to enjoy in the meantime.


Keep reading:


  1. paulina (@helloitspaulina) on February 10, 2016 at 9:28 am

    this is such a great post–thank you for sharing!! <3

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks for the kind note Paulina! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Marko on February 10, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I absolutely adore your posts. Besides removing destructive building blocks of bad habits our goals also need to be measurable and doable. Most people I know set their goals too high at start and tend to think long-term only. Having a goal “I’ll loose 25kg by July” won’t take you far. But if you decide you’ll start buying sugar-free products, stop buying your favourite Pringles, start getting soda water instead of Coke and stop eating after 7pm and implement these things one per week will get you somewhere. People loose focus on long term goals. With short-term decisions you stay on path and see the goal more clearly with time. Thanks for a great input!

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Yes! Getting extremely specific about those changes helps so much. There’s a goal technique I might write about in the future – the SMART technique – that basically says a goal has been specific and measurable – you’ve probably heard of that, it’s exactly what you’re saying. “Lose 25 kg” is actually pretty vague when you think about it. “Stop buying Pringles” and “get soda water instead of Coke” is extremely specific and more likely to get done. Thanks for sharing this! And thanks for the kind words. Hope you have a great week.

  3. Clare Woolford on February 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

    You could have written this for me!! (Not the drink and drugs bit). I have so many Creative Live classes waiting to be watched. I recently joined slimming world and can see how planning for success and shopping to support my weight loss goals has helped me lose 14lbs – now I need to plan my time to watch those photography classes 🙂
    Thank you so much.

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Yes! I sure wish someone had explained to me earlier in life that a change in eating is a change in recipe-hunting and shopping. I used to “eat more vegetables” by trying to make more salads or just taking an extra helping of green beans, and it never worked because I just don’t like bland vegetables, and how many green beans can a person really eat in one sitting. Finding amazing veggie-based recipes took some work, forethought, and failed experiments, but now I can make dinners I actually like and can have basically all I want of because it’s nourishing stuff. Anyway. Best of luck to you as you continue on that journey and plan your time to watch some courses!

  4. Allison on February 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

    This makes me want to get started on reorganizing my goals right away, to fit this model of motivation. Thank you!

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks Allison! I hope you find some good ways to support what you want to do!

  5. Amanda Clowe on February 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Hi !
    Have set a couple of really motivational goals this year along the lines you suggest in your blogpost.
    1-lose 2stone to make me healthier and have more vitality to enjoy my life
    2-Get my pet photography business started.

    Yesterday, I got upset at work -main source of my stress-as management of business seem at odds with people’s needs -so came home sad, went out and bought a marzipan chocolate bar( have already lost half a stone and haven’t touched anything bad for 3 weeks!) the work incident has also sapped my creative spirit.
    Following your advice, obvious answer would be to give up working there which would solve issue -but not financially viable to do so. Any ideas in this instance of how I could remove that ‘structure’ around getting upset at work ? Any thoughts greatly received

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Amanda! Thanks for sharing your experiences and I am happy to help generate ideas. Of course, quitting a job isn’t always an option (and who knows – even a new job might be just as stressful!). Here are some ideas for managing stress at work. It’s hard to say what will help without knowing more about the people there, but perhaps one of these will be useful –

      1) Identify some specific, recurring situations that you know stress you out at work. Like, every time Paula the Manager emails, you feel an explosion of irritation. Or every time there’s a staff meeting, people leave feeling angry and your coworkers spend the afternoon complaining. Look for patterns in what happens and how that makes you feel. That way, when one starts happening, you can prepare for it – “They called a staff meeting, and it will probably be frustrating – but instead of just feeling frustrated I will simply watch as it happens without getting emotionally involved. The purpose of this is to create an emotional scaffolding to cling to when everything around you is going badly. Rather than being buffeted by the events around you, seeing patterns and knowing how it will go can help you feel powerful and wise, and detach you from being victimized by others.
      2) See if you can create some allies at work by cultivating a little reciprocity. Identify a few colleagues you could strengthen relationships with, and spend one week doing some nice things. Ask someone about their weekend plans, remember that, and follow up later in the week with “Hope that concert is fun!” Bring cookies to the break room. Get someone’s back in a meeting. It’s not about being the person who extra work gets dumped on or is always cleaning up after others, but when you do something for others it creates a little sense of obligation. In a group scenario, doing a few extra things can really lift moods AND change how people treat you (not saying you don’t already do these things, but mindfully spending a week on it can work wonders).
      3) Identify a sympathetic supervisor, request a meeting, and bring to that meeting a couple specific issues WITH proposed solutions for them. Such as “I’ve noticed that every time X happens, management reacts by doing X. This seems to create an atmosphere of tension in the office. I have an alternative suggestion that might help, but I’m wondering if you can explain why X happens so I’m sure I understand what you’re trying to do. I just want to make sure everyone’s on the same page.” If you make sure you listen first, ask them to explain their perspective, and come prepared with a solution, it will make you seem like a problem-solver rather than a complainer.
      4) If all else fails, take a ‘problem’ person out to lunch, or ask if they’ll join you for lunch in the break room, or whatever is appropriate. It might sound totally bizarre but I swear, breaking bread with someone changes everything. Even if you don’t like them. I’ve seen it happen over and over. Reaching out personally with food makes magic. The point of #3 and #4 here is to try and shift the atmosphere, but working on #1 can help even if you can’t change the external situation.
      5) Even if none of the above works, you can recognize that you have a response of stress –> need comfort –> food. What else could be that third link in the chain? What else can nourish your spirit or bring pleasure? Make a list of things you really enjoy, then set that aside and make a list of things that absolutely light you up. Getting a massage, watching BBC films, brand new books. Find things that bring REAL pleasure to you. If you like hot baths, buy a set of five different bath oils and when you’re stressed, you get to select one and a book to relax into. If you can change the choice from “do I get chocolate or not” to “hmm, which bath oil and which book” then your mind is occupied with a different set of questions.
      Last note – and I know you were just leaving a comment so I don’t want to over analyze it, but I’ve found an awesome benefit from abandoning “good” food and “bad” food as terms to use. I’ve adopted instead “weekday food, weekend food, and special occasion food.” Weekday food is nourishing and healthy, weekend food might be a bit more elaborate and rich, and special occasion food is over-the-top holiday food. When I look at rich sweets I don’t think in terms of “this is bad” anymore, I think “yep, that’s a special occasion food. I’ll have some next _____.” This mental labeling shift has been huge for me. I got the idea from, of all places, the intro to Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican cookbook. Just something to consider! Hope one of these ideas helps, and good luck!

      • Jen Dean on January 4, 2017 at 2:42 pm

        I LOVE reading your blog and these comments. I so appreciate the solutions you offer. I feel like they are totally reasonable and ones that we often can’t see when we are stuck in a cycle. The goal setting tricks are wonderful. I can’t thank you enough for what you do!! Funny thing is that last night I was thinking about the courses I have that I haven’t finished. I have some big business goals and feel like the information in those courses will really help me with the shifts I want to make. I think coming up with a schedule and breaking it down into certain times of day to watch them totally makes sense (and is super obvious!) Thank you again! Cheers to a great new year!!
        Jen Dean

      • Patricia Looney on January 12, 2018 at 2:39 pm

        Amazing advice! I am definitely going to incorporate the weekday food thing, then I won’t feel deprived if I am in the grocery store and a donut catches my eye. I won’t say, “I can’t have it because it’s bad for me, I will say, maybe I will treat myself on the weekend!”
        The other gem is when I am upset or stressed, I won’t decide that I deserve the candy bar, instead I will think I am really going to look forward to relaxing and spending an hour just reading!

  6. mike on February 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Not sure when I arrived at your site but I think what you’re doing is awesome. As a photographer the challenges are terrific, and as a Management Consultant specializing in the Psychology of Influence…you’re Bang ON!!!
    I have recently been asked by one of my Corporate clients to “revive” one of my past experiences (30 years ago) as the “quit smoking” director for the Ottawa Lung Association by setting up a smoking cessation program for their employees.
    Jenika, without sounding too dramatic your timely message today may actually serve to save many lives through the benefit of quitting smoking!!!
    Thank you, and continued success 🙂

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Wow Mike! Thanks for leaving me this inspiring and wonderful note! That’s awesome. By the way – If you’re working with psychology and smoking cessation, you may have heard of Motivational Interviewing, and if not you might want to check it out (there’s a book with that title). It’s probably the most useful technique in that area because it helps people use their own reasons for change, especially when they’re ambivalent about change and/or stubborn about sticking with a habit. I wish you all the best as you carry on this important work!!

  7. Cheryl on February 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I can think of several things I need to stop doing and even more to start doing in order to fulfill my goals (and dreams). Thank you for the insight!

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Love it, Cheryl! I hope that you’re able to create the structures that support your success. Sending best wishes for the journey.

  8. Mary Lee Dereske on February 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you for adding the bit at the end on applying this technique to business and personal goals. I also appreciate the email you sent with the tidbit about being curious about our envies. These two ideas are helping me to adjust some of my behaviors and routines. And how appropriate that I’m reading this on Ash Wednesday, which has always been a day of reflection for me. Thanks again.

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks for this note, Mary Lee. I hope you have a beautiful and contemplative Ash Wednesday, that the day fills your well with love and inspiration, and that you find what you need moving forward.

  9. Sarah Shotts on February 10, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I really want to dedicate time each day for fiction writing. But this seems like the. hardest. thing. ever. I’m not sure why, but I can come up with more excuses and reasons to skip my fiction writing than any other task. I’ve tried making it part of my morning routine, but haven’t had any luck so far. Maybe I should try writing on paper right after breakfast so I’m not tempted to start “working” on my computer.

    • Jenika on February 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      First of all, let’s acknowledge what a COOL goal this is. YAY for you, Sarah. Let me ask you a couple of questions – first, I’m sure that you’re busy and it’s just plain hard to make space for a new thing, but is any part of it that you’re procrastinating because you don’t know how to start, you’re worried that it’ll be awful, or you’re waiting for a better idea to come along? I ask because a good 75% of the time, I put off writing because it seems like such a huge thing and starting seems so tiny, or I’m worried it will be hard and sound boring, and I’m waiting for inspiration. You might consider adopting something like Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” practice (from the book The Artist’s Way – get it from the library and just read the morning pages chapter to start). Basically every morning you have to write three pages freehand, no matter what. It’s transforming. You can write your fiction or about what’s frustrating you or whatever’s happening – but you just have to write three pages. Then you stop. You’re supposed to do it for a certain number of weeks but honestly within a couple of days I’ve usually generated ideas and am excited about whatever I’m doing. So perhaps instead of clearing space out for “writing fiction,” you clear a space for “morning pages” so there’s zero pressure to perform. And with that, you might just find that your whole story comes out.
      I’d also consider your night and morning routine to find any habits that might make you too tired/stressed to write. Do you stay up too late? Can you set out your clothes and breakfast the night before? Can you buy a special favorite kind of tea/food that sits next to your computer/notebook, so you’re motivated to seek out the food but you have to write to get it? (Yep, totally have done that.)
      Last note – you might work fiction reading into your fiction writing goal. Maybe you spend 20 mins reading a short story book and then 20 mins writing. Or maybe you shift your evening schedule to include reading. Stephen King insists you can’t be a good writer without being a prolific reader and I find reading usually gets me excited again.
      Whew! Hope I’m not overloading you with thoughts. I have similar dilemmas, so I’m right there with you. Sending good writing juices from afar!

  10. Chelsea on February 10, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    This is an awesome article!

    I’ve been struggling with blogging content for a rebrand I am working on. (Specializing in elopements and intimate weddings, with a travel blog inspired section for Vancouver Island tied into it all.. got inspired at Canada Photo Convention to do this.. (you were a great speaker) and yes it has taken me almost a year to be brave enough to tackle it…!)

    I do the easier things- edit, plan styled shoots for the months to come, go outside and garden instead… I always procrastinate with blogging and well schedule setting in general
    actually, and so my to-do list just keeps growing. I definitely lack structure in running my business. I spend way too much time on Facebook and checking email, and if my phone is near me, it just lures me in. I have deleted Facebook and mail off of my phone, but if I am relaxing.. it is so temping to add it all back on just to see what I have missed. It’s so hard to train the brain to utilize that time for things that would allow me to learn, or grow my business or make money. Thoughts?!

    • Jenika on February 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks for the note, Chelsea! Sounds like a great adventure you’re embarking on! It sounds to me like the issue here isn’t actually time management, it sounds like the issue is that you’re taking on a slew of stuff that doesn’t inspire you in order to do the 10% of it that does inspire you. And that wading through the mud of the non-inspiring stuff is bogging you down and driving you to distraction. Just a hunch here, but here are my thoughts:
      1) I’d bet money that some of the stuff you’re procrastinating is stuff that you could hire someone to do. I resisted hiring people forrreeeverrrr because “I can do it myself” and “it would cost too much.” But even though I can, doesn’t mean I should, and it costs less than you think. I can’t tell you what a difference it has made. Someone else can wrangle web stuff, someone else can answer non-critical emails, someone else can title and keyword images. Really. And you don’t have to pay a ton, and a lot of it wouldn’t take that long anyway. Hire a VA for a trial of 5 hours and see how much they can get done for you. You can train someone to set up a blog post and all you have to do is come in and write. You absolutely cannot work all the time or do all the things and do them all well – and seeing stuff get done is really motivating to do the parts you actually like.
      2) Okay getting back to the subject at hand – I feel you on the facebook checking and such, but have you ever gone on vacation where you didn’t check your phone all day, and maybe you had 20 notifications when you logged in at 11pm but you were kind of just “huh, okay, meh” about it because you had been out having FUN all day? When you’re engaged in good things, missing out on FB doesn’t even cross your mind. When you’re kinda bored, dreading what you’re doing, or wanting a distraction, that’s when FB suddenly becomes fascinating and “I have to see who just liked that photo from 2013!” So I would spend time reconnecting with why you want to do this rebrand – go out for at least three hours today and leave your phone at home, take in inspiration from a museum or frosty forest or whatever is near you, find new styling ideas. You’ll probably find that you don’t miss your phone at all. Then come back and make a list of things that need to be done, circle anything that YOU don’t personally need to oversee, and see if you can pay someone $X/hr to handle that. The combination of inspiration + handing off the boring-est bits will probably get you moving because you’ll be working on what you are excited to work on.
      3) I think the two tips above will give you a structure to combat overwhelm/burnout, which it sounds to me like is the biggest issue, but if for some reason those don’t work I’d suggest doing something similar to the example in the post: Rope off 2 hours, 2 nights a week, and start working through your list. You get to pick what you do with the other three nights and weekend nights. But those four hours a week is phone-free work time. At the beginning of the week, write down what single task from your list that you’re going to accomplish in that 2 hour chunk, so when you sit down there’s no question what you’re going to do. And take a 10min break in the middle of that chunk.

      You can examine this on your own, and look at your energy levels, the times of day you tend to use FB (check out Rescue Time to see if there are patterns) – but again, just going from a hunch here, it sounds like your support system could really use an external person or two to handle things so you can focus your brain space on what you’re good at. And once you do that, the FB usage will probably taper off on its own.

  11. Claire on February 11, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Have you got a webcam on me or something!!! I just opened your post sitting here with my e-cig, contemplating having a vodka, looking online instead of finishing some client work because I’m tired after working all day. Aaargh! This is me down to a tee, it’s so good you’re making us take a good look at ourselves. It always makes me laugh at how you cut right to the point and show up all the little habits and mechanisms we put in place to avoid doing things we should be doing. Good ideas which are easy to apply too.

    I rather think your next post topic is going to apply to me too…..and I’m terrified! :o)

    • Jenika on February 11, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Hey Claire! Thanks for opening up and sending me this note. I just want you to feel rested, happy, and your life in sync with your real priorities. 😀 Take care of yourself, lady, no one can work all the time (this is a hard thing I’m constantly reminding myself of). Best of luck as you figure out how to build in more rest.

  12. Akane on February 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I really loved this article, it struck a chord with me. Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge. I’ve made plenty of goals in the past, only to partially fail or to fail completely. I’ve recently gotten over a long-term illness, but I seem to be doing all the things that I can to make myself feel like I did before. Bringing on low energy, anxiety and depression. It’s almost like I’m TRYING to make myself fail, and that I’m addicted to feeling like I did before, because I’m not used to feeling well all the time. My question is, how can I get out of this bad habit of trying to do myself in, and instead embrace the fact that I’m now feeling better, and really try to set goals to increase my vitality, not sabotage it? I know it’s a loaded question, but it’s something that I’ve been working on for a long time, and this article may be just what I need to tip the scales in my favor =) Thanks for listening, and thanks for sharing too. I love hearing about things from your psychology point of view, it’s very insightful!

  13. Kim Tank on February 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Loved this post! Everything makes so much sense. Going back to look at my goals and add to them to make sure they are easy to achieve! Thank you for this! Sharing with friends and family!

  14. Erika Swafford on February 14, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Oh my gosh, light bulb! I’d never thought of goal planning this way. What a major mind shift that seems so much easier than using willpower alone! Thank you so much for this insight! I’m going to tackle my business goals with this method. One thing I’m working on is sticking to my business hours. I’ll set them, use them for a while and then either work right through them or sit on the sofa and watch TV. I also like being near my husband but his presence is distracting – especially since he likes to have the TV on, so double distractions! I need to make my office more comfortable and the TV area less comfortable. Not sure what to do about the hubby, but sticking to my hours would give me more time to hang out with him when I’m “off.”

  15. Vanessa on February 20, 2016 at 1:50 am

    This is a great series! Thank you for getting real and gritty with us! I can’t wait for the next blog, fear of success is paralyzing me, and I’m determined to conquer it!

  16. Alexandre Almeida on January 4, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Enjoyed reading your post Jen.
    What about reward as a catalyst for your behavior change?

  17. Debby on January 4, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Wonderful post. Thank You!

  18. Amber on January 4, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I love this post. I feel like I want to sit down with you and talk 🙂

    What if your kids are the reason you’re stressed out and sugar eating? I just start homeschooling this fall… I’m taking a break from my decade of photography business, and starting a new creativity blog. It seems days go by and I haven’t done anything with my blog. We’re still unpacking from our move, so my two week goal is to get the office cleared out if I can actually work in there.

    I’m having trouble getting momentum. I’ve tried for a decade to blog, I even bought your writing course. Which I never finished. But with my new blog and the concept behind that I much more motivated to write.

    A friend gave some advice about waking up early to write instead of trying to do it while my husband’s putting the kids down to bed.

    My posts will involve a lot of visual aspects in my creations, so it’s not something that I can always create at 5:30 in the morning… but maybe that’s when I can get the right it down and schedule more time for the creations.

    I’m a perfectionist, and if steps to success are “ready aim fire, “I am ready aim aim aim aim aim aim aim ??

    Any words of advice for me?

  19. Elisabeth on January 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I feel like the biggest stumbling block to moving forward for me is my fear of talking to people. I try to move past it but it makes me feel confused and wishy-washy in my business. I even have trouble scheduling shoots because of it. I get so excited that I got the shoot, but then terrified that I got the shoot once I’m faced with committing. I guess that’s a goal, to try to push through that. I honestly don’t know how to make it more comfortable. I’m an introvert with social anxiety my best friend is my partner. I also don’t call clients, I like everything in writing, so I email people. I’d love to know if you have any thoughts about that.

  20. Vicki on January 11, 2018 at 3:15 am

    You had me at creativeLive!! Thank you for your timely reminder.

  21. Amanda on January 11, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    I love this post- thank you for sharing!

  22. Patricia Looney on January 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    My goal is to measure my business. I have spent the last 5 years doing business, but not knowing if I am profitable or not. My only indication is that I can pay for what I am spending on overhead, COGS, equipment, education, etc. I am very blessed that my husband pays the bills at home, but it is time to make my business profitable. So I don’t even know what my actual goal is! Help!
    I love your blog!

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