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Episode 29: How to Actually Achieve Your 2020 Goals

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In Episode 29, we’re talking about goals and why it’s important for you to actually write them down. I know, I know, if you’re like me, you might be thinking, why take the time to write down goals? I don’t have time. I’ll remember them. I’m busy right now. I’ll do it tomorrow. What’s the point?

Or maybe, you’re one of those people who loves to sit down and make a list of goals… 

Either way, today, I’m going to tell you why you should ABSOLUTELY spend the time writing down your goals, plus how to do it in such a way that is proven to be the most effective in actually helping you accomplish your goals - there’s more to it than just jotting down things like “I want to raise more money for my nonprofit” or “I want to lose 10 pounds.” We’ll talk about what to do and how to do it today.

Whether you want to meet personal goals or you’ve got goals for your nonprofit organization, listen up, because this episode is going to help you start off – and stay strong along the path to meeting your goals in 2020. 

In 2019, I decided my goal was going to be to take better care of myself.

I wanted to be less stressed, feel good and healthy in my body, and feel happier – which, anyone will tell you, happiness is correlated with how you’re feeling physically. 

Here’s an example for you - I used to exercise and train this horse, and he was always so cranky. He almost seemed mad. He had a permanent unpleasant expression – he was grimacing all the time! One day, we brought in a special vet who did some x-rays and a few other tests, and we found out he had a serious foot problem that was causing him pain. We got him a new kind of fancy horseshoes – the Air Jordan’s of horseshoes - and it wasn’t long before he turned into this sweet gentleman of a horse! His expression and attitude totally changed for the better. It’s the same for us - if you feel good in your body, you feel good in your mind.

In 2019, I decided I was going to take better care of myself and put more effort into caring for my body. Now, to meet this goal, I had to think about how I was going to do it. What steps did I need to take to achieve this goal?

Eating well and exercising were definitely part of the plan, but I knew I had to catch up on some of those regular appointments we all put off. 

I needed to go to the dentist, go to the doctor and get a physical, go to the eye doctor, plus do things like get my hair cut on a regular basis (not just twice a year like I had been), and also regularly see a chiropractor. (By the way, for almost my entire life, I thought chiropractic was a lot of hooey, but after suffering a back injury, I’m into it. It helps me feel better.)

All these things had been hanging over my head FOREVER. 

For example, I was still wearing the SAME EYEGLASSES I got 18 years ago. In 2019, I decided this was going to be the year where I was going to make those appointments.

Since I’ve moved across the country since my last appointment, I had to find a new optometrist – and four other new doctors, plus a hair stylist! I had to find out what my insurance covered, I had to find someone I thought I would like – and I had to do all of this for ALL of these doctors and for the other service people I was going to make appointments with.

I made the appointments, I adjusted my schedule so I could actually go to the appointments, I made any necessary follow up appointments – yes! I actually went to the dentist TWICE last year and I have another appointment already scheduled! 

And you know what? I feel great about it! I feel on top of one of the simplest, yet easiest to neglect parts of life – taking care of my body.

The takeaway from this is, I set a specific, measurable, realistic goal of taking better care of my body. 

I wrote down my goals and made sure they were...

Specific – I was going to take care of my body – physically and emotionally.

Clear –  I was going to eat well, exercise, catch up on doctors’ appointments and take care of my outward appearance.

Goal Had a Timeline – I would finish this goal in 12 months.

What that did for me was propel me into action. I knew what my next step was going to be throughout the whole plan. It gave me energy and a “next step” to get started and to keep going. 

When I finished one appointment, I felt proud because I’d achieved a little more success and then I made the next appointment. I could see I was achieving my goal a step at a time.

I gave myself a deadline of 12 months to make all the appointments – which was probably longer than I actually needed, but I wanted to spread it out because I was dreading all of it. I am kind of a wimp about that stuff – but it’s good that I recognized that and took the steps to reach my goal in a reasonable amount of time!

All along the way, I kept in mind, the reason why I wanted to accomplish this goal. I wanted to take care of myself, I wanted to go to sleep at night knowing I was doing the best I could to take care of the only body I have.

I totally believe that by writing down my goal - and the specific details of it - helped me stay on track and ultimately succeed.

I used to be one of those people who hated making New Year’s resolutions or thinking of new goals every January – because often times, I wasn’t meeting them. It wasn’t even just that I wasn’t meeting goals, I couldn’t even REMEMBER them a few months later. 

Recent research says, however, that if you write down your goals – not just list them, but actually write them in specific, vivid detail, you can actually almost double your chances of succeeding. 


First, if you write your detailed goals down on a piece of paper, and then hang it above your desk, or on your refrigerator, or on your closet door, or somewhere that you see it every day, it is easier for you to remember. Duh. Right? If you have a visual reminder of your goals – you SEE them every day – it helps you create the mindset and motivation you need every day to work towards meeting your goals.

The second part of the science behind successfully meeting your goals, is called encoding. I’m no neuroscientist, but basically, it means, if you write something down, you have a much better chance of remembering it. Writing something down helps to store it in your long-term memory.

Let’s talk specifically about how to set yourself up for success with your goals:

  1. Write down your goals - Be specific, detailed and vivid in your description and use a pen/pencil and paper. Spend 30 minutes or an hour, thinking about your goals for the year, writing them down, and what it looks like once your goals are achieved. Writing your goals out by hand on paper will help to cement them in your brain – typing or dictating them into your phone doesn’t have the same effect on your brain.

  2. Make sure that your goals are realistic and worthwhile. Saying, “I’m going to raise $1,000,000 this year!” is a great goal – but it’s likely not very realistic for most nonprofits. Setting a goal to become the World’s Fastest one-handed clapper is probably not a very worthwhile goal. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble if that was your goal. There’s just no money in one handed clapping.

  3. Make your goal measurable. Saying, “I want to grow my nonprofit” is nice, but HOW are you going to grow it? Are you going to raise more money – if so, how much? Give a dollar amount.  Are you going to grow your social media following – if so, how much? 300 new Facebook followers? Give yourself a measurable goal to aim for.
  4. Give yourself a deadline. Tell yourself, for example, I will raise $100,000 by October 2020. Set the deadline to help keep you motivated and accountable, but also remember it’s OK to adjust if you need to. Unexpected things happen. Life happens. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet the deadline you set for yourself – focus on what you CAN do and what you HAVE already done (celebrate your success thus far) and adjust your next steps and your deadline.

Most importantly of all:

  1. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to accomplish this goal?” It will help you stay focused on your priorities and motivate you to work hard to meet your goal.

By following these tips and setting goals for yourself in the New Year, you are going to help yourself – and your nonprofit – be the best it can be!  

Just start… Even if you’re not sure what goals you want to set, just start thinking, start scribbling down some ideas. Clarity will come to you once you get the ball rolling. You are capable of more than you even know! 

I was watching a football game the other night and during the interview with the winning quarterback, he quoted Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us...”

Remember that! You are capable of more than you even know. Let God inspire your goals in 2020.

If you have any questions – I’m right here for you! Ask away! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through and I’ll happily write you back with an answer!

Remember to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app, or get episodes delivered straight to your email by subscribing at  

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Get access to the free guide now at Nonprofit

Until next time, my friend!

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Forbes Magazine - Article about goals

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