The Secret to Meeting Your Goals

What is your bad habit, addiction or temptation that you often get sucked into?

The easiest way to ensure that you show up in the world the way you want to is to be a good self-regulator.

Today I will share a quick tip for boosting your willpower and encourage you to use it in your life.

Effective Goal Setting Increases Willpower

It is not a lack of self regulation that stops people from meeting their goals–it is faulty goals.  Research shows that positive phrasing, primers and accountability are key!

Example: Say I was struggling with getting to bed late at night because I was still working and my desired behavior was to be in bed at 10pm.

A bad goal would be, “I am not going to stay up late tonight.” Why? Because it is framed in the negative.  You can boost your self-regulation and support your set goal by flipping it to the positive.

A good goal would be, “I will shut down my computer by 9 pm and start winding down for bed.”

The next component is to use primers.  A primer is anything in your environment that reminds you of your goal. 

My primer, or outside stimulus, would be an alarm to go off on my phone at 8:45pm.

The last component is have accountability.  This means have a living, breathing person know about the goal.  This person should be someone who cares about you and is willing to follow up with you about your goal.  Partner with a friend, coach, family member, neighbor, colleague or anyone you know who wants to support you. 

For my goal, I committed to text messaging my coach as the computer was shutting down that my goal was met.

What is your self-regulation soft spot (the thing you have a hard time getting yourself to consistently do)? Describe it below in the form of a positive goal, tell me what your primer is and what kind of accountability you will put in place to help you meet your goal.


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }


I find that a lot of people get into this tunnel vision trying to achieve their goals and always suggest trying to shake it up with breaking that big goal into steps that do not seem overwhelming or tedious.

For myself, I have a daily to do list, a weekly, a monthly, a yearly, and a dream board.
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Mitch Mitchell

You know, it’s always an interesting perspective to look at the same thing and realize that one can alter the words to change the meaning and power of it. I tend to speak to myself in the negative way when meaning to be positive and it’s possible that’s a detriment to me. I’ll have to think about it a little bit more.
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Hi Rachel,
I think as you mentioned in your reply to William, that our why is what keeps us on track.
I get sucked into my email and that keeps me from achieving as much as I would like each day. With frequent regularity I seem to find myself back in my inbox which fills repeatedly all day. However, I am in the process of being much more disciplined about what I read and what I keep. Without my why, I would never manage to keep on track but I am very determined and that keeps me from getting stuck in the inbox and back doing what is productive.
Thanks for a great article.
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Steve Nicholas

Great post, Rachel! It is really amazing how that we think that we are doing something that gets us closer to our goal, but all it really does is sabotages our true desires. You are so right about having the positive. I know that for me, for the longest time, when I looked at my huge stack of unread e-mail, my thought process was, “Oh, no, I’ve got so many e-mails to read,” which meant that I put it off even longer. Now, I have two of my three main e-mail accounts unread stacks down to special folders, and once I get the third e-mail all the way read, I’ll start working on all of those. My thought process changed to, “I can’t wait until I only have brand new e-mails in the unread folder to look at,” and it changed everything.
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Raena Lynn

Hi Lavern,

This post made me think about whether I use primers. My main focus right now is completing the tasks I need to reach my bigger goals in network marketing. One thing I use is a list of small goals, or my task list, so at the end of the day I check what tasks I have accomplished for the day. I tried many different ones, and finally narrowed it down to a list that are all “possible tasks” for the day exclusively in my marketing. It is a great motivator for me. I set a goal that I should have at least 4 checked off. If I do more, which I usually do, it’s a bonus!

I also think a great way to keep on track with my marketing and to be accountable is to be an active member of a group of fellow marketers, such as Facebook groups, or a mastermind group. I am a member of several and they help me to keep moving forward.

Both of these help me to stay consistent and I feel they help me meet my daily goals, which in turn will meet my major goals. Great post!

Raena Lynn



Hi Raena. Thanks for sharing your methods. It is great to have a menu of tips to select from. What may not work for one, may work for another.


Tom Burt

I think you might be onto something here. I use negative motivation more than positive. And that might even affect a good nights sleep as opposed to going to bed with positive thoughts.
Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Tom Burt
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Hi Tom. I am usually more like you–I am motivated to move away from pain. Thanks for sharing :)



Thanks for sharing nice tips. I have worked out my own plan for achieving the goals. Once there is a goal, I break down it into smaller deeds (milestones) and define the completion time for each of them.
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Patricia Gozlan

Thanks Rachel for this post! Formulating our goals in a smart manner ( positive , specicific, measurable and time specific) is indeed not enought. Our internal dialogue ( what we say toourselves) as you say the gremlins are the ones that decide and having and external stimulus as person to share our goal with or an alarm clock , an anchor that helps us enter in a new positive habit.
I use funny anchors so that this helps me get out of my comfort zone!



Hi Patricia. I would love to hear about your funny anchors :)


William Amis

Rachel,wonderful and simple. Outstanding!I feel that keeping negative words and thoughts far from our daily actions is the best practice to stay on course with goals and our rich lifestyles. You don\’t have to over think being accountable and getting things done at the time you set.That is something when your passionate about being timely with each milestone you set. You can not go wrong and will make all effort to stick with the time allowed. Do not get distracted and staying focus is the hard part. Just setting up goals and having a time table is really easy for most of us. It\’s the follow through.I have watched endless people that I have trained find it difficult to keep even appointments. Daily activity becomes a habit with much practice. This is what\’s needed with our choices for what is next to accomplish. Then setting up a schedule that is realistic is next. Putting things that remind you about your choices and goals is a wonderful visual tool. Most of us learn and are guided with visuals. That is why more is better in this area of keeping primers. Just as you stated. Just having people respect your time is another challenge. This happens when you loss your ability to keep within your time frames. If you have a training and allow only 30 minutes. Tell yourself that scheduling a follow-up is better than going over the time you both agreed. That is where we find the most fail. Once that ball starts rolling everything else planned for that day goes down hill. So, your words here are gold. I love the outline and simplicity of it all.Rachel, your one of our greatest coaches in this industry. One I find is unique and persistent with supporting us with usable information. Thanks for all you continue to bring to us. Looking forward in learning more of you techniques.



Hi William. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I still wrestle with staying focused. Once I notice that I have veered off course, it seems that the culprit is that I have not really drilled down to ‘my why’. That is what I need a visual of to stay on track. And it has to be a big why because, as you know, there are a multitude of distractions all around us.



Hi Rachel,

you are making a great point in your post about using positive language in your goal setting.
I suppose it is just like with children, if you want them to close the door quietly, there is no point in yelling ‘Don’t slam the door!’ :-)
Having reminders of the why which is underneath the goal probably would be a good idea too.
Thank you so much for sharing.
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Hi Yorinda. Yes, a reminder about the why is a wonderful idea (a “must have” for me).


marquita herald

I like it – positive and to the point. I also firmly believe that when we set goals that are not grounded in our higher life priorities they begin to look a whole lot more like “shoulds” than meaningful goals that will help us create the life we want for ourselves.
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Brian Lagoni

I so agree with you on this Marquita… When we set our goals right AND align them with our core values, THEN there is no stopping us;o)

Great Post Rachel
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Absolutely right. :-) It is so important to frame goals in a positive manner. There are any number of ways to NOT do something, but deciding on how you are actually going to accomplish your goal and listing the steps. Now that will work.
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Simple and to the point. Thank you because it was exactly what I needed to see. I didn’t think that some of the things I would say to myself that was so defeating. You really showed me that a few simple changes could make such a huge difference in my life and with my goals. This was a great post and I appreciate this inspiring post.
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Donna Merrill

Hi Rachel. I must say this post came at a timely basis for me. This is my re-assurance to shut my computer down at a decent time. My husband and I work together and talk about shutting down at a certain time, but it seems that it never goes that way. “One more thing…” is what we say to each other.
Reading this gave me the extra “push” I needed. I am telling my husband as I write this to pick a time tonight that we will shut down. It’s great because we can be accountable to one another. Husband/wife teams do work!
Thanks again Rachel
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Hi Rachel,
It really makes sense to set goals using positive phrasing and have someone remind you what your goal is, thanks for sharing this really valuable article…
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Anya Ty

I need this kind of advice today. I believe that setting your own goals is very important especially for people who wants to achieve more than one goal in a day. It will make your day more productive.

Thanks for the tips.

Anya Ty
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Sarah Arrow

Rachel, I just loved this post. The notion that willpower needs help had never crossed my mind – thank you for making me think about what I can do to set better goals and get willpower working for me.
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Hi Rachel
Thanks for this good and great info.

Well what you just say make a lot of sens “A good goal would be, “I will shut down my computer by 9 pm and start winding down for bed.” it give you a better picture to work on than the other one and it will help you mind to remind you also about your goal. And the coach one is also very good.

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Steve Vernon

Man, I needed to read that! And you hit me right where it hurts, LOL! Somehow I manage to sit at my computer until close to midnight sometimes, when I started saying to myself at 9:00, “Steve, it’s time to shut down, read a little or watch a good movie before going to bed.” Now the trick is finding just the right person to be my coach and call me at 8:45 to ensure I do so. Thanks!
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Rick Lelchuk


We use the primer method with clients who take The Passion Test. After discovering their top 5 passions we have them write them on an index card and put them in places they know they will spend time… near their computer, on the mirror in the wash room, refrigerator and in their car. This way they will remain present to their passions as a means of focusing attention on them. Works great and it will work with your goals too.

Oh, I’d better start shutting down my computer now if I hope to be out of here before 9. It’s 1:45 PM.


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