October 20, 2016

A Simple Formula for Setting (and Achieving) Your Goals

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last year, you know that I set some life goals in blogging, fitness and personal development. Since setting those goals in January, I’ve taken actionable steps to achieving them. But that list didn’t come to be overnight.

After finishing breast cancer treatment (My 6 year Cancer-versary was October 7 Woot Woot!!), I found myself thinking about my purpose. Cancer will do that to you. Through my journaling, I began to ask myself what I wanted my life to look like in 5 years. Sounds like a question I ask potential employees in a job interview, but there really is something to that question when you sit down and honestly dive into thinking about your life. My focus this year has been to continue my personal development by mapping out the big picture of where I want to be and then outlining the actionable goals to get me there.

Choosing Your Life Goals

Think about what inspires you. What gets you excited and out of bed on a cold, rainy morning. That probably inspires you.

Find some quiet space in your day and contemplate who you are.

Write your obituary. OK, I know that sounds morbid, but what do you want. You know I’m a Forensic Scientist. Seriously though, I don’t mean actually write your obituary although there are many personal development coaches that actually have clients do that. You can if you want, but the point here is really what do you want people to say about you when you die? The things you want people to remember about you are the things you’re actually passionate about.

Brain Dump. Journaling is a great way to help you listen to your soul. It might be hard to start writing, but once you get going you’ll find yourself lost in your heart and writing what you feel. There is great therapy in doing that and it’s a great way to discover who you are.

Go to Therapy. I know that seems a little unconventional, but I’m a strong believer that we all need therapy. Therapy is a great place to discover things about yourself in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

Take a class in your local community. The community college and your local recs and parks department offer a number of personal development, hobby, and business courses throughout the year. I love looking through that catalog to see what’s being offered. My friend, Jan from See America With Us, and I are currently taking a Novel Writer’s Workshop course at our community college. I’m hoping this will help me finish my book finally! 

After you figure out what you’re passionate about and put your 5 year plan in writing, where do you go from there? The next step is to start putting together some actionable goals. This is basically your To Do list for your life. I have one and there is nothing more satisfying than crossing one of those goals off the list!

Once you’ve done this, pick ONE (and only one) goal to accomplish in the next 6-12 months. For me, I’m currently working on getting my AFAA certification (to be followed immediately by my NASM certification – basically studying the same material). Here’s what it looks like in actionable steps:

Goal: Getting My AFAA/NASM Certification
Cycle: March 2016 – December 2016

1st Quarter Goals (to accomplish by March 2016):

  • Sign up for the certification course

2nd Quarter Goals (to accomplish by June 2016)

  • Watch all the webinars
  • Read the book

3rd Quarter Goals (to accomplish by September 2016):

  • Complete study guide
  • Make flashcards
  • Study material
  • Take practice exam

4th Quarter Goals (to accomplish by December 2016):

  • Get CPR/AED certification
  • Get First Aid certification
  • Take AFAA exam
  • After pass exam, sign up for NASM cert


There isn’t anything overly complex in my actionable steps, but now I have a road map of what I want to accomplish. This system keeps me from getting overwhelmed by the number of steps that it will take me to reach the goal. It also allows me to cross through each one as I achieve it which provides me with an element of satisfaction that keeps me motivated to continue to achieve the steps.

Simple Formula Actionable Goal Setting

Now that I’ve just about accomplished this goal, I’m setting my sights on the next 12 month goal courtesy of that Novel Writer’s course I told you about. So, my new 12 month goal looks like this:

Goal: Finish writing my Book and get it published
Cycle: November 2016 – November 2017

1st Quarter Goals (to accomplish by November 2016):

  • Sign up and take the Novel Writer’s Workshop course at the college
  • Sign up and take the How to Publish Your Book course at the college

2nd Quarter Goals (to accomplish by March 2017)

  • Finish writing the last ¼ of the book (I already have 65,000 words written…I’m stumbling with finishing)
  • Send Draft to editor for review, suggestions/criticisms and edits
  • Edit the Final Draft

3rd Quarter Goals (to accomplish by June 2017):

  • Find a publisher
  • Submit to publisher for layout/design, printing, and marketing

4th Quarter Goals (to accomplish by October 2017):

  • Line up speaking engagements to market and sell the book

Tracking your goals and actions

Once you lay out your 5 year plan, you’ll have a road map for the things you want to accomplish. One by one, you’ll create actionable road maps like the examples I gave you above and track the steps toward your goals by crossing each one you accomplish off your Life To Do list.

As George Addair once said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”.

Good luck creating the life you deserve!

PBB signature


Follow Me on social media:




Cross Your Finish Lines!
Craving More? Get exclusive subscriber access to healthy living information, workouts, training, racecation and travel deals, and recipes!
Email *

First Name

* Required Field

24 Comments on “A Simple Formula for Setting (and Achieving) Your Goals

Becki @ Fighting for Wellness
October 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm

This is a really great approach (and I love your goals)! I look forward to the day when going to therapy is the norm for people. I agree that everyone can benefit from it.
Becki @ Fighting for Wellness recently posted…Trying the Ketogenic DietMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

I look forward to that day too. I’ve convinced a number of friends and family in my life that the stereotype that it used have is gone. It really does help you learn about yourself. Why else would I have gotten a third degree in psychology!

October 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm

haha, the write your obituary one did sound kinda morbid, but I love your explanation for it–super true! I like all your other suggestions/tips too! I love taking classes in my local community whenever I have a chance to–there’s always so much to learn! :]

Best of luck to you on getting your NASM certification! <3

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

When would you have time to take classes, Farrah? I’m not sure they offer them between your rotations! LOL All kidding aside, I’m a lifelong learner. There is always something new to learn. That’s what I love about having so many great community colleges and universities right in here the Baltimore area.

Abbey Sharp
October 20, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Congrats on your breast cancer anniversary love, great post!
Abbey Sharp recently posted…Healthy Pumpkin Pasta | Leftover Pumpkin Puree RecipesMy Profile

October 20, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Nice step by step plan. I find it easier to break things down into smaller parts too. Five years may sound overwhelming but when you break it up by years it’s more manageable. Thanks for sharing!
Chrissy recently posted…INTRO TO MEAL PLANNINGMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:58 am

It makes so less scary and overwhelming for me. The overachiever in me wants to run like gangbusters at it, but that doesn’t always work successfully.

Runaway Bridal Planner
October 21, 2016 at 12:14 am

I absolutely love the idea of writing an obituary, and the way you put it doesn’t sound morbid at all.
It’s true, we aren’t going to look back on our lives and regret all the goals we set and tried or achieve, we are going to look back and regret anything we didn’t try that was within our power.
I’m going to do this, and put it on the front page of my next journal. (Yeah, I still keep paper journals:)
Runaway Bridal Planner recently posted…Visiting The OLD MILL in Little Rock ArkansasMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:57 am

YES, Kristy! You got it! We all look back and regret what we didn’t TRY not what we tried and maybe decided wasn’t for us. I love you’re adding this to your 2017 goal journal. That makes me so happy!

Tamieka Thomasson
October 21, 2016 at 3:59 am

Hi from the blog hop!

Boom! TAKE that cancer….yeah!!! I am heading to a football tournament that is raising funds for breast cancer and celebrating survivors who are also players.

I love the idea of writibg your obituary. …I like what you said about things you want people to remember about you.

Love your action plan write out, I think that is where I need to get better. I set the goal, have a plan but don’t often put dates and actions together. thanks for that!

Good luck on your studying and test taking. I had signed up to do NASM but never did it 🙁 #epicfail

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

Have fun at the football game! That’s awesome they are doing that. I just attended our local hospitals annual silent auction and luncheon. Sorry to hear you never finished NASM cert. I’ll let you know when I sign up for that one, maybe we can achieve it together!

October 21, 2016 at 4:00 am

Cassandra, this a great way to making your goals achievable and making yourself accountable. It’s great to read that you know what you want and what you need to do to get it.

I usually only set short term goals (days to months). But writing out your long term goals seems like a good idea for me to get more focus and live more intentional.

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:53 am

Mandy, I used to do the same thing you do. I would make lists that I wanted to accomplish today and this week. One day, I decided to sit down and think about what I wanted my life to look like come the new year. As I thought about what goals I wanted to accomplish they seemed so far away. So, I broke them down they way I talked about in the post and discovered my anxiety about them diminished. Now, when I look at the big picture goals, I don’t go immediately into a panic attach because I can see the easy to manage one below it!

October 21, 2016 at 5:35 am

First of all huge Congrats on your major achievements Cassandra. You truly are an inspiration. Finding some quiet space throughout the day really does help you to focus on your creativity and your inner self. I love how you broke down your goals into quarters for the upcoming year. I’m super excited about your book. I’m sure it will be a success! Way to Go!
Ilka recently posted…Paleo Chocolate FudgeMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:47 am

Thanks! I’ve been writing this book since my diagnosis and I’m finally at the point post-treatment where I can finish it. I’m so excited to finish it and publish it in the hopes that it will help even just one person to see that a HUGE life negative can become the positive they needed to discover who they want to be!

October 21, 2016 at 6:58 am

I have to admit this post went a different direction than I expected after the first few lines. Congratulations on your health. That is amazing. Setting goals is very important. You lay out direct simple steps here. That is awesome. Thank you.

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

Thanks, Amy! I hope this formula will be helpful for you in achieving all your goals!

Kimberly Hatting
October 21, 2016 at 7:34 am

Congrats on beating cancer!!! I love all your thoughts on journaling. I have a journal I’ve kept since I was in 8th grade, sadly it’s been neglected in the past couple years. I still write in it, but not consistently. Most of my writing has been on my blog…which is still chronicling my life and adventures, but it’s definitely not the same. Thanks for the inspiration to get back to it 😉

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:36 am

I have a box that contains all those notes my friends and I used to pass to each other in middle school. When we moved 13 years ago, I sat with that box and read alot of them. They were hilarious! Some of my journaling these days ends up on the blog, but some of it I’m still not ready to share. I am trying more and more to write from a place of vulnerability because I think that’s where we, especially as women, can all connect with each other. It’s why I started the Thursday posts. It gives me one day a week to start sharing in that vulnerable place in addition to my running, triathlon and travel posts.

Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin
October 21, 2016 at 7:54 am

I read a lot of blogs, you have it that gift of writing. I so signed up just after the words are you craving more. Yes, yes ma’am I am.
What a true fantastic way to not only beat cancer but be changed in such a positive way.
You are following your dreams one step at a time. I sure do wish my road map was as clear as yours, but you’ve given me some tips to sink my teeth in onto. I can’t wait to hear more. 🙂

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
October 21, 2016 at 8:31 am

Tricia, thank you so much for your kind words. I have my sights set on the vision I have on my goals list and I will not stop until I’ve achieved it! I’m even 65,000 words into my book that I hope will inspire others who face life altering situations to move forward, find purpose and Cross their Finish Lines!

Missy - Getting Fit to Find Myself
October 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm

I am a goals girl! I love your approach to creating and acting on your goals. I like that you break them up into quarters. That is much more digestible chunks than focusing on the whole thing at once. So many people get freaked out but when you break them up it makes it easier.
Missy – Getting Fit to Find Myself recently posted…Book Review: Running HomeMy Profile

Lauren @ Lauren Runs
November 6, 2016 at 10:27 pm

This is exactly what I needed to read right now. I’m feeling a bit stifled in my planning for the next year or so, and needs to think through where I want things to go. As much as I enjoy the idea of some of these fast races, I also need to think about what focusing on those races might mean for my larger visions and planning of my life.
Lauren @ Lauren Runs recently posted…Post-Marathon Weekly WrapMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
November 9, 2016 at 9:32 am

I’m glad you found this helpful. I can’t wait to read your 2017 goals in a few months now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge