By Monta Cooper


Dear Friend:

Do you find that any kind of goal-setting is immediately accompanied by feelings of anxiety and thoughts of “what if I can’t do it? Am I setting myself up to fail?” Maybe your chest tightens, you stop breathing for a few seconds, and your throat involuntarily does that big-gulp thing?

Goal-setting doesn’t have to feel like that! Let’s take a deep breath together, shake off those tense feelings, and embrace a better way. Get out your favorite pen and journal or a piece of paper. Trust me….this exercise will set you up for success!

The Best Predictor of the Future Is the Past

First of all, you have done it before and you can do it again! Let’s prove it. Think of a time in your life when you set a goal, whether intentionally or not, and you mastered it! I KNOW there is something like that in your past because you’re not just a bump on a log who has accomplished absolutely nothing in your life.

Go ahead, think of a time you achieved something awesome…maybe it was graduating from school, or getting married, or having that first child. All of those things are a big deal, and you did it! Don’t minimize these accomplishments!

In this moment, acknowledge the awesomeness of you. Seriously. Those victories didn’t happen on their own.

Now give yourself 5 minutes and write down everything you can think of that you’ve achieved that required effort, time, energy, and hard work. Include the “little” things too, maybe potty-training a child (for me that’s a “big” thing) or being consistent with a good habit. If it required effort and you achieved it, write it down.

In this moment, acknowledge the awesomeness of you. Seriously. Those victories didn’t happen on their own.

What If….You Can?

Secondly, let’s reverse all of those thoughts of impending failure. Instead of “what if I can’t do it?” let’s strike that and reverse it into “what if I can?” Really take the time to visualize: what if….I reach this goal? What will that look like? How will I feel? How will this affect my life? Write down specifics about how your life will benefit from accomplishing this goal and accept that IT WILL HAPPEN!

There is real power in visualizing success in detail while approaching goals. This technique has been proven to work for even elite athletes, increasing their confidence and directly enhancing “their performance at cognitive, behavioral, and emotional levels.” It works. Just ask Jim Carrey:

Set Yourself Up for Success

Last but definitely not least, set yourself up for success! Whatever your goal is, make it as easy to achieve as possible. Remove any barriers that might get in your way. For example, let’s say I want to lose my attachment to processed sugar. I could set a goal to eat no processed sugar for a month…but if I keep all of those products in the house that regularly tempt me I am only postponing the inevitable. In a moment of weakness I will give in and eat whatever sugar is close by. (I know from personal experience.)


It seems like common sense but so often we give up on a goal because we’ve inadvertently sabotaged ourselves. Setting yourself up for success is a really important step. Whatever is within your control to do, do it. Get those proverbial Oreos out of the house and ask your family and friends to support you in this goal. That way your best friend will know to invite you over for a movie and popcorn (lightly buttered of course) instead of a movie and ice cream!

Now consider the goal you are approaching. What can you specifically do to set yourself up for success? Write it down. Make a list of what you can do to support yourself, then go and do!

I hope that you take the time to really write these things down. It will make such a difference in how you feel approaching any goal. You can do this! I have faith in you, now YOU have faith in you!

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