Inspiration Posts, La La La Love

How to Achieve Your 2018 Life Goals in 5 Proven Steps

Before the year 2017 ended, I interviewed Dreambook Project Founder Marian Clarissa Medina and learned from her advice on how to make your goals happen.  Dreambook aims to encourage, empower, and inspire people to chase their ultimate dreams through life-coaching journals and workshops.  

Clarissa launched the company after she completed a life coaching program called LEAP (Leadership Excellence Achievement Program).

“All 64 of us in our LEAP team reached our goals, and we made history as the first ever LEAP team to reach 100% as a team. I was very inspired, and I wanted to encourage my colleagues to continue dreaming dreams.”

Clarissa narrates with much enthusiasm how her experience proved that making dreams happen was possible.  In the program, Clarissa and her batchmates were tasked to set personal, professional, and community goals in eight weeks.

Guess what her goals were?

  • Change her no-boyfriend-since-birth status
  • Trim her waistline
  • Perform drums in public for the first time
  • Complete a business concept paper
  • Enroll ten people in the LEAP program


Clarissa’s achieved all of her goals in eight weeks!

Some of her teammates even had very ambitious goals, like earning Php 500,000 and eliminating credit card debt. Because of the overwhelming experience, Dreambook Project was born.

When asked to give an advice about setting goals and achieving dreams, Clarissa identified five important steps: recognize, strategize, energize, catalyze, and actualize.

You can watch the 6-part interview videos with Clarissa on my Facebook page or join Jumpstart Your Dream Workshops this 2018! This blog post will tackle the five steps and include my own research and ideas.

STEP 1: Recognize Your Dreams

“Each person is gifted with God-given dreams.  Discover your passion, natural talents, resources, and values.  Another approach is look at every aspect of your life.  Recognize where you are and where you want to be.”

I agree with Clarissa’s advice to look at what you have before considering the life goals you want to achieve.  One tool that helped me discover my strengths and pinpoint my dreams is Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 authored by Tom Rath.

The Strengths Finder will identify your strength theme through a series of preference questions.  I was given access to this material by my younger brother who purchased the book in 2015.

These qualities were the results of my Strengths Finder test:

  • Arranger
  • Communicator
  • Ideator
  • Learner
  • Relator

I am happy that all my strengths are being utilized as a resource speaker, marketer, and writer.  A challenge for professionals is working in a job or business that doesn’t match their natural abilities.  If you’re experiencing this, taking the Strengths Finder would help you get back on track.

If you don’t want to purchase the book, you can review the list of all 34 Strength Themes and try to match the qualities that describe you the most.

Your strengths are only one part of your life that you need to recognize.  You also have to acknowledge your dreams.  What is that one purpose or goal that you’d like to live out for the rest of your life?

Finding your mission and purpose is a journey.  But you have to seek it as early as you can.  The books Experiencing God and Purpose Driven Life has been instrumental in giving me insights about spiritual direction.  For creating a life mission statement, I highly recommend The Path by Laurie Beth Jones.

If the books don’t work for you or only make you confuse, be honest with yourself.  I came to this point of accepting what I really want after I went through an accident in 2015.  When you realize that our time on earth is limited, you’ll suddenly have courage to change paths and propel yourself towards your dream.

Your dreams may have already been revealed to you without you acknowledging it.  The hobbies you enjoyed during your childhood could point out to it.

STEP 2: Strategize

“Focus on three goals and break these down into small steps.  Put milestone markers so  you can track your progress.”

I liked how Clarissa highlighted the importance of focus.  We usually set a long list of New Year’s resolution. This advice will remind you to prioritize and shorten that list.

Personally, I’m more motivated in creating themes for the year instead of a long list of goals and resolutions.  My themes for 2018 are happiness, productivity, and practice.

I believe that when a person is happy, he or she becomes more productive not just in business but in life goals, too.  As for practice, I had huge insights and learning in the past years that I want to apply in 2018.

When it comes to prioritizing activities, I recommend Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix from his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

You may be familiar with the acronym SMART because many experts recommend this formula for setting goals.  SMART goals improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and plan actions.  SMART goals stand for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-framed

Assuming you’d like to start your own business, a smart goal can be summarized into a short paragraph like this:

“I will start a polymer clay shop on Etsy within the month.  This will allow me to earn at least Php5,000-Php10,000 part-time income monthly by the third month after launch.  I’ll accomplish this by creating a product list of 12-handmade accessories.  I can accommodate 2-3 orders per week and market my business through word of mouth and social media.”

Though commonly used and recommended by experts, SMART goals only help you with a strategy.  Realizing your dreams will take more than identifying what you want to reach and writing them on paper.  Enabling you in the actual process is another challenge.  That’s why you need to learn step three.

STEP 3: Energize

Knowing your goals and recognizing your dream is only one step. Actually waking up each morning inspired to take action is more difficult.  Get energized through daily encouragement and marking your personal milestones so you can keep pressing forward. gave an advice in their article How to Motivate Yourself in Three Steps Backed by Science: stay positive, reward yourself, and expose yourself to peer pressure.

Stay Positive.

One of the important insights I learned in life was realized after watching a video from Mindvalley Founder,  Vishen Lakhiani in 2016.  He pointed out how happiness is the secret to productivity.  When you condition your mind to be energetic and positive, you attract opportunities that can transform many aspects of your life.

This concept inspired me to craft two ebooks this 2018: Create Happiness: 21-Day Guide to Joyful Living and an e-mail series about productivity in April 2018.

Reward your small and big accomplishments.

Research shows that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things.  If you’re unmotivated in reaching your goals or completing daily tasks, go back to the milestone markers you identified and write down incentives you can give yourself in exchange for your hard work.

I also apply the principle of rewards in completing my writing tasks.  In the last two months, I have been writing 10-paged reports daily for three straight weeks and academic papers for two weeks.  Apart from my love for writing and a few writing tricks on my sleeve, creating a reward system also helped me.

Find your squad.

Exposing yourself to peer pressure may sound like an unusal tip. But a little competition or challenge from like-minded individuals can actually help.

The Longevity Project studied over 1000 people and concluded that the groups you associate with will determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is the strongest means you can change.

Studies also prove that daily meditation works wonders in energizing your day-to-day activities and guiding you towards your dreams.  Lifestyle blogger and cancer survivor Racheal Yahne wrote this on her article for Huffington Post:

“I wholeheartedly believe that life hands you the opportunities you’re asking for only when you’re ready. How do you prepare? Connect with the deepest part of yourself and finding your center.

Your center is the place that will guide you through that big obstacle or challenge. Your connection to your center will be your beacon; it will light the way and help you make decisions.”

Sometimes, we get carried out by our goals and look forward to the future than appreciating the present.  A few minutes of daily reflection can help you become a more centered individual.  Daily devotionals can help you build a habit of prayer or reading the Bible to illuminate your thoughts.

STEP 4: Catalyze

Inspiration is different from actually finding ways to speed up the process. In reaching goals, we want to get to our destination.  Well, getting there may not be as speedy as “The Flash”.  But at least, don’t want to go around in circles and avoid starting from scratch.

“Repeat what works, grow from failures, and evaluate your goals.”

Clarissa reminds us that constantly monitoring our progress versus our goals would help our growth.  Evaluation is an easy task.  But for me, catalysis will take effect when you constantly pick up your stack of knowledge and apply it in your situation.

Actions, not just an evaluation result, will help you reach your goals.

Since I’m in the field of training, I have been studying the art of learning things fast. In my research, I encountered a simple concept called the Learning Pyramid—developed way back in the 1960s by the NTL Institute.  They revealed interesting facts on how we can retain information more effectively:

  • You’ll retain 90% of what you learn when you teach someone else what you know immediately.
  • You’ll retain 75% of what you learn through practice.
  • You’ll retain 50% of what you learn when you engage in a group discussion.
  • You’ll retain 30% of what you learn when you see a demonstration.
  • You’ll retain 20% of what you learn when you use audio-visual presentations.
  • You’ll retain 10% of what you learn from reading.
  • You’ll retain 5% of what you learn from a lecture.

This means that if you want to speed up the process, practice what you learned and teach it to others.  You don’t need to be an expert in sharing what you know.  People will also appreciate understanding a topic alongside a fellow learner.

Another interesting study that supports the Learning Pyramid is the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development.  It says that individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge through experience, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from learning events.

Learning events ranking third doesn’t mean you should skip attending workshops or enroling for online courses.  Those three methods work together.

STEP 5: Actualize identifies five reasons why you need to pursue goals:

  • it adds excitement to your life
  • helps you build habits to succeed
  • creates authenticity
  • helps you grow
  • improves your resilience

If you’re not convinced yet and you think reaching your dreams is impossible, let me share my closing words.

It doesn’t matter what stage in your life you’re in.  Whether young or old, there’s a dream somewhere in your heart.  You can either live a hopeless life or make it meaningful.

You have the ability to inspire yourself to live the amazing life you may have not imagined yet.  All you need is a little faith.  And I hope this post sparked you up!

“If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you!”-Luke 17:6.

Make your dreams happen.

Have an adventurous year ahead!

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P.S.  If you like this post, subscribe to my e-newsletter and get a copy of the free guide, “Focus. Motivation. Action.” Plus, you’ll get free access to our online class on productivity.

SMART Goals: How to Make Your Goals Achievable. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2017, from
Gregory, A. (n.d.). Here Are Some Business Goals That Follow the SMART Criteria. Retrieved December, 2017, from
Organization, T. G. (n.d.). Strengths Dashboard. Retrieved December, 2017, from
5 Strategies to Achieve Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2017, from
How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed By Science. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2017, from
Yahne, R. (2016, June 06). How Meditation Helps Manifest Your Goals. Retrieved December, 2017, from
How To Retain 90% Of Everything You Learn. (2015, August 12). Retrieved December, 2017, from
The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development. (2014, January 28). Retrieved December, 2017, from
Clements, R. (2013, December 27). The 5 Reasons You Should Set Big Goals. Retrieved December, 2017, from

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