• Amy Lees

Setting Goals: The 4 Qualities That Lead To Success

Some would tell you that setting goals at the beginning of the year is the difference maker between having a successful year and not. It’s not the only thing that determines how your year goes, though. You could write out your best goals for 2021 and never reach any of them. On the other hand, you could skip out on writing goals but have the best year ever.

Why do we set new year goals anyway?

For many of us, setting new year goals is a time to reflect on our REAL ambitions. We stack up everything we did in the year prior and compare them to what we need to do for our future life.

If the comparison goes well, we challenge ourselves with goals that reflect our next milestones. If we find that our previous year was missing a few key points, then we reset our goals to ensure those are hit in the next year.

It’s also possible that goals get thrown away because we realize they don't align with what we really want. And that’s okay.

We can pivot on our journeys of self discovery.

I’ve learned that there are 4 qualities that lead people to set goals and keep them.

  1. Drive to want change.

  2. Determination to stay committed.

  3. Grit to persevere when the journey gets tough.

  4. Balance work with play to prevent burnout.

Also, I believe that these are all qualities you can develop and hone. It’s never too late to grow your personality and character into something better. Humans are constantly adapting to change in this world, so we might as well be in control of what that change is.


Having a want for change can be difficult depending on your circumstances. You might have trouble in this area if you were taught never to “want” for anything, or if you were made to believe that you would never get anything you wanted.

The best way to get started is to come to understand what you have come to believe about wanting change in your life. You might ask yourself:

  • Do you want it because you see someone else who has it?

  • Do you want it because life without it makes you feel empty inside?

  • Do you want it because you know it’s good for you?

The driven mindset: I can attain anything I want, I just have to work hard enough for it.


This is where a lot of us struggle when writing out goals. We don’t have an issue wanting to make a million dollars or wanting to lose the Freshman 15 (pounds) that we graduated with. We just have a problem staying committed.

Side note: If you’ve ever wondered what it would like to have a superpower, wander no more! You have the power to convince yourself into or out of something. I’m serious!! Have you ever said, “I’m going to wake up an hour earlier tomorrow so I can workout” only to find that when your alarm goes off, you then say “I don’t need to workout this morning because I’m on my feet all day at work anyway”, or for some other reason? SUPERPOWER.

Jokes aside, we’ve all been there! We lacked a determination to stay committed in that moment.

Strengthening your determination has to do with how seriously you take yourself and your word. This is why I believe that snoozing your alarm is the worst thing you can do to yourself. You told yourself you want to wake up at a certain time, but when you snooze, you break that promise to yourself.

In order to build up your determination, you have to hold what you say (even if it’s just to yourself in your head) to a higher standard. Your commitment levels go up as you continue to show up for YOU.

If you’ve ever watched Naruto, you know that his nindō, or ninja way, is to never go back on his word. You almost have to be like Naruto (yes, he’s a fictional character!) and push yourself to hold your word in such a high regard.

The determined mindset: I said I’m going to do this, so I’m going to do it!


We can all agree that life can be a struggle sometimes, especially after everything we saw in 2020. At some point in your life, I’m sure you had a tough time. Whether you grew up in a challenging situation or have faced more challenges since becoming an adult, you know struggle.

The good news is that the more challenges you overcome, the more grit you have. Perseverance is persisting despite how hard the situation can get. As long as you keep moving forward, you are persevering.

Some people refer to grit as having “a chip on your shoulder”. It can be a good thing to want to prove to the world (or yourself or someone specific) that you can accomplish what you set out to do.

We build our grit when we overcome obstacles.

Does that mean that you have to put yourself in a tough situation? Yes and no. It means you have to get out of your comfort zone to grow and challenge yourself to learn something new. It does not mean you have to put yourself in a terrible situation. “Tough” does not equal bad.

Make yourself do something you want to do, but are scared to do.

  • Go to a social networking event and stay the whole time.

  • Write 2 pages every single day.

  • Follow a workout program for 3 months.

  • Pay someone to be your personal assistant.

  • Sign up to go skydiving.

  • Give up alcohol or tobacco for 30 days.

  • Tell your crush how you feel.

The grit mindset: This is hard, but I can do hard things!


Burnout is real. It’s the mental or physical exhaustion of overwork or stress. It wasn’t until recently that “burnout” became such a hot topic in the mainstream, and it headed that way for a reason.

Common symptoms of burnout:

  • feelings of energy depletion

  • increased mental distance or negative feelings towards what you’re working on

  • reduced productivity

Chances are that you have experienced burnout at least once in your life, whether it be from work, hobbies, family, projects, etc. Burnout is caused by stress, and that stress can be attributed to almost anything.

In addition to a normal self care routine, we tend to combat stress levels with “play” time. Going on vacation or making time to tend to your hobbies are great examples of what play looks like for most people. It’s something that you enjoy doing. Something that feels satisfying and fun.

Balancing work and play can be difficult, especially for work-a-holics with grand ambitions. Often, we think that if we can check one more task off of our list, it’ll bring us “that much closer” to our dreams.

The reality is that we have to be able to enjoy our daily lives in some way, despite not having reached a future goal.

We can be better about balancing out work and play time by using a daily planner or schedule, practicing journaling, reflecting on our day, and checking in with ourselves about our feelings and moods.

The balanced mindset: I might not be where I want to go yet, but I'm enjoying the journey to get there!

Read more about goals here:

10 Fitness Goals For Women

My New Year Fitness Resolution and Action Plan

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