Strategies for Effective Goal Setting

Balancing Focus and Fulfillment
the SMART goals strategy written on a chalkboard

If you’re anything like me, you are struggling with maintaining focus on the goals you set for the new year.

Keeping your eye on the prize in today’s world is like trying to read a book while someone flicks water at you—annoyingly difficult and constantly distracting.

Between the endless ding of social media notifications and the daily juggle of life’s responsibilities, focusing on goals feels like trying to thread a needle on a roller coaster. 

But sticking to our goals is crucial; after all, they’re the blueprint for our personal and professional success stories. And let’s face it, who doesn't want to be the hero of their own story?


A science-backed trick to keep us on track is the art of crafting SMART goals—for those who haven't googled it yet, that's:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound 

It turns our ambitions from vague wishes into a clear action plan. The concept of SMART goals is a cornerstone in the science of goal setting and personal development.

This approach transforms our aspirations from the nebulous realm of “someday, maybe” into concrete, actionable objectives that command our attention and effort. 

Let’s break it down further:

  • Specific

    Define your goal with clarity, focusing on the what, why, and how.

  • Measurable

    Ensure your goal is quantifiable to track progress.

  • Achievable

    Set realistic goals that are within your reach.

  • Relevant

    Align your goal with your broader objectives and ensure it matters to you.

  • Time-Bound

    Assign a deadline to create urgency and motivate action.


Another way to stay focused is—you guessed it—mindfulness. Mindfulness might sound like the latest buzzword your kale smoothie-drinking friend won’t shut up about, but it’s got solid benefits for focus—and you don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor to get them.

  • Breathing

    First up, let’s talk about mindful breathing. It’s simple: just breathe (which, luckily, most of us are already doing) but do it with intention.

    This isn’t about taking a breather because you’ve run up the stairs too fast; it’s about focusing on your breath to anchor yourself in the present.

    It’s like hitting the pause button on life’s remote control, except it’s less about catching your favorite TV show and more about not letting your brain run off without you. (And my brain runs off without me constantly.) 

  • Walking

    Then there’s mindful walking—which, contrary to popular belief, is not walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there. (Am I the only one who does this on the reg?)

    It’s about paying attention to each step, the rhythm of your walk, and how the ground feels under your feet.

    Think of it as a stroll for your mind, clearing out the cobwebs, and helping you focus on what’s important, like remembering where you put your keys. Or the intention you set this morning.


Incorporating these strategies into your life doesn’t just turbocharge your ability to hit those targets; it turns the journey towards them into an adventure rather than a chore. 

Imagine living a life where you’re not just blindly chasing after goals but enjoying the ride, dodging distractions with the grace of a mindfulness ninja and the precision of a SMART-goal strategist.

This approach doesn’t just make us more productive, it also makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable. 

At the end of the day, reaching your goals with a smile on your face and a few chuckles along the way makes the victory even sweeter. After all, life’s too short not to enjoy the climb to the top of your personal mountain of achievements.

If you have challenges focusing and meeting goals you’ve set, I offer Mindfulness Coaching that is highly effective. Get started today!


Alyson Phelan

Alyson Phelan founded Present Moment Mindfulness and Yoga to transform lives.

She teaches science-based mindfulness solutions to individuals and organizations. She holds various degrees and certifications that support her work in the community to help build practical, accessible, and sustainable methods that work.

She is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher, and Trauma Responsive Care Certified. Visit her blog or try an online class.