3 Strategies to Get Your Goals on Paper

By Allie Hartzog Jan 24, 2020

Marty Fukuda, a member of N2’s Leadership team, ran a goal-setting workshop for N2 team members in January, exploring the data behind the importance of setting goals, his own experiences, and research he’s developed on the topic over the years. In this three-part blog series, we’ll dive into considerations to keep in mind when setting goals, how to follow through with them, and how to maintain a healthy mindset surrounding your goals while in the midst of the everyday highs and lows.

Want a jolt of inspiration (or perhaps perspiration) to get you going?

People who write down their goals earn NINE TIMES more over a lifetime than those who don’t.

This daunting stat is brought to you by David Kohl, Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech University. Although earning potential shouldn’t be the only driver for goals, it’s still a pretty powerful reminder of how important it is to follow through with those aspirations that are floating around in your head.

And yet before you even put pen to paper, your mindset plays a big role in the goal-setting process. If you don’t feel you have control over your circumstances, you’re going to have a hard time accomplishing your dreams. The reality is you need to be of the mindset that you have agency over your life.

 Agency, in this case, is:

the sense of control you feel in your life. It’s the capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior, and have faith in your ability to handle a wide range of tasks and situations.

Pause here and think through how much agency you perceive you have. Despite the inevitable setbacks and situations we sometimes experience, do you truly believe you have control over what happens in your life? What does that look like in your thought processes and how you view your circumstances? Goal setting is only as good as the introspection you allow yourself. It is required to set your future self up for excellent things.

Truly, you have the power and the ability to change your future. With that in mind, let’s get started.


Odds are this goal-setting resource is one of multiple that has flooded your inbox, podcast list, and news feed this past month. There are just as many ways to classify your goals as there are resources on the subject. One simple way to help break down how to feel balanced in life is to go by the Five Fs: Finance, Fitness, Family & Friends, Faith, and Fun. Think through these five areas – what are your goals related to each this year? Which sections need more work and where are you doing well? You can have as many or as little in each category as you like, and can break each area down into smaller sections within these five if certain categories are too broad for you.


Inevitably, most goals have to do with something added to your life – a habit picked up, a skill learned, a job achieved. But there are habits and even jobs that tend to weigh us down when they’re not in alignment with our sense of purpose. Or maybe what you’ve been doing is fine, it’s just not the right time to continue focusing on it. Think through what you may need to remove from your life. Those kinds of goals are just as important when considering how you want to feel looking back a few years from now. Do you want to finally kick a bad habit? Is spending time and energy on a hobby you once loved not worth your time anymore? Write it down and cut. it. out.  


It’s inspiring to dream big. But how often do you allow yourself to dream amidst your daily routine? This is a great time to let all your hopes and dreams come into focus, no matter how big they may seem right now. Don’t dismiss your larger goals in life even when you feel far from accomplishing them. A common hindrance to achieving bigger goals (Marty calls them “life goals”) is the distance it will take to get there. If you’re currently living in a one-bedroom apartment but see yourself owning acres of land in the future, that’s great if it’s important to you! Don’t let where you are now dictate that you shouldn’t start working toward that goal today. Don’t be influenced by proximity to achievement. And remember, when it comes to the larger “life goals,” don’t stop at writing them down! Hold yourself accountable by creating smaller, more manageable goals to tackle first.

Setting goals – large or small – should be an inspiring exercise. We know it’s not only up to us to make things happen in our life, but we’re also more apt to achieve above and beyond what we thought possible if we write it down and start with a plan. We’ll be back with some encouragement and tips on how to follow through with your goals once the ink has dried.

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