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The art of goal setting: from preparation to celebration

I’ve been wanting to write this guide on goal setting for a while now and I guess the time has come. I still have a few missing pieces of the puzzle, but at the same time, I feel like the information I put inside the guide is more than enough to help most people with the process of goal setting.

Here’s what you’ll find inside the guide:

  • Ways to prepare yourself for the whole process of goal setting and understand what it means to be prepared;
  • The frameworks I use to set and measure goals for myself and when I work with others towards their goals;
  • Different ways for staying consistent and also becoming flexible;
  • And finally, we’ll approach the importance of celebrating your successes.

Inside the guide, I’ll mention a few books and research papers. You’ll find every book, study, and research paper I mentioned in the Footnotes.

The best way to approach this guide is to go directly to the section that is the most interesting to you.

Therefore, I encourage you to scroll through the guide before anything else and see if there’s any heading that draws your attention. If that happens, stop there and consume that part of the guide first. Then, whenever you have more time, check the rest of it.

Oh, and one more thing. If you found this guide valuable, please share it with someone close to you. You’re going to help them with their goal setting process and also help me reach more people with my work.

  • Stage 1. Preparation
  • Stage 2. Setting the goal
  • Stage 3. Measuring your progress
  • Stage 4. Staying consistent
  • Stage 5. Becoming flexible
  • Stage 6. Celebrating your success
A person sitting in a quiet, peaceful space with a notebook and pen in hand, surrounded by elements that inspire reflection and planning. This imagery conveys the importance of taking the time to clarify one's aspirations, identify priorities, and map out a plan of action before embarking on the journey towards achieving those goals. It also symbolizes the process of self-discovery and introspection that often precedes setting meaningful objectives. The serene atmosphere in the image encourages mindfulness and focus, highlighting the significance of thoughtful preparation in the pursuit of personal and professional growth.

Stage 1. Preparation

To be prepared for the process of goal setting can mean many things but the most important one comes down to the resources you have available.

By resources, we can understand time, energy (mental, physical, emotional), finances, and people. But the most important one is energy.

If you don’t have energy (especially mental or emotional – we’ll call it brain power from now on), you can’t even focus on managing the other resources you need to allocate to your goal.

At the same time, we also have to consider that our brain power is not allocated only toward our goals – everything we do requires brain power. Your goals, habits, fears, or desires need the same brain power (YOUR brain power) and when there’s not enough of it, you eventually experience indecisiveness. When you can’t decide on the things that are important to you, your anxiety, mood, thoughts, and actions are influenced, and that can lead to even more indecisiveness. 1

If you are there and you just realized that you are trying to split too thin your brain power, to counter your indecisiveness you could focus on activities that boost your serotonin.

Activities to boost your serotonin:

  • Exercise: Motor activity increases the firing rates of serotonin neurons, and this results in increased release and synthesis of serotonin. In addition, there is an increase in the brain of the serotonin precursor tryptophan that persists after exercise 2;
  • Meditation: Meditation practices can trigger neurotransmitters that help manage anxiety, which may include boosting serotonin levels 3. Generally, meditation is known to affect several brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, which are involved in mood regulation and could be related to serotonin production;
  • Sunlight: While the photostimulation of serotonin may be mediated in a number of ways, including the retinoraphe tract (i.e., via the retina), one intriguing possibility is that sunshine may directly stimulate the production of serotonin through the skin 4;
  • Massage: Massage therapy has been shown to increase levels of serotonin by an average of 28% 5;
  • Gratitude: While there are no studies that specifically link the connection between gratitude and serotonin (at least I haven’t found any), research has shown that gratitude interventions are associated with improvements in mood and reduced symptoms of depression, which are conditions linked to serotonin function 6 7 8 9;
  • Diet: Consumption of a carbohydrate-rich meal increases the synthesis and release of brain serotonin (by enhancing the brain uptake of its precursor, tryptophan). As a consequence of this increased release of serotonin, carbohydrate intake is decreased at the next meal 10;
  • Listening to music: Music can influence mood regulation and emotional states, which are closely tied to serotonin function 11;
  • Spending time in nature: Nature exposure increases light intake, which can boost serotonin levels. Green spaces may reduce stress, indirectly supporting serotonin production 12;
  • Sleep: Sleep helps balance neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin. Adequate sleep may prevent serotonin receptor changes that occur with sleep deprivation 13.

Deciding on a goal is the most important step

As mentioned before, you may get to a situation where you are focused on too many things. So many, that your brain can’t function properly and that may lead to indecisiveness.

Besides boosting your serotonin, which can take a while, deciding on a goal may come in handy if you’re looking for a quick-and-easy trick.

Decision-making happens in the prefrontal cortex and when you decide on a goal, the prefrontal cortex changes the world around you. It changes the way you see, smell, and hear the world in front of you 14.

When you decide on a goal and you focus on that, most of your brain power is directed to that goal and it becomes easier to manage the time, money, and people needed to achieve the goal.

But, at the same time, when you decide to focus on a goal and a goal only, you may end up struggling with letting go of all the other goals that are important to you.

That doesn’t mean that you should give up on the things that are important to you. Instead, this is where prioritization comes into play.

Whenever I get to a point where I feel like I have to do too many things, I use a simple but effective matrix that helps with the prioritization of my goals.

Here’s how it looks:

Important Urgent Matrix

This is what the matrix says:

  • There are things that are both important and urgent;
  • There are things that are important but not urgent;
  • There are things that are urgent but not important;
  • There are things that are not urgent and not important.

You should manage the things that are both important and urgent.

You should focus on the things that are important but not urgent.

You should limit the things that are urgent but not important.

You should avoid the things that are not important and not urgent.

With the help of this simple matrix, you can understand a bit better your goals and decide where to allocate your brain power.

50% of your preparation is having a specific goal

If the goal you set yourself is an impossible goal, I recommend you convert that goal into a vision and set a proper goal.

There’s no need for impossible goals in your life. Wanting to help homeless people live a better life is a vision and that’s ok. Wanting to be rich is a vision and that’s ok. But wanting to make 10 million euros in the next 5 years may seem impossible if you’re currently making 2000 euros/month.

But even worse than impossible goals are nebulous goals; the goals that are poorly defined and make progress and achievement difficult:

  • “I want to be happier”;
  • “I want to get healthier”;
  • “I want to be more productive”;
  • “I want to travel more”;
  • “I want to be financially stable”;
  • and my favorite, “I want to be a better person”.

While these goals are nice, you don’t want them in your life.

The nebulous goals make it difficult for the brain to determine whether you’ve actually accomplished them or if you’re even moving toward them. These goals (by their nature) are difficult to believe they can be achieved and not believing you can achieve your goals increases the feelings of hopelessness 15.

In case you want to have goals like these in your life, you should treat them as a vision and make sure you also have one long-term, achievable, specific, and meaningful goal.

You get to experience helplessness when you fail too much and you start telling yourself a story that switches your focus from your strengths to your weaknesses.

If you reached a point in your life where, whatever goal you set yourself, you don’t trust yourself with achieving it, then changing how you explain to yourself the bad things that happen to you may be helpful 16.

A person standing confidently at a crossroads, contemplating different paths forward. This imagery captures the moment of decision-making and commitment to a specific objective. It symbolizes the clarity and determination required to choose a direction and set a goal, even when faced with uncertainty or challenges. The figure in the image exudes a sense of purpose and resolve, ready to embark on a journey towards achieving their aspirations. Additionally, the crossroads represent the myriad possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead, reminding us that setting a goal is the first step towards turning dreams into reality.

Stage 2. Setting the goal

In a book I wrote in 2016 17, I share my views on the process of goal setting.

For sure, and this is something most people know, a goal should be SMART.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote an article with a list of 64 goals to inspire you and, in that article, there’s included detailed guidance on how to set your goals SMART.

Click here to read the article: Didn’t set your goals for 2024? Get your inspiration from this list

In the book I wrote in 2016, I share my process for the goal setting:

  • Step 1: Have an intense desire that can fuel a long-term vision

As long as you have an intense desire that’s connected to something that you want to do for the rest of your life (your vision), it will be easier for you to allocate brain power to your goal.

  • Step 2: Connect your goal to a passion of yours

When you connect your goal to your passion, you have better chances to achieve the goal. Working towards your passion doesn’t generate burnout because doing something you love can’t stress you to the point of burnout.

  • Step 3: Visualize before setting the goal

Before setting the goal, visualize yourself when you succeed. Visualize the partnerships and collaborations that will happen during your adventure towards achieving your goal.

  • Step 4: Set the goal

Simply make sure your goal is SMART.

  • Step 5: Visualize after setting the goal

Now that your goal is set, visualize again just to make sure the goal you set doesn’t change anything about your visualization. In case you visualized something differently this time, in what way your goal changed what you visualized?

  • Step 6: Set the two action steps

This is just to help you get started. The first action step is about something that you can do right now to move towards your goal. The second action step is something that you would one to do one year from now and you believe it would take you one year to get there.

As you can see, setting a goal is not just about making sure your goal is SMART. But most people do just that and that’s fine.

It’s fine because, for most people, setting a goal using the above 6 steps can be too much and can put too much pressure on them.

If having a SMART goal is enough for you, then you should be more than happy with being able to do that. But if you want to experiment more, then maybe you could have a look again at the 6 steps and see what you can do more of next time.

Start small – it can help you be more decisive

I mentioned at Stage 1. how having many goals is not a good idea because it can lead to indecisiveness and that can influence your anxiety, mood, thoughts, and actions.

To counter that, you can always start small.

And starting small doesn’t mean converting your goal into something smaller than it is.

You can still have your goal but make sure you look at the small things you do in your life and see them as goals. For example, you can choose what you have for launch, what book to read, or what friend to call tonight.

Research shows that decisiveness in one part of your life can improve your decisiveness in other parts of your life. Pick one thing, go with it, and don’t question it 18.

In case you don’t start small, there’s a chance that you’ll fail. And you don’t want to fail.

As mentioned earlier, failing your goals can lead to helplessness and the more you fail, the more it will influence the story you tell yourself about your experiences.

But there’s something worse that could happen.

When you can’t achieve your goals, you may use your failure as an argument for unethical behavior

There’s a research paper that I found really interesting – so interesting I decided to write a few things about it here.

In this research paper 19 was found that people with unmet goals are more likely to engage in unethical behavior.

Considering all the good things that we know about goal setting, finding this research paper feels like a gem because I never thought there was a link between goal setting, motivation, and unethical behavior.

This article found that people with unmet goals were more likely to engage in unethical behavior than people attempting to do their best, and that the relationship between goal setting and unethical behavior was particularly strong when people fell just short of reaching their goals.

Examples of unethical behavior:

  • Making up sales numbers to meet goals;
  • Changing the numbers in financial reports;
  • Doing things that are not honest to reach a target.

In case you manage others, to make sure they don’t get to a point where they have unethical behaviors, there are two things you can do:

  • Ask the members of your team to share what they learn on their way toward achieving the goals – it promotes transparency and accountability;
  • Ask the members of your team to share the goals they set themselves – it lowers the pressure to meet the goals unethically.
A person standing on a staircase, looking upwards towards a distant light or destination. Each step of the staircase could represent a milestone or achievement along the journey towards the goal. This imagery conveys the idea of progress as a gradual ascent, with each step forward bringing the individual closer to their desired outcome. The figure in the image may be pausing to reflect on how far they've come, while also keeping their focus on the ultimate goal ahead. The staircase symbolizes the structured and incremental approach to measuring progress, highlighting the importance of tracking achievements and staying motivated throughout the process.

Stage 3. Measuring your progress

This is the part that most people don’t like. Unless you are analytical and data-oriented – in that case you’ll love it.

Measuring your progress is not difficult if you have the right tools.

If you have no tools, measuring your progress is going to feel painful and you’ll avoid measuring anything related to your goal.

Hopefully, you’ll find useful one of the two tools I’m going to share with you and you’ll start enjoying not only the progress that you make but also the insights that you get from measuring your progress.

But first, why is it important to measure your goal?

Imagine you are training for a marathon and you’ve never run a marathon before. In case you don’t know, running a marathon means running 42 kilometers (or 26 miles) and there’s usually a 6- or 8-hour limit, depending on the difficulty of the race.

You set yourself the goal to reach a point where you can run 10 kilometers without stopping. If you don’t measure every run, how are you going to know you made progress?

That’s the purpose of measuring your progress. It makes it clear to you if you’re advancing towards your goal and, if you’re not, it makes you think about the things you have to change to make sure you keep advancing so you eventually achieve your goal.

While measuring your runs is easy because you can easily measure them with your smartwatch or smartphone, other things are more difficult to measure.

Therefore, I’m going to share with you two tools for measuring your progress.

Tool 1. The Seinfeld Calendar

The first time I used the Seinfeld Calendar was in 2017.

Back then, I set myself the goal to have a challenge for each month of 2017 20 and tracking progress with the Seinfeld Calendar was exactly what I needed.

The Seinfeld Calendar is a tool developed by the famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld when he needed to make sure he wrote jokes every day for as long as possible. Therefore, he got a big calendar that had a whole year on a single page and put it on a wall. The next step was to get a marker and for each day he wrote jokes, he put a big ‘X’ over that day.

When you use the Seinfeld Calendar to measure your progress, after a few days, you’ll have a chain of ‘X’s and the only job you have is not to break the chain.

In case you want to use the Seinfeld Calendar to measure your progress, here’s a template:

Seinfeld Calendar

All you have to do is to print it, write your name on it, put your signature (it’s supposed to make you feel responsible), and the starting date.

Then, at Activity you can write your goal or the activity that you’re going to do that is connected to your goal.

After that, at Reason 1, 2, and 3, you can write your motivation.

And then, at Passion you can write the passion that your activity is connected to.

After the dates in the calendar, at Expected Results, you can write the results you’re expecting to have at the end of the month.

Fair warnings:

  • Most people wait until the 1st of the next month to use the Seinfeld Calendar. Don’t. Just print it today and start tomorrow. The sooner the better.
  • Most people will feel a lot of pressure when working with the Seinfeld Calendar. The longer your chain gets, the more pressure you’ll feel to not break the chain. If you don’t work well under pressure, maybe this is not the right tool for you.

I wrote more about the Seinfeld Calendar here:

Tool 2. The Outcome Framework

This is a framework I have recently discovered in a book about coaching 21 and it changed the way I look at measuring progress and goals.

In short, instead of measuring the progress of the goals the coachee sets in a simple (and maybe unclear) way, it is suggested that the final result the coachee is looking for can be separated into four groups: affective, cognitive, skill-based, and results.

framework of coaching outcomes

Here’s a table from the book that explains it better than I could:

*in case you can’t see the table properly, turn your phone horizontally
Outcome criteriaDescriptionMeasurement methodology
Affective outcomes How does the coachee feel?Attitudes and motivational outcomes (e.g. self-efficacy; well-being; satisfaction)Self-report questionnaires
Cognitive outcomesHow does the coachee think?Declarative knowledge; procedural knowledge; cognitive strategies (e.g. problem-solving).Recognition and recall testsFree sortsProbed protocol analysis
Skill-based outcomeWhat does the coachee do?Compilation and automaticity of new skills (e.g. leadership skills; technical skills; competencies),Behavioral observation in the workplace (e.g. multi-source feedback questionnaire)Skill assessment
Results outcomeWhat does the coachee achieve?Individual, team, and organizational performanceFinancial results; objective and goal achievement; productivity

In case the Seinfeld Calendar is not enough, I use the Outcome Framework.

The first thing I do is look at my goal and try to understand the outcome that I want.

After that, based on the outcome, I choose a measurement methodology and create myself a way to measure my progress. To create the methodology, I research on Google for existing methodologies and use the help of Chat-GPT.

A person walking along a path through a forest, with each step leaving a footprint behind. This imagery symbolizes the idea of perseverance and dedication, where every consistent effort contributes to moving closer to the goal. The forest represents the journey towards the goal, with its twists, turns, and obstacles along the way. Despite the challenges, the figure in the image remains focused and determined, leaving a trail of footprints as a testament to their ongoing commitment. The image encourages the viewer to stay resolute in their pursuit of their objectives, understanding that consistent action, no matter how small, leads to meaningful progress over time.

Stage 4. Staying consistent

After you set your goal, the journey starts.

All of a sudden, you are the protagonist of the story and now you have to embrace the journey. But that’s not always easy.

Staying consistent toward your goal is like going for a hike. You start from where you are, you get to see amazing landscapes, and if you overcome all the hills, the mud, the scorching sun, the hunger, the thirst, and the drought, you’ll eventually get to the end of the hike and feel all the dopamine rushing through your body.

Staying consistent is not easy, for sure.

One of the most common things that influence your consistency is your explanatory style. We talked about it previously in this guide, at the end of Stage 1. It’s the way you explain to yourself the bad things that happen to you.

If you fail during your journey towards achieving your goal, the way you explain yourself that failure is going to make or break your progress.

But staying consistent is more than that.

To stay consistent means to see the light at the end of the tunnel and find practical ways to keep going, no matter what obstacles you face. Yes, I just described optimism.

While optimism and optimism alone cannot remedy your failure, it is a tool to better achieve the goals you set. It allows you to use to better effect the wisdom you have won by a lifetime of trials. 22

When your goals conflict, how do you deal with the situation?

I was recently reading a research paper and I found something interesting about goal setting that I totally resonate with, as an optimist.

When we set goals, there are two different types of conflict that are generally present: inherent conflict and resource conflict.

Inherent conflict arises when you try to progress toward a goal but the process behind that progression creates more difficulty in reaching another goal.

For example, let’s say you go to a networking event and you want to meet people (your main goal) but at the same time you are a shy person and you don’t want to draw attention to yourself (a secondary, more intimate goal).

When an inherent conflict is present, it creates confusion about how to measure your progress or success. This can make it hard to decide if moving forward with one goal is a good idea, as it might affect the other goal negatively.

On the other hand, Resource conflict arises because there are limited resources (time, money, energy) and your goals require the same resources.

For example, let’s say that right before your best friend’s birthday your car breaks down. Now you are put in a situation where you have to fix your car and also buy a gift for your best friend. In this case, fixing your car means having less money for the gift.

When it comes to Resource conflict, optimists maintain conflict goals for longer

When I was going through this study, I found myself in what I was reading.

“When two goals begin to demand the same resource, additional supplies of that resource may be redirected to maintain them. Optimistic expectancies justify such redirection in the interest of maintaining goals; there would be no sense in redirecting additional resources to pursue goals that one did not expect to be realized in the end. 23

Here’s how I look at the above paragraph: to be an optimist means to believe that whatever you set yourself to do, you’ll eventually be able to achieve it. Therefore, as long as you believe it, it makes sense to allocate more resources and even redirect these resources from the goals that are not as important.

And that’s the downside.

Optimists (myself included) sacrifice resources such as energy in order to continue pursuing conflicting goals.

To stay consistent, go for something you want, not against something you don’t want

This is a more philosophical approach but I decided to share it with you because I believe it’s crucial to the goal-setting mindset.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” ― Simon Sinek

You’ve probably heard this quote before. It’s from Simon, an optimist I’ve been following for a while and I resonate with many parts of his mindset.

But there’s more than stress and passion when it comes to choosing something you want.

When we decide on a goal and then achieve it, it feels more rewarding than any other good thing that happens to us by chance. When we decide to pursue a particular goal and then achieve it, we are the happiest. 24

Therefore, to stay consistent, choose a goal that you want to achieve and work towards it. You’ll experience happiness as a result of achieving the goal and that will help you stay consistent.

A tree bending gracefully in the wind. This imagery symbolizes adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges or unexpected changes. Like the tree swaying with the wind, individuals who are flexible in their approach to goal setting can adjust their strategies and plans as needed while staying rooted in their overarching objectives. The image conveys the idea that being open to alternative routes or methods can lead to new opportunities and ultimately, successful goal attainment. It inspires viewers to embrace change, remain agile in their pursuits, and find strength in their ability to bend without breaking.

Stage 5. Becoming flexible

Imagine you set yourself a 3-month goal.

You invested a lot of time into the preparation stage, you made the goal as clear as possible so you know what you have to do, and you started moving.

But two weeks after your first step, you realize you’re not on the right path and you didn’t make too much progress.

Given the fact that you’re back where you started, you might be tempted to think that was all wasted effort, but it wasn’t. Going one way and then realizing you need to change course is different from just sitting there doing nothing. Even if your initial decision turns out to be wrong, you’re still in control of your life 25.

But how does that translate to becoming flexible?

For me, it’s the awareness that comes with this knowledge.

If I know that whatever direction I approach is a good direction because it will make me feel in control, then that’s more than enough.

When I am in control of my life, I can focus on all the benefits of advancing toward my goal, even though it’s not the right direction.

Sitting and contemplating for two weeks versus doing something for two weeks. Which one is better? For me is the latter. I always choose to do something and correct the course if that’s needed and having this mindset is what keeps me flexible.

Don’t get upset if you didn’t choose the right direction

Most people punish themselves when they fail.

Imagine you set yourself the goal to lose 20 kilograms in the next 12 months. That’s a reasonable goal if you are overweight.

But do you really believe it will be easy? Do you really believe you’ll just go through all the year without unhealthy eating, especially if you usually crave chocolate?

Of course you’ll keep eating chocolate. But that’s not the problem.

We have to realize that as soon as we want to change, we want to become a different version of who we are.

What most people struggle to accept is that the version they are moving away from is not going to disappear. It will probably be with you even after achieving your goal and from time to time you’ll still have to deal with the old version of yourself.

As soon as you accept that your old version will still need your attention from time to time, you become more flexible with your journey.

But punishing yourself or getting upset with your failures is something you shouldn’t do.

Those feelings of frustration or self-judgment are all sources of stress, making it more likely that you’ll keep doing your old habits. The key to change comes in the moment after you realize you didn’t enact your intended habit. Yes, you will probably have many slipups, but if you give up after a slipup, you’ve only trained your striatum to give up. You’ll probably hear a little voice inside your head telling you to give up, but the more you listen to that voice, the more it becomes habit and the harder it is to resist. Every time you stick to your goals, the voice gets softer 26.

What is the striatum and what role does it have in building a habit?

We’re diving a bit into the neuroscience of the brain just so you can have a grasp of what’s happening inside your brain when it comes to building habits.

For me, habits are an important part of achieving my goals and they usually go hand in hand.

Before moving on, just know that the striatum has two parts: the nucleus accumbens and the dorsal striatum.

When it comes to our daily actions, three parts of the brain are active:

  • the prefrontal cortex: it influences what we do based on what’s good for us in the long term
  • the nucleus accumbens: it influences what we do based on the pleasure that we get right away
  • the dorsal striatum: it influences what we do based on the past experience we have with what we want to do

Let’s say these are three friends of yours with whom you would spend every day with:

  • there’s one that gives you good advice and helps you with planning and goal setting (the prefrontal cortex);
  • there’s another one that only wants to be part of your life if there’s dopamine involved (the nucleus accumbens) and together you watch Netflix or eat sweets;
  • and the final one (the dorsal striatum) that wants to be part of your life when you do something you’ve done before.

How does this translate to building habits?

Let’s say you want to start running but you’ve never done it before.

The prefrontal cortex will help you plan your runs and set yourself a goal (like running a marathon in 6 months). And sadly.. that’s all the help you get from your brain.

If you’ve never run before, there’s no dopamine in running. Your organism may generate some endorphins while running and some dopamine after you run, but when you’re at home, in your pajamas, there’s no dopamine.

You have to force yourself to go for a run.


To make it simpler, when you want to build a new habit, don’t focus too much on planning it (because that’s the easy part). Instead, focus on forcing yourself to do what you set yourself to do. In time (and the time needed varies from person to person) you’ll get to do it with more ease and eventually it will become a habit.

A person standing atop a mountain, arms outstretched in triumph, with a radiant smile on their face. Surrounding them could be vibrant colors of a sunset or sunrise, symbolizing the culmination of their journey and the beginning of a new chapter. This imagery captures the moment of victory and accomplishment, evoking feelings of joy, fulfillment, and pride. The expansive view from the mountain peak signifies the sense of achievement and the realization of one's aspirations. It reminds us to take a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate our successes, acknowledging the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that led us to this moment. The image inspires viewers to savor their achievements and use them as fuel for future endeavors.

Stage 6. Celebrating your success

Most people celebrate their successes only after the goal is achieved but that’s not too healthy.

Imagine having a one-year goal and taking a moment to celebrate only after one year of constant work. That’s, of course, if you achieve the goal after one year.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page, celebration doesn’t mean that you party, get drunk, and waste your company’s money on celebrating your achievement.

Celebrating your achievement could mean many things that don’t require big efforts:

  • Take 15 minutes every Friday evening to write down your achievements from that week and then highlight the few that you feel the proudest of;
  • Share your daily or weekly achievements with your team and ask them to share theirs with you;
  • Call your parents or friends at the end of the month and tell them about your achievements and also ask about theirs.

These small celebrations require only a small portion of your resources and having others cheer with you at whatever you are proud of will generate serotonin.

Speaking of serotonin, showing gratitude is a great way of celebrating your successes as it boosts your mood, which can help you stay even more involved in the journey towards your goal.

Therefore, celebrate all your small victories, no matter how small they are, and become grateful for your successes.

With love and optimism,


What did you learn?

What are some valuable things you learned about your goal setting process? 

I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.



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  13. Sleep Deprivation Increases Cerebral Serotonin 2A Receptor Binding in Humans - Sleep. 2012 Dec 1; 35(12): 1615–1623.
  14. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
  15. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
  16. The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist's Journey from Helplessness to Optimism Hardcover – April 3, 2018 by Martin E. P. Seligman
  17. Subconscious Mechanics: The Importance of Your Subconscious in Achieving Objectives, 2016 by David The Optimist
  18. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
  19. Goal Setting as a Motivator for Unethical Behavior- June 2004, Academy of Management Journal 47(3):422-432
  20. The Power of 30-Day Challenges: Become The Constructor of an Exceptional Lifestyle, 2017 by David The Optimist
  21. Coaching with Research in Mind 1st Edition, by Rebecca J. Jones
  22. Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life – January 3, 2006 by Martin E. P. Seligman
  23. When Goals Conflict But People Prosper: The Case of Dispositional Optimism - J Res Pers. 2006 Oct; 40(5): 675–693.
  24. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
  25. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
  26. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time – March 1, 2015 by Alex Korb PhD
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