How to set goals you’ll really achieve

successWho is ready to make 2108 the best year yet?!?!

I sure am!

As a teacher, it’s my job to set goals for my course and create a plan to achieve them. I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of every semester, and the chance to evaluate what worked and what didn’t in order to start fresh the next semester. A new year is kind of like a new semester – a chance to press the restart button. That’s how I’m approaching the new year: with intention, focus, and a plan to achieve my dreams. 

I’d like to share my favorite goal setting framework with you, the key to actually achieving those goals, and then I’ll let you in on my 2018 life goals…so hold me accountable, okay! (Thanks!)

The best goal setting framework (imho)

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before, and it’s a perfectly effective and particularly thorough framework. Maybe because I’ve been digging the clean and organized vibe of a minimalist lifestyle lately, I prefer the BSQ goal setting framework, which is just a minimalist format of SMART goals.

BSQ = Big, Small, Quick

  1. Think Big.
  2. Act Small.
  3. Move Quick.

The reason why I think the BSQ format is so effective is it creates focus, a step-by-step plan, and a timeline:

  • What is your goal?
  • How will you achieve it?
  • When will you achieve it by?

How to actually achieve your goals

In my own personal experience, accountability is KEY for successfully achieving my goals. Accountability is anything that makes you show up consistently. For me, accountability is usually in the form of a financial investment, or a commitment to a person or a group who is counting on me (essentially a combination of my own intrinsic motivation reinforced by extrinsic motivation).

For example, I have been wanting to work out more consistently (sexy body + good mood endorphins = HECK YES!). The problem is, I am rarely in the mood to work out (even though I know afterwards I’ll feel fabulous). That’s where the financial investment comes in. I did try paying for a gym membership, but then I had another hurdle: I lacked the desire to drive across town on top of not wanting to work out. Needless to say, that was money down the drain so I canceled my membership. Then I tried doing free workouts on YouTube, which I was moderately successful at, but not consistent enough (especially during the holidays).

Then Tone It Up came out with a new app called Studio Tone It Up. I’ve been working out with Tone It Up off and on since 2014 so naturally I had to check out the app.

It turns out this app is just the thing I needed to keep me accountable.

  1.  I invested in it (but it’s way cheaper than the gym!)
  2. It lets you schedule your workouts ahead of time (there is a work out every hour on the hour).
  3. There is a community behind it.

I schedule my work out the day before so I know that I need to be ready to the next morning at a specific time (rather than working out when I “feel like it” a.k.a. never). I seriously get so much satisfaction from scheduling my work out, starting it on time (a HUGE accomplishment for me lol), and then having a visual record of my progress (also HUGE for a visual learner like me). Not to mention I don’t have to drive anywhere!

What works for me might not work for you…it’s a matter of finding what feels good AND keeps you accountable!

My goals for 2018

I like to divide up my life goals into what Florence Scovel Shinn calls the “square of life“: perfect health, wealth, love & self-expression. (If you’ve never heard of Florence Scovel Shinn before, she was writing about the Law of Attraction long before The Secret. She wrote a book in 1925 called “The Game of Life and How to Play It” which is free to read online here! It is the most impactful book for me on thinking positively!)

For each of these categories, I’m going to apply BSQ to one big life goal that will help me create my dream life. Since these are my 2018 goals, the Q or deadline will be the end of this year (although many of these are lifetime goals).


  1. Think big: Wake up rested, feel energized all day long, and fall asleep easily. 
  2. Act small:
  • Wake up and go to sleep consistently at the same time every day
  • Stick to a morning routine (exercise, meditate) and evening routine (stretch, meditate, read)
  • Turn off electronics 1 hour before bed and use my blue light blocking computer glasses
  • Eat healthy (lots of fruits & veggies), minimize caffeine, sugar, dairy & processed foods
  • Take necessary vitamins & supplements daily
  • Drink A LOT of water


Money is a taboo topic in American culture, so I’m a little uncomfortable talking about my debt (mostly from student loans). Actually, I feel a lot of shame around my debt because back when I started college trusted sources literally told me “student loans are GOOD debt.” Yeah, seriously. I was gullible and I bought it. Knowing what I know now I would do things SO differently, but I’m trying to make peace with where I’m at. I recently paid off my car, so I’m feeling like IT IS POSSIBLE to pay my debt in full sooner rather than later.

  1. Think big: All of my debt is paid in full. 
  2. Act small:
  • Practice minimalism (only buy things I LOVE & need)
  • Transfer debt to a lower interest rate
  • Stick to a monthly budget (honestly I am horrible with this because it requires looking at numbers and I have a super silly number phobia because my mind literally goes blank when I have to do math…so if you have any tips or tricks let me know in the comments!)
  • Increase my income to 10K/month+ through my business (this in itself is another goal…)
  • Learn everything I can about money (investing, saving, retirement, budgeting etc.)
  • Practice math to get over my number phobia (I downloaded some math games on my phone hahaha)


  1. Think big: I love myself because I am always learning. 
  2. Act small:

I have never felt better in the relationship department, so what I really need to work on is self-love. I have been so insanely perfectionistic and self-critical lately whenever I make a mistake however small (mostly due to the fact that I’m not where I want to be in my life & career…YET (because I AM going to get there this year).

  • Identify my major stressors (rushing & running late, not getting enough sleep, overwhelmed with too much to do) and make a plan to minimize them (get ready early, stick to a sleep routine, say no to things that I can’t/don’t want to do)
  • Record myself learning Italian so that I can get used to hearing my voice and receive constructive feedbacks on my mistakes. Most of all to see evidence of my progress to increase my confidence.
  • Whenever something goes wrong ask myself if freaking out will fix it (which it never will) and always remember that “my ships come in over a calm sea, under grace in perfect ways” (Florence Scovel Shinn)
  • Continue to read/listen to self-development books, journal, meditate, etc.


  1. Think big: I get paid to do what I love.
  2. Act small:
  • Finish my book draft and get an agent
  • Consistently create content for my YouTube channel and blog
  • Keep learning about business and apply what I learn to grow mine
  • Support others following their dreams

I have many other goals this year, but these are the big four that will impact the overall quality of my life and will make it easier to achieve smaller goals. For more specific business goals, I am going to plan every quarter, and for my Italian goals, I plan to post about those monthly.

I think it will be fun to look back on this post a year from now and see how I have successfully applied my small steps, not to mention check back here throughout the year to remind myself what to focus on.

Now I’d love to hear about you! What are your goals this year?




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Ciao, I'm Kelly!

Welcome to my adventures in learning Italian, often while cooking authentic Italian recipes and wine tasting! I love discovering the traditional regional cuisine of Italy and trying to recreate those dishes when I'm back home in the US. I'm also on my way to becoming an Italian citizen through jure sanguinis (by ancestry).

WSET Level 2 Certified Wine Blogger


Join me for a virtual "aperitivo chat" to get exclusive updates on my Italian progress, dual citizenship journey, plus food & wine adventures in the Bel Paese and beyond!

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2 years ago

Excellent post Kelly! I definitely hear you on the money stuff, I kind of hate dealing with money but I love spending it so like so many people, my goal is to save more!!!

2 years ago

Hey Kelly!

Love this post! Very inspiring. I am also obsessed with your logo design!


LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

You’ve got some great goals for 2018 and I think you’ll do an amazing job at achieving them! 🙂 Happy New Year!!

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