Setting Goals In An Achievable Way


the blog

by sarah elrod

episode 2, setting goals in an achievable way


Ready to learn how to my method for Setting Goals intentionally?

It’s a new year and so many of us feel inspired to start fresh, make big plans and go after those things we have always wanted. But we all know how it usually goes, right? You are super motivated for the first month or two and then life gets busy and you start to fall back into your old habits and routines and suddenly another year goes by and you are in the same exact place you were before. 

That sucks. 

Why is this often the case? I believe this is caused by two things:

One – Because so many people lack true clarity in what they want. Most people actually have a better idea of what they do not want. 

Two – We are super afraid of failing.


I would almost bet to say that if I asked you what you do NOT want in life you could throw a whole list of things at me. Whether that be, you don’t want to be in the same dead end job, or you don’t want to be dirt poor, or you don’t want to live in a run down neighborhood, you don’t want to be a bad spouse or parent. 

Those things tend to come easy to us. 

But when asked what we do want.. It’s harder to think about.

And when I say what do you want, I don’t mean the superficial stuff like “make a million dollars” because let’s be honest, we ALL want that. But WHY do you want to make that million dollars? What will that do for you?

When we lack clarity of where we are heading, it’s next to impossible to create a path to get there. 

You will never achieve a goal by just saying “I want to go full time in my business this year”. You need to actually figure out the steps that are going to bring you closer to that goal..whatever it may be. 

And we will talk about the steps here in just a second but lets talk about my second point which is the fear of failure.


Sometimes when our dreams feel too big, or too crazy, we fear the idea that we could fail or we could face serious judgement from our friends, family, peers, etc and it ultimately holds us back from goal setting or moving towards something bigger and better.

And to live a life in fear is to live a life of serious limitations.

Here are a couple of my favorite Bible verses having to do with Fear:

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 

Isaiah 41:13

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Psalm 34:4-5

We should not live in fear but especially not fear of failure. Failure is what causes growth. Successful people fail. And they fail a lot.

So right now, I want you to take a moment, pause this episode if you need to and write down what you have failed at lately. Let’s change the way we think of failure and instead of being afraid of it let’s embrace it. 

Let’s think of failure as a stepping stone towards the goals we want to achieve. And look, I get it FAILURE IS UNCOMFORTABLE

But what if we do something crazy this year. And let’s make this year the year we intentionally make ourselves uncomfortable. What would that look like?


Uncomfortability is another thing we cannot avoid. The year 2020 made a lot of people uncomfortable and without warning.

So what if we choose to take back our lives and make 2021 the year we get uncomfortable on purpose?

And if you are thinking “ummm Sarah I definitely do not like the sound of that. Why on earth would I purposely do that to myself”?

And hear me out, I’m not saying go out and quit your job with no backup plan or do something totally huge and drastic. Being uncomfortable can be a lot of little things.

When I was in middle school all I wanted to do was fit in. I just wanted people to like me. So I would follow the trends and I definitely was not being the best version of myself at times. But to do anything else would be extremely uncomfortable. 

It would be going against what everyone else is doing and I didnt want to risk getting teased.

Even as an adult there are plenty of times I get uncomfortable. Money for example,  is something I always had a weird relationship with. 

I saved up a lot of money at a young age and the thought of spending even 20 dollars made me cringe. Even when I had plenty to go around

But at the beginning of last year I started to tithe which means I was giving 10% of my income away every single month no matter what I made to the church.

And believe me there were months where I absolutely did not want to. It made me extremely uncomfortable and by no means was I perfect at it. There were plenty of months where I fell off the wagon. But what that did for me is it changed my whole mindset around something that I had an unhealthy view of. 

It humbled me and helped me grow a lot as a person and as a believer. I fully embraced the fact that I was uncomfortable in that situation and it pushed me in so many ways and it’s something that I plan to continue to do to grow.

There’s actually a quote I recently heard from Dean Graziosi and he said “when people say money can’t buy happiness, I say you haven’t given enough away yet”

I think that is just soooo powerful. 

Now this is just an example I am not saying you should go give away your money, but whatever in life you are avoiding to stay comfortable, I would highly encourage you to move in the opposite direction and see how it makes you feel.

I would be willing to bet that it will change you in some pretty amazing ways. 

Okay NOW that I have given you my little pep talk let’s get into the meat. The process you can use to set intentional goals for yourself to accomplish this year. 


I want you to think about something for a sec. What is something you want more than anything? What is the next level you are trying to get to in life? To make 6 figures? Buy a house? Start a business? It can be literally anything… I mean shoot it can even be just that you want to make an extra $1000 this month.

There is no goal too big or too small in my book. But whatever it is I want you to write it down. Once you have that goal written down think about what you actually did to try and achieve it.

Did you have a plan? Were you thinking about it constantly, or did the idea go as fast as it came and you have done nothing to move towards it?

Maybe you have lack of clarity or are fearful like we talked about earlier. Or maybe you are just being lazy. Yes thats blunt, but time and time again I see this so often. People, especially business owners are too lazy to go after their goals or they have no self control. They want to make 1000 extra dollars this month but they can’t stop their gross spending habits. 

They want to get a new job but they don’t actually apply anywhere or put in the time and effort to learn a new trade or skill.

And I get it, some things are just out of our control, and almost NOTHING will happen overnight.

And what is really funny is how defensive people get about this stuff. If you bring up the fact that someone talked about doing something a year ago or 5 years ago and yet they still haven’t even taken one step closer, they get really defensive about it and probably throw out every excuse in the book. 

I say this out of tough love because I don’t want you to end up that way.

And if you are sinking in your seat feeling like I am jumping straight into your head, just know that I am right there in the trenches with you and I want to help you dig out of that rut. 

In all honesty, once I started to really take my goals and dreams seriously, was when I actually saw major success in my business, or just in everyday life.

But as a little disclaimer… the tips I am giving you will only work if you are truly dedicated to them. I have coached a few photographers and some other business owners over the past year and the ones who have really poured their whole heart and soul into this are the ones who have seen substantial growth. 


I want you to write down where you are at in life right now. And be totally honest with yourself. You would only be lying to yourself to exaggerate anything on this.

Write down where your business is at, your health, your relationships, your faith, anything else you can think of. 


Then below that I want you to write down your dream life as if you are already living it. 

Write down where you would be living in your dream life, what your relationships, health and business are all like. And do not write it down as if it’s happening in the future.

Write it as if it’s your current lifestyle. 


Once you have that, I want you to write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the most important changes you need to make in order to achieve your dream life or the goal you wrote down earlier. How long will these changes take?
  1. What is one small change you can make right now starting today?
  1. What resources will you need? Money? Materials? Do you have a budget to get started?
  1. Do you need help from others to achieve these dreams/goals? Family, friends, a mentor or coach? Write down anyone who you need and how they will help you.
  1. Do you need extra qualifications or experience or knowledge to get to your dream life or goal? What are they?
  1. What information is already available to you that you can refer back to when needed?
  1. Who inspires you? Typically this would be someone who is living a similar life to the one you want or someone who has achieved the goal you want. What can you learn from them?
  1. How are you going to do this? How are you going to make the time to work on this every day? What are the first 3 steps you need to move towards your dream life/goal?
  1. What barriers do you currently face? How will you overcome them? Who can help with this?
  1. Accountability is HUGE. Write down the name of someone who you are going to share this dream or goal with and have them keep you committed to your progress. 


Once you have thoughtfully answered all these questions, it’s time to start making a schedule for yourself. 

If your dream is to make 6 figures this year, then refer back to those questions and now I want you to start a weekly schedule. Figure out what tasks you need to complete each month, week, day and actually add them into your calendar so you don’t forget. DO NOT PUSH THIS OFF OR MAKE EXCUSES.

I can promise you, you are not too busy. If you have time to watch a TV show every night, or scroll through Instagram – you have time to work toward this goal. 

So since we just went over everything you are GOING to do, I also want you to quickly make a list of all the things you are NOT going to do. By writing them down, you will be more conscious of them and are more likely to reject them when they pop up in your life. 

Assign yourself due dates for tasks or accomplishments. 

How long will it take you to accomplish step one? Can you get it done in a week? Or a few days? Write it on your calendar or set alarms to add some pressure to yourself to get it done.

Once you have this all written out I want you to stick this piece of paper somewhere where you will read it and see it every single day.

We are more likely to stick to something that is in our face constantly plus it helps us keep our eyes set on where we are going. 

An analogy I always think of for this has to do with riding horses. When you are riding a horse you are supposed to look where you are going not down at their head like so many people want to do.

 Look at the turn before it actually comes and your body language will actually naturally help the horse know where to move. 

It’s the same thing in life and business. LOOK at where you want to go, and naturally you will start to form the habits that will get you there. 








I'm Sarah Elrod

The Podcast

Rural Lifestyle



I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.

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