How to set goals with HEART for next year. Learn the HEART model

how to set goals with heart

As much as December is know for Christmas it is also known for reflecting on the past year and creating new goals for the new year. New goals with beautiful promises of change for the better. A new life, a new job, a new direction, a healthier routine.

I love having goals. It makes me feel hopeful and optimisitc. Having a goal gives me a drive to move forward, and when things are tough in my life, the promise of my goal(s) lift me up and keeps me going.

But goals have to feel good. And not become a stress factor. They also have to be that mix of realistic and reachable but at the same time dreamy and bigger than anything we can really imagine.

Goals are best if they make us feel good and we get to reach them.

So how can you set a goal that feels good and you are able to reach?

How to set goals with HEART?

HEART is a model for goal setting and it stands for:

Honest: Is the goal you have right for you? Does it fit with your core values and beliefs?

Exact: How will you keep track of every small step you take toward the larger goal?

Authentic: Does your goal align with your strengths, skills and unique gifts?

Realistic: Is you goal realistic in light of all your other obligations? Do you have the time, energy and motivation to complete this goal?

Timely? What is the deadline for this goal? How long will each step take? By what time will you finish each step?


You can use this HEART model if you already have a big goal and you want to go through the specifics and make sure it’s a goal you really want to work on to achieve. But this is also great if you just have an idea about what you want, as asking some of these questions may inspire you to get more specific.

Use this model as you see fit. As with anything, adjust to make it work for you.

When goals become overwhelming

If you don’t believe your goal is achievable or your goal isn’t specific enough, that’s when it becomes overwhelming. It becomes too big, too much, too vague and then it remains just a dream.

Goal related overwhelm comes from looking at the big picture.

I have tried that many times. I have set many intentions and goals without reaching them. I have failed many times. And I get easily overwhelmed. As I have written about many times on this blog, being multi-passionate, a person with many interests and ideas, and steered by curiosity, means I’m familiar with being overwhelmed.

Goals have to be specific. I can feel myself feeling resistance to even writing this, but I have learned from experience that that is just the way it is.

The GPS can take many detours but if the destination is right, you’ll get there.

The success of a goal depends on the plan

I love having goals in my life but what I’m most passionate about, is working on achieving them. The process of doing the work. I LOVE engaging in, talking, and writing about the creative process.

Breaking down the journey into steps, and then breaking those steps down into smaller steps is where the learning, the living, and the gold is.

Without a detailed plan I procrastinate, I get overwhelmed, I derail, I postpone and eventually give up.

Because if working on my future is left to when “I feel like it”, I end up staying where I am. And that’s great when I’m happy with that. But if I want something else, I get my planning on.

Get hold of planners, diaries, white boards or whatever works for you. Write down all the things you can think of that’s involved in the journey to your goal and keep going. Spend some time doing this, but set a deadline to when the planning stops and action begins.

For those of us who love planning and writing lists, this activity can become a strategy for resisting doing the actual work.

2 final tips:

Know that plans change and life happens. Don’t let this throw you off. Know that this happens in a creative process. When you expect it, you are able to shrug your shoulders, adjust and move on.

With a HEART goal and a detailed plan, you can do anything.

I’m cheering you on!

CoachingKatja Huntergoals