Revivelife Clinic I Naturopath in Ottawa

The 7 Scientific Steps of Goal Setting of Highly Effective People

The research is clear, those who set goals are more likely to achieve their goals.1 A meta-analysis found that goal setting was particularly effective if the goal was difficult, set publicly and was a group goal. 1

Centenarians (people who live to be more than 100 years old), wake up each morning with a sense of purpose or a goal, which can add up to seven years of additional life expectancy.2   Expanding this to include

a Power Foods 101 lifestyle-plant based foods and regular exercise you can increase your life expectancy by 10 to 12 years!!

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation, helping you make the very most of your life. But why do many people set goals but not achieve them? There is a science of successful goal setting and 7 steps of highly successful people that research shows are effective to get you to where you want to go!


Know where you are now

To begin setting successful goals you need to know where you are starting by assessing your EMOTIONAL TEMPERATURE. Rate each of following POWER ZONES on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being low and 10 being strong. Select the top 3 areas that you would like to improve.

  1. Nutrition= Foods clinically proven to fuel health include plant powered veggies!! Are you getting your 5 veggies |  V5 every day?
  2. Mind= Activities that power your mind, including your work. Learning something new every day.
  3. Sleep= To restore your body.
  4. Self-Care= Time for yourself to do anything that you love to do!
  5. Play= Laughter is one of the best medicines so go play, smile, and laugh! “ All work & no play is no fun!
  6. Relationships= Nourish your family, friends and surround yourself with like-minded people to release oxytocin your “Anti-Stress Hormone” “The grass doesn’t grow if it’s not watered”!
  7. Exercise= Fitness sets the tone of your life. Energetic people attract energetic people!!

For example, My Emotional Temperature in the 7 Power Zones is:

  1. Nutrition – 9
  2. Mind- 8
  3. Sleep- 5
  4. Self-Care -9
  5. Play -8
  6. Relationships-8
  7. Exercise-9

Now you’re turn! You’re doing great! This gives you clarity and is a check-in of where you excel and where you can set goals to have a GOALS + BALANCED LIFE = HAPPINESS.



Researchers at Cornell University showed that when we take ownership of something- an item, an idea or a goal – and it becomes “ours”, we are more committed to it, which is called the “Endowment Effect.4 When you take ownership of something, you will work to keep it or achieve it.  Own your intentions by choosing the top 3 Power Zones that you want to set goals in and commit to them.

So, my intent for the next year will include ways to improve my Mind, Sleep and Relationships (even though I rated Mind, Play & Relationships the same – these three are the most important to me to improve).  What are your top 3 Power Zones you want to own?



The next step in achieving successful goals is to know where you want to go or what your desired outcome is. In your top three Goal Power Zones – write down your intent.

For example, here’s mine!

  1. Mind= To take a deeper dive into my protocols for health conditions where there is lots of emerging science and update my therapeutic actions related to my practice and work.
  2. Sleep= To nourish my body and get 8 hours of sleep a night or collectively 56 hours per week- naps included!
  3. Relationships= To make time for connecting with family and friends that I don’t see on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that now, these are general intents and not yet successful goals.

What are your intents?



For you to travel somewhere (outcome), you need to know how you are going to get there (process).   The reason why many goals or resolutions don’t stick is because many people mistake an intention as a goal and focus on the outcome only vs the goal which includes a process and outcome. In order, for an intent to shift into a successful goal it is vital to provide actionable steps, access coaching or training, use mindful meditation and map out the process of how to get somewhere. 5

In a study that demonstrates the importance of the process, three groups of participants where trained to throw darts. The first group was just told to get the highest score (outcome trial), the second group was trained that the optimal process of throwing a dart was to bring back their arm, adjust the angle of the throw, have a firm grip and then throw (process trial).  The third group was trained in the optimal process of throwing a dart, like the second group and then once they had mastered the skills, were switched to focus on getting the highest score (process and outcome trial). 6 Which group do you think performed the best? You got it! The third process and outcome trial group got the highest scores by far. 6

Thus, the fourth step to setting successful goals is to Map It Out! –that includes the skills, process and method you need to achieve those outcomes.  Keep in mind SMART GOALS


  • SSPECIFIC i.e. “I am going to eat veggies.”
  • MMEASURABLE i.e. “ I am going to eat 3 fist size servings of veggies a day.”
  • AATTAINABLE i.e. “ I am going to begin with eating 1 fist size serving of veggies a day and increase it to 2 then to 3 every week.”
  • RREWARDING i.e. “ These goals are going to make me feel more energetic!”
  • T-TIME BOUND i.e. “ I’m going to accomplish this in 3 weeks beginning today.

Here’s an example of how I have Mapped It Out & included SMART GOALS!

  1. Mind= To take a deeper dive into my protocols for health conditions were there is lots of emerging science and update my therapeutic actions related to my practice and work
  • A>    Make a list of the top 10 health conditions I’d like to target within the next 12 weeks.
  • B>    Weekly one – research 60 minutes a day and then write the protocol weekly
  • C>    This is going to keep my brain active & make me feel empowered.
  • D>    Plan B – My catch-up day is Sunday mornings— I’m being proactive & including Step 5 too!
  1. Sleep= To nourish my body and get 8 hours of sleep a night or collectively 56 hours per week- naps included!
  • A>    Download a Sleep App that reminds me to wind down at 9pm
  • B>    Start reading a book by 930pm to fall asleep by 10pm
  • C>    This is going to give me more energy.
  • D>    Plan B – I can take mini-naps on Sunday afternoons if needed. — I’m being proactive & including Step 5 too!
  1. Relationships= To make time for connecting with family and friends that I don’t see on a regular basis.
  • A > To put in my calendar a reminder on Sunday’s to take time to connect.
  • B> Weekly one – connect with a family member or friend who I don’t see on a regular basis every Sunday.
  • C > This is going to make me feel happier
  • D > Plan B – I will send out an annual New Year’s card to connect by email. — I’m being proactive & including Step 5 too!

What are the key steps that you need to Map It Out? If your goal is to increase your business to reach out and help more people your action may include hiring a marketing agency OR if your goal is to eat better your action plan may include having some frozen meals on hand for times when you are too busy to cook and pack your meals at night for the day instead of running out of time in the morning.



There are many ways to get to your destination. For example, if you want to go to Hawaii you can travel through the US OR through Canada – each one has its benefits. You may want to travel through the US, however when you call you find out that all the flights are booked during the time you want to go, so you choose the other option to travel through Canada or plan B. You can either look at it like you didn’t accomplish your goal OR you can shift your mindset to now look for things that will make this path just as enjoyable. In the end, you will still end up in Hawaii!!!

There is an optimistic life and a realistic life. Most the time we live in a realistic life that may present blockers or resistance factors to you reaching your goals.  A part of a successful goal plan is to identify key blockers and have an optional plan B that includes flexibility that can still allow you to achieve your goals. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What logistical constrains may make it more difficult for you to achieve your goals?
  • What behaviors may make it difficult for you to reach your goals?
  • Which people may interfere with your ability to be successful with your goals?

For example, you may be limited in funds to go to school, thus your plan B, if you haven’t gathered enough funds by decision time may be to join the military programs that pay for your education in exchange for service back to the military upon graduation.  When there is a will there is a way!



Remove the unimportant

It takes approximately 10,000 hours to become very good at anything.  So, if you’re trying to do it all, including unimportant activities relative to your goals, it is key to remove them. This helps you become laser focused with less distractions. For example, if our goal is to improve your ability to golf but you also play tennis, swim and mountain bike. To be focused on your goal, you could reduce the times you do other activities during the time you are learning to become a good golf player.



At the beginning of each month, spend 15 minutes on your Power Goal Plan and assess your Power 7.  From this you can see what areas need your attention to adjust and reset your path.

Check in with your accountability team – a good friend, an app, or a health coach to keep you on track.  If anything seems overwhelming, just break it down into smaller steps.

Dr. Joël, ND, Inspiring Health Naturally


  1. Epton T1Currie S2Armitage CJ1., Unique effects of setting goals on behavior change: Systematic review and meta-analysis., J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Dec;85(12):1182-1198
  2. Buettner, Dan (November 2005). “Longevity: The Secrets of a Long Life”. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  3. “Religion and Health Study Progress”. Adventist Health Studies Report 2008 V: 5. 2008.
  4. Knutson B1, et al, Neural antecedents of the endowment effect, Neuron. 2008 Jun 12;58(5):814-22.
  5. Bühlmayer L1,2, et al, Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Performance-Relevant Parameters and Performance Outcomes in Sports: A Meta-Analytical Review. , Sports Med. 2017 Nov;47(11):2309-2321
  6., retrieved 1,12,19

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