Defining Your Goals: 8 Reflective Questions To Keep You On Track

Pairs Well With… Goals + Intention + Motivation + Self-Reflection

Any football lover knows that halftime, the mid-game break that fills us with energy and fires us up for the second half, is just as important as the game itself.  Besides, in the second half it’s ALWAYS go big or go home – a no one likes a quitting team.

In two short weeks, it’s exactly the halfway point of my trip and, for everyone else, a little more than half way through the year.  I’ve been thinking about goals a lot lately, specifically how I’m tracking against what I set out to do at the beginning of my travels: build a business, specifically, an entrepreneurial endeavor. I’m proud to say that I’ve exceeded my own expectations in many areas, but now that I’ve only more recently realized what I am working to achieve, I’ve got nothing less than a few mountains to move, fears to overcome and goals to achieve in the next six months, and I can’t seem to decide whether or not this is a reasonably long or extremely short period of time. The way I see it, it’s both. But before getting too far ahead of myself, I started reflecting on a handful of big questions to help me streamline my mental energy and working efforts.


The goal setting process sets you up for higher levels of achievement. If nothing else, goals allow you to check in with yourself from time to time to ensure you’re on the right path, one that brings you happiness. There’s nothing more miserable than being miserable. Am I right? And the only thing worse than being miserable is floundering around in it. I’m far from knowing everything, but I do know that we are always far more capable than we think we are.  ALWAYS.


Carin presenting writing workshop

I never realized I could be this excited about speaking in front of an audience

Case in point: Last week, I was asked to give a 10-15 minute presentation on writing, the transformation of Pairs Well With… into a storytelling and social content business, and how I use writing to make clients money.  The last time I gave a formal presentation, I’m pretty sure my voice sounded like Elmo, and it looked like I was remixing a song on turntables. That only adds to the fact that being asked to present for this duration of time feels like an eternity.  Without giving much thought to my response, I said yes and committed to the event.  In this instance, practice was the only way I was going to get better at public speaking, so I broke my mental barriers and took the damn plunge. A friend recorded a few video snippets and, to my surprise, the image I had built up in my head was nothing like what I was watching. With some practice in a few key areas, I’m confident I can fully overcome the apprehension I’ve always had around public speaking. In fact, I welcome the challenge.

By setting lofty goals for yourself, you’re forced to think more strategically and solve problems differently to achieve them. Besides, striving for achievement is good for the soul. Whether you’re an entrepreneur taking on unfamiliar challenges, a small business looking for amplified growth or an individual stepping into a new passion project, here are eight important questions that will help you define and align your goals with your intentions.


Are you working towards something because you think you should be doing it, or because you truly want to reach new heights? Make sure everything you do is being done for the right reasons, not to please someone who isn’t invested in your endeavors the way you are.


This is probably the most important question of them all, and I ask myself this all the time. The answer here is generally nothing, no matter how many bullshit excuses we try to make for ourselves and our circumstances. More often than not, there are work around’s to the roadblocks we face.  You may just have to create them.


Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m the queen of staying busy. I tackle the mundane things to feel accomplished, but those things don’t usually move the needle in business.   Cut the crap and start doing things that matter and lead to your end goal. The things you put off aren’t as daunting as they seem and once you begin to see their payoff, you’ll wonder why you put them off so long in the first place.


Yes, I understand we all want to make a million dollars. Myself included. But is it realistic to think you’ll be making it rain year one of running a business? Probably not. Dream big, but keep yourself grounded with realistic goals, not unattainable ones. Anything too unreachable will cause you to give up on yourself and quit.


Are your goals finite? Do you know what you’re working towards, and do you have a plan? If not, it’s time to put that pen to paper – and stay the course. Having a clear roadmap of what you’re working towards keeps you on track so you don’t expend energies in too many different directions. Start by articulating short term goals, what you want to achieve each month for the next three, and start mapping out your fastest path and how you’ll get there.


Mine? Public speaking. You know what your “thing” is. Stop making excuses. Start working on it now.


What does that “Holy shit, I did it!” fist-pumping, backing it up living room dance party look like for you? (This may or may not be my thing.) Close your eyes and think of that gratifying feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top, break your boundaries or close that sale. It feels pretty damn good, doesn’t it? Like you’re on top of the world? Let that feeling drive you and guide your way.


Entrepreneurs work their asses off. All the time. And often, too much. But do you celebrate your wins as much as you strive for success? Probably not. Make sure to take the time to pause and celebrate your capabilities, achievements, new clients, progress and anything else that makes you feel good. Be proud of yourself and what you are creating, even if it is slow progress. Hey, guess what? Some progress is better than no progress – and a step closer to where you’re going, which is UP!


10 Responses to “Defining Your Goals: 8 Reflective Questions To Keep You On Track”

  1. Aly

    “What is the one thing you need that scares the shit out of you?” That is definitely the question I needed to ask. For me its pitching to clients, both in person and online. Something to work on in the next six months!


      I LOVE hearing this! Try this: pick one big thing every other month that scares you. Sooner than you know it, you’ll be knocking all your fears off the checklist!

  2. angelanoelauthor

    Congratulations on your sixth continent and your half-way point. Gearing up to face your public speaking challenge speaks volumes to how you’re tackling your own goals and approaching your future. I’m enjoying reading about your march forward.


      Thanks, Angela! It hasn’t been easy, but I’m learning so many new things about myself each day and slowly learning how to leverage talents I never knew I had.


      I’m really excited to experience something completely new. I’ve heard really great things about Marrakech.


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