Approaches to goal setting

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Tipi Koivisto
Coach, Founder
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A goal-setting strategy or approach is a means to get to the desired end result. It's a way of finding and defining concrete tasks to reach your goal. What you want to achieve and what you actually do are two different things.

I will demonstrate here a few strategies on how you can set goals in Habinator App and begin to work towards your goal. To be clear: These strategies below are not what we usually mean when we talk about general goal setting strategies. All the standard and proven strategies are implemented in the App's goal-setting process. So in this post, we mean the approaches that you can do when setting goals in Habinator App.

The most important thing is to figure out what works best for you and the goal you set. Setting yourself to success begins with having the right strategy, and you will learn these soon enough.

Let's take a couple of common goals as examples, which all of us are probably familiar:

A: Lose weight*

B: Reduce Alcohol (consumption)

* "Losing weight" is not a good goal because it's not specific. One should write it in the form of: "Reduce body fat to 15%". That's because losing water or muscle is not what you want if you are not a boxer.

Let's begin!

Simple goal setting

This is the most straightforward way of setting a goal. Write your objective as a goal name. Then make an exact plan of how you are going to do it, when, how, how much, with whom and what if..?

Example A: Lose weight

Goal 1: "Lose Weight to 15% Body Fat"

Example B: Reduce Alcohol

Goal 1: "Reduce Alcohol consumption on Weekdays"

This works for all goals and is the way goals are usually set. Notice that I adjusted the goal names to be more specific which is important. The App will guide you through defining a goal using the strategy in question.

If you haven't set goals before, start with this strategy. The next strategies are slightly more complex.

"The App will guide you through defining a goal."

Set an end goal and tasks

Setting a goal as your highest priority is the first step. After this, you set tasks (actions) to do regularly to reach your goal. These tasks are goals supporting your main goal.

Example A: Lose Weight

Goal 1: "Lose Weight to 15% Body Fat"

Tasks for the new goals:

Goal 2: "Drink Water Every Two Hours"

Goal 3: "Follow the Paleo Diet "

So when you start following your plan, you will move closer to the ultimate goal, which is to lose weight (reduce fat tissue). Two other goals support this and are defined as clear as the priority one goal. Now you can e.g. set notifications to drink water regularly, so you won't mix thirst with hunger. When you start to follow the Paleolithic diet, you automatically begin to eat healthier. This way you move towards your priority goal while following these smaller goals.

Example B: Reduce Alcohol

Goal 1: "Reduce Alcohol"

Tasks for the next goals:

Goal 2: "Walk in a Park"

This might be a task for you if you drink in the evening if you are bored or exhausted from work. Or you can choose any other goal to keep you occupied, away from the fridge and lift your mood [75, s38].

Goal 3: "Drink Ice Tee"

Because we all need to drink something and we want to replace alcohol with a non-alcohol beverage.

Set one goal and support goals.

This one is similar to the previous approach, but we don't write the main goal - just the tasks. We make a list of goals that work in synergy and create a virtuous cycle where the goals support one another.

Example A: Lose Weight

We choose: Goal 1: "Paleo Diet".

Next we add some weightloss supporting activity - meaning exercise. Let's choose Goal 2: "Weight Training" because we like the people, the one instructor and the sauna. We don't want to stress out our body too much, so we pick from "Days of the Week" to be done on Mon, Wed and Fri.

As a Goal 3: "7-9 Hours of Restful Sleep", which helps us to recover and set our circadian rhythm, which help us regulate the hormones in our bodies, which positively influences our dietary choices [83, s51]. 

If you want, you can set a goal "Lose Weight", but it's not necessary. If you carry out all these three tasks, your body will certainly begin to lose fat tissue and even gaining a little muscle - so your bodyweight might not drop and you will miss the goal "Lose Weight", but it's actually exactly the result that one should pursue for optimal health.

You could even replace one of the goals with "Reduce Alcohol" if you don't like to exercise. That's because alcohol contains a lot of empty calories and negatively affects the quality of sleep. So this might be a better plan for you!

Example B: Reduce Alcohol

You can create a plan like:

Goal 1: "Drink Only One Bier Per Day", which you can follow from Monday to Friday.

Goal 2: "Take a Walk", which keeps you away from the fridge when you are bored.

Goal 3: "Replace Alcohol", so you start to think about alternatives to alcoholic beverages.

In this plan the priorities are important and you don't need to do all at once. The third goal is just to remind you to find alternatives and maybe someday you'll find something that you like to drink.

"You will have the full synergy of positive tasks."


You can first create one task like "Paleo Diet" or "Drink Only One Bier Per day". After two weeks - or when the realization of the task is getting easier, and your mind has acknowledged the behavior - you will add the second goal (task). After about six weeks, you will have the full synergy of positive tasks, and you have conditioned yourself gradually to move towards your end goal. Personally, I usually use this method.

Just a reminder

If you have been thinking about a lifestyle change or you have a dream like "Writing a Novel" or "Find a Place to Study", just define a goal and see what happens. You don't need to do anything else at first.

You can set a couple of extra reminders, but just ignore them. You will still remind your unconscious mind about your goal. Every once in a while, you can check-in to Habinator and add another reason to achieve the goal if you feel like it.

When the time is right, you will begin to take action.

This strategy is suitable for goals that are not crucial for your well-being. You can even set a motivational one like "Book a Holiday" to remind yourself about something beautiful to come.


If you are accustomed to setting and reaching goals, this is nothing new to you. Motivation yourself for success is a different process for us all, and it depends on the nature of the goal. Finding the tasks which are doable and take you closer to your goal every single time is the key. Take some time to find out the tasks, and the rest is execution.

Remember, you will learn and get better in this every time you set a goal.

You will find more about the theory of behavioral change in the App's Help & Exercises section.


Last updated on Thu, 25 Jul, 2019