This is how you can achieve your goals this year

If you haven’t abandoned your New Year’s resolutions by this time, good for you (because research has shown that 80% of people abandon theirs before February even ends). But whether you made resolutions, intentions, or goals at the start of the year, keeping them is always a challenge. 

According to a study entitled the “Hope Theory,” there are two obstacles that keep us from achieving our goals. Its author, Charles Snyder, suggests they are: not believing we can achieve them (those limiting beliefs don’t help) and not identifying ways to actually make them happen. This is where being intentional with your goals or taking deliberate and specific actions to achieve them come in.

Through the years, we’ve seen how many makers and small business owners have persevered and gained wins. And it’s not just pure luck. For many of them, they planned, strategized, pivoted and were intentional with their actions. Being intentional is being aware of the actions you need to take and doing them deliberately. So how do you become intentional with your goals? 

Write it down, put it on your wall, or vision board it.

Seeing your goal in black and white (or color) allows you to admit to yourself something that you want. It becomes real. Don’t hide it away. Let it take a prominent spot on your desk, your bedroom wall, or computer wallpaper.  

Filmmaker and Common Room’s resident videographer, Tin Villanueva, showed us last year that making a vision board has always helped her fulfill her dreams. An essential part of it is taking the time to reflect about “what are my goals for myself, my goals for my career, what future do I want?” she explains.  

Having a vision board or your dreams in bold letters staring back at you every day is a good physical reminder, when we feel particularly lost or uncertain of what we’re doing. It’s like a traffic sign. Does it align with your overall goal? Yes, then go. No? Then slow down or make a different turn. 

“If you think about it, the idea of manifesting your dreams is true,” says Tin who has seen many of the goals she has put up on her board happen. “That if you constantly think about it and if you always see it, it somehow reminds [you], ‘Ah these are my dreams. What am I going to do about it?” Which brings us to this…

Break your goals down. Be specific.

Yes, writing down your goals or vision board-ing your dreams won’t be much help if you don’t think about the steps you need to take to achieve them. Tin shares that she usually has a notebook where she creates a road map, a timeline, and the steps she needs to do to reach her goal. “You need to break down your goals... It can’t just be vague dreams.”

Do you dream of having your creations available for an international market? Find out where you can sell them and check what you need to do to get there. Danger in Design’s Elly Ang provided steps and tips on how she started selling her enamel pins in Etsy since 2017.  

When accessories maker and all-around crafter Cath Limson of Bedazzled Accessories decided to make a new brand, she broke it down into several steps–from ideation to developing your products and everything in between.

Start now, even with the smallest steps.

After you break down your goals into specific steps, get started. Most likely it entails creating a new habit or changing a bad one and studies have shown that doing so takes an average of 66 days. Those small steps when done consistently will help you move forward.  

It can still be scary, the fear of failing is real because failure and making mistakes are part of the process of growing. You’ll also likely face a challenge at every turn, but as our very own Maan Agsalud advised when it comes to turning your art into a business, “The hardships of running a business don’t really go away.” They simply evolve and these challenges will grow with you with each step you take. 

See how things are going.

Tracking your progress is important when it comes to being intentional with your goals. You get to see where you’re making progress and where you may need a bit of help. Seeing both will keep you motivated and informed on what more you need to do.

You can keep a journal to document your journey, it can be your time to “tune into yourself,” as how artist and journaling enthusiast Nica Cosio describes it. She uses the time she sets aside to journal to reflect on what happened for the week. You can do journaling to write about how your goals are taking shape and to celebrate the effort you’ve put in that day or week. 

Always go back to your why.

Keeping the big picture in mind is also common advice when it comes to being intentional with your goals. Do you say yes to every opportunity that presents itself? If it will help you reach  your goal, go for it. But if it will steer you in a completely different direction, reconsider. 

When Cath started Bedazzled, she knew why she was creating her accessories business. “You always have to have a why. With Bedazzled, the why was really to earn money. I needed to provide for the people I love.” The former pre-school teacher already knew how to create accessories. So even with the many difficulties she faced balancing a full-time job while creating Bedazzled (like making her accessories at the back of a bus on her commute), she forged on knowing why she was doing it in the first place. 

For the couple behind Cut the Scrap, Kai Docot-Tolentino and her husband Mond, they knew that when they created the wooden scrap business one of its pillars was to empower the PWD community. “That’s the soul of our brand,” says Kai, whose father was a PWD himself. When the pandemic happened and it became difficult to continue her father’s work, they still made sure they were giving business to PWD woodshops. “When my father passed away, it became the fuel and the light that guides us.”  


Having that light, that why, so that you can align your days or actions to it will help you to become more deliberate with what you take on. And you may find 2024 as the year you made your goals happen. We’re #manifestingwithyou <3

Written by Mabel David-Pilar
Mabel has been a writer and editor for many publications, including fashion, shelter, and food titles and a book on the most endangered Philippine trees. She spends most of her time writing, illustrating, stalking Common Room’s online shop, and making ferments. Together with her sisters, she co-created to celebrate fermenting in the Philippines.