Why Goal Setting Isn't Enough

Why Goal Setting Isn’t Enough

Yesterday we filmed seven new cooking videos! It was an exhausting but super productive day....

Why Goal Setting Isn't Enough

Yesterday we filmed seven new cooking videos! It was an exhausting but super productive day.

Although I didn’t knock anything off my daily to-do list, I knocked off a step towards my 2017 goal of creating more video content.

Then, it got me thinking about that goal and how I’ve made it happen. So, today, I’m talking all about why simple goal setting isn’t enough. If you want to truly accomplish something, it takes more than just setting an intention. I’m sharing how I accomplish my goals – and it definitely takes more than initial goal setting.

What I Ate Today, April 25, 2017



I made my Baked Oatmeal with Spiralized Apples on Monday for the blog and saved leftovers. I reheated a big scoop of it with some almond milk to soften it (it gets dry after refrigeration.) To reheat, I placed in a pot with the almond milk and stirred until creamy and heated through!


While I was filming, I had my bowl of raw nut mixture near me, as always – the same raw blend (pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews) with raisins.


Although I was sort of tasting here and there, I made sure to have some toast once my carb cravings came in strong (#preggo.) I made the Cabbage Buddha Bowls from the Inspiralize Everything cookbook and put the chickpea-avocado mash on top of toasted Ezekial for a mini-lunch. And no, that’s not a real tattoo on my arm – it’s from an event on Monday night (it’s a Tattly temporary tattoo.) I have no tattoos!


At the end of the day, I had an apple (forgot to take a picture) with yumbutter almond butter, and a serving of this Beet Superfood Bowl – a recipe from my first cookbook, Inspiralized. I also made some tea with steamed almond milk and Vital Proteins.



Dinner was Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles! Easy, quick dinner that required minimal prep and tools, because most of our stuff is packed up!


I forgot to take a photo, but I had a packet of these Eating Evolved coconut butter cups that I’m OBSESSED with right now. How did I not know about these sooner?!

Why Goal Setting Isn’t Enough

I’m going to get right to it: goal setting isn’t enough. You need to set a goal – with a plan in place to achieve that goal.

Let me explain. Last year, I set a goal of “doing more yoga.” I set this goal in May of 2016. I even wrote it down (yayyyy!) in a cute little notebook by my desk. So how many times did I do yoga May – December 2016? ZERO. Not once! Not a single time.

So why did I fail at this goal? I didn’t make a plan.

This year, as you might now, I set a New Year’s resolution/goal/challenge to do yoga in 2017. BUT, instead of saying “do more yoga in 2017,” I created an actual plan. Nothing extravagant, no spreadsheets, no alarms in my phone. I just set an easy-to-follow plan: once a week.

So how many times have I done yoga in 2017? Once a week since January 1st! Well, I missed about 3-4 classes due to travel schedules and pregnancy fatigue, but overall, I’ve stayed true to my goal – more so than I ever have with any other long-term goal.

Now, don’t confuse goals with intentions. Intentions don’t need action plans – intentions are meant to be more for daily inspiration, mental motivation, and general uplift. For example, “I’m going to eat healthy today” isn’t an intention, that’s a goal. BUT, “I’m going to be happy today” is an intention – you just need to repeat that a few times throughout the day (Write it down, of course) and check in with yourself throughout the day to see how you’re doing. With “I’m going to eat healthy today” you may want to plan your meals for the day, bring a water bottle to work, pack healthy snacks, etc etc. There are actionables that will help you achieve that goal.

Of course, our lives get super busy, and it’s hard to keep on top of our goals (both professional and personal), so here’s what I recommend:

  1. Make a goal.
  2. Make a plan to achieve that goal.
  3. Check in with yourself once a week to make sure you’ve followed the plan. If not, perhaps the goal is unattainable in the timeframe you gave it OR perhaps the plan isn’t practical. Reset the goal, reset the plan, and reset the execution.

For example:

  1. The goal: I want to start eating more vegetables.
  2. The plan:
    • Make a meal plan every Saturday morning that includes a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner.
      • Grocery shop on Sundays and meal prep the vegetables so I won’t be tempted to skip it during the week.
    • Drink one green juice or smoothie 3 times a week.
      • Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  3. The check in
    • Check in once a week (on Saturdays) for one full month.
    • Each week, check in on Saturday and see how the week went. For example, if drinking a green juice 3 times a week is too much, adjust it to once a week.
    • After the first month, make a plan for moving forward – is this doable long-term? Is this lifestyle for me? Is meal prepping hard but I do enjoy eating vegetables? Adjust the plan accordingly.

I encourage you to take 5-10 minutes today (maybe on your lunch break, on your commute home, or before bed) and write down one of your goals that you’ve been meaning to achieve and follow the steps of making a plan with check-ins. Make these goals as big as you like or as small as you’d like, from “starting a business” to “losing 5 pounds” – a goal is a goal, and as long as you plan it, you can make it happen.

Here’s an example of some goals that I currently want to achieve that haven’t been given action plans yet:

  • Watch less TV and make more use of my evenings.
  • Tone my arms more.
  • Get Inspiralized t-shirts made.
  • Listen to more outdoor music.
  • Drink more green smoothies and juices.
  • Read more.
  • Make a 5-year plan for Inspiralized.
  • Cook more from cookbooks.
  • Break out of my lunch rut – each something new everyday.

In the spirit of this post, I’m going to make myself a plan!

with love, Ali

leave a comment


  • Hi Ali! I love this post! I think we're all a little guilty of having good intentions without any real follow through so a reminder is always helpful. Question for ya- what is outdoor music? :p
  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice on setting goals. I think it's something that can be really difficult to do, and to do well/effectively. When I read your Goals for 2017 post and saw that you wanted to do yoga once a week, I thought to myself - what a great goal. The 'once a week' made it accessible. I used to do yoga all of the time and stopped because of lack of time. After I read your post, I said to myself - I'm going to do that too. It's worked, and getting back to yoga has felt so good that I've somehow managed to find the time to do it more than just once a week. I also wanted to share a journaling/goal setting tool that my sister-in-law sent me. https://bestself.co/ It's been one of the best things I've done this year and highly recommend it for anyone looking for help setting goals. Many thanks for all that you do & offer to help each of us be our best self every day.
  • Hi Ali, I have heard that you have come out with a "red" Inspiralizer but I can't seem to find one. Is this true and if so where would I find one? Thanks, Betsy
  • You're the coolest, Ali. It probably sounds silly, but I've never thought of doing this for smaller goals, or more specific goals. I have a large goal of moving abroad and living there for a year, which I still haven't broken down, and my smaller goal of losing 10 pounds and getting back to when I felt my healthiest and most athletic/energized. I always focus on my little mishaps throughout the day with diet "fails" instead of having some type of plan on how to handle them, and I talk a lot about living in Spain or Italy, but I have never broken it down into steps. I love making plans and having goals! It's all I talk about. Side note - thank you for replying to my instagram message! My family is loving your recipes and is learning how to eat much healthier while not sacrificing any flavor! You're awesome.
    • Sam, I'm so glad this post helped! Take some time and start making plans - if you want it bad enough, you'll make it happen!! :*
  • Yesssss to to goal of Insprialized t-shirt !!!! I would absolutely buy!
    • Me, too!!
    • why?
  • Yessss to to goal of Insprialized t-shirt !!!! I would absolutely buy!
  • Thank you for another highly useful and motivating post on intentions, goals, and planning so they can be realized! I have two kind suggestions to make based upon photographs in your message today. Food for thought: The oatmeal appears to be in a plastic container ~ please consider eliminating plastic and use glass for storage and serving. Also you have a stylish manicure ~ please consider using a natural buffing paste and a buffer to achieve well-kept nails without the chemicals of polish. Your little one will thank you! =)
    • I don't disagree with what you said, Carolyn, and I know you offered your suggestions with good heart and grace... but... I have to say I was encouraged to see such a "normal" plastic food container in the photo! I appreciate Ali keepin' it real for all of us.
      • Yes, agreed. Thanks for BEING REAL Ali! Fantastic post and a good reminder for us all! My only kind suggestion: make the t-shirts :) :)
        • Thanks Hillary - my mother actually bought me that Tupperware ages ago and I still use it!
    • I use non-toxic nail polish and remover, already Carolyn - everyone should! And as for the plastic container, as long as you don't reheat in plastic, there's not much to worry about! My little one is going to be a-okay, thanks. Don't worry!
  • Ali- I would buy an Inspiralized t-shirt!!
  • What a great post! Thanks for sharing! This is very applicable to me. I keep saying I will spend more time on my personal trainer course work, but I need to plan the time in my day!
  • Great post! Several things you listed I want to do. Tone my arms -There a group Toning class at my Zumba studio, will be attending it. Watch less Tv and make that time useful. - I can easily do that. I only have a few shows I watch anyways. Read more! I love to read. Also my other goal was to watch my time when I go on Facebook. Set a timer for 30min. Thanks.. Love ya. ❤️
  • For goals to be actionable we always use the SMART acronym to make sure they are action driven. Specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and that it has a time constraint. These definitely help when making sure you will achieve your goals.
  • Are the videos the ones on youtube? Congratulations on your impending parenthood. It's a fun, scary adventure ;D
  • How would you adjust the plan accordingly for those of us who find meal prep hard but do enjoy eating the vegetables? I myself tend to purchase the ingredients for a recipe, store them in the fridge, but every time I open the fridge I put off doing the prep until the veggies have gone bad....? (sigh)
  • Great post, Ali! Thanks for sharing your goal setting and planning process, I love learning about how other people approach goal setting! Maybe you've heard of them, but I LOVE Powersheets for not only clarifying goals but also coming up with an action plan. The monthly tending list with daily, weekly, and monthly goals is fabulous, and as a bonus, the workbook is just so pretty! They're on my Christmas list every year to help me prepare for a new year. : ) If you're interested: https://shop.cultivatewhatmatters.com/collections/powersheets/products/2017-powersheets-dated-one-year-intentional-goal-planner
  • Hi Ali, I'm curious to know what your thoughts are on using Vital Proteins while you're pregnant. Doesn't seem like they have gone through any real vetting process since supplements aren't regulated by the FDA. Curious to know if this is something you've thought about at all?
  • Inspiralized t-shirts....YES!!