In How to Join the Ranks of Goal Setting Achievers Paul Shearstone writes, "Setting goals is the genesis from which all things great and not so great are accomplished... It should be noted that there is no small coincidence between the one percent that write goals down and the highest achieving, highest income-earning men and women around the world."
Amazing post, and very timely! I agree 100% with "create your "big picture" of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years)" - so many people (me included) just don't do this and then struggle with staying on track. I found that by using SMART goals and especially by identifying my emotional attachment (the big reason WHY) behind my goals, I could start to actually achieve them. Now I am hooked!
Step 4: Use your present moments to activate thoughts that are in harmony with the seven faces of intention [creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, abundance, and peaceful receptivity]. The key phrase here is present moments. Notice right now, in this moment, if you're thinking that it's hopeless at this stage of your life to change the thoughts that comprise your belief system. Do you defeat yourself with thoughts of having had such a long life practicing affirmations of scarcity and creating resistance to your success and abundance that you don't have enough time left to counterbalance the thoughts that comprise your belief system?
Third, we need to keep our goals consistent. That is, when setting goals, we need to be sure that none of our goals contradict or undermine each other. The easiest way to do this is to have an overarching plan. Working through my Business Planning Makeover, for instance, will show you how to create a framework of business goals by creating an action plan to move your business ahead.
When they land in your inbox or your letter box make sure that you mentally send them love and say thank you to the Universe for the services you have received in exchange for the bill. Draw little hearts on them and use the bills as an affirmation that prosperity flows into your life in many forms in order for you to pay your bills on time. Whatever you do, don’t send the bills negative energy. Try and re-frame your perspective. Remember that more than 80% of the world’s population survive on less than $10 per day. There’s something to think about.
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans  for more on how to do this.

There has been a lot of research conducted looking at the link between achieving desired goals, changes to self-efficacy and integrity and ultimately changes to subjective well-being.[12] Goal efficacy refers to how likely an individual is to succeed in achieving their goal. Goal integrity refers to how consistent one's goals are with core aspects of the self. Research has shown that a focus on goal efficacy is associated with well-being factor happiness (subjective well-being) and goal integrity is associated with the well-being factor meaning (psychology).[13] Multiple studies have shown the link between achieving long-term goals and changes in subjective well-being; most research shows that achieving goals that hold personal meaning to an individual increases feelings of subjective well-being.[14][15][16]