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Live Deliberately: 5-Step Formula to Maximize Your Chances for Success

Written By Millen Livis

Last week I shared with you some effective techniques to use for creating and embodying a VISION for your dream life. Today let’s explore HOW you can effectively set goals and objectives that will maximize your chances for success and, ultimately, lead to your VISION, your desired outcome.

In 1981, George Doran wrote a paper about the S.M.A.R.T. method for goal setting. It is used widely now in the corporate world, self-help materials, and some college textbooks.

Although it has become somewhat a cliché, it’s popular for a reason…. It works.

The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

When you get serious about living your life deliberately and write your VISION (e.g. achieving Financial Freedom in your life) onto paper or digital document, S.M.A.R.T. method will make your VISION clear, attainable, inspiring and actionable masterpiece.


Change “I’ll increase my income,” to “I’ll increase my income by 20% on or before August 31st , 2020, by acquiring two rental properties” or “ by targeting and acquiring 1000 new customers in my market, so I can have a family vacation in Italy for 8 weeks.”

How to determine whether your vision is specific?

Ask yourself:

  • WHAT will I do /create?
  • WHEN will I start and when will I profit?
  • WHERE will I do it? WHERE will I go?
  • WHO will I do it with?
  • WHY?



“I want more clients” doesn’t cut it. “I’ll increase my client base by 28, in 6 months” – now you’re getting somewhere.

How to make sure that your Vision is measurable? This is the time to use words HOW, How Much and How Many in your description. For example:

  • HOW Much will be your monthly income?
  • How Many clients will you serve in your business monthly or annually?
  • HOW will you achieve this?



Most people love the idea of dreaming big… shooting for the moon and, hopefully, landing on the stars. At the same time, it is really important that you get energized by your Vision, not intimidated…. Dreaming big is not foolish! I invite you to allow yourself be led by your heart and forego self-imposed limitations of your mind, which could be rooted in where you are now in your life and what is “realistic” for you at this time. Your life circumstances will change and what feels like “not realistic” at this moment may become realistic and attainable later on.

I am a believer in thinking and dreaming big… as long as it is believable to YOU! If your big Vision feels like fake, like “it’s just a joke” or “it’s not for me” – it’s very unlikely that you will take inspired actions toward it. Thus, you ambition needs to be supported by the belief that it is possible and attainable for you (at some point in your life) and a real commitment to achieving it.

How do you determine whether your Vision is attainable? Follow your “FEEL GOOD” compass!

When you think about your Vision, do you get motivated, excited, and energized by the opportunity to grow from good to great? That is your test to determine how attainable your Vision is for you.  If you FEEL GOOD about your big Vision – it is attainable for you! On the other hand, if your Vision doesn’t feel believable to you, it is very unlikely that you will act on it, which is required to in order to attain it.


Do you have the resources, skills and experience to implement your Vision? Do you have tools and systems, the support and guidance that may be required for you? Achieving your vision may require that you expand your skills and expertise. Are you willing and ready to do that?

To overcome possible fear about executing your big Vision, you can reverse-engineer it into smaller milestones and tasks and approach them “one bite at a time.” This way you will be able to start where you and align necessary actions with each milestone and manageable task.

How do you know that your vision is realistic? This one is really easy!

When you are motivated and committed to finding solutions for achieving your vision, it’s realistic. If you are willing to expand your skills and expertise, ready to reach out for guidance, or able to hire someone to help you make it happen – it’s realistic. For example, if you want to own rental real estate properties but don’t know where to find them and how to finance the purchase, you can do your own due diligence, team up with real estate professionals, and find  passive investors to partner with you.  The old saying “Where there is a will, there is a way” is a good attitude to adapt for making your vision realistic.

Make it TIMELY.

Your Vision needs to have a timeframe in order to feel real in your mind and become real in your life. The timeframe makes it actionable, more concrete, and adds a sense of specificity and urgency.

The easiest way to make it timely is to breakdown your WHAT (your objectives) into smaller chunks of time.

For example, you want to increase your annual income next year by $120,000 in your business. That means you must boost your monthly income by $10,000 or $2,500 weekly. You can go further to break it down to daily and hourly increase in your income that needs to happen. Strangely, it is often easier for our brain to process smaller amounts in smaller chunks of time.

OK, now you are ready to live deliberately! Think big, start where you are and take inspired actions, no matter how small they may be at the moment.

Know WHY you want to live your VISION. Write it down into “My Dream Life” journal. Keep it simple and specific. Sketch it, paint it or create a vision board. Look at it daily; use the ”mirror technique” to express your vision with excitement and enthusiasm; believe that it is realistic and attainable for you. That is how you maximize your chances for success in life!

Shift from Dreaming to Living Your Dream!

With Love and Gratitude,




Millen Livis

About the Author

Millen is a Wealth architect and Financial Independence Coach, entrepreneur, and a bestselling author. Being a Possibilities' Catalyst, she uses her intuition, business, and investment expertise to support entrepreneurial women (like you) who want to master their money, live their purpose achieve financial prosperity and freedom. With her physics and business education, corporate and entrepreneurial experience, money management know-how, mindfulness practices and transformational coaching skills, Millen has a unique ability to guide and support clients in achieving extraordinary success in their lives.

  1. This is great Millen. It never ceases to amaze me how many people struggle to clearly define a goal. I’d managed to put that out of my mind after I left coaching until I sponsored a self-care workshop last fall and ran into it again when working with participants to define their goals. I’m not a psychologist, but I have a feeling that there is a sense of safety in remaining vague because if you don’t clearly define the desired outcome you can’t really be held accountable for the results.

    1. Thank you for your insightful comment, Marquita. Very interesting thought about subconsciously staying vague to avoid accountability for results… it could be. I agree, many people struggle with having clearly defined goals… and yet others are not even aware of the importance of goal-setting! Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation…

  2. Always wonderful and easy to understand information you share, Millen! Thank you. I’ve heard of this method many times and even “did” it last year while in a millionaire mindset conference. We wrote down our goals in a letter, similar to what you suggest, and the facilitator send us the letters literally one year to the day of writing them so we could see how far we had come in achieving our measurable goals. Hopefully people were more successful than I was at having their goals manifest. 🙂 I’ve become more strategic with my goals and have been giving tangible guidelines to them. Hopefully someday you and I will have the opportunity to talk, as no matter how realistic and tangible my goals and actions are, somehow the universe has other plans for me. I know I’m a big dreamer and see a very grand vision for myself…always. Onward! Thanks for the wonderful reminders in this post.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Beverley. Yes, I would love to talk to you about many things… and I see your point. My mom used to say “You plan and God decides.” From my observation, goals’ setting is somewhat futile when deep inside one doesn’t believe that these goals are feasible… or if one is very attached to the outcome. Also, your timing could be different than divine timing…. I love that you’ve become more strategic with your goals – that’s how I perceive most important goals!

  3. SMART goal planning is very effective for keeping you on track to achieving your goals. Some people believe that it’s done at the beginning of the year, when in fact, you can start anytime. Thanks for reminding us with these tips, Millen.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Joyce! What is the best time to set the goals? 20 years ago! 🙂 what is the next best time to do it? NOW! 🙂

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