Monthly Must-Haves

The Art of Goal-Setting

For over 35 years author and mindfulness activist Barb Schmidt, @peacefulbarb, has made it her mission to help people achieve their goals and find true happiness. She joins us this month to discuss how it's never too late to learn how to cultivate confidence and clarity so that each of us can live a more meaningful life.

Barb Schmidt radiates enthusiasm and passion. She is one of those rare individuals who shows that she truly cares in every aspect of her life. But, like many of us, she had a difficult upbringing and in 1984 at the age of 28 she checked herself into a treatment facility for bulimia. It was there that she found mindfulness tools and learned meditation. Fast forward to today, she is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. For the past ten years, she has been offering quarterly workshops and weekly classes on spiritual practices and today she joins us to share her three steps for cultivating confidence and clarity so that you can achieve your goals and become the person you have always wanted to be.

STEP #1: Visualizing Yourself Reaching Your Goals

Visualization is my very favorite practice for developing clarity. Think about this, Olympic athletes visualize as many as 100 step-by-step actions that they will take in a particular routine or maneuver. So it’s ok if you don’t actually know where you want to go next, we don’t always have to see the whole path or know the actual outcome of where we want to go. But if you want to make changes you have to visualize that very first step and as you start walking you will uncover the rest of your path.

As Robert Brault said, “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”

By letting the path unfold one step at a time and without being attached to how we think our path should look, we experience joy in the moment.

Barb wears Chico’s Polka Dot Bateau Neck Sweater

STEP #2: Taking an Action

 What stops us from taking an action? Self-doubt. Self-doubt keeps us stuck, it keeps us from actually going and doing what it is we want to do. The quickest way to get unstuck is to take an action. I hear so many people say, “I want to do it but so many people have already done it”. Let’s be real, so many people have already written about meditation and mindfulness, but this is what I wanted. This is what changed my life and what I wanted to share. So, it doesn’t matter that other people have written about it or talked about it or achieved it. Don’t give up on what you want to do because you don’t think you’re good enough or it’s been done. Even if you don’t succeed at first, I believe strongly that we are on this Earth to learn. What you don’t succeed in the first time teaches you what you need to know for the next time.

As Andrew Roberts noted “If you have an idea but think that someone else has already done that idea just remember there are 1,010 published biographies on Winston Churchill.”

So that’s the perfect example of never giving up on what you really want to do. To take that first step I want you to focus on the first thing you can accomplish in a 24-hour period, this will bring you closer to where you want to be. A number of years ago I learned the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen which is continual improvement through small, tiny actions. Sometimes we think we have to take a big giant step, and if we can’t do that then it’s not worth it to try. But that’s just not true. A Kaizen event is something that can be accomplished in a very short amount of time and the objective/goal is to be clear. The Kaizen was written by Robert Mauler and he explains:

“Small actions are at the heart of Kaizen. By taking steps so tiny that they seem trivial or even laughable, you will sail calmly past obstacles that have defeated you in the past.”

Don’t you just love that? We have the possibility of sailing past obstacles that have defeated us in the past. Remember, both good and bad life changes cause our body to activate the stress response.  By breaking down things into tiny, small steps it helps us keep from triggering that stress response.

STEP #3: Reflection

Make sure to find time to end your day with reflection. My practice is that when I am finished with everything for the day, I tuck myself into bed, turn off technology and I start reflecting on the day. My personal reflection time is like a mini inventory; what went well, what didn’t go as well as I hoped, and what actions can I take tomorrow to help me take that one step closer to my goals and dreams. Before I go to sleep I also name one thing I am grateful for from the day. We can have gratitude in the day even if the day didn’t go well. We are constantly busy; in some instances, we are busier today than we have been in the past. When we are busy and going at full speed and because of that we miss opportunities that might allow us to course correct and start to fall back into alignment with what it is we truly want in our life. Remember, we are constantly growing, evolving and becoming. Reflection helps us see where we need to take those necessary adjustments and come back on the path to where we are trying to go.

Remember these steps when working towards a goal, they are a powerful way to cultivate both confidence and clarity and to become the person we are striving to become.


Barb lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with her husband, Dick, and is the mother to Michelle and David. She remains a dedicated student of meditation, spirituality, and peaceful living. In 2011, Barb founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life through which she teaches The Practice—a three-part guide to practical spirituality in today’s modern world. A well-respected not-for-profit, Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has quickly expanded to include an online community via Facebook and through the weekly blog at Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @peaceful_barb.

You May Also Like