How to Set Goals
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~ Christopher Morley
The more I read about great people throughout history, the more I see a focus and clarity that so many of us lack. They know what they want, and they also have a clear idea of how to get it.
We all know that we should set goals, but very few of us understand how to do so. We either fail to set the goals that we truly want to achieve, we fail to think big enough, or our goals are never reached because we don’t have any accountability accompanying them.
We also don’t set the goals that we truly want to accomplish. We set goals based on what’s expected of us, not what we’d want if there were no limitations.
This article will show you how to:
- Think big and figure out what you really want out of life.
- Set audacious goals.
- Identify the process by which you’ll achieve them.
Step 1. Your Perfect Day.
This exercise is the first step that everyone should be doing in order to find real clarity. This isn’t the ‘last day of your life’. It isn’t one last binge where you’ll go out in one epic blaze of glory.
Rather, it’s an exercise designed to help you find what you really want out of life. The fact is, very few of us truly know. We do what’s expected of us. We go to college because it’s just what is done. We work at the office that is the next logical step. We live where it makes sense to live. But what do you want if anything was possible?
What you’ll find is that ‘things’ aren’t the most important thing in life. When you start this exercise think about the things that are really important to you. If money, location, or time aren’t obstacles, how would you live, where would you live, who would you live with?
If you could live one day, every day for the rest of your life, this is what that day would look like.
Start by answering these questions:
- What time do you wake up?
- Where do you live?
- Who do you live with?
- What sounds, smells exist when you wake up?
- What’s your first meal?
- What are you thinking when you first wake up?
Go throughout your day, from the time you rise to the time you go to bed. Think about every detail of your perfect day. The more specific you are, the better.
This is something that I like to review on a monthly basis just to make sure I’m living in line with my principles and what I hold most important. But make sure you review it at least once a year and make little changes as your dream might adapt over time. Actually, it should adapt over time.
“The world has the habit of making room for the leaders whose words and actions show that they know where they are going.” ~ Napoleon Hill
Step 2. Life Long Goals
This is your Bucket list. These are the things you want to have accomplished when your life is all said and done. These goals are big. They’re audacious. Yes, they’re specific, but they’re big picture things as well.
Think about how you want to be remembered, who you want to have a positive effect on, where you want your career and life to end. Think of traveling, relationships, even career and financial goals.
Write each of your big goals at the top of their own individual page. Here are a few categories to think about when setting your goals:
Step 3. 5-Year Goals
Write these underneath the corresponding lifelong goals. These are the goals that you want to accomplish in the next 5 years that will help you achieve your bigger, lifelong goals.
You can also write them down separately, but I like to have my goals in line with each other. When I look at my yearly goals I like to see why I chose them in relation to the bigger picture. Completely up to you though.
Step 4. 1-Year Goals
In the next year, what are you going to achieve?
Now we’re getting more specific and much more tangible. Think of what you’d like to accomplish in each of the aforementioned categories. Where do you want to travel this year? How much do you want to earn? Do you want to move to a new city, or even a new country?
Breaking these goals down is what will be very important and detailed because we’re about to focus on things we can do everyday to reach these yearly goals.
Step 5. Quarterly Goals
For your quarterly goals, simply break down your yearly goals into more immediate goals. When will you earn x amount of dollars by? When will you take that Europe trip in the next few months?
We’re also starting to focus on the process here. Not only do you have the goal, but you’re going to write down the steps you need to take to reach them.
This is taken one step further with step 6.
Step 6. Weekly ‘To-Do’s’
Identify things you need to be doing every week to reach your goals. What planning do you need to do? How often each day are you going to dedicate to reading and learning?
Set weekly targets. But more than that, determine how much time you’re going to dedicate to one thing and another and so forth. Using training as an example, how many times are you going to workout this week? How many cheat meals are you going to have?
Everything you do in a week should help you accomplish your quarterly goals, which should then help you accomplish your yearly goals and so forth.
Step 7. Keep and Disregard List
Alright, we have our big, harry, audacious goal and our path to get there. The reality, however, is that we’re going to have to make some changes in our lives if the way we’re living right now isn’t contributing to our big dream. As such, we’re going to make a keep and disregard list.
What things in our lives contribute to our happiness and eventual success, and what things hinder it?
Make a pro’s and con’s list and start getting rid of the things that you don’t need in your life. Be detailed. What people do you want in your life, and who do you want out of your life? Is drinking with your friends fun, or could you cut out the booze a bit? Is TV helping you relax and wind-down, or is it a form of procrastination?
What are some things you want to add to your life as well? Do you want to travel more, read more, and learn more? If so, add it in there.
Step 8. Thankful For List
We’ve focused a lot on where we want to be and how we’re going to get there. But we have a lot of great things in our lives right now and it’s important to be thankful for them.
This list is as important as any of the steps we’ve already taken. If you’re not thankful for your life right now, no amount of success is going to change it. Happiness is an internal thing. It isn’t created by external factors.
Why are you happy? Make a list and really think about this one.
Step 9. Review and Edits
Take your dreams very, very seriously.
Those who reach them and those who don’t have completely contrasting views of their dreams. One side treats dreams like fluffy things we have when we sleep. Things that never actually become real, but they’re fun to think about.
Those who actually reach their dreams see them as expectations. I have one life and I want to create a masterpiece out of it while I’m here. It makes no sense to think like the guy who sees his dreams as something other than expectations.
Review your goals and dreams. Without review, they’re useless. Keep them at the forefront of your mind and give them the respect and effort that they deserve.
Taking your dreams seriously means working hard, sacrificing, and enjoying the moment. Enjoy the journey because before you know it you’ll be at your destination. The journey is where we learn, struggle, and see what we’re truly made of.
What’s your BIG goal?
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