Effective goal setting is one of the most important and indeed exciting assignments that you can ever do. When you have goals that excite you every day and a clear roadmap to achieve them, you will have the power to change your life in a positive and lasting way.
Over the years I have tried many different goal-setting techniques. I have read dozens of books and countless articles about goal setting. Some techniques worked better than others, but most of them where like New Years resolutions, I always felt excited about my goals for a few days, and then I either lost interest in them or I forgot about them altogether. I have put together for you the exact system that I use every day to help me achieve all of my personal and professional goals. I totally believe that if you follow the easy to follow steps that I am going to share with you, you will discover what you really want to achieve in your life, and also how you can achieve all of your exciting goals and dreams.
I have found through years of trial and error that simplicity is key when setting goals. There is no need for a complicated system or magic formula, just a few simple principles that you need to follow every day.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said this about goal setting:
“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”
Why set goals?
When you set the kind of goals that really excite you, and make you want to jump out of bed every morning. You will look at each day as being a step closer to achieving your dreams and your reaching your full potential. But just setting goals is not enough. Every year millions of people make New Years resolutions or make a wish as they blow out the candles on their birthday cake with the best of intentions, but usually these goals and wishes fade away and are forgotten about within a few days or weeks at the very best. The reason why is not in the setting of the goals themselves. It is in the lack of planning and action steps needed to achieve these goals. When you follow a goal achieving roadmap that will keep you on target and highly motivated, it is also when you will start to see exciting results and you will experience the feeling of being in control of your life and of your future.
I could have easily written thousands of words about why goal setting is important for you and how to set goals, but I wanted this article to be different, I want setting goals to be an enjoyable experience for you, and I want you to feel excited every day as you get closer and closer to achieving your goals. I also want you to start taking action and start to see results as soon as possible.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” – Earl Nightingale
Write your goals down
Ask most people what are their short, medium and long-term goals? And they will either look at you blankly or else they will have to think for a few moments before rhyming off the usual “have more money” “Loose weight” “travel ” or “be successful.” These are some good goals to have, but are they really their own goals? Or are they what society and the people around them have told them what they should want? The problem is that most people do not have a clear idea what they really want in life. They are programmed by society, the media and their peers to tell them what they should want. You are going to be different. You are going to know exactly what your goals really are, how to achieve them, and you will be totally committed and excited to achieve them.
“When you know what you want and you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.” – Jim Rohn
This exercise will take you around 20-30minutes.
The first step of successful goal setting is to write all of your goals down on paper.
Get a pen and write down as many goals as possible in just ten minutes. Let your mind wander, use your imagination, and really push yourself.
Write down whatever comes into your mind. Write down a word or a sentence, but just keep writing until you have at least 20 goals on paper. Try to think of all the goals and dreams that you ever had in the past. Remember, this is your goal list, not your friends, not the media; they are your goals, your dreams and your future.
You don’t have to be too descriptive; we will leave that for the another step. Just keep writing until you have at least 20.
Next go through your list and determine when you want to accomplish each goal. Write down next to each goal a 1, 3, or 5. The “1” represents if you want to accomplish it within 1 year, “3” = 3 years, “5” = 5 years.
For now we are going to focus on your top five one year goals. Write these goals down on a separate sheet of paper and title it 1 Year Goals. If you do not have five, look at your list again and pick from the list of three year goals until you have at least five exciting one year goals. Next, under each of your top five one year goals, write down a few sentences why you really want to achieve each goal? What will it do for you? And why is it important to you?
The next step is really important. To achieve your top five one year goals you will need to change some habits that you currently have. On another piece of paper write the title Who Do I Need To Become, write a short paragraph outlining some of the characteristics that you will need to change or develop in order for you to achieve your goals. Do you need to exercise more? Do you need to read more? Perhaps you need to watch less television? Perhaps you need to limit the amount of time you spend with negative people, and spend more time with positive and inspiring people? Think of the type of person that you will need to become so that you will achieve your goals. If you remain the same person as you are now, you will achieve the same results that you are currently getting.
The changes that you will need to make and the person that you must become usually does not have to be too drastic, sometimes all it takes is a few little adjustments in your beliefs of what is possible for you, your daily habits, and perhaps the people that you surround yourself with. Take a few minutes to really think of who you are, and the person that you want to become.
The next step is one of the most important steps of goal setting. Finding out what you want and why you want it is crucial, but if you do not follow through with action, you will never achieve your goals. Write Action Plan on another piece of paper. I want you to write down your five one year goals and the three action steps you are going to take for each goal to get you started. For example, it could be…
Open a savings account to save for…
Go to the car dealership and take a test drive in my dream car.
Get a catalogue for a world cruise from the travel agent.
Order books online to help me develop the necessary skills and knowledge.
Join a group of like minded positive people locally or online.
Purchase exercise equipment for training at home.
Spend more quality time with my partner or family.
Join a health club or start yoga.
Join the local library.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.”- Pablo Picasso
Every morning you need to read your Five One Year Goals and your Action Plan. I highly recommend that you read your Goals out loud. This way you will feel more passionate and enthusiastic about your goals and your future. Also, when you are journaling in the morning, you can write down what action you are going to take that day that will help you to achieve your goals. Repetition is key when achieving your goals. I read my goals every morning, I then write my action steps in my journal, I also have a copy of my goals on my phone that I read once or twice a day. I then like to watch videos or search for images on the Internet that depict my goals. You could also have your goals written on a piece of paper in your wallet or purse, this way you will see your goals every time that you spend money. The more ways that you can program your mind to stay focused and visualize your goals the better.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe
Small Steps Will Get You To Your Destination
You now have your list of exciting goals completed, you also have your action steps planned out, and you are committed to read your goals every morning. So, how soon will you start to see results? The answer is simple; you have already taken massive steps to achieve your goals and dreams by getting this far. This in itself is a fantastic result. We already know that most people do not have any serious goals, let alone have them written down, or an action plan to achieve them. You are different, you have decided what you want, why you want to achieve your goals, and you are totally committed to achieve them. This is your first success. Well done you!
I learned the next important lesson many years ago. I used to beat myself up if I did not take massive action every day to achieve my goals, this did nothing to help me achieve my goals. Instead it filled my heads my head with doubts and I would have a negative mindset that I should give up, or that I had failed. When I learned that every action step taken no matter how small was a step in the right direction, I felt that every day was a success, and that every day was a step closer to achieving my goals. There are no written rules to what you need to do every day. If you just read your list of goals one day that is fine. If one day you take just one small action step to achieve one of your goals that is also ok. If you listen to a Meditation audio in the morning and you feel positive and confident for the rest day that is wonderful. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t take massive action every day.
Achieving your goals is an exciting and gradual process. It is going to take a few days to reprogram your mind and change your daily habits by reading and visualizing your goals. When you know exactly what you want and you totally believe that you are going to achieve your goals, something amazing will start to happen in your life. You will suddenly start to meet online or through friends the kind of people that will help you succeed, you will also discover the books and courses that will teach you the skills that you will need, and you will attract opportunities that will put you on course to achieve your goals. I also cannot emphasize strongly enough the power of a productive morning ritual.
Keeping on Track
To help to keep you on track to achieve your goals I recommend writing in your journal every day. Keeping a journal is a powerful tool that will help you review the action steps that you have taken, your learnings for the week so far, and all of your wonderful achievements. You can be as brief or descriptive as you want when you are writing about your actions steps taken and your learnings in your journal.
Some Action Steps Taken might include:
Listened to a Meditation.
Wrote in my journal every morning.
Exercised three times.
Read for 30 minutes every day.
Saved images of my dream holiday on my computer and phone.
Ordered two books online that will help me to achieve my goals.
Watched less tv every night.
Improved my eating habits.
Next, under Learnings for the Week, you can write down what worked for you and what you will do next week that will keep you on track.
I will get up one hour earlier every morning to fit in my morning routine.
I will leave my journal on the kitchen table to remind me to write in it every day.
I will spend less time using social media.
I will organise my lunch the night before.
I will set a reminder on my phone to read my goals every day.
I said it before that I really want you to enjoy this whole exciting goal setting process. I think that it is vitally important that you recognize and take credit when you either reach a milestone or achieve a goal. Every time you achieve a step that you made in your Action Plan put a tick beside it. When you achieve one of your one year goals celebrate. Go out for a meal to your favorite restaurant, or treat yourself to a day trip, go to the movies, or perhaps go shopping. The important thing here is that you reward yourself. The reason for this is that many of us forget to give ourselves a pat on the back when we achieve something in our lives. We often forget about all of the amazing things that we have accomplished. By rewarding ourselves we attach more pleasure to our achievements, which in turn will keep us motivated and it will make our achievements more memorable.
The Next Step…
Ok, so you have taken your three initial action steps to get you started to achieve one of your goals, what do you do next?
You need to keep going, you need to be consistent. You are going to make faster progress on some goals more than others, this is completely normal. That is when you need to update your action steps. As you complete one action step, you need to add another, and another and then another. You always need to have three action steps to take for each one year goal. This way you will stay highly motivated, totally inspired and on track with your goals.
So now you have the system, you have the enthusiasm, don’t wait until the end of the year! Start today to make the next 12 months Your Best Year Ever!