We have all been told that goal setting is one of the keys to leading a successful and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, only approximately 5% of the population actually sits down and constructs their goals. Is it no coincidence that only around the same percentage of people are financially free by the time they attain the age of retirement.
I witnessed the transformation in my life once I began to write down my goals and create a concrete plan for the future. But, how does one even begin to assemble their goals? In this article, I will lay out a framework on how to devise goals for your life, and then act with intention and purpose to achieve those goals. After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
The first step you need to take is to overcome procrastination. How do you surmount this force that holds back the vast majority of people? Your goals need to be galvanizing and motivational; that is, there has to be a motive behind the goal. Your shoulds in life need to change into musts. Goals that are bigger and clearer will supply the motivation necessary to attain them.
Progress Takes Place Outside Your Comfort Zone
You need to begin focusing on what your “why” is. When I became crystal clear in what my “why” was, then I started to realize how, or what I needed to do, to achieve my goals. This is very important. Stop and ask yourself what is your “why”.
In the words of the great Steven Covey:
“An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activity. It identifies where you want to be, and, in the process, helps you determine where you are. It gives you important information on how to get there, and it tells you when you have arrived.”
Here are the seven steps:
- Decide what your goals/objectives are.
- Write down your goal.
- Set a deadline.
- List all activities needed to achieve the goal.
- Organize your goals into a plan by priority and sequence.
- Take action immediately.
- Use every day to do something toward achieving your goal.
- Decide What Your Goals Are
This may appear like an obvious start to your plan, but ask the majority of people what they want, and they are more inclined to tell you what they DON’T want. You will never hit a target that you don’t have. Write down what you want from the major areas of your life, including family, financial, fitness, faith and friendship. As we just mentioned, begin with your why.
People Don’t Lack Motivation. They Lack Clarity.
I refer to these goals as the 5 Fs, my framework to achieve balance in all areas of my life. Only you can answer for yourself what it is that will make you truly happy and fulfilled in life.
This is also an important time to focus on your values and what type of person you want to grow into. Goals are great, but they are not what we should be ultimately trying to achieve. The “goal” is to become the person you need to be to achieve the goal. As you continue to hit your goals, you will look back and be amazed at the person that you have become through the growth and perseverance of working towards your goals.
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- Write Down The Goal
When you write down your goals on a piece of paper, the thought becomes a tangible goal, something you see and your subconscious will begin to work on. A goal that is not written will leave your thoughts and will never come to fruition. Your action of writing down a goal allows you to choose which goals have more urgency, and reminds you to strive for those written goals.
Your Future Is Created By What You Do Today
- Set A Deadline
A goal with no deadline has no energy behind it. This is what leads to procrastination, and ultimately, lack of action. A goal needs to have a sense of urgency, or else you will be looking at tomorrow to finish the task. At one of his seminars, the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar told his audience that he was offering an all expense paid vacation, the only caveat being that the trip was scheduled for the next day and they had to complete all of their tasks that were looming. He asked how many people could finish their tasks, and everyone in the audience erupted in laughter. He was making the point that with enough urgency and a deadline, people set about accomplishing the tasks at hand. A bit of motivation, sprinkled with a deadline, is a terrific incentive to completing your goals.
Fall In Love With Your Actions, Not Your Results
- List All Activities
A goal is comprised of many activities that need to be executed, or else the realization of the goal will not be achieved. For instance, I had a goal of writing a book on investing in real estate, a task that appeared daunting at first. But when I began to write down all of the activities involved, such as selecting an editor, compiling content and gathering case studies, the goal became less harrowing, and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. My coach made me realize all I needed to do was write one page per day, and I could have a book written within a year’s time.
Good Things Come To Those Who Work
- Organize Goals Into A Plan By Priority And Sequence
I refer to this stage as the chunking stage, where you have to “chunk” down all of your activities into more manageable sizes and begin to draw up a strategy to completion. Activities need to be ranked by priority and have to be followed by a sequence, or set of steps.
For my goal, I knew that I needed to begin writing content, and then look for an editor. I would leave the case studies for the end of the book, but I needed help from a ghostwriter with the title and formation of the content. So, I set about looking for a ghostwriter first, and then began to assemble the content I needed for the book.
- Take Action Immediately And Correct Your Course
I know many people who suffer from paralysis by analysis. They look over the figures once and then recheck their work, only to continue to doubt themselves. Finally, when they decide to pull the proverbial trigger, it’s too late and they lament that “Life isn’t fair” or “I tried”.
If you take action immediately, two things occur. First, the fear or doubt you may possess will not be able to rear its ugly head. Secondly, you begin to create momentum, which I call the snowball effect. Any action or plan begins with a small snowball, but over time, with persistent, well-conceived action, this snowball begins to get huge.
Once you get into the habit of taking action, it becomes a more familiar habit. Our motto at Jake & Gino is:
Commit and Figure It Out
A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step. Here is your moment to begin that journey and take massive action. In your quest, there may have to be several adjustments, so start as soon as possible. I like to make the analogy of a pilot flying his plane from one destination to the next. His route is predetermined, but throughout the flight, he is constantly changing his course due to weather or other factors. Your goals and actions will change just as the pilot’s course, but with action and course correction, you will arrive just as the pilot does.
Discipline Is The Bridge Between Goals & Accomplishments
- Use Everyday To Do Something Toward Your Goal
Never miss a day to keep pushing forward toward your goal. This momentum is vital to stay focused and disciplined for achieving your goals. I always schedule fifteen to thirty minutes of reading per day to keep myself in touch with what I need to get done. Choose to read something in your field, or in a related field to continue your growth and knowledge. And don’t ever forget,
Enjoy The Climb To The Summit
How do you begin your path to creating goals? Take out a sheet of paper and list your top 10 goals. List them as if you have already accomplished them. For instance, I earn $50,000 per year, I weigh 160 pounds. Writing your goals in the present allows your subconscious to start working on these goals immediately and gives you the impression that you can hit these targets. IF you say, I want or I should, there is not enough energy behind those words. The present tense is much more empowering and will lead to success.
Secondly, choose the most important goal written and get started. Take action immediately.
I hope this article has helped you craft your goals and helped you along your journey. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your top goals are.