How To Set Goals And How To Achieve Them

Quote Of The Week – 46 – 2016

How To Set Goals And How To Achieve Them

“Vision without execution is hallucination”- Thomas Edison

This is the second part of the goal setting series. If you haven’t done so already, please read Introduction To Goal Setting – 8 Steps To Achieve Your Goals before continuing with this post.

In this post I walk you through Step #1 and Step #2 of the 8 steps to achieve your goals.

About The Quote

Everyone has goals and dreams. We all have great ideas in our head and even greater plans to realize them. But for many of us this is where it stops. Most of us are unwilling to move out of our comfort zone to reach some distant goal that might or might not be reachable.

We are working here and there on our goals and eventually we might or might not achieve them. We may even stop half-way and convince ourselves that we cannot achieve more than that.

Although we lack in dedicated action and commitment we may end up believing that we are simply not talented enough or that we do not have the time.

This could not be further from the truth!

All it needs is to set the right goals and a commitment of dedicated daily action. If you fail to do that you are rather hallucinating. You are a dreamer and may decide one day that it is time to wake up and be more “realistic” about life. But it is not your dreams to blame but rather your lack in willingness to actually achieve them.

Throughout this goal setting series I am trying to give you all the tools that you need to follow your dreams once and for all. Stop finding excuses and take back control over your life. Once you do the work and get started magic is going to happen.

This is when things will fall into place just when you need them and you will get a better idea of what to do the more you do. The secret to success is to keep going every day a bit more. Don’t let the first obstacle be your reason to quit. Change the plan if you have to but never change the goal.

For now, let’s get right into the actual goal setting process.

The First Two Steps To Achieve Your Goals

In the last post we covered the fundamentals of proper goal setting. Now it is about time to put the learned steps into radical action. So be prepared to actually set aside some time and go through these steps.

You don’t do this for me but for you. Take this process seriously and be assured that your time will be invested wisely. After all this is about your life, your vision, and your future. I have gone though the same steps and I will do so again and again. Start today to take action that will give you more control over your life.

In this post I will walk you through the actual goal setting and planning process. Beside your goals, we will also focus on creating new habits over the course of one year.

Habits are things that you want to adopt as part of your daily routine. Opposed to your big long term goals these are more general areas of improvement. These improved habits may actually support you in reaching your long term goals and help you to become your greatest version.

Ideally, you would do that step at the beginning of a new year. This can be either at the start of the official year or of your personal year after your birthday. If these two days won’t come for a long while, don’t worry. You can start any day to set your goals. Simply plan for the remaining time until the end of the year or set your own time frame.

Short note about habits

Before coming to the actual goal setting process, you can consider if you would like to change your habits as well.

For this optional prior step, ask yourself this: What are general areas of improvement that you want to focus on?

You should focus on one habit at a time for one or two months. After that you can get to the next habit. Here are some habits you might want to change:

Think about some area of your life that you think needs improvement and write it down. There is no right or wrong, simply let your thoughts flow and bring them down to paper!

Task 1: List a maximum of 12 habits that you want to change over the course of the next year.

January

New Habit 1

May

New Habit 5

September

New Habit 9

February

New Habit 2

June

New Habit 6

October

New Habit 10

March

New Habit 3

July

New Habit 7

November

New Habit 11

April

New Habit 4

August

New Habit 8

December

New Habit 12

Explanation:

When you know how the subconscious mind works, then you understand that it takes constant repetition to rewire your brain. Since you have a limited a amount of willpower per day, you should invest it wisely and prioritize your tasks, starting your day with what is most important for you. Once you have created a new habit, you no longer need your willpower (or at least much less of it) to do it. Trying to change multiple habits per time may therefore not work and create the opposite effect (You can simplify and support the process with modern technologies such as hypnosis, EFT, and brainwave entrainment).

Result:

Every month you add a new habit that you want to change. Note that you would continue to stick to the previously implemented habit as well. So after one year you would have 12 new habits. If this seems too overwhelming you may want to give yourself more time. Especially for old and strong habits you may need two months to change them.

Extra Hint: Take a calendar that shows the entire year. Each day you have to consciously act in alignment with your new habit. Only after doing so you are allowed to mark this day. Whenever you miss it, you are not going to cross this day off. This allows you to create a chain of consecutive efforts. The longer the chain is the more unlikely it gets that you are going to break it. You can apply the same principle for your commitment to work on your goals on a daily basis.

Habit Calendar - Do Not Brake The Chain

Step 1: Write down, prioritize, and specify your goals

Let’s recap before we start. Your goal should consist of the following points in order to make it achievable:

  • Name, Description/Purpose: Why do you want to achieve this goal?
  • Start Date: When do you plan to start on it?
  • Deadline: When will it be achieved?
  • Category: What category does it belong to?
  • Progress Metric: What is the measurable end result when it is achieved?

For this goal setting process I ask you to step out of your comfort zone and actually do the writing. Take a pen and a sheet of paper and take some time to go through the steps that I am going to describe. Nobody is going to do that for you and it is 100% your responsibility to go through this process. This is the only thing you can do in order to give your life a new direction. Many people have walked this path before, and those who did consistently are the successful ones.

In order to make this task less overwhelming we are going to focus only on the goals that are most important for you.

Ask yourself this question:

What are the 25 most important things that you want to do in the next five years or in your life-time?

If you have problems to come up with so many goals you can also create categories and think about goals that you want to achieve in each of these categories. You can use the categories of Holistic Life Transformation: Mind, Health, Wealth, and Wisdom. You can also focus on just one category or come up with even more categories like partnership, career, family, etc.


Task 2: Write down 25 goals and categorize them accordingly. Circle the top five that are most important to you and write them down in the order of their priority.

Explanation:

Go through the list and write #1 next to the goal that you think is most important to you. Compare it to all other goals on the list. If there is one that is more important than this one, then simply make it your new number one. Repeat the process until you are absolutely sure. Continue with this process until you have your top 5 goals that are most important to you.

Result:

Goals

My top 5 most important goals are:

1.                                

2.                                

3.                                

4.                                

5.                                


Task 3: Create a “why” for each goal. Ask yourself why they are more important than anything else right now?

Explanation: 

What is the number one reason for you to achieve your goal? It can either be something absolutely awesome (happiness, personal freedom, finding a partner) or something that would happen if you don’t accomplish you goal (loneliness, disease, financial disaster). Let a strong emotion of something very positive or very negative be your “why” and biggest motivation.

Result:

1. Goal 1 – Reason 1

2. Goal 2 – Reason 2

3. Goal 3 – Reason 3

4. Goal 4 – Reason 4

5. Goal 5 – Reason 5


Now that you have set your big goals, it is time to split them into smaller steps to make them less overwhelming. You might think that it is too much work or simply impossible to achieve. The risk is that you lose motivation and give up too easily.

The solution: Split each goal into smaller goals that are your personal milestones.


Task 4: Create for each of your goal a milestone. For each milestone you should create at least 3 checkpoints. Think also about one person that can help you achieving your goal.

Explanation:

1. For each goal you should create about 3-5 milestones that are necessary on your way. This means that each of your big goals consists of 3-5 consecutive milestones.

2. Now repeat the step above for each of your milestones. Create for each milestone up to five mini goals or checkpoints that are necessary to accomplish your milestone. You can add even more steps or levels if you need until you feel that it is right for you. Ideally, the mini-goals stretch your abilities and force you to move out of your comfort zone. At the same time they should be achievable for you if you just put in the work.

3. With so many things to do you may want to ask someone for help. Nobody can do everything on his own. For each major goal that you have you should think of someone who can help you with that. This can be someone you know or someone you don’t know personally. The only thing that matters is that you can rely on that person’s help, knowledge, experience, and insights.

Result:

Big Goal Goal # 1 Who Can Help?
Milestones Milestone 1 Milestone 2 Milestone 3
Checkpoint 1
Checkpoint 2
Checkpoint 3
Checkpoint 4
Checkpoint 5

Now that you have the name, description, purpose, the categories, and sub-level goals, you can start to take out a calendar and think about a start date and dead line.

Make it measurable

At the end of each month should be a measurable outcome that is your monthly goal. This monthly goal is in alignment with your long-term vision.

The great thing about this approach is that you know exactly what you are going to expect and where you are in terms of your goal. It is going to be a lot of work, yes. But with all of these very achievable mini steps you will get into a constant feeling of success. Each time you reach a minor goal you know that you are getting closer to your big goal. You know that you are on track and GETTING THINGS DONE. This will boost your confidence to the sky.

If you cannot reach your goal in time, then this is fine as well. It is better to get started and taking dedicated action while reaching “only” 80% than not getting started in the first place while finding excuses not working on your goals. You should review your progress on a regular basis and tweak your plan as necessary.


Task 5: Decide when you want to achieve your goals, milestones, or checkpoints. What is it that you want to have achieved by the end of each month?

Explanation: Let’s assume that you have 3 milestones consisting of 3 mini goals or checkpoints each. This would make up for 9 steps to reach your big goal. With 5 high priority goals and 1 week for one minor step you would need 45 weeks to finish your five biggest goals. Add some contingency time and you can reach your top 5 within 52 weeks or one year from now. Depending on your individual goals this might look totally different. Your five goals might be long term goals that need simply more time.

Your plan for the next 12 months could look something like the one below.

Result: Write down goals, outcomes, and habits by month.

(Example)

January

Start Working On Goal 1

Milestone 1

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

 

May

Start Working On Goal 2

Milestone 1

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

Checkpoint 4

September

Start Working On Goal 3

Milestone 1

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

 

February

Milestone 2

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

 

 

June

Vacation!

Milestone 2

Checkpoint 1

 

 

October

Milestone 3

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

Checkpoint 4

March

Milestone 3

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

 

 

 

July

Milestone 2

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

Milestone 3

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

 

November

Milestone 3

Checkpoint 1

Checkpoint 2

Checkpoint 3

 

 

 

April

Checkpoint 4

Goal 1

All Milestones/Checkpoints complete

August

Checkpoint 3

Goal 2

All Milestones/Checkpoints complete

December

Checkpoint 4

Goal 3

All Milestones/Checkpoints complete


Avoid under all circumstances

You still have the other twenty goals. Look at them again and ask yourself: Are you committed to not doing any of these until your top 5 are complete? Make it a priority to not do these things until you achieved your top 5 goals. If you realize that you cannot commit to not do them then you might go back to the previous step and reevaluate your goals.

In case there are still things that are important and need attention, then you might do some of them after you finished 2 of your top goals.

Change you plan if you have to. NEVER change your goal!

You might have to change your plan once you start, you might finish ahead of time, or more likely it will take a bit longer. You can change the plan and dedicate more resources to it or give yourself more time to reach your goal. Whatever you are going to do, NEVER change your goal!

Depending on your goal you might dedicate one day, one week, or one month to reach each checkpoint. If you go for one month then you might consider to divide them another time into mini steps for that month.

You don’t need to plan every day of the entire year ahead but you should have a fair idea of what you are up to. Ideally, you know what you want to achieve each month for the next year to reach your goals, and what you want to do each month to change one habit. With that being set, it is much easier to do your weekly planning, which is the time when you actually start to schedule things.

Daily action is all that matters

This is important because you can plan whatever you want, but you have to actually do something each and every day about it. It is always just today that you have to work on your goal. Tomorrow will be another “today”. This is actually the only time range that most of us can really handle to some extent. Anything beyond one day is just out of our reach and in fact irrelevant for today’s achievements. Today is for today, whatever comes tomorrow comes tomorrow.

Don’t see your goal and the steps to get there as some distant future event. In order for you to achieve it you will have to think of it in terms of single days, one day at a time. Each time you wake up you can decide to either work on your goal or not to work on it before the day ends. Tomorrow you will have to face the same decision. One day and after regular committed action towards your goal you are going to wake up and realize that you have actually accomplished your goal. But at that time it is just another day and it loses its power over you.

You see, this is what it boils down to. It is your daily routine that decides over success and failure. Once you have your routine, the goal itself becomes secondary to the actual process of getting there. You will reach it in passing without it being a big deal anymore.  It is just another today and tomorrow there are new things to achieve and we are all just having a lot of fun doing what we do.

Step 2: Create a plan and establish your new routine

If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” – Anthony Robbins

Now that you have a thorough idea of what you want you can start to make plans. You have to make a commitment when and where you are going to work on your goals.

The best and most effective way to boost motivation is to see progress. What works most for me is to set small achievable daily goals!

It is always going to be today that we are working on it. And as I said above the best way to actually achieve your goal is to make a daily commitment.

I recommend you to dedicate some time at the end of each week to plan the next one. When you do so you can check your milestones and checkpoints that you are going to work on for this time period. With this in mind you can allocate the right amount of time and effort to reach your goal.

As I have stated before, I recommend working EVERY DAY on your goal. When you follow along with your priority list you should have always one goal you are working on right now and not multiple ones. If you cannot avoid working on many things at the same time you should still stick to your priority.

You will realize that you actually can’t wait to get up in the morning and do it because otherwise you will feel miserable for the rest of the day.

Important for the planning: State clearly what you are going to do, where, and when.

Example:

  • I am going to write 100 words for my book tomorrow morning from 7.00 to 7.30 at my desk in my home office. During that time I will have no break or any distractions.
  • I am going to train for 30 minutes from 6.30 to 7:00 am at the outdoor gym in the city park. I will do the workout xyz. In case of heavy rain I will just run or train at home instead.

Task 6: Decide when and where you are going to make your weekly planning, Dedicate a specific day of the week and a certain time that you are going to review your previous week and plan your week ahead.

Explanation: With your goal in sight it is much easier to focus on an actual outcome. As your number one goal is the most important project for you right now, it should be always on the very top of your To-Do list for every single day. This means that it should be the first thing in the morning that you are working on before all other things.

Make it your top priority to get your daily commitment done before all other tasks and duties for that day. Get up earlier if you have to. Make time for it! It doesn’t need to be more than one hour. When you work daily on it, it becomes part of your daily routine, which means that you can be highly productive.

Result:

(Example)

Every   Sunday   at  9 pm  I am going to review my previous week and plan my daily goals for the coming week.

 

Well, this is a bunch of work for you at this time. But you will have one week to go through the first two steps of the goal setting process. When you are done, there will be the next post waiting for you to follow along with the next steps. Until then have a nice week.


What did you today to bring you one step closer to your goal?

Leave a comment below and tell us what is working for you. Have a great week and share this post with your friends if you found it to be helpful.

Start your holistic life transformation. Change your life today and become your greatest version!


Who Said It

I am actually not quite sure who said it. It could be also an old proverb or someone else’s original quote, but for now I go with Edison. Anyone knowing the real origin of this quote can leave a comment
Thomas_Edison2-crop

I think everyone heard of  Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931), the inventor of the light bulb. But there is so much more what he did. He was holding 1,093 US patents in his name and founded 14 companies, including General Electric.

Interesting to me is that he attended public school for 12 weeks and was taught at home later. He developed a process of self-education that served him throughout his life. He was deemed to be difficult by his teacher, hyperactive and prone to distraction.

Just look at the current school system where students have to fit in being “a good student”. I believe that this causes most of the people losing their creativity and true potential. We are literally programmed to behave and think as deemed properly. If you want to know a way that helped me to reprogram my beliefs you can read more about it here.


Previous Post

Introduction To Goal Setting – 8 Steps To Achieve Your Goals

Next Post

How To Stay Motivated To Reach Your Personal Goals

Also Interesting:

How To Never Give Up On Your Dream? 12 Ways To Become A Dream-Achiever

Why Keeping Your Goals Secret Is The Best Way To Be Successful

What Is Success About?


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