Goal Setting Fundamentals
Let’s take 30 seconds to get the obvious out of the way.
You absolutely must have goals in your life.
If you don’t have goals you will get stuck on problems and kinda drift around aimlessly.
And, because we as humans are designed to be moving towards something, it is very unlikely that you will be happy without goals.
The last obvious thing we will mention is that you want to have at least a bit of a health, happiness and wealth balance in your goals. Completely focusing on just one aspect while ignoring the rest is a recipe for a meltdown.
Now that we got the fact that goals are essential out of the way.
Let’s look at some at some stats.
According to a study by Statistic Brain only 8% of people who set New Year's resolutions accomplish them, 25% of the people don’t even make it through the first week .
With those challenging statistics in mind, let’s give you some strategies to smash through your goals.
Some of the stuff may be reminders, but as always, we will add the Ultiself practical and pragmatic touch to this guide so that you will actually be able to integrate the concepts we teach you into your life.
Set the Right Goals Right
That’s Right :) it’s not a type in the title.
First if you set the wrong goals for yourself you simply will have no true desire to accomplish them and you will not even feel rewarded if by chance you do accomplish them.
Second, of course, you need to set and nurture your goals in a way that will increase the likelihood of success.
The first section of this guide will ensure that you set the right goals.
The second section will ensure that you set them the right way.
Section 1: Set the Right Goals
Step 1: Identify the Why
The first and most critical thing about setting goals is to make sure that you set goals that you truly want to accomplish.
Although it’s a bit too “law of attraction” based Joe Vitali’s book The Attractor Factor has a ton of valuable practical info that you can use to take your life to new heights.
Warning this is going to go against the grain big time.
In the section on goal setting, Joe Vitali brings up a very important point. Why do you truly want that goal?
If your goal is to make a million dollars, why? If your goal is to find a beautiful wife, why? And you have to go to the true why.
And the true why might be pretty silly, like I want others to respect me or I want to impress my parents.
Even if you want your goal for all the wrong reasons, if you can identify your true deepest deepest reasons for wanting it and get congruent on them, you will be blown away by how much easier it will be to accomplish your goal.
I personally was struggling to get my second business off the ground, but when my best friend and former business partner in the car industry achieved huge success in his new venture a massive fire inside me lit up.
I had to get as or more successful than him. It wasn’t jealousy, but I just was not ok with him leaving me behind. And since I wanted the best for him I had to work my ass off to catch up.
The moral of the story here is make sure you truly deeply want the goals you are setting in order to achieve them.
Don’t just decide you want a million dollars because it sounds cool to be a millionaire. As a millionaire I can tell you it changes nothing. Get extremely clear on the why.
Step 2: Keep your balance
Second you absolutely want to keep your balance between Health, Mood and Productivity goals. Also known as health, wealth and happiness.
If you lose sight of even one of these areas the others will collapse and you will very likely derail.
Here is a simple way to look at it.
If you are healthy and happy but have no money...eventually with the lack of money you will not be able to take care of your health and will not be able to afford an adequate lifestyle so your happiness and health will follow in a downward spiral.
If you are rich and happy but have bad health, eventually your lack of health will hurt your ability to work thus causing you to lose money and your mood will suffer as a result of your ill health and loss of money thus causing you to be unhappy.
And if you are healthy rich and miserable, your negative attitude will eventually cause great deals of stress which will impact your health and money. Plus who wants to be miserable anyways?
Based on this simple logic, it is critical and your goals are balanced among all 3 of these areas.
Here are some examples of goals:
Health goals: Health goals are pretty straight forward
- Attain a certain weight
- Change certain numbers on your blood tests like cholesterol or sugar
- Attain a certain challenge like a hike you wanted to do, or a trail you wanted to ski. Try a Spartan Race of a triathlon.
- Going to a certain health or longevity conference.
- Doing a certain test or going to a certain type of doctor that can lead to longevity.
- Travel to a certain place you wanted to go
- Attain a certain type of relationship
- It can even be getting a certain “toy” you wanted to get
- Doing something special with your family or loved ones
- Doing some sort of a charitable act for a cause that you care about
- Productivity is getting your business to a certain level
- Building a certain business
- Making a certain amount of money
- Offering a certain product of service to your customers
- Getting a certain job or meeting a quota
Step 3: Have a reasonable amount of Goals
A great book about the amount of goals and objectives that you want to have is The One Thing by Garry Keller.
Gary Keller is the owner of the ultra successful real estate company called Keller Williams.
The main premise in this book is that in order to have success you need to limit the amount of goals, tasks and objectives that you focus on.
Having 1 health goal, 1 mood goal and 1 productivity goal at any given time is plenty. Two in any one area is a stretch but can work also.
The main idea is less is more when it comes to goal setting. Have fewer goals and laser focus all your efforts on accomplishing them.
Step 4: Set SMART Goals
Obviously you do not want to set stupid goals :)
But we are talking about something a bit different here.
SMART is a type of goal setting technique used by managers and productivity experts that will help you better manage and attain your goals.
All the goals that you set must meet the following criteria. This also goes for tasks and objectives
- Specific: A goal can not be something like improve my body. If it’s that general how will you know if you achieved it. A better way to set this goal is I want to lose 20 pounds or I want to gain 2 inches on my arms. That way you truly know when you achieve your goal, you can set your next goal and you can get the massive dopamine boost from achieving your goal.
- Measurable: You have to be able to measure the attainment of your goal and ideally your progress towards the attainment. Again, I want to be happy is not a measurable goal. Because you can’t specifically measure when you are happy. So you need certain measurable trackers like heart rate variability, your social circle etc.
- Attainable: It’s great to set big goals that inspire you. But, it’s fairly unlikely that you will attain immortality or become a trillionaire within the next 2 years :)
Moral of the story if your goals are not attainable within at least the next 2-3 years, the prize will not be close enough for you to push yourself day in and day out.
It’s ok to have HUGE goals but if they are too huge break them down into attainable steps that you can get to. For example, if you want to be a trillionaire start with a few hundred thousand. :) And if you want to live forever start by finding the right longevity doctor or losing 20 pounds.
- Relevant: We pretty much covered this in the last 2 sections. Make sure that you truly want your goal and that you have balance between the 3 areas. No need to go much further.
- Timely: Set a target date or a deadline by which you will want to accomplish your goal. Deadlines are an effective tool that will increase the likelihood of you accomplishing a goal or task .
Keep your time horizon to shorter than 2 years. This will force you to stay on track. If your goal is too far away in time, it simply will not light a fire underneath you.
If you do have a huge 5 year goal for example, break it down into sub goals and focus on a goal that can be achieved in 1 year or less.
Step 5: Make sure goal is in the sweet spot
The best selling author Jim Collins has a great concept called a BHAG. It’s an acronym for Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
You absolutely want your goals to excite you.
And you even want them to scare you a little bit.
In other words, they need to be right on the edge between attainable and unattainable. And you really need to feel like you will get fulfilment from accomplishing them.
Think of gambling. Do you think Bill Gates would enjoy playing blackjack at a $5 per hand table? Better yet, would you enjoy playing blackjack at a 10 cent table? Obviously not. There is just not enough at risk to truly excite you.
But if you are playing at a $500 per hand table unless you are very well off, there is a good chance that table would be overwhelming.
Same goes for your goals, as life is essentially a big risk reward game.
Your goal has to be big and risky enough to provoke passion. At the same time it should be realistic enough for you to see yourself being able to attain it with a lot of hard work and a tiny bit of luck.
Finally one other thing that you should pay attention to is that your goal coincides with your values.
For example if you really value good health being a world famous DJ is probably not going to fit in with your goals.
If you value partying and a good time, becoming a monk or a priest may not be a good idea.
You get the point.
So identify your top 3-5 values write them out and make sure that your goals coincide with them.
Section 2: Set Your Goals Right
Step 6: Write Down Your Goals
You have probably heard the cliche that you need to write down your goals in order to accomplish them.
There was a study done at Dominican University in California with 267 test subjects . From those subjects the study found that people who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to accomplish them.
In fact the subjects were split up into 5 groups and were asked to do everything from simply thinking about their goals to having a buddy system all the way up to creating an action plan.
The group that has the highest goal accomplishment rate (7.6%):
- Wrote down their goals
- Created action plans on how to accomplish them
- Reverted to their goals every week
- Asked a friend to keep them on track
Step 7: Identify Obstacles that will get in your way
Gabrielle Oettingen did a ton of research on goal setting and accomplishment. She found that visualizing yourself accomplishing your goal actually decreases your chance of accomplishing it.
A better strategy is to WOOP your goals. Here is how to do it:
- Wish: Identify what you want to accomplish.
- Outcome: Identify the benefit and the outcome that you would get from accomplishing your goal.
- Obstacle: Identify what obstacles will get in the way of you accomplishing your goal.
- Plan: Plan how you will deal with the obstacles that will get in the way of you accomplishing your goal.
Another way to look at it is with a process called implementation intentions. This process is supported by over 100 studies .
The idea is simple identify what can attempt to derail you from your goal and plan in advance what you will do about it.
Let’s look at a simple example.
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds.
Eating junk food may derail you from your goal. You will need to decide what you will do when you crave junk food.
For example you can decide to do 10 pushups of call a friend everytime you get a craving.
Point being, that preemptively dealing with derailments before they happen will increase the likelihood of you accomplishing your goals.
Step 8: Make a commitment to work on your goals daily and push through obstacles
Once you choose your goal(s), make sure that they are the right fit for you and identify the possible obstacles, you need to make a commitment to yourself and ideally someone else that you will go after them with all you got and accomplish them.
Robert Cialdini is a Ph.D. psychologist who wrote a book called Influence. This book discusses the key principles of persuasion. And commitment is one of those principles.
Essentially if people truly commit to something, especially if they do it to someone. They are more likely to do it even if there is nothing on the line.
For example, there was a study done at a hotel where guests were asked to commit to be more environmentally conscious and wear a small pin.
There was no reward to being environmentally conscious and there was no penalty for them to be less environmentally conscious.
Even though there were no penalties, the group that was asked to be more environmentally conscious ended up 25% more likely to hang up a used bath towel which increased the total number of towels hung up by 40% .
The commitment approach is especially effective when other people are involved. People are hardwired for survival. And you are way more likely to survive when liked and respected by others. Therefore what others think of us “matters”.
For this reason, having a buddy system or committing to someone else that you will accomplish your goal may be a big driver for you to keep pushing forward and accomplish it.
Imagine setting a goal and announcing it to the whole world on social media. There will be a bit of a sense of shame if you don’t accomplish it.
So if you feel really strong about it, why not go on facebook and tell the world that you are planning to lose 20 pounds.
One study at the University of South Carolina found a correlation between Twitter use and weight loss . Those who Tweeted about their progress on a regular basis actually lost more weight.
Step 9: Break through the wall with business goals
If building a successful business was as easy as buying a course or watching an instructional Youtube video than just about everyone would be rich.
Here is a big secret. Anyone that has a true money making system is using it to make money for themselves. Than they take the stuff that stops working and package it and sell it to make even more money.
Point being is that there is a harsh common sense reality.
When building or growing a business you will encounter many walls.
You will feel like there is no solution and will be completely at a loss on how to move forward. This will happen more than once.
The natural reaction will be to quit, go get a job or work on another business idea because it will seem easier than the one you are currently working on.
Warning!!!: This is all an illusion.
Most of the time the wall is totally in your mind. It does not really exist and there is a solution to the problem or obstacle that you are facing. You just haven’t thought of it yet.
If you are a business owner you will run into this type of a wall for sure. It’s not real, just imagined by you. Plan for it. Break it or climb over it. But push through it at all costs and don’t give up
How does this relate to your goals?
Simple, 2 ways.
- if you have done all of the steps outlined in this guide you will be far more likely to push through the wall.
- Knowing ahead of time that you will hit these business walls and that you have no choice but to push through them in order to get success will make you more likely to do so. This is why we are telling you about them.
Step 10: Review and Analyze
Journaling has many benefits .
Journaling about your goal every week will keep it fresh in your mind.
This is something that you need to make into a habit.
Turn the computer off and open up a notebook and think strategically about your goal(s) and the best ways to accomplish it/them for at least 30 minutes a week. Write your key thoughts down by hand. You will be amazed by the benefits .
When doing this exercise jot down strategic decisions, key objectives, possible obstacles and how you will overcome them.
Here is some reality for you. YOU WILL NOT ACCOMPLISH EVERY GOAL THAT YOU SET!!!
By journaling you can track which goals tasks and objectives you smashed through and which ones you failed at.
You can look for commonalities and identify why things worked out in a certain way. This will help you set better goals in the future.
To sum it all up.
Having goals is essential. Simply put you need to be moving towards something to be a happy functioning person.
Make sure that you absolutely positively want your goal. Make sure that it is in line with your values. Make sure that it lights enough of a fire in you.
Once you do this, create a plan, especially plan on how you will deal with obstacles. Make a commitment, best if you tell the world about it. Revert to your goal on a weekly basis. And get results!
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