Setting goals can be tricky and I have always felt myself losing track of what my goals were and how I was faring. About four years ago my friends and I found a great way to set goals for the year and we achieved all of them which made me very excited about future goals. So what did we do?
Step #1. Categorize – you are not one dimensional.
It is important to identify areas of your life that is important to you and that you want to improve. Once you have done this it becomes easy to list goals specific to that category. It is also important to have these categories as you will find out that one will have an impact on another. This might not seem very obvious at first, however you will soon realize at a later stage how they all fit together.
How do you choose categories?
We decided to look at our basic needs and to expand from there. This included:
- Physical – Health
- Financial – Wealth
- Social – Relationships/Family/Friends
- Spiritual – Mind & Soul
- Career – Job
This worked well for the first two years and as I achieved my goals I decided to expand my categories to even better suit my current situation. Currently my categories are:
- Health – Fitness & Nutrition
- Wealth – Personal Finance & Financial Freedom
- Social – Relationships/Family/Friends
- Spiritual – Mind, Soul & Mastermind
- Business – Entrepreneurship & Legacy
- Personal Development – Self Improvement & Education
These categories are best suited for me at this point in time. Maybe at a later stage I will add more as I evolve and grow.
Question: What are your categories? Please drop a comment below.
Step #2. Review – be honest with yourself!
Before you look forward you first need to know where you are and where you have been. This is extremely important as your future goals need to catapult you forward and thus you cannot be doing the same thing as before if it is not working for you.
Looking at the various categories you need to make a quick list of what you are currently doing that is working for you and also not working for you. It can be a real eye opener when you put yourself under the magnifying glass and you will be surprised at how much you find out about yourself doing this exercise. The most important part is to be honest with yourself. Only then you will be successful at this!
An example of doing a quick review is to look at a category such as health. Ask yourself, what am I doing right and what I am neglecting? You might say that you are doing regular exercise, but you are not drinking enough water or eating right. Make sure that you write down all these points as they will become your foundation for setting your goals!
Question: After doing a review have you discovered that you are doing something that you were not aware of? Please drop a comment below.
Step #3. Goal setting – be realistic, don’t overcommit.
Now for the exciting part! The goals that will change your life! I can’t wait! Let’s do this! Yes it is a great feeling to set goals because in your mind you are already there. You can see yourself with that 6 pack, driving that new car, running that marathon, however don’t get too hyped up and not do the work. Many people fall into this trap. They talk about their goals every year and you can almost repeat after them. They sound like a busted record and you just don’t believe that they are serious. Don’t be that person. Be realistic and don’t overcommit!
You want to set goals that you can reach. Why? It will give you a great feeling when you achieve them and you will believe that you can do more! This is why you need to set SMART goals:
- S – Specific & Significant
- M – Measurable & Meaningful
- A – Achievable & Action-orientated
- R – Realistic & Rewarding
- T – Time-based & Trackable
Some goals should have a shorter estimated time of completion than others which will motivate you to go for the next and the next. There is no point in overcommitting as you will just build up frustration and quit before you even got started. By setting SMART goals and reaching them you will also start to realize what a badass you can be if you just take it one step at a time.
Now its time to look at your review that you have completed and set goals that will match the areas you want to improve! I would advise three goals per category to start with. Again make sure that you physically write them down. You can also type them on your computer, however I would advise you to later print them and put it on a wall where you will be able to see it everyday.
Goal setting is not enough though! The next step is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of achieving your goals.
Question: Have you set a goal that you couldn’t reach? What did you do to overcome this? Please drop a comment below.
Step #4. Habits – the secret sauce!
This is what brings everything together and helps you not just achieve your goals but to maintain them moving forward. Habits make us and break us! Some people say that it takes 21 days to develop new habits or to break bad ones. I have found that while this can work I would not suggest just counting down the days. Track them yes but aim to continue beyond the set amount of days.
What is a Habit vs a Goal?
The Goal is the end result (what you want to achieve) where the Habit is the journey (how you will achieve the goal). Habits can also be seen as small daily goals you can easily achieve. Yes, easily achieve. They are not groundbreaking and life-altering to the naked eye, however keep doing them and you will start to see a drastic change in your life.
When my friends and I were setting our initial goals four years ago I was unemployed and didn’t have any direction as to what I wanted to do. With the right habits in place I not only found a job, four years on and, I have grown to be head of department at the company I work for. Thats the power of great habits.
An example of combining a goal with a habit:
Goal: “I want to read at least 10 books this year.”
Habit: “Read 10 pages every day.”
Soon you will see that you will start reading more than 10 pages a day and you will achieve your goal in a much shorter time! Again, be realistic and don’t overcommit. Start small and do more as you grow and develop!
Question: What habit have you developed that drastically changed your life?Please drop a comment below.
Step #5. Patience – have fun and enjoy the journey!
Asking are we there yet, are we there yet can become very frustrating and irritating. So don’t focus on the end goal all the time! Breathe, relax and enjoy the journey. Focus on one step at a time. Enjoy every moment. You will slip up! You will miss a day! Don’t let it get to you. This is not a race and not a competition. Just focus on your habits and try to do them as best as you can. You can track where you are in relation with your goal on a bi-weekly or monthly basis but don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
When you reach your first milestone you will feel absolutely great and you will realize that you not only can do this, but you are doing this! Each step forward is a victory so just keep taking those steps and enjoy every moment!
Question: How do you deal with situations where you need a lot of patience? Please drop a comment below.
Step #6. Celebrate – reward yourself!
Reward yourself for reaching a milestone or achieving a goal! What I like to do is to combine a little gift with certain goals. I do not know if this is ideal but it has worked for me. This could be things like a new watch or some gadget like a GoPro. I make sure that they are significant too! For example I use the GoPro to film all my outdoor activities and they become memorable videos that I can watch to remember a great day I had with loved ones!
This is only one form of rewards and this is where you can become very creative! As long as you are not deterring from your goals by splashing a lot of cash if your goals were to save a certain amount of money for example. Again it is important to have fun with this!
Question: How do you reward yourself when you have achieved a milestone? Please drop a comment below.
Step #7. Repeat – categorize, review, goals, habits, patience, celebrate…
Now that you have a formula just repeat the process. You will develop your own strategy in time and you will see what works and what doesn’t. The most important part is that you keep moving forward, enjoy the journey and that you celebrate all the victories along the way.
At the end of each year my friends and I also checked in with each other to see what we have achieved for the year and this ads some extra motivation as you don’t want to be in the same spot as the year before. For me its important though to remember that I am not doing this for my friends and although they serve as monitors I don’t look at them as motivators.
Question: Do you think sharing your goals with others is a good idea? Please drop a comment below.
Thank you for reading this post. If you liked this be sure to like, share and comment! 2017 is your year! 🙂