“Failures do what is tension relieving, while winners do what is goal achieving.” – Dennis Waitley
Setting your life goals is one of the most life-changing thing you can do. During the process of goal setting you have to come clear to answer one of the most profound question:
What do I want from my life?
Many are still underestimating the positive effect that goal setting can have. The simple reason for this is more often than not that they haven’t experienced first hand how it feels to define clearly what really drives them. If done right, goal setting can easily motivate you to take massive action and to grow as a human being.
The Process of Goal Setting
A goal is a future achievement with a timely deadline you can work towards to. And on an even more subtle level we can define a goal like this:
A goal is a thought with commitment to make it real. [Tweet this!]
A compelling goal is something that has a deeper meaning to you. It is the kind of goal that excites you, that lets you grow and the achievement is fulfilling and rewarding. The following is the fastest way I know, to develop real life goals that are personally meaningful. The whole process may take 10 minutes to get out at least 3 compelling goals.
I’ve proven this method to myself as working and I use it that way regularly, at least every quarter when setting my 3-month goals and reviewing my long-term goals. So even if you are pretty good in goal setting, I think to start the process fresh is always beneficial and can produce fresh results.
1. Get in State
First you want to get into the right state to set compelling life goals for yourself. You must allow yourself to dream. There are no barriers. Also forget to be reasonable, just for a moment here, flow high to the field of all possibilities :) Think of it like a child would do. Childs don’t have problems to come up with something that is challenging to achieve from a perspective of most adults.
It is also great to turn on some music in the background that fits the mood. I have a special soundtrack that I love to hear when setting goals and that is Vangelis’ 1492: Conquest of Paradise . It must be something that is not distracting, something more subliminal and best without lyrics (so put your Eminem Album back into the shelf ;))
2. Brainstorm Your Life Goals
Now begin thinking about what would really excite you. You know, the thing that gets a real big smile on your face ;) If you knew you could not fail, what would you start to dream about?
When brainstorming you get ideas into your head and you write them down as fast as you can. It is totally irrelevant if what comes to your mind is possible or not. Forget the “How?” Now we are all into the “What?”, all else does not matter. Especially avoid thinking about what it means or how difficult it would be to get there. We will do this later.
So don’t limit yourself here, get it all out onto the paper or screen.
I found that it works best if you choose important areas of your life to set life goals in, i.e. your body, mind, finances and things, relationships or spirit. Then write everything down that excites you and that you would like to achieve, to have, do or be.
Also and important: select a time-frame. Choose from short-term (3-12 month), mid-term (1 to 2 years) or long-term (3 years to lifetime). You can repeat this for every time-frame. My advice would be to start with 1 year-goals.
Just get it out, no worries, even if it’s total beyond what you currently can do. These can be skills, learnings, things ans all kinds of achievements. Just some examples as an inspiration:
- learn a new skill (like a new language, to play the piano …)
- start your own company
- find a mate
- become a vegeterian
- buy a new car or house
- make a trip around the world or visit a certain place
- earn a certain amount of money
- start to meditate
- lose weight to a certain number
- start the exercise habit
Ok enough examples, you surely have your own ideas :) Brainstorm for about 5 minutes on the area you have chosen.
After brainstorming for at least 5 minutes you now get your results in order. From all that you have written down in the area and time-frame, select the life goals that are most compelling to you. Give them numbers from 1-10 where 10 is the most motivating, that means if you reach it you really made progress towards what you really want in life.
4. Choose the Top 3 Goals
From this list select now the 3 highest rated goals and highlight them. And also determine your number 1 goal. This number 1 goal is the most compelling thing you want to achieve.
Selecting the goals is the primary step to take. Next is now to start bringing them into reality step by step:
5. Set Deadlines
For your 3 top life goals including the number 1 goal set deadlines to when you will achieve them. That means a specific date. This is important because it creates the tension that is necessary to give ourselves the message, that we are serious about our happiness ;)
Now … this was the most important part. If you really did this, then congratulations! You really are among the 3% of the population who have actually written goals . If you work from there and review them regularly you would even step into the 1% of the population who do this. The goal setting is done.
Nevertheless, having goals means acting on them. Now comes the “How”-part of goal setting:
6. Create an Action-Plan
Create an Action-Plan for your number 1 goal. An Action-Plan is a specific list of actions that will lead to your goal. One of the most effective ways is to think from the end: you visualize your outcome as completed and think backward to where you are now. What steps have you taken to get there? Write them down and bring them into a logical order. If you have long-term goals, that process will include parts that are not completely clear and this is ok. Work on your Action-Plan if you make progress and get feedback. But put thinking and energy into it to the best possibly way. I found a pretty good tool in using flow-charts for action-plans. In her book “Wishcraft” , Barbara Sher talks a lot about using flow charts for that matter.
7. Start Now with Your #1 Goal
By all means identify the very first step to take. Now start with this first step from your Action-Plan. It is very important to do at least one step right now and start building momentum on your goal.
If you had difficulties with this little process, then maybe there are some things to consider to free your mind, so that you really become able to use the power of goal setting to the fullest:
- Eliminate mental roadblocks: Free yourself of self-limiting beliefs
- Make sure that you are in control: take responsibility for your life
- Build up on what you really want: Ignite your Burning Desire
If you created a goal or if you want to add anything to the routine, share it in the comments.