„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.
Awesome infothanku Mr thum
Great advice on goal setting! You may want to check out our goal setting app called http://GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate. What’s more, it provides 30 top goal templates that are ready to use.
yes it is very important to set you goals
I am so glad and it reminds me to review my goals.
But, I would like to ask you how can I regularly keep track on it? Because sometimes I feel scare to see it as I didn’t complete it on deadline set.
I will be waiting to see your reply through my email :)
Myrko, I haven’t used your method, but I am going to try it this week. My father sat me down, when I was 10 years old, now in my 40’s, to list goals for my life. I have literally completed every goal. At 10 years old I decided I wanted to be a scientist (I’m an Engineer), I wanted to make $X dollars (achieved last year), I even listed the kind of car I wanted to have (I’ve owned 4 BMW’s), I wanted to have my Master’s by the time I was 40 (I received it at 35) and where I wanted near the water (I live in an apartment with a river below and Lake Michigan in the background). At 10 years old! Sadly, after I finished my goals, I literally didn’t know what to do. I’ve been drifting feeling like I don’t know what to do with my life. Now, I’m on a mission to make a new list and see what happens.
I can attest to the power of goal setting. It works! I urge that not only you do it, but do it with your kids as well. Then keep the list, remind them of it, and then give to them and allow them to live by it. It truly works. And the sky isn’t the limit, the universe is…..
I thank God for giving you this knowledge and for you to share it with us online. God richly bless you Mr.Myrko Thum. In fact I have been struggling for several years just know how to set my life goals, which will be very effective. It was not taught effectively when i was in school. So I only do that with my mouth and thats all without putting it on paper. Last year, I try my best to do it but the devil prevented me. I believe this year i will be able to do it through Christ our lord, base on what i have learn here today .
Never knew how to set a goal and stick to it. I have been trying to find a way of doing things different for my life and kept asking myself where do I start and how do I do it. I knew what I wanted just didn’t know how to get there. So glad I came across this,much thanks to you for sharing.
What I have learnt from your article is goals competing the same time. I am a man full of ambitions but one of my weakness was that most of my goals in a year were competing the same time . What I have learnt is, if they are competing for the same time, I have to focus on the top most. Thanks a lot. It will really help me.
Great Article, Actually I have been looking for some best goal planner from last 3 months but after reading your article I don’t think so that I’ll need a planner because your article is enough for me. Really its a great and very useful article for setting up a goal in a life.
Always right plan,right direction,right people,right idea,realistic goals and dreams and persistence lead to massive success in life.
I’m a huge advocate of goal-setting. Napoleon Hill from the book Think and Grow Rich said that „Goals are dreams with a deadline.“ Like you’ve mentioned, goals need to be very specific, prioritised and needs a deadline.
One interesting perspective that I’ve stumbled on about goal-setting was that, if goal setting is not done correctly, it oftentimes do more harm than good. Many of us who are „conscious“ and strive to be best read articles, books and attend seminars dealing with the ideas of goal-setting, having a clear vision, purpose and even follow the laws of attraction (etc). But once we start to slack off, fail to achieve one or more goals, we experience failure and small moments of mediocrity.
We soon get burnt out, thinking that we’re not good enough. Losing faith, self confidence and losing the intention of goal setting in the first place.
Just thought I would share this with you and your readers, nonetheless, I’m a huge fan of goal setting and your website :-) Thanks for sharing!
Nice to see this wonderful site
Great article! I especially liked the suggestions of thinking like a child and setting the mood with some music! I was quite surprised that only 3% actually have written goals, wow! I wrote 11 tips on how to achieve your goals without fail here:
Read it over and let me know your thoughts! Cheers to goal-getters!
I know right
tell me have you done Time of your life by Tony Robbins and his personal power 2.
Do you use both of them for setting your goals and visions?or only the above goal setting exercise to come up with your life goals
No this is more my own approach to setting life goals. I use this system, embedded into yearly and monthly planning sessions.
I’m following your plan and I have a question. Once I have my three goals, and my primary goal, is the idea that I focus on the primary goal and leave the other two until later, even if I feel like doing something on them, or they are more convenient to work on?
Angela, that depends on the 3 goals. If these are in 3 different areas, for instance you have a business goal and a health goal, you could work towards them over the course of a day. I.e. you could follow your business goal during working hours and follow your health goal (something like reaching your ideal weight of X) before or after work.
But if your top 3 goals are competing for the same time-frame, i.e. your have 3 business goals where you have to decide on which one you have to work on over a day, then I’d suggest to focus most of your resources on just your 1 top goal.
Kindly advise me on this. If I study a concept while I am drunk, I remember it forever and if I study while I am sober, I am unable to concentrate on the subject and tend to forget what I study. It’s a bit strange thing I’m undergoing. Any reasons of mental blockage while I am studying being sober? I have no clue why this is happening inside me.
Very interesting your approach of setting clear goals. I have been trying to set more than ten goals every year with no success but through your approach I expect this year and then I am going to do well.
I enjoyed reading about your goal setting process, especially the tip on music .. Vangelis :). I have an app on the Apple app store that avid goal setters may find useful. It’s called Jutsu and it’s a simple tool to help you set & track your life goals. Its a bit more visual than checklists. Hope you like it.
Outstanding writing.. Its very helpful and I liked it.
I have a long-term goal since I was a kid, and now I’m 24 years old … I never worked on that goal, and now I’ve decided to start (even though I thought it is maybe too late), but don’t know where to begin…
My goal is to become rich. I set myself a period of 5 years.
The problem is that I don’t know how to do it, how to start, what to learn, where to start, what would be my first step…and I really don’t care how I do it, and what job that’s going to be, I just want to become rich…
I was born in a poor environment and I don’t know anyone around me who is successful or rich and who could help me with some advice or experience, to show me some direction, because I don’t know anything about business… All the people in my environment live average lives, and are generally satisfied with that, and if not, they never tried to change it, never risked , and they blamed the economic situation in the country, the world, etc…(and they taught me so)…but I want more, I want to have enough money to travel the world, to help people around me, and people in need of financial assistance, and also to work when I want and how I want (it may sound like I’m lazy, but I’m really not, I just want to have some time to enjoy life the way I want).
Basically I have a problem with an action-plan…for a couple of months im trying to find out what type of work I want to do, how to do it, but it seems to me like i’m not making any progress at all…
Sorry if my English is not good :) Thank you!
Awesome Jimmy! Thanks for letting me know, that’s cool.
„The Impossible List“ is possible for you, just because you could imagine it, which is the first step in making anything a reality.
Hi Myrko, I come across your post via the FB status of my friend, and I have to say this post helped me a lot for setting my goals. I’ve just made my first goals list and planning to finish it all. I called it is „The Impossible List“. Thanks, again.
@J.W.: This has probably one of the following reasons:
1. you feel the responsibility and commitment of the work that is involved to go from where you are to where your goals will take you
counter: go baby steps and don’t try to do it all at once. focus on your one most important goal only (if that helps)
2. you feel restricted by the path any goal gives you, so you fear losing flexibility, creativity, even freedom
counter: realise that with any goal you set, you still keep full power to change course in an instant, if that is necessary and the better way – Don’t see the goal as a restriction, rather as a flexible guide to keep yourself focused on where you want to go
3. and this is more subtle: you may feel the fear of success. that may sound weird, but we as humans are weird sometimes :) There may be an internal question arising: what if I reach all this? wouldn’t that make my life so much more complicated, stressed etc.?
this may also include the fear of failing and not reaching your goals
counter: your life is not necessarily getting more complicated than it is now. you will grow with your goals. that’s the great opportunity you have with goals. The goal is not only about reaching it, but also who you become along the way.
You can also simplify along the way. Here are three great follow ups, that may help you here:
– The Simplicity Guide to Live a Simple Life
– How to Focus Your Mind: Develop a Laser-Sharp Mental Focus
– How to Create Balance in All Areas of Your Life
I don’t know what I’m doing to cause it but every time I try something like this I fill overwhelmed and very stressed out, panicked.
That’s a good guide as well Anthony. I would probably go in more specifics what that exactly means – and I’m sure you have that for you.
I would also always ensure to get into a emotional peak state before setting goals — things look different then and dreaming big and creative comes naturally.
Great article and contributions in follow-up comments, in particular on the harmony needed to get flow towards your goals. I use those 3 steps to keep me on track:
– Make sure I am going to work towards the right things, which are “true” to me (that’s your harmony reference)
– Make sure I have the necessary relentless focus on meeting those goals,
– With the focus on those goals, make sure I was completing them in the most efficient manner.
Last one is, Have fun!
You extract the 3 most important and compelling goals from all life areas, so you just have those 3 for now. Then also identify your #1 overall goal.
The reason is, the more goals you set, the less likely they become to get realised. You need to focus your energy.
What you can do is set 3 short-term and 3 long-term goals. That way you are compelled to take immediate action as well as have a vision for your — say 5 years ahead — future!
Really nicely put together website. Right on to the point. I think I have never truly set goals and my life has been everybody elses life. I really am sick of it where it has lead me and I want out. I have one question about the goal setting. You said that it better to set goals for your important life areas. If I have 7 life areas, will I have 7×3=21 main life goals or just total 3 extracted from all the life areas.
Awesome article about goal setting! The crazy thing is that so many entrepreneurs don’t even bother to set goals when it is very important to have a vision for what you are trying to achieve in my opinion!
There are two things that make achievable goals happen.
The first and necessary step is to get in harmony with your goal. This means you have to be aligned with what you want to achieve. It’s not enough to „only“ really want it, you have be in harmony with it too. And harmony doesn’t mean softness or esoteric, it means you have to become the person for which the goal comes naturally: build the skills, think the thoughts, have the friends fitting your goal. Otherwise there would be a conflict and it would show. Your life will ALWAYS reflect your inner state, which means your inner belief-system and your most dominant thoughts. If you move yourself to harmony you will probably encounter blockers and beliefs you want to change.
The second thing are the mechanics: you have to build a plan from beginning to end and then start and do the first step.
I would work on those two things. And it’s also important to break the belief again that you won’t get them. You have to want to believe otherwise.
And I would look at the specific reasons why the goals were not achieved and look at new ways around that. As I said the most important part is the 1st step: harmony with your goal. You have to be/become the person that naturally attracts your goal.
Three followup reads that could help:
– Self-Reflection: How to Do It Right
– Are You Asking the Right Questions?
– How to Change Limiting Beliefs
In theory it’s imposable to happen every time but if I set a goal that’s farther out than a couple of days. That’s as close to a guarantee that it will not happen as you can get. Naturally when I tell people this they say it is a negative attitude and that thinking like that will make it not happen. And they are correct however I used to not have that attitude but after so many failed attempts I don’t know how it is possible to have another attitude about it. It used to destroy me when such things I was counting on would fail. I had such a failure in June and I am not functioning fully yet, close but not there. I was totally convinced my plan would work. I could watch it like movie, I could feel it.
In a way though it was very helpful. I learned with complete awareness: that there is no god there to help and that the only logical conclusion to Jesus is Jim Jones. There is no other place for jesus but Jim Jones.
Actually focusing on this lesson makes me realize the whole deal was a complete success. I feel grounded, serene. safe.
However, i still can’t do goals.
farouk, nice to have you here. :)
its my first visit here and surely it wont be the last
amazing post :)
thank you for sharing
Important to remember, failure is not a loss but simply a failure to win and you have learned something new and perhaps come closer to a victory.
I have realized it is somewhat hard to get motivated if you do not set goals (or deadlines) for yourself. For example, I want to get some p&ss& badly, but I have not had a date in over two months. In order for me to get girls I have to initiate contact and ask them out, even if that means leaving my comfort zone. If lets say, I set a goal to ask atleast one girl out a month, that would be a good motivation, don’t you agree?NO GOALS=NO MOTIVATION
I have to say that a lot of times, I just do things to relieve tension or stress rather than doing it to achieve goals. Maybe if the goal itself is creating the tension in me, I am being productive but it’s hard for me to take extra initiative is what I mean.
I’m a Novice to goal setting, so I’ll have a go at short-term goals at first. Being a teenager (16 years old) that’s the best I can do ;)
Have all good luck in achieving your goals :)
One of the best things in my opinion you can do for yourself is to always make sure you are taking action and following up on where you really wanna be. Its way too easy to say a goal, without actually working towards that goal. I know I’ve made that mistake in the past too.
Success is defined by many in so many ways. Many people define it by what the have yet to attain or by what others have attained. In the pursuit of success we often prostitute ourselves to many things we would eventually live to regret. We run miles down one street only to find we are completely lost.
Great post! Good choice of music…long time I didn’t hear 1492. Thanks for reminding me!
I perfectly agree with all points and their sequence. It’s exactly the way I go about it…from brainstorming all possibilities to narrowing it down, prioritizing, choosing, setting deadlines and acting. Of course, I must say that the most difficult step for me is often #7. It’s that final leap from a good plan to doing it now.
Michaela, great quote! I really appreciate Brian Tracy and his outstanding work to communicate the importance of goals in Personal Development. He teaches very useful stuff and I read some of his books and listened to most of his audio-books.
In the bestseller „Goals!“, Brian Tracy teaches you how to identify in the clearest terms the things you want out of life, then how to make the plan to help you achieve those things. Brian Tracy says there are four reasons why people don’t set goals:
Make a habit of daily goal setting and achieving, for the rest of your life. Focus on the things you want, rather than the things you don’t want. Resolve to be a goal-seeking organism, moving unerringly toward the things that are important to you. (from the link http://www.lifemastering.com/en/harvard_school.html)
I learned that focusing on few but big goals clearly is very effective. If there are a lot of goals then possibly that aren’t really goals but 2do lists. Or otherwise it is likely to get overwhelmed or frustrated or both :)
I personally like to set and write my goals into a word-document that I called Goals-Journal. I rewrite some regularly if I have done one goal. Good list, keep up posting :-)
Really great list, I have set several goals over the last years. Usually I set around 10 or more. Maybe I should focus more on 3 goals. I usually only achieved about half of them, and another half of those achieved not by my deadline. I’ll try your approach now, thanks.