Most of us run into many great ideas and read articles or books that have practical thoughts and ways to improve our lives, but how many of us actually take the time to apply any of it? Well, not many.
As far as I can remember, I never really had a life goal that I was pursuing. If I ever had a goal it was usually short-term and I’d usually get bored or lose hope and give up in a few weeks. I have read so many books and watched countless videos on self-development and how to progress in life; how to plan and set goals and achieve them. However, I haven’t ever sat down and collected all those things that I learned and created one big summary that I can actually follow myself.
And I didn’t realize how much my life was lacking until I decided to do just that a while back, and words can’t begin to describe how much my life has changed since then. So, in this post, I am sharing that summary of everything I learned about life goals and how to achieve them.
A dream is a dream.
A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.Harvey Mackay
In my opinion, I see two types of people out there: Those who achieve great things and those who spend their lives wondering (me in the past). And the difference between the two is that one of them took the time to realize what they want out of life and then took action while the other is just living in a hamster-wheel kind of life where they are preoccupied by their routine to the point that they have no clue what they really want out of life; and, unfortunately, most of them don’t even realize it until very late in life.
Why should you have a goal? And how do you choose it?
I believe that there is no greater waste than a life without a goal. Goals give you a vision as to where your life is headed and motivation to keep going and keep getting better. Having a goal helps you make the most out of life and, in successfully achieving your goal, it gives you a sense of pride and confidence.
But what kind of goal should you have? Well, you can have goals in all aspects of life. You can have a goal for your health, your personal life, your finances, your spiritual wellness, etc.
And while it is important to have a goal for every major aspect in your life, it is, also, equally important to realize that it is kind of impossible to do all of them at the same time.
Meaning, if your goals are to be fit, and to be rich, and to meditate every day, and to travel the world, and to get married, and you go ahead and attempt to do all of those things at the same time with an equal amount of attention, thinking you can balance everything, chances are you will either give up completely or, if you’re really special, you will manage to have a mediocre achievement in one, or maybe two, of them.
But in order to truly manage to achieve everything you want, you need to focus only on one or two main goals. Those should be the ones that have 80% of your time and attention. Once you have achieved those goals, or at least reached to a point of confidence that you are well on your way now, you can then move on the next major goal on your list.
And when deciding which goal or which aspect of your life you need to focus on right now, it is best if you ask yourself: which one of them that, if you achieve it, will make achieving everything else easier?
When you answer this question, you will have decided on your goal and you can then go ahead and start working on it.
How do you set a SMART goal?
It is not enough to just have an idea of what you want, to be able to achieve your goal, it needs to be a SMART goal. There are several meanings for a SMART goal, but this is the one I choose to go by:
- Specific (exact target, be as descriptive as you can)
- Measurable (you can easily see or feel the target achieved)
- Action-oriented (has a clear plan with actions you can follow to reach that goal)
- Relevant (be certain it is relevant to you and your actual desire in life)
- Time-bound (has a realistic and flexible deadline)
For example, your financial goal can’t just be “I want to be rich;” however, it can be something like, “3 years from now, I want to have 1 million in my bank account through real estate investments.”
Make sure you also write that goal down on a paper and have that goal in front of you at all times.
To be honest, I’ve always wondered what difference it would make if the goal is on a paper or a note on my phone or just in my head, I mean I already know what I want. But I found that just the simple act of writing the goal and reading it every day makes it more tangible and that makes a huge impact. Because, without even realizing it, everything you do subconsciously leads you to achieving that goal, the more you read it and recite it the more real it becomes in your head.
Live your life as if all your dreams have come true then challenge your reality to catch up.Dan Lok
What happens between setting the goal and achieving it?
After you have a clear specific goal to achieve, now comes the real work. Because there is a huge gap between setting a goal and achieving that goal, and in that gap usually lies the “planning.”
Most of us can get to the part where we decide what we want to achieve and have a very good reason as to why we do; however, the reason many of us don’t manage to achieve those goals is because we don’t take the time to actually plan how we are going to get there.
In order to set the right plan for your goal, you will need to break it down into smaller goals and then set a plan to achieve those smaller ones.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.Benjamin Franklin
Here are 8 steps to follow to achieve any goal you have
In this example, I will have a hypothetical scenario for a financial goal for myself and then follow the steps it takes to create a practical and realistic plan for that goal. I chose a financial goal since it is easier to explain with numbers.
1. What is your major financial goal in life?
I want to have financial freedom where I wouldn’t need to have a job to have an income.
This is the big picture, the ultimate goal, but put in a vague statement. So, I need to be more specific.
2. How to change that into a SMART goal?
By the year 2029, I want to have one-million pounds through real estate investments.
Now this is a clear goal that I can start working on.
3. How do you break down this ultimate goal into smaller targets?
- Ten-year goal: one million
- Five-year goal: 500K
- One-year goal: 100K
- Monthly goal: 8.4K
- Weekly goal: 2.1K
- Daily goal: 300
So I broke that major goal down to the point where I know how much money I will need to make on daily basis so that I can achieve the weekly goal, to achieve the monthly goal, to achieve the yearly goal to reach my ultimate goal.
If I don’t manage to hit the daily goal, I will fail to meet the weekly one and therefore the monthly one and so on. So it is very important that you know how your every day activity is going to contribute to the final result.
4. What are the requirements to get there?
This is where I set a list of all the resources, the skills, the knowledge I will need to be able to achieve these goals.
For this example
- I need to find more ways to make money so that I can meet my daily goal every day.
- I need to set a budget to be able to save enough money for investment.
- I need to establish a few sources for real estate investment.
- I need to learn more about finance, money, and time management.
5. What kind of obstacles may you face along the way?
It is important that if I want to have a realistic plan and have one step ahead is to make sure I study all the possibilities and expect any kind of obstacle, so that when it happens, I am prepared.
The possible obstacles in this scenario are:
- I may not be able to save enough money for investment.
- I may fail at one of the investment choices I put my money into and therefore lose money.
6. What do you need to do to avoid/overcome those obstacles?
After I think of the obstacles, it’s time to study the methods through which I can resolve such obstacles whenever they arise.
- So, I may need to spend more time learning more skills to widen my job opportunities.
- I need to make sure I stick to the budget I set and cut down unnecessary spending.
- Contact people who are more knowledgeable and can help me find better ways to invest my money.
- Do my research before I put my money into any kind of investment.
And, most important of all, I need to accept that eventually there is always a chance of failure in anything in life; so, in the worst case scenario where that happens, I need to take that with a positive mindset to be able to move forward and not be stuck in that one point of failure.
7. Set a schedule
After we set the goal, break it down, study the requirements, the obstacles and how to resolve them, comes the time to put down a strategy to achieve that goal.
Meaning, I need to write down my daily tasks that will lead me to achieve the daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
When setting the daily tasks or my to-do list, it is also helpful to prioritize them. So, I’d think of the most important thing that absolutely has to be done that day. Then ask if I could only finish two things today, what would I do next? And so on, until I have a list of all the important things that need to be done according to their priority.
Here’s a to-do list for our example:
- Work 6-7 hours on writing/design tasks to be able to meet the daily goal of 300 pounds.
- Study 1 hour of Finance course.
- 30 minutes for myself and my well-being (workout, meditate, or interact with family or friends, etc..).
- Pitch for new clients.
- Do research on the investment options I have.
- Read book on time management
I can also go ahead and set the exact hour of day I will be doing those things to be even more organized.
This way, every day I will have a clear idea of what needs to be done in order to get closer to achieving that one ultimate goal. And now I am ready to take action!
8. Share your goal
The last step after I have done all the planning is to share my goal with someone. This could be a family member or a friend (or in my case, a blog, online for everyone to see…) because they will hold me accountable, and this will give me a push to achieve that goal, especially in those moments when things get tough and I may feel like giving up on it.
It will also make it more real, because now it is not just in my head or on a paper on my desk, it is out there and other people know about it too.
This, in a slightly large nutshell, is everything I learned about planning and setting achievable goals for myself.
One last thing to remember:
There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.Brian Tracy
Till next week, happy days!