People who set goals in life are more likely to get what they want. The reason is simple. When you set a goal, you are devoting your attention to some future state you want to create. This focused attention is what allows you to navigate the bombardment of choices and information that come at you each and every day. Instead of getting caught up in the minutia of day to day living, goal oriented people are able to focus on the actions that are going to get them closer to getting what they want.
The key to attaining your goals lies in how consistent you are in taking action. If you take consistent action towards your goal, you will get results. Most of us fail not in the goal setting but in the follow through. It’s easy to get motivated to work out in January but can you maintain that same focus and motivation come February and March? For most of us, the answer is no.
But all is not lost. The method outlined below is simple and will take you about 10 minutes to complete. This process assumes you already have some goals written down, if you don’t, then check out this article to get you started on identifying your goals.
My rule of thumb is to have no more than 5 goals, and no more than 1 goal for each core area of life (Family, Friendships, Finances, Career, Health). The reason for this is simple: if you want to produce excellent results, you have to be focused and single-minded. If you have 20 goals, you are going to be distracted and your focus will be splintered.
For those of you who love to type, I am going to make a request that you go old school and get pen and paper out for this one. Studies have shown that handwriting stimulates the reticular activating system, which filters information. What’s interesting is when this area is activated through handwriting, it actually helps you focus more on what you are doing. If you are interested in learning more about this topic check out this Lifehacker article.
Step 1: Write your goal on the top of a page.
I WILL _________.
I Will is a powerful statement, it’s not a wish or hopeful desire, it is a statement that you will create this.
Examples: I will save $10,000 by the end of 2016. I will lose 50 pounds by the end of 2016. I will be promoted at work by the end of 2016
Step 2: Identify your WHY
Asking why is the most powerful question you can ask. Why do you want to make more money? Why do you want to start a business? Why do you want to have a thriving relationship?
On the same page, you are going to simply ask Why is this goal important to me? Give at least 5 reasons why this goal is important, one of them will really stand out.
Step 3: What routines will make this goal a reality?
What prevents most people from accomplishing goals is the overwhelm. There is so much to do that we never get started. Instead of focusing on all of the tasks, I want you to ask the question in a different manner. What are the routines that if you established, would make this goal a reality? In other words, what are the core actions that if you repeated over time, would lead to the result you want?
Below is an example.
Goal: I WILL have $10,000 in savings by the end of 2016
Why: My pursuit is for freedom and financial freedom is the most important area that will have a positive impact on my life. Having savings will give me more peace of mind and freedom in making decisions. I will feel more secure. If something happens I know I will have some money to get through it.
How: What are the routines that will make this a reality?
- Saving consistently
- Monitoring and Tracking Expenses
- Generating More Income
If you listed more than 3 routines then you need to refine it. Pick the top 3. A way to help you refine your list of actions is asking the question: What action, if done, would make everything else easier to accomplish?
So from the above, it seems that saving consistently, monitoring and tracking expenses and generating more income would have the biggest impact on reaching the goal. Now, generating more income is too broad and abstract. This needs to be refined. Repeat step 3 until you identify a clear action you can take. It may be working a few hours on Saturday at the office to help you get a promotion. It could be getting a part-time job on the weekends.
TIP: Stay big picture when thinking about the actions, think in broader terms and list whatever comes to mind.
Step 4: Create the actual routine based on the actions.
You now need to identify the most basic action and figure out when and how often you are going to do it each week. Staying with the same example above, the first action you are going to address is saving consistently.
How do I set up a routine so that I save consistently? Automatic transfer to savings account based on my pay periods.
TIP: Always have your savings account at a different bank than where your checking account is. This makes it more difficult to access your savings and will help you spend less.
How do I set up a routine to monitor and track my expenses? Spend 5 minutes before bed reviewing your transactions for the day and write them out. For example, if you spent $10 at 7/11, then write it down.
TIP: Print a monthly calendar out and tape it to your mirror or in your bathroom. Before bed write your expenses for the day on the calendar.
How do I setup a routine to generate more income? Put more hours in at work and get a promotion by going beyond your paycheck. Take on projects not assigned to you to help out other team members.Look at ways business can cut costs or generate more revenue and share ideas with manager. Ask your boss how you can improve. Get a part-time job. Sell stuff you don’t use anymore
Step 5: Put it into practice and Review Your Goal Sheet Each Night
The way you accomplish any goal is by taking consistent action toward its attainment. You need to remind yourself of your goal every day and more importantly, consistently take action towards your goal. A good rule of thumb is to take action towards your goal at least 4 out of 7 days, even if its only 5 minutes.
Before bed each night read your goal sheet, this will continue to focus your thoughts and attention on your goal and the actions you need to take.
Remember, your goal should serve as a compass to guide your actions. Start thinking of your goals in terms of the routines you can establish. This could make a huge difference in the results you get.