Many have been talking about the new decade and what they’ll become, how they’ll change, and how they’re going to be totally different persons than they were just a few weeks ago… And yet, how to make it happen? How to change?
If there’s no action, there is no change.
How do you take action towards more money, more time, better relationships, a better you? How do you close the gap between the person you are today and the person you can be?
It all starts with goal setting.
Think of goal setting not just as something to accomplish but as a direction towards which you want to take your life. It’s the first step out of the comfort zone.
Today, you, that’s your comfort zone.
Setting a goal is looking outside of your comfort zone, it’s staring at an uncomfortable truth in the eye: to be better, you need to take some actions towards it.
Reaching the goal is not necessarily the point. It’s the person you need to become to achieve that empowering goal that matters. It’s the positive habits you need to build to get there which count. You need to know where you’re headed in order to get there. You will certainly be somewhere in 5 years, but where will that be? If you don’t set goals, you will eventually become somebody. Still, you’ll let other people, events, the weather, the economy, or other excuses making that decision for you.
To start, you have to set aside at least an hour. It’s not much, but it’s crucial for its completion that you take the time to reflect.
If you don’t have the time now, save the link and come back later when you have at least an hour time to dedicate to this. As somebody wiser once said, if you don’t have one hour for your life, you don’t have a life.
Goal setting works better when you write things down with a pen and paper. The practice of handwriting being better for reflecting is backed by science. I personally like it because you only write down what you must and therefore concentrate your effort on the uttermost essential.
Finally: you don’t need to be perfect in HOW you set goals. Don’t worry if your goals ridiculous at first or if they seem impossible to reach. Goals need to give you a direction. They need to help you set up empowering habits. You can check back on your goals every few months and see how’s going and if you need to change or add anything. Don’t worry if it’s the first time. We all suck the first time at anything. We’re looking for positive outcomes, also if you fail to reach the ultimate goal. Losing 5 kg instead of zero is already a positive outcome, even if your goal read ‘7 kg’.
Pen and paper ready?
The 9 steps to set your goals:
- List 30 to 50 goals — Time to get excited! Include anything you want to do, be, and give. Health, financial, career, relationship goals. Include everything you desire most from life. Make it specific when possible. Be creative, the sky’s the limit.
- Put a realistic but optimistic date next to each. Your options are 6 months, 1 year, 3 and 5+ years. — How long would it take to reach them? Pro tip: Check the 3-years list once again. Anything that could maybe fit into one year? Sometimes we underestimate what can happen in 12 months.
- Pick 5 to 10 goals up to the 1-year mark and circle them. — These are this year’s goals. If you have a journal, write every goal to a new page as a title. We’ll fill the page in a sec. If you don’t have enough 1-year goals, think of intermediate smaller milestones you can accomplish in 12 months that will help you reach your 3 or 5+ years goals.
- Under each chosen goal, write a strong WHY. — Why is this goal important to you? It needs to have enough reasons for you to get excited each day, enough passion you will cherish the extra hours required to achieve it. Write one paragraph. Why do you want to accomplish this goal? How will your life change because of it?
- What resources do you already have to get to that goal? What resources do you still need? — In the next paragraph concentrate we want you to realize that you most likely have everything you need to achieve anything you set your mind to. Most of the “If I only had this…” are excuses. We can guarantee you that many reached the same goal you just wrote with fewer resources than you have right now. Find a way for your current resources to work at your favour or figure out a way to get what you need.
- What kind of person do you need to become to achieve that goal? — In the past, you missed opportunities because you couldn’t be that person you need to be now. What fears do you have to overcome? Write down what scares you but most importantly, write down about the new person you’ll be once you’ll reach that goal.
- Now write the names of 3 to 5 people who can advise you. What would they tell you? — You might know them, they might be your peers, your mentors, or people you never met but admire. That’s right, you don’t need to know these incredible and helpful individuals. For this to work it is enough you think about them and imagine what they would tell you. Write down one advice per person.
- What are some of the steps you need to go through to get to your goals? — Write a map with milestones that’ll help you close the gap from today to next year’s you. As many steps as you can, write down what you can for a few minutes.
- Finally, take one step. RIGHT NOW. — Set the calendar alert, send that email, make that phone call, throw out that junk food. Whatever it is, take that one step right now. Don’t wait for Monday to start on your goal. Your new life begins when you take action. Take the first step.
The first step is the beginning of a new life.
During the next few days, you don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to have the best trainer or the ultimate app. You shouldn’t run 10km right away after a year with no sport. Adjust on the way. Get better slowly. As James Clear says, just a 1% better every day compounds over time and you’ll close the gap without noticing you got that far.
Get rid of all excuses (“I need this”, “I am not that”) and take action. If you look back and think about the last months, what opportunities have you missed? What parts of your potential have you not tapped into because you didn’t know where to go?
With goal setting, your journey begins.
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