Self Improvement: The Secrets of Goal Setting: A Framework and Strategies that Work
Ah goals, that thing everyone sets at the beginning of the year and forgets about until 50 weeks later. We all have goals and dreams, but what separates the guys that accomplish them and the ones that don’t?
A study done by Dominican University on goals research that found that users in their sample only committed 43% of their goals if they just “thought” about their goals. Another group included techniques such as writing down their goals, creating an action plan, and giving accountability with a friend, allowed them to complete 76% of their goals.
Before we get into goal setting, it’s important to know your values and where do you want to be in the future. Take some time and imagine your perfect life a few years from now. Do you want to travel the world and work from your laptop? Do you want to move up in your company and focus more on your children’s growths? If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’re just going to end up running in circles.
Goals are personal. Set ones that ignite your soul and wake you up each day with a purpose.
My Goal Setting Framework
There are hundreds of ways out there to write down your goals. The method I use is one my friends from Dubai taught me a few years ago. It’s simple and it works.
Organize your goals into 3 categories: Have, Accomplish, and Experience.
Have: Things you want to buy
Examples: Macbook Retina laptop, BMW 335i, a House
Accomplish: What do you want to accomplish?
Examples: Run a marathon, lose 10lbs, start your own business, make $500 a day profit
Experience: What do you want to experience?
Examples: Travel to a World Cup, go to a Tony Robbins Seminar, Two chicks at the same time
Next we’re going to break the goals down into different timeframes. I use 3 months, 1 year, & 3 years, but feel free to adjust it to your own needs.
It’s better to start off with your long term goals and then work your way down.
No fancy tools needed. I use Mindmaps to write out my goals. Excel’s is good as well. You could always write them on a big white board and hang them in your office.
I’ve made an example mindmap of goals for you to look at. John is a newbie who reads CharlesNgo.com and wants to be an internet marketer full-time. Something fun I like to do is add in images as well to help with visualizations.
You can do it!
Characteristics of Good Goals
Appropriate Time Length
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates
You want a $10,000,000 net worth? It’s possible within 10 years. Within 1 year? Probably not.
What helps me achieve big goals is to break them down into small ones. Want to run a marathon within 3 years, but you’re horribly out of shape?
Run a 5k, then a 10k, then a half a marathon, and then a marathon. With each step you achieve, you become more motivated and your confidence builds.
Specific and Measurable
Bad: I want to be Rich
Good: I want to have a net worth of $500,000 within 3 years
Bad: I want to be Skinny
Good: I want to lose 10 pounds within 3 months
You want goals that are measurable and not subjective.
Don’t Set Too Many Goals
I notice people are too ambitious once they start setting goals. You’re not going to completely change everything about your life within a year. It’s better to set a few goals and achieve them, then set too many and nothing gets accomplished.
Small goals means small actions, and small thinking.
When I first started internet marketing in 2007, I set a goal of making $10,000 profit within 6 months. I asked myself how confident that I could achieve this? Very. I realized it my goal wasn’t big enough because it didn’t scare me so I made it ten times bigger. $100,000 profit within 6 months.
Big goals meant I had to take big action that I had to make changes. I increased my thinking, my work effort, and the time I put into this. 6 months later I destroyed that goal and quit my job. If I had set a small goal then perhaps things would have been different.
What you can achieve is limited by only your beliefs and your efforts.
Turning Goals into Action
Anyone can set goals, but what turns them into reality are your actions.
If your 3 month goal is to gain 10lbs of muscle, then develop an action plan over the next 3 months. What do you need to do daily and weekly?
An example is to eat 3200 calories over 6 meals a day, lifting weights 5 days a week, and sleeping around 7 hours a day. Once you have the action plan, make sure you follow through everyday.
Goals without work are just dreams.
Your Goals Will Change
My goals have changed over the years. When I first started, my “have” column was twice the size of everything else. I just wanted to buy, buy, buy. A few years later my values are a lot different and now my “Have” column is empty.
Material possessions just don’t motivate me like they use to so I choose to focus more on accomplishments and experiences. Sometimes you’ll find goals that you set in the past don’t matter as much anymore, and you have to set new ones.
Maybe your goal is to travel the world in 3 years, but then you end up having a kid very soon. Your priorities are now different so don’t be afraid to change your goals.
Achieving Everything You Want
I’m 28 and I’m further ahead in life than I could’ve ever imagined when I was 18; it’s because I wrote my goals down and I’ve work at them everyday for over a decade. Have I achieved everything? Fuck no. But I’ve gone further than what I thought was ever possible.
The problem people have with achieving goals is there’s no guarantee that their hard work will pay off. Trust the process and focus on the journey. There is no guarantee your work will pay off, but your chances are 100x higher than sitting around doing nothing.
Life may not be fair, but you can always shift the odds in your favor. Create your own destiny, don’t let society or others choose what you should do with your life.