A goal is a destination. All of your dreaming, planning, and working is for the purpose of helping you reach the destination. In this article, I am going to share with you 5 simple steps for goal setting. Setting the goal is the easy part. On a personal level, it is not hard to say, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” It is easy to say, “I want to save money for a vacation.” A businessman might say, “I want to increase sales by 20% this year.” Goal setting is important, and we can help you with that. However, even more important is reaching the destination.
A favorite poem by Edwin Markham says,
Ah, great it is to believe the dream
as we stand in youth by the starry stream;
but a greater thing is to fight life through
and say at the end, the dream is true!
Without a doubt, there will be some things that do not go according to plan and there will be obstacles to overcome. You will have to make adjustments along the way. What is important is that you reach the desired destination.
I remember my first time to visit Washington D.C. My last day there, I needed to be at the airport on time to catch a flight home. I was using the transit system, but I boarded the wrong train. I had to make a course correction, but it was clear because I knew my destination (my goal). The key to success in goal setting is to never give up on the destination…even when something does not go according to plan.
Brian Tracy wrote a great overview on goal setting in his book Flight Plan. He uses an analogy of a flight to explain the process of goal setting for personal success. Most flights will be off-course but they all reach their destination. Along the way the pilot has to deal with turbulence, crosswinds, storms, and lightning, which force him to make adjustments throughout the journey. That’s exactly how in real life goal-setting works. You know your destination and you work towards it, but inevitably you have to make adjustments along the way.
This is where time management comes in. Your time management skills will determine how well you adjust and thus how fast you will reach your goals. Remember, productivity is the time you spend working towards your goals. When you make adjustments, are they aligned with your goals? For most people, knowing the destination is not the problem. What holds most people back is charting the destination, making the right adjustments, and sticking to it.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to make sure you reach your goals. In fact, you can break it down in five simple steps.
- Determine what you want to achieve.
- Break down how you will get there.
- Write it down.
- Make it stick.
- Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your goals.
1. Determine what you want to achieve
This is the easiest part of goal setting. Just ask yourself, “What is it that I would like to achieve within one year?” One year is enough time to make a big goal a reality. To make it easy for yourself, stick to one big goal. If you have no clue where to start, pick one goal in one of the following areas of life:
2. Break down how you will get there
After you have determined what you would like to achieve, it gets more challenging. This is also the step where most people fall off the bandwagon. How are you planning to make your goal a reality? You need concrete steps to get to your destination. To fly from point A to B, you need to know the route. The same idea applies to goal setting.
A lot of people have the goal of becoming “a millionaire”, but then have no clue how to become one. Or someone wants to have a body like Zeus but is clueless on what to do. That’s why new years resolutions do not work, because it is just wishful thinking. You need clarity (one of the essential productivity mindsets) by having the steps outlined.
Figure out your game plan. Start with the end in mind and break down backward the steps it takes to reach your goal.
3. Write it down
To go from wishful thinking to actually achieving your goals, you need to write down your commitments. You have to tell your brain that you are serious about this endeavor by making it think there is an investment level. As humans, once we have invested into something, we hate losing our investment and we will do anything to keep it. By writing down your goals and steps, you have clarity but also you’re telling your brain “Hey, see, this is important to me and I’m investing in it so let’s not drop the ball on this.”
From my experience, writing it down on paper or on a whiteboard gives a stronger effect than typing it. So write down your goals and steps.
4. Make goal setting stick
The destination is known, the map is clear, and the route is defined. All you have to do now is stick to the game plan. Unfortunately, this is another hurdle for most people that end up quitting on achieving their goals. The big key here is to keep reminding yourself of the goals you want to achieve. That statement is worth repeating.
Keep reminding yourself of the goals you want to achieve.
This is the process you want to keep up because it gives you the momentum to keep going. Motivation is a limited resource but it can be fabricated to help you stay on your path. Reminding yourself every day helps with this process. In fact, make it inevitable so you get reminded every day of your goal and you can do that by setting up your environment. Here are five tips to help you making it stick.
- Setup motivation pages. Look at these every day. If you want to be a real Efficient Asian, you make it part of your morning ritual.
- Surround yourself with the right people that align with your goals. The closest people to you have a major impact on your productivity. Make sure they are conducive to you. Many readers accomplish this inside our productivity community, The Dojo. Sometimes it’s hard when we don’t have others in our family or life who have the same level of focus. It helps to be with your people, and online communities can help here.
- Create your ecosystem that is aligned with your goals. Your environment, besides the people, also help to make it stick. See #8 of our 10 essential productivity mindsets.
- Create a desktop background on your laptop or computer with the desired outcomes.
- On your whiteboard (if you don’t have one, you should get one), write down your big goals.
Setup your environment so that it is inevitable that you will never lose your eye on the prize. This does not take a lot of effort but will dramatically increase your chances of succeeding.
5. Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your goals
How do you make sure that you will reach your goals? Work on them every single day. Yes, every single day. No matter if it is only ten minutes or two hours. Work on your goals every single day so it is inevitable you will get what you want. Use the compound effect in your favor; the earlier you start, the bigger the changes become as time goes by. And the more time you spend working towards your goals, the faster you will achieve them. If you want to be an Efficient Asian, you make them your most important tasks.
That is really it to goal setting. Implement these 5 simple steps and you will get what you desire. Let me ask you this, what are some of your goals you want to achieve? Leave a comment behind and we will help you achieve them.
Did you like this? Then you’ll love our free Asian Efficiency training. It’s completely free and we’ll show you our top productivity hacks that helped us save hours. Sign up here for the next available time slot.