We all have great dreams in our lives, but without setting them into a plan of action, they will never evolve into reality. By setting a goal, you will be able to take that dream or idea into reality. To assist you with turning your dreams or ideas into something more, we created this simple guide on how to set goals to get you started.

HOW TO SET GOALS

What's In This Article?

WHERE TO START

What can goals do for YOU?

Goals Create the Future Today

To get started, first let’s think about what a goal really does. In essence, a goal gives you the ability to take control over your life and create your future. What does that mean exactly?

Well, by setting a goal today, and later taking action and accountability, you will be able to work your way to achieving that dream. It all starts with taking that dream and writing it down. 

A goal sets the end point on a map to guide you forward into the future

As David Allen once said “The great secrete about goals and visions is not the future they describe but the change in the present they engender.” 

If You Can Dream It, You Can Obtain It

Did you know everything in this world has been designed twice, once in the mind, and second in reality?

Anything you see, hear, touch in this world was first created within the mind.  Each achiever had to believe it is possible first before they could bring it to reality and create it.

You have to imagine yourself achieving that goal and then believe it can be achieved. The best method is to begin visualizing what it would be like to achieve your goal and how it will make you feel. Dreaming up your goals allows you to become your own visionary!

For an entrepreneur, this could be dreaming up a the latest innovation for a new tech giant, or something smaller such as getting initial funding to start their business. The most important part is they are creating within their own mind and believing it can accomplished.

In a more general context, athletes, movie stars, presidents, and anyone who has accomplished anything first had to imagine themselves achieving their goal, believe it can be accomplished, and later place a plan taking action to bring it to reality.

Create Your Life

The best part of creating a goal is exactly that. You get to make it up! You have the ability to decide what goals you would like, and you decide if you would like to go after them.

An important point here is you create your goals just like you create your life’s journey. Thus, in other words, you make up your goals based on what you desire most! 

Tell A True Lie

Another way to look at goal development is telling yourself a true lie of what you would like to be, or how you would like people to view you.  

By lying to yourself that you have already achieved that goal, you are able to create a vision and later live into that vision.

When you believe in a version of a higher self, you begin to live into that self.

EXAMPLE

Think Like Arnold

An great real world example of how imagining and then achieving, let’s look at Arnold Schwarzenegger who said:

"I am going to be the number one box office start in all of Hollywood."

At the beginning of his movie career, Arnold explained how he would do that by creating a vision of what he wants to be and then live into that vision as if it were already true. 

Arnold then went on landing years of blockbuster movie roles, becoming governor of the state of California, and continually achieving his goals.

LET'S BEGIN!

How To Plan Your Goals

As you may have heard before, Warren Buffet and many other great inspirations have all said similar things, make a list of all the goals you want to achieve in the upcoming future from most important to least, and when completed cross off everything but the top five.

Following this advice is great for a start as it gives you focus on the most important goals in your life, and it prevents you from becoming goal diffused. Unfortunately, this simplified process does not seek clarity and create an organized balanced lifestyle which is necessary to focus on life as a whole.

Instead, the best approach on how to set goals is to seek balance by focusing your list into three main areas.

3 Areas To Focus Your Goals

Below are the 3 areas of focus you should use when developing your goals. The approach here is to create a balanced life style with clear targets you are seeking for yourself. 

If one area or another is focused on more, your life will end up leaning in that direction causing you to miss out on life’s overall enjoyment. 

These are goals that directly impact your personal life. Things such as skills, learning & knowledge, overall self-improvements.  

Some examples of personal development goals:

  • Working on a relationship
  • Learning a new language
  • Improving your overall health and wellness

These are goals focused around your career and financial dreams. Work & Career goals are aimed at more quantitative areas for improvement. 

Work / Career goals are things like:

  • How much money do you want to make a year from now
  • Getting that promotion, and the time you will take to get there
  • Getting your business to be profitable

Fun and Relaxation Goals are things that focus on your ability to unwind and enjoy life. After all, life is not all about work and personal development, it is about what makes you happy. If you aren’t happy, you will never have proper balance in your life in order to focus and stay on track towards success. 

Fun and relaxation goals are things like:

  • Where you would like to travel to on your next vacation
  • Getting that new car, boat, or other toy desired
  • Buying a bigger house or vacation home

Triangle Example

When you are developing your goals, it is best to think of them as points on a triangle. Each point covers one area of focus (Work, Fun & Relaxation, Personal Development). Your goal is to create an equilateral triangle symbolizing symmetry and balance in your life. 

If one area is focused on more than the others, your triangle will pull in one direction causing an imbalance within your lifestyle and leading to overall unhappiness.

EXAMPLE 1

Balanced Life

Balance of work, fun, and personal development = Success

The equilateral triangle represents a balanced life where all key areas are equally managed.  Here you will be able to excel towards success while having equal focus and balance in your life.

EXAMPLE 2

Imbalanced Life

All play and no work & development will make you fall behind

The above examples show an imbalanced life where focusing too heavily on one area will cause another to fall behind.  This can be seen in work and family life with overly worked employees, or individuals who only play and never achieve their goals.

START WRITING!

Let's Get Started!

Now that you understand the structure, let’s take action and begin writing down our goals. 

“A goal without an action plan is a daydream"

Your Past Does NOT equal Your Future

As you get started, it is important to remember you are the product of the choices and decisions you have made up until today.  If you are unhappy with your life today, that is based on your past thinking, past decisions, past relationships, past influences, and any other areas of your past. 

A key word here is PAST and not FUTURE

Your past does not equal your future.  Instead you can change your future at any time by changing the way you think and all other areas of your life will follow. 

What is real in your life is based on what you have achieved in the past. What becomes real in your future is what you set yourself to achieve.

Think Unrealistic and Dream Big

In order to change the way you think, you can no longer think realistic, but instead think unrealistic.  Thinking realistic is based on you PAST experiences and past thoughts while thinking unrealistic opens the mind to higher achievements of places and things you have never obtained before. 

In order to set your goals, you must think with the unrealistic and get yourself inspired. Motivate yourself to believe anything is possible.

Try listening to motivating music, go for a run, and get your heart excited. Motivate yourself to create yourself! By thinking anything is possible you will achieve results. 

With an unrealistic thinking approach you will be successful. Think of the example with Arnold Schwarzenegger above by creating that vision, and living into it!

Now it is your turn.

Seek Clarity

As you begin to think about your goals, many thoughts will come to your head. When you begin to develop your wants, needs, and desires it is important to place focus on what is it you truly desire out of life.

To assist you with seeking clarity, below are some suggested questions to guide you in the process.

Questions To Guide You

When you begin writing down your goals, focus on each of the three areas that balance your life (Personal Development, Work, Fun & Relaxation). Ask yourself some common questions that aim to what you want most in life.

Answer questions such as:

  • What do I want most in my personal life/career/relaxation?
  • Where would I like to go?
  • What do I want to become? 
  • Is there anything I want to change?
  • What do I want to have?
  • Is there anything I want to do?
  • How much money would I like to make?
  • What do I want to contribute towards this world?

How Do You Want To Be Viewed?

If you are seeking some additional help identifying your goals, ask yourself this key question: 

When I die, what do I want people to say about me?

This question is asking how would you like to be remembered. What impression would you like to leave behind? What do you want people to say? Or if you only had 30 more days to live, how would your priorities change?

This question should help you think about what you want to become, do, accomplish, and be known for on this world. What you think of here will help guide you on what goals to write down.

This question is inspired by the book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Remember, your goals can be anything you desire most. They can be simple or they can be complex challenges. You set them, and can accomplish them.

Overall, it is up to you to use your imagination and create your future. Become your own visionary for your life!

All Goals Must Have Deadlines

When planning your goals it is essential to apply a timeline.  An easy method for setting your goals is to list out short term and long-term goals.

With this approach you can focus on the immediate, while working towards the bigger picture. Overall it is much easier to focus on the smaller task that build up to the larger end goal. Start with the stepping stones and work your way up!

To assist with planning your goals, here is an example layout you could follow:

Without a deadline, Parkinson’s law and procrastination will take over. 

Instead, it is best to give yourself accountability by setting a deadline allowing you to stay on track to accomplish your goals. 

With this in mind, you have to understand what is actually achievable by setting a realistic manageable timeline and hold yourself to it. You are your own boss of your life here. Only you can decide if you should be promoted or passed up with the rest.

Parkinson’s law – “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.  

This means a project, task, or goal will take the full amount of time you allow for it.

As you hit each small victory, the great long-term goal will become closer and appear more obtainable. Keeping yourself on track with the small wins will encourage yourself to continue with the challenge gets harder.

Additional Challenge - Stretch Goals

If you are up for adding an additional level when setting your goals, add a challenge by creating a stretch goal. A stretch goal is when you take your current goal and expand an additional target to reach.

For example: A goal to read 50 books in a year, the stretch goal would be to read 60 books. Another would be to push to increase your sales quota by tenfold, or take your goal of making six figures and making it six and a half figures.

Overall, the stretch goal allows you to see that you can go above and beyond your initial goal. The concept here is thinking big and accomplishing more than you thought you could previously. 

Leave with Excitement

Lastly if you are not excited after you have completed writing down your goals, then you MUST go back and do this exercise again.  You must be able to walk away feeling like a kid again with all new dreams wants and desires.  Get yourself in a state refusing to take anything less. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

What's Next After I Wrote Down My Goals?

First great work writing down your goals! If you do this every morning or night, it will naturally become a habit and later you will be teaching others on how to set goals.

As for next steps, once your goals are written, you now need to create a plan using your timeline and then follow through by taking action. Overtime you will accomplish your short-term goals eventually working your way up to achieving the long-term goals. 

Nothing happens all at once, but you can make a significant amount of progress when taken in small steps!

As Albert Einstein once said, “nothing happens until something moves” – So take action on your plan and turn your goals into reality.

LEARN MORE!

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more great materials to assist you on how to set goals and develop yourself further, here are some suggested resources to check out.

by Brian Tracy

Written by one of our inspirations and mentors, this is only one of many of Brian Tracy’s books we will recommend here. 

By far, this is a great book to assist you along your path of development. You will find some helpful insights in here that will help guide your path in life forward. We hope it brings you as much value as it has done for us.

by Zig Ziglar

A legend when it comes to personal development, Zig Ziglar will always seek to inspire you over an over again. 

This book we actually recommend getting the audio book version so you can pick up on all of Zig’s humor. It is a joy to listen to this book and will open your mind with great common sense we all should have known by now in our lives. You will enjoy this one!

by Stephen R. Covey

This is a must read if you are looking to develop yourself further. Stephen Covey does an excellent job of of approaching life’s problems with a principle-centric approach. 

This book will help you on developing your goals as well as simplifying your mindset to give you security to adapt to change and provide you wisdom and power to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. 

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