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Strategic Goal Setting

How to Set Goals

Most of us know that if we want to achieve amazing results in life we need to set goals and take the required actions to achieve them. But, in reality, most people will spend more time planning their vacations or birthday parties than planning an amazing life for themselves and their families. I have always wondered why that is the case? Are we unsure about what we really want? Or, have we lost touch with our desires and dreams? Do we dread how uncomfortable it could be to assess our situation and make some changes? Maybe we never learned how to set goals. Or maybe we fear that other people will ridicule our goals or that we may fail.

Regardless of the reason, studies have shown that people with clear goals achieve more happiness, success, and wealth than those without. Some people may just have goals in their mind without clearly articulating them or writing them down. That does work, but it’s much more effective to write goals down on paper and review them regularly. This article will provide some techniques to help you get started.

What do You Want?

Or put differently, what will make you happy? Everything we do in life is either to avoid pain  (something we perceive as negative) or to achieve pleasure, i.e., happiness. But happiness can be difficult to define. So a better measure could be “What excites you”?

What goals are so exciting to you that you can’t wait to get started in the morning? Do you have goals that are so vivid in your imagination that you burst with energy to work on them? Nothing can hold you back from achieving those goals. 

But, it is usually not the goal itself that we seek. It is the process of achieving the desired outcome and the person you have to become to accomplish that goal. For example, imagine your goal is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing on the top of that mountain would feel amazing. But think about the process: the hiking, physical training, research, travel, and people that you would have the opportunity to meet. That growth is really what makes life exciting and worth living. 

Seven Areas of Goal Setting

The best process I have found for goal setting is to focus on the seven areas of your life that I will outline below. This process is part of the material I have studied as a Success Principles Coach.

But before you start, there are some key concepts that will help you achieve those goals:

  1. The goal is specific and measurable (how much by when).
  2. You believe in the goal.
  3. You let others know about your goal (creates accountability).
  4. Has a time limit (when will the goal be achieved).
  5. The obstacle is the way – challenges are natural and part of the process.

Make sure the goal is specific:

Don’t set a goal like: “I would like to own a house by the beach one day.”
Instead: “I will own a 2000 square foot home in Ocean City with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths by July 1, 2022.”

We can set process and results goals. Here are some examples:

  • Result Goal: I will climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro by July 31, 2021.
  • Process Goal: I will exercise at least 1 hour per day.

We can also articulate our goals as Minimum, Target, and Outrageous:

  • Minimum Goal: I’ll climb on 14,000ft mountain in Colorado by July 31, 2021.
  • Target Goal: I will climb Mount Kilimanjaro by July 31, 2021. 
  • Outrageous Goal: I will climb Mount Everest by Dec 31, 2021.

The outrageous goal should be something that will excite you beyond belief and get you jumping out of bed in the morning to achieve.

Seven Areas of Goal Setting

Based on the Success Principles, to achieve proper balance in our lives we should strive for creating goals in 7 areas of our lives. 

  1. Business, Job and Career

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  1. Financial (Income, Profit, Cash Flow, Net Worth, Investments)

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  1. Relationships

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  1. Health and Fitness

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  1. Fun Time and Recreation (Fun, Vacations, Travel, Hobbies, Recreation, Sports)

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  1. Personal (Possessions, Education, Personal/Spiritual Growth, Development, Experiences)

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  1. Contribution and Legacy (Philanthropy, Volunteer Work, Community Impact)

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Here are some examples of goals for each area

  1. Become a fulltime multi-family real estate investor by Dec 31, 2025.
  2. Earn $10,000 per month from my real estate investments by July 1, 2023.
  3. Have deep and meaningful discussions with my spouse twice a week (Process goal).
  4. Exercise for 1 hour 4 times per week.
  5. Go on week-long family vacations 3 times a year.
  6. Master the principles of real estate investing by September 1, 2020.
  7. Start a non-profit to save the wolves in Wyoming by Jan 21, 2028.

How to Make Your Goals a Reality   

Congratulations on writing down your goals. The next step is to schedule some specific action steps that you can take to achieve them.

For each of your goals, write down one thing you can do right now to move towards that goal:

  1. ____________________________
  2. ____________________________
  3. ____________________________
  4. ____________________________
  5. ____________________________
  6. ____________________________
  7. ____________________________

You also need to review your goals regularly, maybe as frequently as twice a day, or at least several times a week. Put your goals on an index card, on your phone, or somewhere where you can review them regularly.

Then tell everyone about your goals. Get an accountability partner or coach to help you keep your goals real and keep you accountable for taking action.

Visualization

To really make your goals seem real and achievable to you, spend some time daily to visualize the outcome you are looking to create. For example, if the goal is to take time for several vacations a year, close your eyes and visualize or think about what that looks like? 

Where are you going? What are the sights you will see? What’s the temperature, what food do you see, who are the people? Imagine the joy your family feels when traveling to a new place. 

Really take the time to let that goal feel like reality. 

Affirmations

Another important aspect of making your goals a reality is to create affirmations that bring forth gratitude and happiness for your goals. For example:

“I am happily enjoying meaningful conversations with my spouse.”

“I am enjoying a strong and healthy body through my daily exercise.”

Write down a few affirmations for each goal.

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Putting it All Together

Now you have your goals, visualizations, and affirmations. 

Write them all down in an easily accessible place, then on a regular basis (preferably daily, or at least several times a week) review each goal, visualize the outcome, and say and really feel your affirmations. 

When you commit to this routine your life will be forever changed and you will start each day with purpose and a desire to work towards your amazing life.