Day 34: Goal Setting
Some people tell me that I have experienced a lot of success in my life. I understand that this “success” is the result of goals that I set in the past. I once wrote down that I would be a “world class computer chip architect” within four years, and that’s what I became. I also had a vision for the kind of life partner I wanted, and I wrote it down on a whiteboard, and that’s what I now have. I have dabbled in goal setting for most of my adult life. Sometimes I would write down a goal, and then I rarely looked at it again.
Recently, Cindy and I started reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I have been aware of this book for many years, but I never got around to reading it. Perhaps due to the shift caused by meditating for two hours per day over this past year, or maybe because of the more recent space created by my lifestyle challenge, I decided to read it. We have been listening to it chapter-by-chapter while eating together, while traveling by car or on planes, and sometimes while just sitting or lying down learning together.
We’re listening to the audible version, and we’re completing one chapter at a time, frequently pausing the playback and discussing how it relates to our lives. As well as listening to the book all the way through, we are also working on a specific chapter at a time in more depth. At the moment, we are focused on principle 7: Unleash the Power of Goal Setting.
The first step in setting goals is to decide what you want. This means listing all the things you want forever into your future. It’s the bucket list for the rest of your life. All the things, experiences, and relationships you currently want. What you want will change, but this is a brain-dump of everything you want right now. Then for each goal, you make it as specific as possible and you also make it time-bound. Then add an explanation of why that goal is important to you. You must constantly suspend disbelief about whether these goals are achievable and also suspend considerations about how they may or may not be achieved. You then write each goal onto a three-inch by five-inch index card. Then two or three times per day, you review the goals, feeling what it will be like for that goal to become reality.
This process has been liberating for Cindy. She lights up when she is allowed and encouraged to list out everything that she wants from life, and every way that she wants to contribute and give back. It’s like she’s been plugged into a power source. She has already created over seventy index cards, and has a lot more goals on a list that she still needs to create cards for. She gets energized every time she reviews them.
I notice that when I write out my goals, and review them, they tap into an inspirational energy inside me that I am confident will change the course of my life over time. When we make our goals conscious, concrete, time bound, and relevant, and when we review them regularly, it primes our minds to take the actions, and to notice the opportunities, that will lead to the fruition of those goals.
We review our goals once in the morning before writing morning pages, and once again in the afternoon or evening before meditation. This has the added benefit of bringing our stuck places into those two forms of therapeutic practice so that they can be worked through and integrated. I realize now that this is the same kind of goal setting that I have used successfully earlier in my life, but now I am doing it with much more consistency and at scale.
I challenge you to write out all of your goals, one per index card, and review them two or three times per day. Welcome to the journey with us.