How To Set Goals To Create The Life You Want
It’s the last quarter of 2014 and we all have goals we are trying to accomplish before the years end.
Whether you want to hit your financial projects, launch a project or travel somewhere, it all starts with one thing: setting a goal.
I’ve had a few people message me asking me how do they set goals to create the life they want and I want to give you the exact formula.
I have had so much experience learning different ways to set goals. There is much research and science behind goal setting but instead of giving you an information overload, I want to just give you practical advice on what has worked for me and what hasn’t.
These lessons I am about to share have changed my life indelibly and I want them to change yours as well, insha’Allah.
I have to say upfront, there will be points in your life that you won’t be able to accomplish a goal. That doesn’t mean that the goal is impossible, it simply means you don’t have the right tools to execute the goal correctly. It may be that you don’t have enough understanding, a clear objective or even the resources you need to get to where you want to be.
But if you set correct goals: specific, measureable, and timed goals, nothing will be impossible.
Let’s dissect the various features of a goal:
Step 1: Clarity
You need to know exactly what it is that you want. Many people don’t accomplish what they want in life -not due to luck or misfortune but because they don’t plan for it. If you want to create a life that you want, you need to become deliberate about it. Everything must be planned.
You need to be so clear as to the end outcome that your vision will pull you, rather you needing to push yourself. One issue people ask me about is time management. “How can I better motivate myself to accomplish my goals?” I tell people that they are asking the wrong question. If you know what you want and are absolutely clear about where you are going, you don’t need to force yourself to carve out time. Your goals will be pushing you instead you of pushing yourself to accomplish the goals.
What does a unclear goal vs a clear goal looks like?
Unclear goal: I want to be a blogger. Clear Goal: I will sit down at 10am every day and write 1000 words that I will easily publish on my blog for my readers.
Unclear goal: I want to make a lot of money. Clear goal: I will easily make $150,000 by December 31st 2015.
Unclear goal: I want to travel. Clear goal: I will easily book a flight to Greece on Wednesday Oct 29th through my airline of choice and will have a receipt confirmation in hand.
Do you see the difference? It’s about being clear.
Get in the habit of defining what you want in detail.
In addition, being clear about your goals means that you focus on the process, not the event.
The process is what you have to do to get there. The event is the end outcome.
Committ to the process, not the event.
Becoming clear about this alone is enough to prevent you from quitting and indeed, it is the reason why people quit. I believe many of us look to the ‘end’ and that can only temporarily motivate you. The sooner you understand getting to the ‘end’ is going to be a process of hard work and a slow process, the better.
Step 2: What do you want to do?
In our lives, many of us are searching for our purpose. What am I here to do? What is the ultimate purpose in my life? Being a colored person and a Muslim, there are not only multiple ways to answer this question but multiple factors that become apart of the equation. In other words, it’s not an easy task to answer this question. You are not going to figure it out in one go. In fact, I would dissuade you from trying to even answer such a question.
You will start getting confused if you ask yourself big questions like this. Focus on asking yourself questions about things you can immediately implement. What can do you do now? What experiences would you like to have now? What places would you like to go? What topics would you like to learn more about? And most importantly:
What do you want to contribute to the world before you pass away?
Finding your purpose means experimenting chronically, all the time and never getting stuck in a routine. But the topic of finding your purpose is another blog post that I will tackle in a later insha’Allah.
Start by answering these questions. The key is that you actually have to answer them. These were the questions that started to help me on my path to lifestyle design and they will help you too.
Side Note: Tyrese Gibson once said something that changed my life. He said: “Take control of your life and how you experience things emotionally”. Most of what happens in your life may not be under your direct control. To create the life that you want, you need to look at the different aspects of your life: relationships, health, finance and specific experiences in your life: the daily conversations you have, the way you wake up in the morning, the people you constantly interact with and you need to control how you experience these in your life.
Key: Don’t hold yourself back. Just keep writing when answering these questions:
1. What does your dream life look like? a. What does your ideal financial situation look like(remember, don’t say things like I want to be make millions of dollars. Be specific) b. What does your ideal health/body state look like? c. What kinds of people do you have around you? d. Where are you living? Talk about the how your rooms look like? How do the streets look like? Who are your neighbours? How is your home designed? e. What is your dream profession? What do you see yourself doing full-time? What do you wish to be doing? A full time writer? A full-time entrepreneur? Do you want to own a company? Is your dream job being a travel writer?
2. What is your dream day look like? a. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, how do you experience the world? b. How do you want to wake up? What do you do immediately after you wake up. Do you have a ritual? Is it a health ritual? An incantation ritual? A prayer? You need to control how you wake up to the world and how you are effected by it in the morning. c. What kind of food do you wish to be eating(the kind of food you eat has an enormous affect on your mood and your productivity). Read ‘6 Daily Success Habits that ensure Growth, Happiness and Success‘ by Ryan Moran. d. How do you plan out your day? Write down what activities your ideal life would consist of. Make sure to note that everything you are doing is feeding into the larger goal of what you wish to contribute in life.
It’s called lifestyle design for a reason, you are the one shaping how you interact with the world and only interact with the world the way you want to.
If your life isn’t the way you want it to be, it’s because you are allowing those things into your life. You are where you are in life because you choosing to keep yourself there.
Action Step: Once you write this down, for a solid week just keep reading this to yourself over and over again.
Step 3: What do you need?
To start creating goals you will need the following:
- A Journal: Most studies on the habits of successful people will almost always note that they journal. Journaling is not just a way to get your ideas out, but helps you map your life. When you physically write down your goals, it is as if you are manifesting them into the world in physical form. Another key observation is that I feel that when you journal, you are actually accelerating your life. You are able to keep track of your thoughts, learn and implement them at a faster pace than if you don’t write anything down.
- A Calendar: OH DEAR LORD, why didn’t I start scheudaling earlier. My pro tip: Scheduale everything. Scheduale your damn life. Use your calendar religously. Plan out your days. I would start by simply plotting important dates to get some momentum and just keep adding. You can’t accomplish your goals by keeping everything in your head.
- An Education: To set proper goals, you need to keep your own self-development at the forefront. Committing to a life of self-development will allow you constantly set better goals. The only way to refine your decision making skills is to continue to refine yourself. I would recommend starting with Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar.
Step 4: Start with Why?
What is driving you to accomplish your goals? When you write down what you ultimately want to contribute, start with why.
Is it for your family? Is your freedom? Is it hating where you are currently at in your life? Is it the powerful vision that drives you?
Believe me, there are days where you will not be able to get out of bed or even go to sleep out of the sheer amount of work you will need to do. If you do not have a strong enough reason to wake up in the morning, creating the life you want will be difficult. This is hard. Not impossible. But it’s hard.
So write down in 3–4 lines, WHY the goals you set are so important to you.
Step 5: Working backwards
Now that you have a clear vision of where you want to be, the key to accomplishing your goals is working backwards.
Per year, write down the following:
1. What goals you want to accomplish for that year. Don’t overwhelm yourself but I would pick 5–10 goals that you feel you wish to acheive for that year. Imagine the year is closing to an end, what would you have wished you accomplished.
i.e. I will start my own non-profit organization dedicated to helping empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries.
2. Analyse how each goal will be bringing you closer to your ‘Master Vision’ for your life.
ie. My goal of starting a non-profit organization will contribute to my passion of supporting the economic development of women and will lead me to more opportunities with which I can help more women create successful businsses.
3. Figure out what you need to do every day to get closer to your goal. If it doesn’t bring you closer to your goal, don’t do it.
ie. Month 1: Registered my organization formally and wrote up a clear planning document outlining the vision of my org. Month 2: I spent every day looking for appropriate team members and board members. Month 3: I put together, designed and launched a website. I worked everyday to create hype of the launch and get it into the hands of many people etc.
Step 6: Setting a Timeline
Time is a valueable asset that you need to account for. You need to understand how to create a time-frame to appropriately calculate how long it will take you to accomplish your dreams. You don’t have forever to become who you want to be. You need to figure out where you want to be, by when and then work backwards to get there.
For 10 years goals, think about what you wish to be within that period of time. Who do you wish to be?
For 5 year goal, think about where you wish to be within that time period?
For your 1 year goal, think about what does your life look like?
For today, ask yourself: What do I need to to today to get to my 1 year goal?
What I normally then do is break down my goals for the year into month goals and write down what I want that month.
Working backwards is another way of saying, set short term goals. Those short term goals will help you figure out what you need to do next.
Alternative Method 1: ‘Dream Line’ concept by Tim Ferris, author of the 4 hour work week
If my method doesn’t work for you, then use this. Personally, this hasn’t worked for me but don’t listen to me unless you’ve tried it for yourself.
His premise is:
Step 1: Every 6 months and every 12 months determine what you want to have(material items), what you want to be(example: fluent in Chinese) and what you want to be doing(example: backpacking through Europe).
i.e. I want a Range Rover
Step 2: Figure out your TMI(Target Monthly Income). What do you need to be making to make that happen(hint: a lot cheaper than you think). Then divide that amount by 30 and that is your TDI(Target Daily Income).
Step 3: Write down the answers to the following for each part of Step 1:
Steps to take today: Make a list of dealerships in your city and give them a call to book an appointment Steps to take tomorrow: Go and test drive the car you want Steps to take the day after: Determine how much you will need to pay off the car, exactly how long it will take you and where you will get the funds from and budget accordingly.
Alternative Method #2: RPM(Rapid Planning Method)
In summary, Tony Robbins, a prolifiic peak performance coach developed a Life Planner to take any idea you have and make it real. It will help you with creating extraordinary results.
“When somebody has attained an extraordinary life, they have found a way to maximize their resources; their time, their physical energy, their health, the people they know, and the concepts they’ve learned. They’ve learned to not only maximize what’s available to them, but they’ve also learned to maximize their level of enjoyment.” -TR
Step 2: Once you go through it, you will have a clear understanding(or at least start to) have a clear idea for the results you want and a massive action plan to get there. With Tony Robbins, it’s all about taking massive action towards your goals. If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not important enough of a goal.
I can probably take you through other goal setting methods such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done which is much more complex and sophisticated. They are all incredible and amazing but these are what I’ve tried. My 6 Step Method works best for me and is an amalgation of different methods I’ve tried over the years. Please don’t settle on what I’ve done until you’ve figured out what works best for you.
Comment below if you have any questions or concerns or need me to help you clarify your goals and give you any advice you need. If this has benefited you, is there someone else you feel it can help too? Send it over to them!
I really want to see people taking ownership over their lives and making big impact with their life and vision. But it can’t happen until you have goals to get to that vision. So get started!
Originally published at hodansibrahim.com on October 25, 2014.