January 14, 2016

Personal Goal Setting: A Simple 3 Step Guide

Learn a simple 3 step guide to building your own personal goal setting plan in 10 minutes or less that will help you become a goal achieving pro.

An effective personal goal setting process is one that will help you to materialize the non-existent into the existent, the intangible into the tangible, or as Tony Robbins writes in Awaken The Giant Within "the invisible into the visible". Personal goal setting doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, it’s not. And here, we'll go through just how easy personal goal setting really is.
In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.
Although slightly paraphrasing, it was Robert A Heinlein who once said; "In the absence of clearly defined goals we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia." Simply put, it’s a way of saying, when we don't know where it is that we want to get to and don't stick to a plan for getting there, we let life deal us random events that don't really get us anywhere. So let's put that reality aside and get you onto a path of purpose.

What Will You Learn?

  • How to set your own personal goals through a simple 3 step guide that should take you 10 minutes or less.
  • What S.M.A.R.T goals are. The 3 step guide is designed to ensure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.
  • Two highly effective tips for success that will make you a goal achieving pro.

    Why is Personal Goal Setting Important?

    Since I was 15 years old, I’ve been formally setting personal goals and have done so every year. It’s part of my DNA and it should be part of yours too! But why should you care? Why should setting personal goals matter to you? To provide [you personally] with a definitive answer is virtually impossible, simply because I don’t know your situation. If I did, maybe I could, and hopefully one day we’ll meet so we can have that conversation. For now, though, here are a few points which I hope will resonate with you personally as to why personal goal setting is important.
    • Personal goals are for you: The only person you truly have an influence over in this world is you. The only person who really cares about you in this world is you. The better you’s we have in this world, the better this world will be for it. So consider your personal goals, as a gift to yourself.
    • Personal goals are a declaration: Clearly defined goals, declare to yourself what it is that you want and helps to provide you with a sense of direction for your life. If I (or anyone else) were to ask you right now; what are your top three goals? Would you be able to answer in less than ten seconds? Try it now.
    • Personal goals help you focus: Knowing exactly what your goals are, provides you with a focal point, a destination, an outcome to what it is that you want, or where it is you want to be. To be focused on achieving your goals means to never let them out of your sight, to always keep to your plan, and to be relentless towards getting closer to it every day.

    Personal Goal Setting in 3 Simple Steps

    As any pro personal goal-setter will know, goals should be S.M.A.R.T. That is; Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Results-driven, and Time-bound. The simple 3 step process below is designed to help you establish S.M.A.R.T goals in ten minutes or less. It’s the same simple 3 step process that has helped people just like you, achieve what it is they want and live their dreams. And if they can do it, so can you! So, if you are ready to get started, lock the door, switch your phone to flight mode, and buckle in. This next part is for you, so let’s get started.

    1. Your Goals [4:00 minutes]

    On a new document write down the following as category headings: Development, Relationships, Financial, Things, Contribution.

    Now, write down your goals below each category heading.
    • IMPORTANT: When writing your goals, remember to be as clear and as specific as possible. For example; instead of writing down "pay off debt”" be more clear about what debt (i.e. student loan) and how much (i.e. $30,000).
    • For instance, instead write something like, “pay off my $30,000 student loan”. Much better! Try to put down one to three goals for each category. If you don’t have goals for all categories, just leave these categories out.
    If you need some inspiration or ideas on what you want your goals to be and how to write them, below are a few examples of what type of goals you could write under each category heading.

    Development Goals:

    These goals relate to your personal development. For instance, your personal development goal could be to learn a new skill. Do you want to learn a new language? If so, what level of fluency or proficiency do you want to reach? Do you want to learn to play an instrument like the guitar, piano, or trumpet? If so, what songs or type of music do you want to be able to play? Do you want to become a confident public speaker? Develop your leadership skills in a particular area? Learn a computer programming language?

    Your personal development goal could also be health related. For example, do you want to eat a more healthy diet? Do you want to have more energy? Do you want to be more fit, or run a marathon? Do you want to become better at a sport? What sport is it and, in what way do you want to become better at it?

    Your personal development goal could also be school or work-related. For example, do you want to graduate from high school, college, or university? Is there a college, or university that you want to get into? What type of career to do you want to pursue? Which industry do you want to work in? What company do you want to work at? Who do you want to work with? Do you want to start your own business?

    Relationship Goals:

    These goals relate to your personal relationships. For instance, do you want to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend you can spend time with? Do you want to get engaged or married? Do you want to be a better sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father? Do you want to have better relationships with friends and with the people you work with? Who would you like to meet and build a relationship with?

    Financial Goals:

    These goals relate to your personal finances. For instance, how much money do you want to make? How much money do you want to save? How much debt do you want to pay off? Do you want to be better at managing your finances? Do you want to learn how to budget

    Thing Goals:

    These goals relate to things you want to have or experience. For instance, what kind of things do you want to buy for yourself? Is it a new camera, a car, a motorbike, or a home? Do you want a pet? Maybe a kitten or a puppy? Do you want to travel? Where to? Is there an event like a concert, a circus, or the ballet that you would like to go to?

    Contribution Goals:

    These goals relate to your personal contributions. For instance, do you want to sponsor a child in an impoverished country? Help raise money for a cause? Contribute your own money to a charity? Donate some of your belongings to those in need? Maybe help train a guide dog for the blind? Or, do you want to give some of your time to support a not-for-profit organization?

    2. The Why [5:00 minutes]

    Next, for each of your goals, write down at least one reason as to why you want to achieve your goal or why this goal is important to you.
    • The why is an important part of the goal-setting process, as it helps to convince yourself why your goal is important. The stronger the why, the more you convince yourself it’s important.
    • The more convinced you are about your goal, the more likely you will commit to it. If you are not convinced, then you don’t have a strong enough why. If you don’t have a strong enough Why it’s likely you won’t see your goal through.
    • Spend time writing down your Why’s now.

    3. The When [1:00 minute]

    Next, put an exact date in the future for when you want to achieve each of your goals. For example, "31st December 20XX", Whatever date into the future you put down, before keeping to that date, ask yourself this question.
    • Is the date I have put down realistic? This means, are you giving yourself a reasonable amount of time into the future to reach your goal?
    • Let’s say for example your goal is "to pay off my $30,000 student loan in one year" but in reality, you could only reduce the amount by $1,000 a month which means you could commit to paying a total of $12,000 a year. Then the time stamp is unreasonable and unrealistic. Instead, you either need to review the goal or the date you want to achieve it by.

    Tips for Success

    1. Develop Your Action Plan

    Stephen Covey, author of the book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' states;
    "Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them."
    Remember, you didn’t spend time writing a wish list, you spent time developing S.M.A.R.T goals you have committed to achieving. Now, it’s time to set you up for success. To do that, you need to have an action plan. As the old adage goes if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This simply means, if you don’t have a sound action plan towards achieving your goal, it’s likely you won’t make it across the finish line. And I want to do whatever I can to help you make sure you do, whatever that finish line might be. Besides you’ve made this far already, so let’s do this! Here are some tips you can use to put together an action plan for each of your goals.
    • Act Now: Firstly, for each goal, write down an action you can take right now that will start to move you towards achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to learn how to speak fluent German, your action right now could be to Google search language schools that offer learn Deutsche language classes in your area. Then, to call, make a booking, sign-up online, and put it into your calendar to attend the next available class. Another example, if your goal is to be fitter, stronger, and energized, could be to get out of your chair right now and do five push-ups. Go ahead, try it. The point here is, come up with something simple that you can do right now. Do something that will get your engines going and the wheels turning. Then, continue to build on that momentum.
    • Look ahead: Secondly, think about the road ahead. I mean, beyond the first step you have just taken (or about to take). What are the following actions you need to make, to help you keep moving in the right direction towards achieving your goal? Think ahead as far as you can and write the actions down.

    2. Review Your Goals Regularly

    You've made it this far, well done! You should have a proud document of personal goals before you. Now that you have established your personal goals, it’s important to remember to review them regularly. Just as easy as it is to forget where you left your keys or your phone, it’s as easy to forget what your personal goals are, why they are important to you, and your action plan. To stay focused, to keep your eyes on the prize, schedule in time each day or at the very least each week, to review your goals. Reviewing your goals regularly will help you to remember and stay committed to exactly what it is that you want, why you want it, and your action plan for getting there. If you can partner up with someone or a group of people where you can all review your goals together on a regular basis even better! Remember, if you are truly wanting to achieve your goals, to rise above the status quo, then schedule in time to review your goals regularly.

    See also: The 5 Key Aspects to Forging a Winning Mindset.

    Your Journey Begins

    Remember, you can get to where you want to go, do what it is that you want to do, become who you want to be, have what it is that you want, gain a sense of self-confidence, a sense of achievement, grow self-esteem, and to prove to yourself (and the world) that you can achieve the impossible, obtain the unreachable, and become the untouchable if you commit to achieving your personal goals. Achieving real personal goals, like we’ve talked about here, is the beginning of a journey. A journey that I hope will lead you to success but also a journey with stories to tell, experiences you will learn and grow from, and a journey of your own self-discovery.

    If you need to come back here in the future, perhaps to start a new journey, do so. Henry David Thoreau once said:
     “What you get by achieving your goals, is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
    So make the best of your journey ahead. Whether or not you continue on that journey is now up to you.

    Have you had great success in achieving your goals? We’d love to hear your story! If you would like to share with us, please use the form below to tell us your story.

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