We know from some extensive research on goal setting that most people make a New Year’s wish instead of a resolution. Most of them don’t even write it down, and then most of them give up by the middle of January or so. However, there are a few successful goal setters—around 1%—who resolve to do something different, and then actually do!
Proper goal setting requires commitment to your dreams. It gives you a road map to follow, allowing you to focus your efforts on the right thing at the right time, and holding you accountable for progress.
If you are committed to succeeding in 2016 and want to do something about it, then follow these 6 steps to a perfect goal setting plan for this year and the rest of your life.
1. Write Your Personal Mission Statement
Simon Sinek told us to start with “why” in his Ted Talk, and that also happens to be our advice here at Sandler. Mission statements work for companies, because they define the what, why and how for direction. Take 10 minutes a write a personal mission statement for your life. Why are you here? How do you do what you do? How do you do that better or differently than anyone else? What is that that you are trying to accomplish with your life? Then see if you can boil that down to a mission statement.
For example, my mission statement is “To empower lifelong learners and ambitious entrepreneurs.”
2. Create a 10-Year Projection for Your Life
Next, most people find much easier to figure out how to get somewhere once they know the destination. Take another 15 minutes and picture your ideal life 10 years from now. If everything goes your way, what would your life look like in 2026? Describe your life in as much detail as possible and include different areas of your life like work, family, finances, recreation, social-life, physical, spiritual, and education.
Many people find it scary or difficult to set goals because of the time pressure. When you focus 10 years out, you will remove some of the time-sensitive boundaries, which you place on what is possible. Just dream for a few minutes. In 10 years, almost anything is possible.
3. Picture it on Your Vision Board
The idea of a vision board or treasure board is not new either, but it works. Take 25-30 minutes, to do a Google Images search for some of the main items on your 10-year projection. Save those images or print them of to make a collage of you ideal life and the people and things in it. Just visualizing these things will increase your likelihood of achieving them.
The visual reminder of your goals will reinforce them each time you look at it, so make it your computer desktop background, or hang it in in spot where you will see it daily.
4. Set SMART Goals for Each Area of Your Life
This is where it gets a little difficult and most people give up, but let me ask you—what do you think the chances are of you actually doing all the work necessary to accomplish a goal, if you are not willing to take 30 minutes to organize it and write it down?
SMART Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Each of these elements add to the motivation of the goal and your chances of actually accomplishing it.
- Specific means you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
- Measurable means you can track your progress towards the goal.
- Achievable means it is something tangible that you can actually check of the list.
- Realistic means the goal can be accomplished within a reasonable time and within reasonable effort and circumstances.
- Time-bound means you have set a date and time for its completion.
- Saying you want to take a vacation is a well-intentioned dream, but not a smart goal. A SMART goal would be something like, “I will save $2,000 and book a vacation to San Diego by June 1, 2016.”
It is also important to have daily, short-term, and long-term goals. Daily goals give you small actions you can take to make progress. Short-term goals give you milestones to hit along the way, and long-term goals help you keep your focus on your vision board and 10-year plan. Take something from your vision board and break it into goals you can do this year, this month, and today. This will take you closer to your SMART goals.
Finally, you will want those 3 goals for each life area. So, take 30 minutes and write 24 goals, a daily, short-term, and long-term goal for each category: work, family, finances, recreation, social-life, physical fitness, spiritual, and education.
5. Create a Cookbook for Success
Think about what a traditional cookbook is for a minute. A cookbook is a collection of recipes, which allow you to recreate dishes, consistently. Each recipe has the ingredients, steps and temperatures for each dish.
The most important step in accomplishing your goals is to create a cookbook for your success. Your Success Cookbook should have 8 chapters corresponding to the 8 areas of your life discussed above. Each chapter has at least 3 goal recipes, one for each of your daily, short-term and long-term goals. Each goal recipe should include the resources needed to accomplish the goal including time, money, and other assets. The goal recipe should also include the steps, timing and energy required to accomplish the goal.
Once you have goals broken down into your cookbook for success, following each goal recipe should be the easy part. Just take the actions required according to your plan.
6. Work on the Beliefs & Attitudes Necessary to Achieve that Success
There is one final step needed to ensure your ultimate success, and that is dealing with your attitude. Sometime people get derailed on their dreams because they fear failure or success, or maybe they don’t believe success is possible or that they deserve it. Your attitude and belief in yourself and your goals is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Other research show that only 1 in 9 people are born optimistic, and for most people, 85% of their daily thoughts are negative. Chances are that at some point you will find yourself talking yourself out of your goals. Maybe you didn’t want it anyway? Maybe it's too hard? Maybe you have bad luck, a bad marketplace, or the competition messed you up? It is easy to rationalize any excuse and give up on your dreams, so to combat those negative attitudes, we recommend a daily dose of positive beliefs.
Take 15 minutes and write at least one affirmation for each of the 8 categories. This new positive belief should support your goals, and they should be:
- 1st Person, Present tense – I am, I have, I believe, I speak, I live, I eat…
- Short – Short, single sentence are easy to remember and recite like mantras.
- Positively Stated – You need to use go-to phrases, not away-from phrases. You will want to focus on the positive and where you are going.
- Emotionally Juicy – Emotional words trigger your brain to pay attention. Make sure your new attitudes are not boring. Spice them up with juicy words like love, abundance, excitement, lavish, extravagance, or even ridiculous.
Example: I am a strong, confident leader empowering ambitious employees.
We have a Sandler Rule, “You can only perform in your roles consistent with how you see yourself conceptually.” Which means, you will only accomplish your goals, when you believe you deserve them. What matters most is how you see yourself and your expectation for the results coming your way.
If you have read this far, chances are, you have something in your life that you would like to change or improve. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait. Take action and start building your plan for a better life and business today. No one is going to pick you and say it’s your turn to win—you have to choose yourself. You are not going to get closer to your dreams by waiting on the sidelines. Don’t wait another day, week, month or year. Design your ideal life and start living it now.
Another great way to ensure your success is holding yourself and your team accountable for those goals. Learn how in our book, Accountability The Sandler Way, By Hamish Knox.