“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” -Fitzhugh Dodson
Did you know that less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and of those who do less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a regular basis?
This means that as soon as you start setting goals and reviewing them regularly you’ll be ahead of 99% of the population in terms of the potential to become successful.
If you want to accomplish something in life, financial independence for example, and you don’t establish clear and specific goals it’s more like day dreaming than goal setting.
Keeping Apart Goals and Day Dreaming
Ask yourself the following four questions to discern if your goals qualify as goals or if they can be considered as day dreaming. In the examples below I use becoming rich as a goal, but these questions can be applied no matter what kind of goal you want to achieve.
- Is this goal specific? Becoming rich is a dream, and to turn this dream into a goal you need to put numbers on it. Instead of having the goal to become rich, which really isn’t a goal, your goal can be specified as building a net worth of $1 million.
- Is this goal actionable? Hoping to become rich by winning the lottery is a dream. A goal needs to be something that you can take action on, preferably right now. Becoming wealthy through starting a business is actionable.
- Does this goal have a time limit? ”I am going to be worth $1 million one day”, or ”Some day I will go to France”, or ”Some day I will change career”, all of those are goals, but they can be improved. When you set a deadline, that’s when the magic really begins to happen. ”I am going to be worth $1 million in seven years”, or ”I will go to France within three years”, now those are better examples of correct goal setting.
- Is this goal realistic? Building a $1 million net worth in seven years is totally reasonable, but setting the goal of building $1 million net worth in three months is just not realistic. It is possible, but not realistic. While it’s important to not set the bar too high, it’s just as important not to set the bar too low. If you feel scared by your goal but still feel that you can accomplish it, that’s when you know you have set the bar at an appropriate level..
Breaking Down Goals
When setting goals people often start with the big goals, goals that may be spanning several years into the future. To translate your big goal into a manageable plan you need to break the goal down though. Let’s say your goal is to be worth $1 million within 7 years. Then what?
Breaking down your goal into smaller sub goals or objectives makes goal setting more manageable, and this is an important strategy in how to set goals the right way. For example, if you want to write a book within a year the goal to ”write a book in one year” can feel massive. It’s easier to break that goal down into monthly and weekly goals, so your monthly goal might be to finish chapter one, while your daily goal might be to write one page per day. All of a sudden it feels a lot more manageable.
Keeping a Daily Task List
A secret to successful goal setting is to have a clear picture of what needs to be done each and every day to move one step closer towards achieving your goal. A recurring habit among very successful people is that they know exactly what needs to be done when they get up in the morning, i.e. they plan their days ahead of time so they can get to work on the most important tasks immediately in the morning.