The importance of setting goals
YOLO. So worn out yet so true. You do only live once and it is your job to make to most out of it! Think about what it is you want in life, what will make you happy? Like I explained in my previous post, for me it was freedom, this was my ultimate goal (or as I’ll specify later, my purpose).
When you don’t know what it is that would make you happy, what passions you might have, you will have to get as many experiences as you can. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Who knows, jumping out of a plane might be the one thing that will make you happy. Finding what it is you want might take time and a great deal of exposure to the world. It was only by jumping in feet first, backpacking and discovering new cultures that I found out this kind of freedom was really what I longed for.
Strive for success
Once you know what you want, you will have to strive to be successful at it. Being successful is not something you need to shy away from. Needless to say success will be different for everyone. For some it might be having a growing career, for others it might be being the best parent to their kids.
Just remember, someone’s else’s success will not take away from yours. Success is not a commodity, it is not scarce. Instead of being intimidated or jealous, be inspired. Let other people be the examples of what is possible. Make sure your own goals are big enough too! Make them worthy to attain. Shoot for the moon and you’ll be sure to land on the stars! Your goals need to be important enough that you’ll review them on regular basis. If you don’t feel like evaluating and adjusting them every once in a while, then they will not be meaningful enough to get you motivated to accomplish them. Remember, successful people don’t just review their lives on New Years, they continually self-evaluate and change accordingly.
Your goals need to be specific and on different time frames (both short term and long term). The shorter term goals will then act as stepping stones to reach the long term ones. Think about all the things you would like to achieve in 5 years, what you would like to achieve in one year, and what you would like to achieve in the next couple of months.
These can be in all areas of life, they can be career wise, family oriented or just fun goals. For me, my goals concerned things like real estate, investing and trading, but also health and relationships. Be sure to make your goals process oriented. When you focus on the process instead of the end result, you won’t reach a ceiling once you attain the goal. Instead of saying something like I want to spend more time with my family, say, I will take my family out on a fun activity once a week.
Find out your why
Setting goals alone won’t do it. You will need motivation, determination and commitment to actually achieve them. Finding out your why will do the trick. Think about why you want to accomplish these goals? Once you have a purpose in life that is in line with your goals, you’ll find it much easier to work towards them.
Your why might concern someone else. Maybe you want to be able to take care of your family. It might also be for yourself. Maybe you want to create a legacy. Your why might also have a more general purpose. Maybe you just want to give back. Neither are right or wrong, the most important is just thinking about it and figuring it out.
For me my purpose is twofold. On the one hand it is the freedom. Earlier I classified freedom as my goal, which it also is. However, seeing that freedom is so general and it doesn’t have an end date, I would rather see it as part of my purpose. Freedom to go, do and be wherever, whatever, and whoever I want. On the other hand, I also want to inspire and motivate people. Whatever I learn along my way to freedom I want to pass on. I want to motivate YOU! Help you achieve whatever it is you want in life!
There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it – Napoleon Hill
Note: a book that I still want to read on this subject is Find your why by Simon Sinek. Once I’ve read it, I might elaborate more on this subject.
Have a plan
Now that you have figured out what your goals are and why you have them, making a plan will be the next step. Think of it like this, you’re on a holiday in a city you’ve never been before and you want to go to the best donut store in town. Not knowing how to get there, it will take you a long time to find the place. You might get lost a couple of times, have to ask the way to some people and might not even get there at all. If, however, you would have decided to use a map or GPS to find your way, you would have been able to indulge on those delicious donuts much faster. The same goes for your goals. Having a roadmap to reach them will give you a head start and make them much more attainable.
For this you will have to think ahead. Think about which steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals. Think about what knowledge or skills you will need for this, which roadblocks you might face and which things you might have to give up. For example, when I decided that I wanted freedom, I had to decide which actions I had to take for this. My specific goals were in investing and real estate. Now, I did not know anything about this yet so I had to break down what it is I needed to know to achieve this. I had to learn about trading, value investing, real estate strategies, financing etc. Getting these skills and the knowledge would then be my steps in achieving my goals.
Once you have broken down your goals into steps, you will have to develop a more practical plan. In this plan, each of the steps will become a small project by themselves. They need to be planned and scheduled in your agenda. If you’re a procrastinator like me, adding deadlines to the steps will make you more motivated to work towards them.
In conclusion, here’s what you need to do. Take a big sheet of paper and write the following down. Your specific long and short term goals, why you want to achieve them, which knowledge or skills you will need and what could hinder you in achieving them. Next take each goal and do the same again, now breaking each goal down into different steps. Once you have gone through this process, add deadlines and create a time table you can follow.
An important aspect of this process is to stay focused. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good times with friends or family. It means you should not get distracted by things that don’t matter. Focus on what is important to you!
The last step into making the most out of your life is of course to take action! Goals aren’t achieved by just thinking about them or writing them down, you will have to put in the work. Correction, you will have to put in a lot of work! You’ll have to give it your all, and then some more. Like Grant Cardone suggests in his book 10X rule, take 10 times the amount of action you expect it might take to achieve your goals! Don’t sit around waiting for things to happen, take action yourself! Don’t wait to get lucky, luck only stems from hard work.
In summary, having a purpose and plan for getting there will make you win in life. Set your goals big enough, make them specific, review them often, have a plan to achieve them (acquire the needed knowledge or skills) and make sure they are aligned with your purpose. Once this is set, take action, prioritize your time and make it happen!