Is it true that you can be anything you want to be or do anything you want to do? Of course the answer is ‘yes… to a degree’. There are limits to what we can accomplish, but we can surprise ourselves when it comes to what we can accomplish, and that’s why it is so important to shoot for the stars.
This is why we need goals, to have a vision, and to really go for it.
But what if you don’t know what it is that you want to achieve?
What if you have lots of goals?
Or what if your goal really is unattainable?
There are answers to all these problems, and it starts with knowing how to set proper goals. Once you know what you want and what your passion is, then you can start to make those things happen.
And once you know how to write goals properly, you’ll find that it’s much easier to execute them.
Writing goals correctly is the key. So, let’s dive in and see how you go about setting goals and making them really happen.
Step 1: Discover Your Passions
First, learn where your passions lie. When we have a passion, it brings us to life. It animates us, it makes us more charismatic, more inspiring, more exciting to be around. Passionate people are leaders and they are innovators. Passionate people lead the charge while everyone else follows.
So your first goal is to find that passion and that means you need to think hard about what makes you come alive.
Throw away all the things you think that you’re supposed to like. Forget all the things you were told to go after in your life. And instead, ask yourself when you were last happiest. Ask yourself what you would spend your money on if you had a billion dollars. Ask yourself what you would do right now if you had nowhere you needed to be and no limitations.
Ask yourself when the last time you worked on a project was that really got you inspired. Ask yourself when you last felt enraged at the state of things and driven to fix them.
If you pick a goal that doesn’t speak to your passions, you won’t have the strength to go through with it. And if you do, then you might be disappointed with the outcome.
Step 2: Create a Vision
A vision is not the same thing as a goal but it’s a great foundation that you can use to build your goals on top of. So what is a vision?
Essentially, this is an abstract idea – an image of what you want your life to be like. You haven’t ironed out the details but you’re picturing what life might be like in a perfect world.
Everyone is different. Some people are going to want to live in a massive house and be incredibly rich. Other people will see themselves as the author of a best-selling novel. Others will just want a quiet space to spend time with their family. These are all perfectly valid visions, so just sit down, close your eyes and then imagine what you want your life to be like from now. No expectation, no rules, just an image of what your perfect reality would look like.
Step 3: Write a Mission Statement
Now you’re going to take that vision and knowledge of your passions and use this to write a mission statement. This is a commitment that you are making to a certain type of lifestyle and a certain set of goals.
Companies have mission statements and these are distinct from their products or what they ‘do’. A mission statement should incorporate both what a company intends to do and also why it intends to do it.
So, a tech company might make computers, but this is not their mission statement. The mission statement is the driving force behind that determination and the unifying set of principles that connect all their products.
A mission statement might be something along the lines of ‘creating technology that allows people to create more and be more productive’. This is actually very similar to Microsoft’s mission statement.
Or the mission statement might be ‘to create beautiful technology that fits your personal style’.
Both of these mission statements work for technology companies but they paint a very different picture of the type of technology they produce and the reasons they produce it. You can imagine that the guiding principles in designing those products would be very different for the two companies.
Take a few minutes to write your own mission statement that considers your passions, your skills and your vision – all the things that matter to you. This should take into account everything we’ve considered so far and then culminate in a promise.
“Emma’s mission is to explore new frontiers in science, in relationships, and around the world.”
“Sophie’s mission is to be the best mother, wife and sister that anyone can be.”
“Alison’s mission is to live life to the fullest, to be present in every moment, and to capture pure joy.”
“Amanda’s mission is to fulfill her full financial and professional potential, and to establish herself as a powerful and influential entrepreneur.”
Step 4: Choose Concrete Long-Term Goals
Now you have your vision and your mission statement, it’s time to write some long-term goals.
These should help you to make your vision a reality, while at the same time fulfilling the mission statement that you have written for yourself.
A good example of a long-term goal might be to get married and have children, it might be to create a beautiful home, it might be to travel the world, or to own your own business.
Again, don’t feel limited by what you can and cannot do.
Do however think hard about whether the goal you’re setting yourself is really going to lead to happiness. Think about how it will work with your routine and your current lifestyle. Try to actually picture and visualize what the lifestyle you’re imagining will be like. Is this really what you want?
I say this, because sometimes we can have goals and visions that involve looking at life through rose-tinted glasses. For example, we might picture ourselves being highly successful CEOs, running our own businesses and wearing slick suits all the time. That sounds great until you realise that the reality is being on the phone all the time, working long says, and having little time for your family.
So really think this through and make sure you’re sure. One of the only things worse than failing to make your dreams a reality is succeeding and then finding that you’re not happy with them!
Start with the lifestyle, start with the feelings and then build the career, the circumstances, the relationships etc. that will support that.
And it’s important to note that you don’t need to focus just on your professional career. Success can come in many forms and often the things that make us happiest have little to do with what we get paid for.
Why work longer and longer hours to earn money to become the thing you want to become, when you could work less and then follow your passions in your spare time?
Step 4: Make a Plan
Now you have that larger overarching goal, the next thing to do is to come up with a strategy for how you’re going to make it a reality. What you need is a plan and a method that you can use to go after the things you want and claim them.
And this is where you need to get creative, resourceful and determined. It’s also where you maybe need to think a little more abstractly.
You can achieve anything, you just need to think hard about how you’re going to make it happen.
For example, you might wish that you owned a successful business, but feel as though that’s really not possible right now, since you don’t have a business degree or startup funds. That may not be a great start, but we can work with it!
What you’re going to do is to think of alternative ways you can start making your goals happen right now. In this case, you might take some business classes and start selling services or hand crafted goods locally.
If you’re good at what you do and you have a fun personality, you can build a reputation and eventually – as you improve – that exposure could lead to a successful business.
Step 5: Follow Your Dreams, but Be Realistic
But if you’re not making millions and you never get own that successful business, it really doesn’t matter.
Why? Because you’re already making doing what you love and making supplemental income from it. In that sense, you’re fulfilling the heart of your goal and you’re getting a great reward.
This is why we started off with something abstract and moved only now to something more concrete. As long as you follow the mission statement, then you can express your passions in a myriad of ways.
Want to be an astronaut? Could you not get the same excitement of discovery by looking through a telescope and becoming an astrophotographer? At least it might be the next best thing. Or how about booking a seat on Virgin Galactic?
There are always ways to make versions of our dreams reality.
Step 6: Break it Down
Now you have a vision of your goal and a concrete plan to work toward, you need to create your smaller, short-term goals.
These goals should be simple, immediate, and pass-fail. They need to be entirely within your control and they need to serve as stepping stones to living the life you want.
For instance, if your goal is to be a rock star, then you start by learning an instrument. And that means your new goal is to practice every night for 10 minutes.
This works best because it doesn’t let you make excuses. You’re either working on your goal or you’re not. Keep it up though and the big rewards will take care of themselves.
Step 7: Review, Assess and Continue
And from there, you now have your steps and your overarching goals that should lead you toward happiness and fulfilment. The last piece of the puzzle is just to stick at it and at the same time, to keep on tweaking and altering your goals.
That last bit is important because people change and circumstances change. Not only that, but you might not get everything right the first time around. So make sure you are continually making those changes and continually reviewing your progress so that you can adapt your goals where necessary. Give them long enough to see if they work but then don’t stick with them out of stubbornness if they don’t!
It sounds cheesy, but ultimately, you need to follow your heart. When you do that, you’ll love everything you do and you’ll get an incredible sense of purpose and accomplishment simply from trying to make your dreams reality.
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This 60-page eBook will teach you how to identify the areas of your life that you’re not 100% satisfied with and then make concrete goals to help you change them.
What you’ll discover in this eBook:
- How to find your passion and your life’s purpose
- How to write a mission statement that helps you better know yourself
- How to write goals that are achievable and that make a truly profound impact on your life
- How to stick at your goals, even when the going gets rough
- How to phrase goals to give yourself the best possible chance of completing them
- How to write your ‘mission statement’
- How to create an action plan that fits with your lifestyle and routine
- The power of visualization and how it helps you accomplish what you want
- …and much, much more!