Chapter 2: Set Goals
Chapter 1 was about reflection. Who you are, who you want to be, what your story is and what you want your story to be. This reflection is critical before setting goals. If you missed it, click here to read it. Now that you know a bit more about who you are and what you want your story to be. Time to put words into action. This chapter is about setting goals that will help you write your story.
Did you know: less than 3 percent of American’s write down goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite goals daily?* How cool would it be to be part of that 1 percent? It is much easier than you may think. So, where to begin?
Here are 5 steps you can take to set your goals:
Click here to download the exercise to guide you as you read.
Begin by writing out a list of all the things you would like to do in your lifetime. This list may be short, or it may be long. It can include ANY goal, small or big, short or long term. Simply, start writing out everything and anything you would like to do. You can think of it as a life bucket list.
Organize the list. Chances are, many of your goals may be related to one another. Focus on grouping them into categories. A common way to group them is into the seven areas of life: career, financial, personal development, spiritual, educational, relationship, and health. From there, rank the goals in each category into lifetime goals (what you hope to achieve overall in life), long-term goals (what you hope to achieve in the next 5-10 years), short-term goals (what you hope to achieve within the next year), and stepping stone goals (what you have to do each day/week to attain your goals).
Once you have your goals organized, it is time to prioritize your goals and map out exactly how you will achieve each one. Chances are, many of your goals are linked to one another, meaning, when you achieve one, you may be much closer to achieving another due to it. You can use the SMART formula to specify each goal.
When writing out SMART goals, answer the five “W” questions to help keep you on track:
Who: Who is involved?
What: What is my goal?
Where: Where will I achieve this goal?
When: When do I want to achieve this goal?
Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?
Here is a breakdown on how to create a SMART plan of action:
Clearly write down your goal.
Consider: Is my goal clear? Do I understand what I am hoping to achieve?
Add a metric to the clear goal.
Consider: How will you know you are on track? What do you need to do to get closer to achieving the goal? How will you measure your progress?
Make sure you have a plan of action to set yourself up to achieve the goal.
Consider: Do I have the resources to accomplish this goal? Is there anything I need to do before being able to accomplish this goal? If not, what do I need to do in order to be able to achieve this goal?
Make sure the goal matters to and aligns with your mission in life.
Consider: Am I doing this for me? Will this make me happy? Will I enjoy the journey of working towards this goal?
Create a timeline of when you would like to achieve this goal by, including milestones along the way.
Consider: When do I hope to accomplish this by? What milestones do I need to hit along the way? What steps do I need to take each day to stay on track?
Following this format when setting goals will allow you to have a plan of action.
Determine how you will hold yourself accountable. Here are a few tips on how you can do this:
• Track your progress each day. Use a weekly and/or monthly planner to map out what actions you plan to take when to keep you on track toward your goals.
• Have someone else help hold you accountable. Team up with a family member or friend to hold each other accountable! Set up a weekly check in to chat with one another about your goals and how your progress is going.
• Celebrate every milestone along the way! Every step you take towards your goals is a big deal and something to be proud of – remember that.
• Create a vision board of your goals. Hang it up somewhere you can see it every single day. Treat this as a reminder of far you’ve come, and as motivation to where you are going next.
• Build daily habits that will help bring you closer to your goals. Each month pick a new habit to add on and work towards it, but never stop an already created positive habit.
Re-write your goals every day! The easiest way to do this is by making it a habit right when you wake up each day/before getting your day started. Sit down for a few minutes and re-write each specific goal.
“My goal is__________.”
From there, take a few minutes to review your plan of action and reflect on your progress. A great way to do this is through journaling:
How am I doing?
What am I proud of?
What do I need to work on?
Am I on track?
What have I learned?
What else should I be doing?
You may be wondering, what in the world will re-writing my goals each day do? Well, according to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, “you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.”**
Click here to read more about the results from the study.
According to a Forbes article, “people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals.”*** Writing down your goals allows your brain to store the information both in external storage and through encoding.
Click here to read more about the science behind writing down goals.
The biggest tip when setting goals and continuing your journey of being simply unstoppable is to be patient. Remember, there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will not wake up one day having accomplished your goals without putting in weeks, months, and/or years of work into it.
Click here to download an exercise to help get you started in setting your goals!
To read more about setting goals, check out these two articles:
7 Types of Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Categories
Only Three Percent of the Population Set Goals and Objectives
The next chapter will be about the importance of learning to be patient and to love the journey of being simply unstoppable.
*Tracy, Brian. “Success Through Goal Setting, Part 1 Of 3.” Brian Tracy International. Accessed February 24, 2020.
**Morrissey, Mary. “The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams.” HuffPost. September 14, 2016.
***Murphy, Mark. “Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them.” Forbes. April 15, 2018.