Life is busy!

Constant requests coming from everywhere; our work, personal life, need to exercise, eat well, have fun and get things done.

We need goals, or whatever you call them; some form of marker to set our direction.  I find if we don’t have these we kind of just drift aimlessly reacting to whatever comes across as interesting or urgent.

How to set goals

Well if you are more of a video person, I have made a nice video explaining the process.

If you are ok with going old school and reading, please continue…

What we are aiming for here is a list of 3 important goals, why 3 you ask?  I could provide some scientific rationale on why 3 is the optimal number of goals to have, but, well to be honest I don’t trust you with more than 3 at this point.

I like to use a simple 2-step process which will get us to our 3 goals.

Step 1: Explore the potential.

Now this step is fun: start thinking of all the possibilities, everything you want to accomplish, even if you feel it’s out of reach; if it’s something you want to achieve put it down.  The point of this is to get all the goals out in the open to enable us to later make choices, plus it’s a great way to clear our heads.

A couple of tips:

  • Using tools such as a mind map works well here; you can divide the goals into personal, work-related, travel, financial, fitness etc.
  • Conversely a brainstorm can be just as effective and for some more fluid as there is less thinking involved, you are just writing as the come up

Now a couple of rules:

Don’t start any of these goals, I know it’s tempting; you’ve just identified something that you think is amazing and want to get a start on it straight away- well don’t!  Just chill out and keep going- you may find that once awesome goal looks pretty average once you have completed the process.

Be positive, these goals are something that you want to achieve, not something that you feel you need to achieve. With that in mind try reframing negative goals into positive ones.  For example, “I need to stop buying my lunch at work” is a negative goal, but with some quick goal engineering (not a real phrase) it can be turned into a positive goal statement (a real phrase) “To bring a healthy lunch in at least 2 days a week”.

Don’t shut down any goals at this stage, even if you think they are rubbish, put them down.  You are not committing to anything at this point. This is a game of the more the merrier.

Step 2: Cull that list

You should have a pretty decent sized list.  One that hopefully scares you a bit, but also kind of motivates you.  If you have less than 10 items of your list- spend a bit longer on step 1.

Now we are going to cull our list, no matter how many you have we are going to end up with 3 goals.

A good way to start is by highlighting some that stand out as things you really want to achieve or crossing out those that don’t appeal to you at all.

Now it’s a matter of prioritisation: you want to look at each of the goals and rating them from 1 to (well whatever number is left).  Go through each goal and put some thought on:

  • Why do I want to achieve this?
  • How will achieving this help me
  • Is it going to take my life in a better direction?
  • Will it help anyone else?

Once you have gone through and prioritised your list, take the top 3 goals and make a new list- with just these goals.

You should now have a list of 3 goals.

Making your goals effective

To make these goals effective:

  • Make sure they are specific- and you know what they mean
  • Make sure they have a clear end, so get fit is not measurable, but lose 20 kilos is
  • Make sure they are achievable, if need be, break them down into achievable chunks
  • Put a time when they will be reached- now this is a time when it will happen, not just an ambitious deadline- you are committing to this
  • Share your list with someone, making yourself accountable to someone else

Now for each goal make a plan on how you are going to achieve each one, don’t rush this, especially for larger goals.  Break the goals into smaller goals, much like milestones.  Now turn them into tasks and put them in your calendar- just like you do for meetings.

Well that’s it, I hope you the best of luck, in the comments below write down your goals, this will make you accountable and hopefully motivate others.

Now once you are done share this with someone who needs to set some goals.

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