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All good goals start with a big dream.
Think about the goals you’ve achieved in the past. Were they the ones other people told you to do? Were they goals you felt guilted into doing?
You may have a small handful of goals you achieved out of sure willpower (that time I lost 14 pounds on an extremely restrictive diet, anyone??)
But most of the time, hitting the goals you set for yourself requires something else — it requires your desire to see it happen above all else.
I’m guilty of setting endless numbers of goals, only to abandon them a few weeks later. But I’ve learned since then that the trick is to setting the right goals.
So let’s dig in. Take a few deep breaths, get cozy, and let’s set some powerful goals together.
Step One: Dream.
This is where you decide to create the goals YOU care about and stop letting others control YOUR life.
There is value in other people’s wisdom. Especially if you don’t know what your dreams are for your life, it can be helpful to get your friends and family’s input. But be careful not to feel guilted into living out someone else’s dream for your life.
Maybe you already know what your big dreams are. You want to move to Hawaii, buy a boat, or have your own cabin in the mountains. If you’ve already got your dream nailed down, great! Really start to visualize how your dream life looks. Imagine stepping out onto your porch each morning and breathing in that ocean (or mountain) air.
If you’re not really sure what your dream is, take some time to sit and think about it. Most of us are so busy we go through our days on auto-pilot. Grab a journal or blank piece of paper and give yourself time to imagine what the “good life” looks like for you.
You can think in terms of categories — career, location, etc. But don’t feel like you have to stick to any sort of rules here. This is all about creating a dream big enough to motivate you, so don’t rush through this!
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Step Two: Map It Out.
This is where we’re going to get a big picture look of what it might look like to get your big dream.
Say your dream is to live in Hawaii so you can learn to surf. What do you need to do to actually make that happen? So many people let their dreams stay just that–dreams. But if you learn to turn those dreams into goals, you can be living that dream life one day instead of just dreaming about it forever.
So in our example of moving to Hawaii, this step will look something like figuring out the finances to get there. You’ll need to research what the average cost of living is, which island is the most affordable, where the jobs are at, etc.
Start thinking about the different elements of your big goal and begin to do your research.
Step Three: Get Specific.
Now we’re going to dive deep into what it will take to get you to your goal and in what time frame. A lot of people start with this step without realizing it. They throw out a goal with numbers that sound good, but they haven’t done the “work” to see what it will really take.
I want you to set goals that are exciting but attainable. That may mean creating a “five year plan” to move to Hawaii instead of a “next month plan.”
Since you’ve done some research already, this step should be fairly easy. Take what you learned in step one and two and determine what your goal specifically looks like. So in our example of moving to Hawaii, it could look something like this: Save $30,000 dollars over 5 years to move to an apartment in Maui.
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Step Four: Create Actions.
Now that you’ve gotten your dream and timeline narrowed down, let’s think about the actions it will take to get to that end goal.
Your big goals are going to take hundreds of different actions and daily decisions to make them happen. If you stopped at step three, it’s likely you’ll have forgotten about your goal next month.
Figuring out the action steps you need to take for your goals is probably the most important part of the goal setting (and goal keeping) process.
I like to grab a writing pad and brainstorm as many different actions and tasks I can think of that will push me closer to my goal. Then I know I need to work on at least one of these actions every day to get to meet my goal.
This does two things: keeps the goal forefront in your mind and gives you a plan to make your goal happen (instead of just dreaming about it.)
Step Five: Write it Down. This is your goal!
This is where you finally get to put that polished up goal down on paper. You’ve got your big picture look of your dream, the timeline it can happen in, and what steps it may take to get you there.
Take all those elements and put them down on paper. Then chop it up and rearrange it into a goal you can look at and work towards every day. In our Hawaii example, it could look something like this:
My goal is to move to Hawaii in 5 years. I will do this by saving $30,000 to pay for living expenses while I get settled, plane ticket out there, etc. I will save $30,000 in 5 years by saving $500 a month. I will do this by tracking my expenses daily on my budgeting app, taking my lunch to work 4 days out of the week, and meeting up with friends at home instead of going out every weekend.
Do you see how much more powerful that is than simply saying, “my goal is to live in Hawaii“??
Achieving your goals is possible.
This may seem like a lot of work to just set some goals. But the point is to make this a goal you actually stick with and will want to achieve so badly that you can’t do anything else.
By following the five steps above, it is possible to create amazing goals and stick to them.
What are your big goals? Let me know down in the comments, and if you feel like, share the end goal you came up with in step five. I’m rooting for you!