Goals. They give us direction in life, they pull us through difficult times and help us grow as humans. You can set goals for any area in life – health, career, relationships, fun. A mix of those and you’ll be living a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. As someone who has achieved many of my goals, here are my tips on how to set goals, how to plan your goals and how to achieve your goals.
The Benefit of Goals
Forget about the benefit of achieving the goal. Sure you might lose 30 pounds, you might save $10,000 and you might marry a great guy. But the biggest benefit of having and working on a goal goes so much beyond that.
Goals make us happy (and reduce cortisol/stress levels according to science). They give purpose to our lives and honestly, they give us projects. Something productive and creative to put our energy into. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of wasting your time, which is ultimately your life, and not knowing how to best fill it up. We need these projects in order to stay motivated and to thrive in this world. Otherwise, you’ll fill up your time with something, probably things that don’t actually make you happy and fulfilled.
How To Achieve Any Goal In Life
1. Define Your Big Goals
It has always been pretty obvious to me what my big goals were. They always came from something I didn’t have and something I knew would make my life better and was good for me. If you don’t have any goals right now, take some time to think. What would make your life better and easier? What would be fun to do? And good for you? Write down a few ideas, let them go through your mind for some time (hours not days) and decide which idea is best to focus on right now. Which one will make the biggest positive difference in your life? That’s your main goal.
As I mentioned, it’s good to have goals in different areas of your life – not just career. So make sure to make space for personal and health goals as well.
2. Break them down.
Create a realistic plan for your goals. Like a Blueprint. But here’s the thing: don’t make it overwhelming. You’re not going to be able to take action if you don’t see the end of it. You need to be able to see the big picture, but you also need to know what’s coming next, so that you can take action. So you need to break those goals down. What comes first, what comes second, what comes next…Don’t make a super detailed plan for the next year of five years. Make a rough plan for the big picture goal and then define the goals and tasks that you can do right now.
It’s like a map where you see all the countries when you’re zoomed out. You see where you are and you see where you want to go. You see all the countries you’ll need to go through to get to your goal country. But you don’t zoom in on the entire road just now. You only zoom in on the country you’re in right now. And you see the cities. You see I need to go from this city to this city to this city. That’s the smaller goal. Then you zoom in some more on where you are right now and you see streets. Now you know exactly where you are now and you know which road you need to go next to get to the next city. Now you can make a more detailed plan that will actually help you take action.
Here’s how you can break down your goals:
- Goals for the year
- Quarterly goals or 90-Day goals with milestones
- Monthly goals
- Weekly goals with tasks that lead to daily action
3. Use the time you have to work on your goal
Focus and commit to doing something every single day that brings you closer to your goals. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or for 5 hours, use the time you have to take action. Keep the goal on your mind. Small actions accumulate over time and they bring big results when you stay consistent. Consistency and patience are the most important parts when it comes to achieving your goals. So practice those.
In order to stay focused and motivated and to see where we’re on the goal map at any given moment, we need to track. We need to stop and see whether we’re going in the direction we wanted or not. We also need to take some time and appreciate how far we’ve come. The best way to do that is with a project or goal tracker.
5. Adjust As You Go
Sometimes when we work hard on our goals, we tend to lose our focus and direction. Just like with actual driving in a city you don’t know. When this happens, we need to course correct. And we need to see the reality for what it is and adjust the plan to how it fits. Don’t be hard on yourself for doing something differently or for not doing it at all if it seems old news. It happens. We can’t do it all at the same time and sometimes we just outgrow older ideas.
And even if you don’t get to where you intended to go, you’ll get much closer to your goal than if you just stand there and wish for it. You might discover opportunities that never even appeared to you before.
6. Enjoy the Journey
Seriously if you don’t enjoy the journey, it’s not worth it anyway. Appreciate that you’re learning new things and that every day you’re getting a bit better. Make sure to enjoy most of the things you’re doing on a daily basis when working on your goal. This will make you want to do more of those things, it will help you stay consistent and won’t lead to burnout.
Also, super important in that context: take breaks. Being obsessed with a goal can be beneficial, but it’s tiring. Remember the simple pleasures in life like laughing with a friend, growing a garden or just sitting outside and drinking your morning coffee in quiet. Do those things every day, so that you have more energy for the goals that matter to you.