7 Steps Goal Setting System
- Author Elem Ben
- Published September 9, 2020
- Word count 2,084
Is it true that you can really achieve anything you want to in life? Of course, the answer is ‘yes to a degree’. There are limitations on what we can accomplish sure but for the most part, we can definitely surprise ourselves when it comes to just what we can manage and that’s why it is so important to shoot for the stars. That’s why it’s so important to have a goal, to have a vision, and to really go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t, and don’t give up when the going gets a little tough.
These are all nice platitudes. 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 unachievable? It’s no good wishing that you were an astronaut if you’re in your 40s – that ship has sailed.
There are answers to all these problems though and it starts with knowing how to write goals. Once you know how to choose your battles, once you learn to know what you want and what your passion is, then you can start to actually make those things happen.
And once you know how to write goals properly, you’ll find that it’s much easier to execute on your goals and to follow them through to completion.
In short, writing goals correctly is the key that can unlock all of life’s riches. The good news? This is something that you can learn yourself. So, let’s dive in and see how you go about writing goals and then making them really happen…
It just takes 7 steps…
Step 1: Learn Your Passions
The first thing to do is to learn where your passions lie. When we have a passion, it brings us to live. 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 just follows behind.
Learn Your Passions
So your first goal is to find that passion and that means you need to think hard about what makes you come alive.
Discard 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’ll be disappointed with the outcome. This part is essential.
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 instead just picturing in your mind’s eye what life might be like in a perfect world.
Like I alluded to in the last paragraph, 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.
Write a Mission Statement
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 technology company might make computers but this is not the 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 therefore 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, desirable technology that fits your personal style
Both these two mission statements work for technology companies but they paint a very different picture of the type of technology they produce and the reasons why they produce it. Moreover, you can imagine that the guiding principles in designing those products would be very different for the two companies.
Now you’re going to write your own mission statement and that’s going to consider your passions, your skills, and your vision – all the things that matter to you. This is going to take into account everything we’ve considered so far and then distil it in a promise.
“Geoff’s mission is to explore new frontiers in science, in relationships and around the world.
“Bob’s mission is to be the best father, husband and brother that anyone can be.”
“Joan’s mission is to live life to the fullest, to be present in every moment and to capture pure joy.”
“Anthony’s mission is to fulfil his full financial and professional potential and to establish himself as a powerful and influential figurehead.”
What’s your mission statement?
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.
Choose Concrete 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 it might be to become a famous rock star.
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. And moreover, 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. Run it through in your head and try to live it in your mind’s eye. 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 realize that the reality is being on the phone all the time, working until 8 pm, 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. This is a big mistake as 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 in your life.
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.
Make a Plan
For example, you might wish that you were a famous rock star and feel as though that’s really not possible right now, seeing as you’re old and you can’t play any instruments. That’s not a great start admittedly 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 learn to play an instrument and make a YouTube channel where you help other people to learn.
If you’re a good teacher and you have a fun personality, you can build a following and eventually – as you improve – that exposure could lead to a modicum of fame. Maybe even a record contract.
Step 5: Think About the Feeling
But if you’re not famous and you never get that record contract, it really doesn’t matter.
Why? Because you’re already making music and being seen by lots of people. In that sense, you’re fulfilling the heart of your goal and you’re getting the same 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.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Step 6: Break it Down
Now you have a version 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 fulfillment. 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 corny 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 simply from trying to make your dreams reality.
I am passionate about health, nutrition, success, and surpassing oneself. I think that each of us has talents that beg to be revealed. I am also passionate about what makes the difference between successful people and everyone else. I discovered personal development early in my studies and it was a revelation for me. I have been inspired by some people and I think it is my duty to be able to inspire others to try to make them live their lives to the fullest of their potential.
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