How often do we set goals for ourselves with the absolute best of intentions, feeling an extreme amount of will power and motivation to do whatever it takes, only to fall off at the first sign of adversity or obstacle?
We set the same goals over and over again, expecting this time to be different, don’t we?
“I’m going to lose 50 lbs this year.”
“I’m going to finally do a proper chin up.”
“I’m going to make meal prep my bitch.”
“I’m going to meditate every day.”
The same goals. Over and over again, for months or even years. Until we finally just give up and accept that we’re just never going to achieve what we want to achieve.
Well I have some good news for you, my friend – it doesn’t have to be this way.
The reason you’re not achieving your goals has nothing to do with you as a person – you’re actually pretty awesome. It has everything to do with HOW you’re setting these goals. You’re sabotaging yourself before you even start.
So, let’s take a look at proper goal setting so that you understand how to set goals. Then you can finally start making some solid progress towards becoming the absolute best version of yourself.
How To Set Goals Properly
When I set goals for myself, I do so in 5 areas of my life:
I call these my “Goals For An Awesome Life” and I keep them in Evernote so I can reference them regularly.
For each of those I break it down into time frames:
- 7 years
- 12 months
- 3 months
- Daily Actions
I don’t always have a 7 year goal for every area, but there’s always a 12 month, 3 month and Daily Actions.
Let’s take deeper look at each category.
The 5 Categories For Your Awesome Life Goals
This area is focused on anything related to improving your body, health or overall physical fitness.
These would all be examples of BODY goals:
- Lose 50 lbs
- Get Below 10% Body Fat
- Complete A Spartan Race Trifecta
- Complete A 10km Race
Personally, I don’t have a 7 year goal for this area because everything I want to do in terms of my body or fitness can typically be done in a 12 month period. My goals tend to shift in this category too regularly for it to make sense to have a 7 year goal.
With that said though, everyone’s different and some people may find benefit from having a long term goal in this area.
This area is basically anything related to strengthening my mind and can be anything related to personal development, learning new skills and basically becoming a better version of myself.
Personally, I like to use this area to set goals like:
- Learning new languages
- Meditation practices
- Improving your sleep
- Journalling practices
- Taking martial arts classes (which is kind of a BODY and MIND combo)
- Reading a certain number of books
- Or even taking flying lessons
Fairly self explanatory, but the WEALTH category is anything related to growing your wealth.
Whether that means:
- Growing your business
- Creating a new income stream
- Reducing your spending to increase savings
- Optimizing your performance at your job
Pretty much anything to do with improving your financial situation.
Creating and nurturing relationships is a major key to overall happiness in life. This is an area I’m actively focusing on more because I’m starting to understand the importance of it.
Personally, I’m a very introverted person. While I can become close with people quite quickly, I have to really make a point of keeping those relationships going and staying in contact with people. It’s very easy for me to keep to myself and all of a sudden go days without talking to people in person. Or all of a sudden have 10 years go by without talking to people I was once incredibly close with.
So, I’ve added a RELATIONSHIPS category to the “Goals For An Awesome Life” list. This way it’s something I think about on a regular basis.
This is a new category I’ve just recently added as I decided the direction I wanted to go with The Blue Phoenix Company.
Essentially, I have a list. Kind of like a “bucket list” of adventures and experiences. I call it The Awesome Life Quest.
I feel it’s important for everyone to have a similar kind of list of things they want to do in their lives. It helps keep our focus on actually doing things and living a life worth living. Helping us resist becoming too comfortable in our lives, all of a sudden waking up when we’re 80 years old filled with regrets of things we wish we would have done.
This category keeps my personal Quest front of mind, so I’m constantly thinking of ways to push myself into a new adventure and to experience things that are important to me.
Outcome Goals vs Process Goals
When you’re thinking about how to set goals and what you want to achieve over the next 7 years, 12 months and 3 months it’s important to differentiate between OUTCOME goals and PROCESS goals.
Outcome goals are ones that focus on the result you’re looking for. So, if you wanted to lose 50 lbs or do 10 chin ups or have a $1,000,000 net worth – these would all be your OUTCOME goals.
Process goals, on the other hand, are actionable tasks that you can control. Things you can look at and say either “Yes, I did that” or “No, I didn’t do that”. These are basically the action steps in your life that you can 100% control whether you do them or not.
These are all examples of process goals that you have complete control over:
- Complete 4 Strength Training Sessions/Week
- Prepare All My Lunches For The Week On Sunday
- Write 500 Words Everyday
A process goal would NOT be something like “Lose 2 lbs This Week” or “Make An Extra $1000 Today” because you can’t control those things.
Understanding this subtle difference will determine whether or not your successful with How To Set Goals For An Awesome Life.
How To Set Goals For An Awesome Life
So, let’s focus on the BODY category and let’s assume you wanted to go from 16% body fat at 190 lbs down to below 10%.
That would by your 12 Month Goal, which would make your list look something like this:
- 7 Year Goal
- 12 Month Goal
- Below 10% Body Fat
- 3 Month Goal
- Down to 12-14% Body Fat, approx. 180-185 lbs
- Daily Actions
- Complete 4 strength training sessions/week
- Complete 1-2 metabolic training sessions/week
- Hit my calorie/macro goals for the day
- Meal prep lunches/dinners on Sundays
Now you have a blueprint. You have an actionable blueprint of what you need to do on a daily basis in order to hit your big 12 month goal.
This is where most people fall apart. Everyone is good at setting the big 12 month goal, but not so good at setting the daily action steps that will get them there.
Daily Action Steps – The Secret Sauce For How To Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
The Daily Action Steps are the “secret sauce” in goal setting. They are what will separate people who understand how to set goals and those who don’t. They separate the people who will be successful and people who will continue to set the same goals over and over again, never making long term progress.
Now, the trick is that these Daily Action Steps have to be actionable.
They have to be something you can look at everyday and say either YES I did that or NO I did not do that. They also need to be something you can control.
This means you’re Daily Action Step should NOT be “Lose 2 lbs”, because you have no control over that. All you can control are your actions on a daily basis.
Also, there should not be 87 million Daily Action Steps. Limit your Daily Action Steps to 3-5 MAX. You can always revisit these and adjust along the way. This allows you to stay focused on the daily tasks that will keep you moving forward.
If you look at the Daily Actions in the example above, you can control whether you do your strength workouts. You can control whether you prepare your lunches and dinners in advance on Sundays.
Today, take a look at whatever you’re trying to achieve and map out the Daily Action Steps that will get you there.
Doing this one simple task will already make you much more likely to succeed long term and become the absolute best version of yourself.