How To Set Your Life Goals The Right Way

I hold a soft spot in my heart for my kindergarten teacher.

Bless her heart, she wanted the best for me and the rest of the class. Every year, and year after year, she poked and prodded us to find out what we love. Mrs. Thompson, wherever you are, I want you to know you did your best.

During my kindergarten year, we were asked the million dollar question:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A million dollar question with an easy, billion dollar answer. It was almost like she was asking every one of us, “what is your ultimate goal in life?”

Every kid, I swear every kid, was able to answer that shit almost immediately, including myself.

I want to be an airline pilot, Mrs. Thompson!

Now, I’m scared of flying. How did that work out for me?

Bless her heart again, she made us dream… and dream big we did. Nothing was off limits. Then we grew up, and life started to suck.

We lost sight of what we want out of life. Responsibilities and the desire to make money took over, the zest in our lives disappeared, and we’re stuck putting out random fires on a daily basis.

But goals help us get there. They are supposed to be the list we turn to daily to keep us on track to fulfilling the lives we kinda want, not the ones we kinda have.

Yet who here has an actual, physical copy of their goals — not just in their head?

It’s time to create the masterpiece, your individual canvas; something that will become a continual work of art.

Ready to start moving towards your real talents, real purpose, and real passions?

It encompasses five parts:

  1. Dream
  2. Assign your dreams some values
  3. Break them down into manageable chunks
  4. Consistency
  5. Motivational reminder

Mrs. Thompson, or whoever your kindergarten teacher was, would be proud.

Dream up your goals like a kid

There’s a couple things you need to put aside before you dream like a kid again:

  1. Your bullshit.
  2. Your “let’s be realistic here” voice

Ok great, now is the time to flex those creative muscles. One more thing before you begin:

Whatever you write down isn’t going to be some defined path you need to follow or will follow like it’s set in stone or it’s black & white. Just go with the flow here, and follow instructions for once — don’t try to be realistic. I know we’re all rebels inside apparently, and we love to reject the rules — but follow along here.

Split your life into five categories:

  • Personal
  • Financial
  • Professional
  • Relationships
  • Health

Now, spend about 10 minutes with each category, writing out everything you hope to achieve in each. Write down the short term goals and also the lifelong long term goals. Nothing is off limits. If something comes back to you at a later time, add it. But toss aside all distractions and really try to focus on them here.

A quick note: don’t get too detailed for particular goals/achievements. For instance, if you’re describing that you want a house, keep it high level such as where and what size. Don’t talk about the interior colors and the trim, just that you want a house by the beach.

By the way, I honestly don’t care how outlandish a goal sounds, write it down.

Having trouble getting started? Here are some examples:

Personal

Anything in regards to your personality, how you want others to perceive you, how many books you want to read, what knowledge you want to gain, what hobbies you want to pick up, where you want to travel, things you want to do in your lifetime (bucket lists), how many houses you want to own, and more.

Financial

Self explanatory. Do you want to make six-figures a year? Seven figures? $100 million in total assets? Own stocks? Reach $1 million in assets before you’re 40? Achieve six-figures in passive income? Own multiple rental properties?

Professional

Ahh, the million dollar question. What do YOU want to accomplish in your lifetime at your career? Want to own a business? Want to work for Amazon? (just be prepared for a cutthroat environment and a poor work-life balance). Want to achieve a great work-life balance at a job? Want to work super hard and retire at 40?

Relationships

This encompasses both personal, professional, and romantic. On the personal side, what kind of friends do you want? How many? On the professional side, what kind of networking do you hope to accomplish? Who do you want to know? On the romantic side, what kind of partner are you attracted to? What qualities do they possess?

Health

Want to work on your mobility? Want to gain muscle or lose fat? Want to pick up a sport, or some physical activity? Got a desire to eat healthier? Maybe eat less meat, or cut down on sugars? Or even carbs? (although there’s nothing better than water, flour, and yeast).

Assign “values” to each goal

Now it’s time to get realistic with your potentially unrealistic goals. It’s time to start assessing how long you think each one would take.

Think about each goal, and how long it would take to achieve it. Assign a value to it, or in other words the number of years you think it would take. Put your goals under each category in order, going from the long term ones to the short term ones.

You’re probably thinking you have no realistic idea how long a lot of goals would take to achieve and so you’re about to complain. Here’s a little secret: none of us know what we’re doing. So just assign a value already.

We like progress, right? So far we’ve got a list of our goals, and the time it would take to complete each one.

Now the real work begins.

What can you accomplish now with your goals?

The trick with goals is the fine art of breaking them down into smaller and smaller chunks, whereby it becomes a situation where you ask yourself the following:

“What can I do today to move me closer towards my goals?”

This question is something you should be asking yourself every morning.

The problem is most goals that are 5, 10 or 20 years out seem impossible.

But they aren’t, you just make them. And by making them seem out of your reach, you’ve given up.

The ones you wrote down that you can accomplish within a year or so are a bit easier to manage. But the problem with a bunch of one year or less goals is that you want to attack them all. You’ll just overwhelm yourself, naturally.

I would start simple: choose one goal from each of the five categories that you claim you can knock out within a year, then formulate a way to break that goal down into manageable chunks — in other words, what can you do in the next six months to move you closer to it? And from there, what can you do in the next three months? And from there, what can you do in the next month? And from there, you guessed it…what can you do in the next week?

Then, spend a bit of time before the new week on how you can fit these things into your schedule.

Because remember, it’s about what you can do today to move you closer to your goals.

That’s really the gist of it, so it’s worth repeating another way:

What can you do in this moment to move you closer to your wants and desires?

Remember, what you do on a daily basis should be a mix of two things:

  1. What I call “real life”, or the things that require your attention which are a bunch of crap. Dealing with “fires” like calling your insurance, deadlines at work, etc.
  2. Your goals

Your goals should severely outweigh “real life” if you can swing it. But for most people, it’s tipped the other way because they don’t have any sort of clear vision on their future. Using this method, you can begin to reverse course.

One last step on your goal hunt

Consistency is paramount.

It’s already a challenge to formulate goals, but it’s a whole new ballgame to keep up with them on a weekly basis, month after month, continually refining your goals to match where you are in life and what you want.

I know I’ve set goals and then walked away from them, or even gotten off track. Don’t fall into that trap.

Again, don’t fall into that trap.

Hard work has two parts: action and consistency. Action is good and beyond what most people do.

Consistency is where the “actioners” fuck up.

Be consistent.

One more step

Ok, I promise this is the last one.

Spend just a few minutes writing a paragraph about yourself in the 3rd person, something you’d see as a quick bio in a magazine or newspaper about you living the life you want.

This is purely for motivational purposes, and anytime you get off track or feel like you’re getting off track, read it. Then consider where you currently are. In fact, I’d consider reading it every day maybe.

That disconnect between where you are and what you wrote? Your goals, and your action and consistency, are all that’s standing between them.

Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes. Your life right now is the culmination of all the choices you’ve made in the past. If you want that to change, you’re going to need to saddle up, partner.

Envision your future, write it out, give it a value (time) system, break it down into manageable chunks, and give yourself the motivation to keep going. It’s a five step process.

Step one could prove the most life-changing — it’s time to dream like a kid again.

Total
1
Shares

How's your focus and self-discipline?

Let's be honest, it could probably use some work. Subscribe and start the process of living a better life with the right mindset. I'll send you a free guide to morning routines to get started.