What’s the most important single action you can take to reach your goals? Hint: You might be surprised at the answer.
It may not be getting the right job or business, working with the right people or hiring the right person. It is choosing the right core goal for you. When successful people achieve goals and still are not satisfied it is often because they have successfully achieved the wrong goal.
Four Easy Steps
Getting to your right goal is easy once you understand and master these four steps.
1. Choosing Is King
Most people start with a wish list of everything they think they want making prioritizing nearly impossible. The key is to choose three major goals.
To help you get started, I will use my goals so you can see how this system worked for me.
• Freedom to work and live the way I choose
• Fully support my kids emotionally and financially
• Enjoy my daily life
2. Define your goals and write a simple plan
You must define each part of your goal. This is a step only you can do. For example, in the goal above “enjoy my daily life” I define that as where and how I live. That will be different for each of us. For me, it could be location and square footage of my house. For someone else, it might be custom designing, amenities, etc. Clear definitions are integral to following the rest of the steps
Crafting a simple written plan is insurance that you will use it. If the plan is a work of art, but too complicated, sooner or later you will stop looking at it. To stay on track, you need to be able to do a quick check regularly. Don’t devote more than a page to your goals, less is even better. This is for your eyes only so write in a medium that you like best and that allows your best thinking. This could be the computer, paper or even post-it notes. Whatever works best for you.
3. Learning Mode
Commit your resources (time and brain power) to learn only what you need to learn to reach each of your goals. Always start with available and free resources. Educating yourself will not be a chore if you pick the right goals. Don’t rely on someone to tell you the answers. You need to build your knowledge, confidence and clarity around your goals to ensure that all the small and large decisions you will make in the future move your forward toward your goals and not away from them.
I will share the formula I use that has worked well for me, feel free to adapt it to your needs or create one that makes sense to you.
Goal: Fully Support kids emotionally and financially.
• What: Define your goal and be as specific as you can. I may partially define this as kids graduate from college debt free. For me, this include defining the ages of the kids when they enter college so that I can set parameters so I know how much to save. I might choose when they graduate from high school until four years after graduation. This way I know the timeframe I have to save the money I will need to fund this goal. I will continue defining how I view graduation, public or private college, etc. Once I know exactly what my goal means to me, then I can move to the next step.
• How: How will I achieve this goal? In this case I might learn the rules to maximize aid eligibility, research the best savings vehicle, tax implications, calculate the future inflation rate, etc. to determine the amount of money that needs to be saved to reach my goal.
• Measure/Correct: My measure for this goal would be x amount of money saved for college each year. Periodically during the year, I will make sure I am saving enough to reach my annual goal. I check early and often so that I can make changes if I need to do so.
4. Everything else comes second.
This is a core implementation step. Your goals must win out for the majority of the decision points. This narrows down choices so that decisions are easier. For example, buying a new car might be considered only if the three main goals are funded on schedule. Remember to filter your choices through your goals. This will be easy if you have picked the right goals for you.
a) Choose goals
b) Your definition
c) Learning mode
d) Consistent application
Please feel free to take my system and adapt it to what works best for you. This system is exactly how I retired from my full time career at 52, with my children’s’ college paid for and began living a life I had enthusiastically constructed. None of this happened by luck. I used a simple system and you can too.
How to Move Forward Like You Mean It: The art of setting goals is the superhighway that leads to constructing the work and life style that will help you feel like you are always running on all cylinders.
Make setting your true goals a priority as soon as possible.