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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

9 Uncommon Steps that are Key to Your Goal Setting Success

9 Uncommon Steps that are Key to Your Goal Setting Success

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.”—Les Brown

Everyone talks about goal setting, yet why are most goals never accomplished?

There are a few things that people aren’t talking about when it comes to goal setting. These are the keys that will be paramount to your success in attaining your goals.

Learn these keys and you will win in your goal setting. What you will find is that you will have to think about goal setting slightly differently to make it really work for you.

So here are the 9 uncommon steps that are key to your goal setting success:

1. Affirm to yourself that it is possible

This is the most commonly skipped step in goal setting. You have to know that you are capable of achieving your goal and you have to have the belief that you can attain this goal, that somehow, someway it could be done. Possibility leads to probability.

2. Toss away any thoughts of how your goal will be accomplished

To start we do not need to know how to attain our goal. Having a plan or being realistic is going to take away from the power of our imagination in that goal.

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For a moment, suspend critical thinking on how your goal is going to happen. Instead, dream of your goal being realized. What is most important is having a clear idea of where you want to end up. From this focus, you give your mind direction and purpose.

3. Make your goal compelling beyond belief

Now is the time for motivating yourself and imagining your goal. What you first want to do is focus on the pain of what will happen if you don’t realize this goal of yours.

Then when you have done that, try to vividly imagine the realization of this goal. Make it big, bright, and beautifully depicted in your mind. Determine what it will specifically mean for you.

Focusing on the pain of not attaining the goal and then the pleasure of reaching your triumph will give you intense motivation to get going. You do this so you have something to fight for. This will become essential when things get tough.

4. Commit to your goal

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés’ army arrived by boats in Veracruz prepared for war. His first order was for his crew to burn the ships that they just arrived in behind them on the shore. With the ships completely destroyed, there was no going back. His troops would win the battle and live or they would perish in the throes of defeat. He did this because retreating is easier when it is an option.

Where is it that you need to burn the ships behind you? This could mean throwing away all the junk food in your cabinets or getting rid of your addictive video games. It could mean letting go of that relationship that isn’t leading you towards your dreams. Make the decision to fully commit to your goal and let go of what is preventing you from doing so.

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5. Write your goal down

This is probably the most common advice, but it’s rarely acted on. In a study done by the Harvard Business school, researchers found a significant correlation between financial earnings and having written definable goals years earlier.

The study found that the 3% of the population they surveyed who had written goals 10 years previously were now earning more money than the combined amount of the 97% of people who did not have written goals at the time of the original survey.

When you write your goals down, there is an additional neuro-association connected with your goal and yourself. Your mind has an additional reference for this goal being something that you want to make a reality.

Putting your goal into writing and focusing your mind with this added action will help you achieve your goal.

6. Tell other people about your goal

Now that you are committed to the attainment of your goal, let your friends know. This can add an added level of community and accountability.

Some friends will keep you accountable, but more importantly telling someone else motivates you to stay true to what you told that person about your desire to accomplish that goal. The good friends will motivate and encourage you.

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These people can help you develop a community of positivity. The bad friends will dissuade you and tell you that you can’t do it.

7. Disregard your non-believing, nay-saying friends

You will have friends that don’t believe in you and whether or not you can achieve your goals. It’s not necessary to unfriend them, but you should keep great distance from these people.

It’s important to know that those doubters are not necessarily bad people and they might just be jealous of what you might accomplish, but you need all the positive support and energy helping to move you towards your goals and not any of that negative energy.

At a later time, those doubters might just come back and want you to help them.

8. Surround yourself with at least one believer

In the same way that you have doubters, you are going to have fans. There are going to be some of your friends that absolutely want you to attain your goals and live out your dreams.

Spend more time with these people and do everything you can to help them support you as well. With this positive energy, you can develop a positive community and a supportive mastermind group of people who are focused on winning.

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Things are going to get tough, you will need some believers and fans.

9. Take your first step now

Identify your plan for achieving your goal as it is now. This plan will likely change a few times, but identify the steps that you think it will take and then get in motion.

Break down the tasks into smaller chunks and when you have the first step, get moving. When you start now, instead of tomorrow, you build momentum and get yourself moving toward the attainment of your goal.

Sometimes starting is the hardest part, so get it out of the way right now.

If you want uncommon results in your life it makes sense to think uncommonly and exceptionally. Think of your goal setting differently.

Find a goal worthy of you and take these steps to the realization of it in your life. What you will find is that having this worthy goal will inspire you to new heights of greatness. It is only you that is holding yourself back from living the life that you want. Do what it takes to accomplish your dreams because you are worth it.

What is your biggest goal and how can you start now?

Featured photo credit: Arijitrex via pixabay.com

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Shawn Schweier

Life Success Coach

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Last Updated on May 12, 2021

How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

How to Create a Personal Strategic Plan for Your Goals

Creating a personal strategic plan is necessary to achieve your goals. Most companies do that, but for some reason, some talented, motivated individuals don’t. It makes no sense and yet, people broadly think about their goals but don’t create a personal strategy to achieve them.

In this article, I’m going to address that as it is one of the most critical single tasks you can do to change the course of your life.

Defining Your Personal Strategic Plan

Let’s start with the perfect example of John (pseudonym). As a child, he played football, baseball, and basketball, but he wasn’t great at any of them.At the age of 15, he tried to join the basketball team and failed. He was too short and managed to get in to carry the uniform of the star player. The story continues as he continued to practice hard, waking up at 6 am each day, and after a year finally making it to the basketball team that lost the first three tournaments.

He continued practicing even harder and eventually became perhaps the most influential basketball player of all time—Michael Jordan.

You might argue that it is definitely a combination of raw talent and hard work for athletes. Still, no one can say that without practice and working hard for years on the same goal, this hard-working individual would have never achieved his achievements.

This is why it is crucial to define your strategy and then pursue it. It cannot guarantee that you’ll become a world-class athlete, but it can guarantee that you’ll have the best chances of getting to your goals with your unique set of capabilities.

We’re going to provide you with research-based proven methods of preparing your personal strategic plan.

What Is a Personal Strategic Plan?

According to an article in the Journal of Management Research, “effective personal strategy means being able to think in multiple time frames, clarifying what one is trying to achieve over time as well as what needs to be done in the short term to get there.”[1] In other words, it means setting a vision and a plan to execute it.

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A growth mindset is essential when preparing a personal strategic plan. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be ambitious enough—and if you’re here thinking about your long term goals, it means that you likely already have a growth mindset.

According to an essay in Harvard Business Review, “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).”[2]

The main trait that is associated with success is planning. It is sometimes more important than talent.[3]

There are many methods for building your personal strategy, and I’m going to cover some of them. They all share an understanding of a high-level vision, a sense of your values, and practical steps on how to get there.

Horizons of Focus

David Allen is one of the leading time management specialists globally with his famous book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. One aspect of time management is the understanding of what you need to get done in a personal strategic plan.

His method includes the following horizons:

Horizon 5: Purpose and Principles

This is where you set your vision for life. Of course, this is a big thing that requires you to think about what you would be happy with accomplishing decades from now. Sub-questions are which jobs, lines of industry, impact, and legacy are you interested in.

An excellent method to examine that is by using the “five whys” process. In this simple method, you should ask yourself “why” to help you understand the real reasons for choosing your vision.

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For example, if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you can ask yourself why that is. If the “why” is to make an impact, you can ask yourself additional questions, such as whether this is the best way to do that.

If you decide that it is, you might wonder why you want to create an impact. Perhaps it is because there is something you deeply care about.

Your vision shouldn’t be only on professional goals; it should be on every life goal you care about. A bad example would be: “To be the most successful entrepreneur ever.” It is not unique and does not address your inner wants and needs. A good one would be specific, non-generic for you and your personal goals.

By choosing a long-term goal specific for you, you can continue to the next step of figuring out how what the next few years will look like.

The second part of this horizon is principles. By choosing your principles, you can re-examine your choices and see if they amount to your expectation from yourself.

Horizon 4: Three- to Five-Year Vision

Now that you have clearly defined your goal in life as part of your personal strategic plan, you can plan the next few years. Every ambitious goal takes time to accomplish. You should plan how to get there and understand that flexibility is vital during these times, as there are a lot of changes going on.

This is when you decide on specific goals, such as a career path. If you aim to be a writer, and your goal is to become a columnist in the New York Times, what would get you there? If your dream is to start a successful startup, what can you do to learn the right things to qualify you as a leading entrepreneur?

When considering the next specific moves you should take, it is always recommended to find a mentor to consult with. This is someone you look up to and picture their life as one that you would like to have. They are usually at least 10-15 years older and successful in achieving their goals.

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What would be the next step to get you to your vision? This is not an easy question to answer, but broadly speaking, you should envision a road that can’t be 100% clear sometimes and still takes you in the right direction.

Horizon 3: One- to Two-Year Goals and Objectives

What objectives will the next year hold?

Let’s say that you chose a specific career path. Now, you should focus on the main criteria and key performance indicators that would help you get there. That may seem far from your vision, but visions are, by nature, a bit far out.

If you decided that you want to be a successful entrepreneur in five years to impact climate change positively, but you still don’t feel that you have the knowledge to do that, a first step might be working for a startup that’s doing that.

When you take a look at the first year of working for that startup, it might be a good idea to understand your job requirements and prepare to be excellent doing them. By doing that, you’re on the right path to your dream.

Horizon 2: Areas of Focus and Accountability

After learning what you need in order to plan the next few years, we’re now getting to the important daily stuff. What are the primary few things that are important for your success in achieving your goal?

This is the part when you understand your day to day responsibilities and excel at making them. Making a daily to-do list may be helpful at this stage. This is one way to hold yourself accountable when you decide on the daily steps you’ll need to take to carry out your personal strategic plan.

This is also the horizon that will help you avoid procrastination, as you’ll have a clear idea of what to do and when. If you fall into a rut of procrastination, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

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Horizon 1: Projects

These are the open loops of your goals that need to be achieved. One example can be editing that company movie. Another might be finishing that report. It can also be personal things, such as organizing the birthday party for your brother.

You have tons of these, and every once in a while, it is suggested to ensure that they align with the higher-level goals you have.

After you add everything to your calendar, the last step is to actually get it done. You can use tons of project management systems, such as Monday, Asana, Notion, and others. In Notion, they actually have a prepared template for this suggested method.

Additional Methods

The above method is just one out of many for developing your personal strategic plan.

Another one is called V2MOM, invented by Salesforce’s founder[4]. The idea is to ask yourself five questions—some of them were also asked above—which would help you clarify your vision and get it.

The five questions are:

  • Vision: What do you want to achieve?
  • Values: What’s important to you?
  • Methods: How do you get it?
  • Obstacles: What is preventing you from being successful?
  • Measures: How do you know you have it?

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, knowing where you want to go and preparing for it has a huge impact on your success in life. That may seem obvious, but some ambitious people don’t manage their lives in a way that helps them position themselves in the best way possible to succeed. Spend a few hours thinking and coming up with a personal strategic plan to put yourself on the right path today.

More About Goal Planning Strategies

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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