I am sure by now you have read that in most cases people who are considered successful have always set personal development goals to get there. The success rate of people who do not set goals is actually quite dismal and you would think based on the stats everyone would be running out to learn how to set goals.
This isn’t the case though and to this day the stats haven’t changed much at all. With all the evidence pointing to goals being the doorway to your dreams I wonder why it hasn’t caught on yet. I see the main reason being that goal setting is not unlike anything else that you haven’t experienced before.
You don’t know what to expect, how to do it or even where to start. I want to break down the process of setting goals into a simple one hour exercise. If you knew one hour could change your life wouldn’t you invest the time? Sadly most won’t.
But not you right? You are here to make a difference in your life. You can pat yourself on the back because you are now ready to break free of whatever has been holding you back from starting to set goals.
Do not be fooled by the simplicity of the exercises that you will do in the next hour. When applied properly they produce very powerful results in starting your goal setting adventure. Spend 10-15 minutes per exercise but do not feel rushed. You choose if this takes longer than an hour or not.
What you will need is 4 blank sheets of paper or better yet a journal so you can keep all the information together in one place. Maybe grab some tea, your favorite music and a few pens. If you are technologically inclined you will just need a laptop.
Step 1: Core Values
In order to determine what your core values are I need you to answer this question:
What is truly important to you in life?
There are so many possible answers that a good idea is to search core value examples on the internet to give yourself a multitude of options to help articulate what you are feeling. It is usually best to keep it to one to two words like success, love, health, security, intimacy, etc.
The list can be as long as you like but in general you will want to narrow it down to the top 10. This allows you to really focus your time and energy on those specific values that mean the most to you. Your core values make you who you are and determine the actions you take in life.
Once you have your list prioritize it in descending order. If you find this difficult just think to yourself “If I could only fill the needs of one of my values, which one would I choose. Basically if you had success and health as your values decide if you would work an extra hour at your job or use that extra hour to exercise. Whichever one you choose gets the higher priority.
Step 2: Personal Development Goals
Now is the time you get to dream about what you want to create in life and who you want to be. This is where you get to practice limitless thinking and write goals that excite and scare you.
To make this exercise effective you will need to let go of what you believe people want you to be and only write down what you really want to be. If that looks nothing like the life you are living now do not be afraid to write that. If you are a high level executive in New York and all you want to do is paint in Paris then write that you want to be in Paris living an artist’s life.
This is a time when being completely selfish is perfectly fine. Think big and dream even bigger.
Step 3: Doc Says you’re Dying
In the previous exercise you got to list everything you really want to do in life but most people tend to push those goals too far into the future. Then what happens is you never really commit to taking on those goals.
People always have a shift in their perception of time when they hear the news that they only have a year to live. There are miracles that happen but let’s say you only have a year.
Now write down everything you would want to accomplish before that year is up. These do not have to be world changing goals like solve world hunger, just the goals that would allow you to leave this world with zero regrets.
The purpose of this exercise is not to scare you into running around trying to accomplish all your goals at once but to simply remind you of how precious life is. We need to spend each day like it was our last to avoid letting ten years slip by and regretting what we didn’t do. This also allows you to prioritize your goals and discover what is truly important to you.
Step 4: Define and Refine
Now is the time to take all of the goals you have written and turn them into 1, 5 and 10 year goals. Be as specific as possible when writing them out and write them in the present tense, with a deadline and include the steps you will need to take to achieve them.
If this is you first try at setting personal development goals do not beat yourself up if you found you spent more than an hour to complete this. Goal setting is not a onetime task and you will be doing it for the rest of your life if you choose to. The most important part is that you are in action starting right now.