Originally published December 28, 2016.
In my last post, I implored you to set goals instead of make New Year’s resolutions. If you still think that New Year’s resolutions are valuable, please check out that post. Spoiler Alert… they suck.
What I’m going to suggest instead, is that you do what successful athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and creatives already do, and that’s to make setting goals a part of your life.
Let me give you an example from my own experience. A year ago I wrote down a number of goals before the beginning of the year. One of those goals was to be published at the HuffPost. During the year, I had an article published there, and it happened without me contacting them. That’s amazing right? A third party submitted my work to them and they published it with my permission.
The point of that story is to demonstrate several important things about setting goals. My goal was very specific. I reviewed that goal frequently and was regularly producing work that was high quality and the type of thing that HuffPost would be interested in. The last point is that goals can happen, as if by magic, if they are a part of your daily life.
Having things occur “magically” is something that has happened many times to me over the past ten years (since I began setting goals). Yes, I’ve knocked down plenty of goals by engaging them directly, but there is something mysterious and wonderful that happens as you program your brain to focus on the big important things instead of just dealing with the short-term stuff as it occurs.
Goals Help Us Define What We Want Out of Life
Just the act of setting goals is a valuable process. If you’re doing it right then you will be taking a critical assessment of where you are right now, and where you want to be. That means some difficult introspection, but it also means that you’ll be doing something that many people never do. Just defining what your goals are puts you ahead of most other people who are focused on surviving one day at a time.
Goals Are Amazing Motivators
Once you’ve got your goals established then they provide a constant reminder of where you want to go with your life. If you’re reviewing your goals regularly, they will give you motivation to tackle important projects. Goals that seem far away can be achieved in baby steps. Reviewing your goals can drive you to succeed.
Goals Will Create Powerful Focus
Most people wander aimlessly through life. They take challenges as they come and put out metaphorical fires as they arise.
If you’ve set up your goals, you’ll know that you’re on the right path because you’ve established your destination. Your goals will tell you if you are spending your free time doing the right things. It’s easy to assess whether a certain activity is either helping you or hurting you to achieve your goals.
Goals Make You Accountable to Yourself
I can tell you that after doing this for a while that when you look back at last year’s goals, and several of them have not been achieved, it forces you to have an internal conversation about what went wrong. While that’s not very fun, it’s the sort of thing that can help you to make the changes for success.
When you write down your goals, review them, and are accountable for not achieving them, then you’re doing the hard work that will make your dreams come true.
In the next post I’m going to walk you through the whole process I use to set goals. In the meantime, dare to dream. Start thinking about what you’d like to achieve next year. You might be surprised how much fun that can be.