What’s life without goals and ambitions? It’s like living a life without meaning or purpose. When was the last time you felt that you were living your life to the fullest?

Are you still desperately trying to figure out how to do that? If that is the case, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many people have been living their life without experiencing what life has to offer.

Regardless of your business, career, life or relationship, it is crucial to set goals and be ambitious about them. Setting goals has always been the most fundamental step to take in order to achieve success. Many people approached me and asked, “How do you think of goals for yourself?”

Goals are like the roadmaps that show us the direction in our lives and what is possible for our life. Setting goals is actually not complicated at all, it requires determination and perseverance. I have done many types of research and have asked for advice from successful people on goal setting and come up with 7 simple goal setting steps that can help you to effortlessly strive for success.

#1: Brainstorm

Setting goals gives us an aim to go all-out for our lives. The very first step to crushing your ultimate goal is to brainstorm your ideas or short-term goals that will eventually LEAD you to your ultimate goal.

Let’s do a simple exercise:

1. Getting Ready. Pick up a journal and a pen, if you don’t have one; use a piece of paper or open up your notepad on your computer or phone.

  • It’s also advisable that you perform this exercise when you’re in a good state – moments when you’re feeling good, optimistic and positive. This attitude will affect the goals you produced.

2. Start Brainstorming

  • When you were just a kid on your birthday and you were asked what do you want as a present, I’m pretty sure that you’d say anything that comes right into your mind. So, BE LIKE A KID! Brainstorm all kinds of ideas that excite you! That is key of an effective brainstorming session; At the same time, it eliminates any doubt or fear that is stopping you from achieving your goals.
  • Think and decide on what do you want. It doesn’t have to be too specific as it is just a brainstorming process. Jump dump everything out of your mind. Take 10-15 minutes and jot down everything you can think of in your journal. For instance:
    • Earn $1,000,000
    • Lose 100lbs
    • Travel around the world
    • Drive a Ferrari
    • Live in a mansion
    • Skydiving
    • Own an island
  • You should also think about goals for every part of your life, such as:
    • What do you want to achieve emotionally?
    • What do you want to achieve physically?
    • What do you want for your relationships?
    • What do you want to achieve for your business?
    • What do you want to experience in life?
    • What would you like to contribute?

3. Set a deadline for your goal

  • Some goals might take a year or less; some take 3 years, 5 years or 10 years. Jot it down next to each of your goals.
  • For instance, losing 100lbs might be a 6 months goal and owning an island might be a 10-year or 20-year goal.
  • Setting deadlines helps to build a sense of urgency and responsibility to perform the activities in order to achieve your goals in time.

I highly recommend you to use a journal for this exercise because writing down in a journal helps to keep track of your goals. A goal that is unwritten is simply just a wish or make-believe. It also leads to misperception, vagueness, pursuing your goals in the wrong direction and making various mistakes. Therefore, writing it down gives you a clearer path in reaching your goals.

#2: Setting Your Goals Right

After you’ve brainstormed your ideas and written it down in your journal, it is time to set it right. Many people have asked me, “How to make sure you have set your goals right?”

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Have you heard of the acronym SMART goals? It stands for:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timeline

I always suggest setting SMART goals in which your goals contains all the elements above. From your 1st step, you should ask yourself:

What is your ultimate goal?

What is the specific outcome you would like to accomplish?

The following phrases are some of my examples of having a more specific goal than the one I brainstormed in Step 1:

  • I will easily lose 100 pounds in 100 days by 31st of August, 2017.
  • I will easily earn $10, 000 per month of passive income through Affiliate Marketing by 31st of January 2017.

Notice that my goals were written out in a very explicit way whereby my goals:

  • Phrased in a way that it will happen instead of wanting it to happen.
  • Written in a way that it can be repeated again.
  • Using convincing words such as ‘easily’, ‘happily’ or ‘successfully’.
  • Short-term goals are goals that can be achieved in less than half a year. These goals are smaller, more reasonable and realistic. This can be seen in the first example.
  • Long-term goals are goals that can be achieved in more than six months or longer. These goals are more unrealistic and wild which can be seen in the second example.
  • Meets all the element of SMART goals:
    • Specific – Clear, specific and well-defined goals are written down such as 100 pounds and $10, 000 per month.
    • Measurable – It has a time frame to be accomplished. Set everything in specific quantity – The amount of weight you want to lose in pounds or kilograms, the exact amount of money you want to make, etc.
    • Attainable – It is something I can afford to do when I put in much effort. If you know or feel that your goals are unattainable, most probably you’re going to procrastinate and not take any action because your subconscious mind will whisper to you that “IT’S USELESS!” So if the goal is Too Big or Unrealistic, chunk them down to smaller goals.
    • Realistic – By chunking down a 20-Year Goal into smaller yearly goals – I am certain that you can achieve anything you want because chunking will make unrealistic goals ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC.
    • Timeline – In my example, the goal has a timeline which I have to achieve them by 31st of August 2017 and 31st of January respectively. You should do the same as well when writing down your goals.

By setting these SMART short-term and long-term goals, it builds your confidence and gives you the impression that these goals are 100% achievable and you will be extremely motivated to work on them right away. So how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. Chunking or setting short-term goals is the best way to achieve greater goals.

#3: Prioritize

Next, we’ll talk about Prioritization. Why are people nowadays stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated with so many To-Dos in their list? The reason is that they don’t know how to prioritize their To-Do’s. They spent so much time on low-priority activities and they wonder why they don’t have enough time to handle the important stuff!

I’m sure you have heard of the Six-P Formula, namely “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” The better your plan, the more productive you become. Prioritization gives you freedom, clarity and it builds up momentum. That’s why it’s always important to prioritize.

So here’s how you prioritize…

Have a Proper Plan and Prioritize

From your list of goals, choose the 3 most important goals and determine which one of them is the most compelling to you in the long-term.

It is crucial to spend some time alone to think about the goals you would like to achieve in the long-term. Successful people always have clear future goals. They have a vision and think five to ten years ahead of time about their goals. They then evaluate their decisions made in the present to ensure the things they are doing right now are consistent with the future goals that they desire. They are also willing to delay instant gratification and make sacrifices in the short term in order to gain much greater rewards in the future.

Being selective towards your goals helps you develop a habit of setting clear priorities and completing important tasks in a more organized and efficient manner. It helps you make better decisions in life and time management and improves your decision-making skills in short-term.

When you want to decide what to do next, try asking this question: “What ACTION can I take to help me make massive progress towards [YOUR GOALS]?”

And here’s a question to ask when you’re prioritizing your To-Do list: “Does this action serves my ultimate goal and purpose in the long term?”

If your answer is NO, get rid of it. If your answer is YES, take action immediately.

In order to be successful, time management in setting goals plays a significant role. As quoted by Roald Dahl, “We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.” Hence, setting your goals the right way by adopting the SMART goals theory and plan a timeline for all the goals you set are the best ways to get things done without procrastinating. You can complete everything that is urgent and have more time available for yourself. This creates more time for you to de-stress and have better mental clarity and focus.

Having a list of 3 important tasks is always better than having a list of 50 unnecessary tasks. The better you prioritize, the more time you create for yourself.

#4: Stay Motivated

Place Somewhere Visible

Once you’ve planned your goals, write them down and hang them somewhere you can easily access them every day such as on the board of your office or on your study desk. It is also great to put it as your computer’s or phone’s wallpaper. It reminds you of your goal and pushes yourself to focus on them.

Motivate Yourself to Take Action Immediately

Don’t you think the hardest part of any important goal is to start working on it? However, you will naturally motivate yourself to endure it once you start working on an important task. Now, Imagine yourself completing an important goal. How does that make you feel? That feeling will jolt you and motivates you to do whatever it takes to accomplish your tasks. Guess what this is an awesome way to tackle procrastination.

Motivation is like a fire, it gets you excited in the beginning but it’ll never last. Self-Discipline, on the other hand, is the fan that keeps the fire going. Therefore, you need to practice self-discipline every day to get your most important tasks done! Strengthen your grit by starting on the most important task the moment you wake up. Consequently, you will be more productive and effective in completing your goals and be able to achieve much better results.

Self-Discipline is doing whatever it takes whether you feel like it or not. So, you must encourage yourself to get yourself out of the comfort zone, play at the top of your game and push yourself to success and victory. You must ignore the naysayers and have tremendous trust in yourself that you can make it. Your emotions should not be affected by setbacks and unavoidable problems in daily life. Whenever you feel down or lack of motivation, you can do the following activities:
• Give yourself a pep talk.
• Meditate or Yoga.
• Smile.
• Laugh it out. Think that the problem you encounter right now would be a great joke to laugh about the future.
• Look for the good in all situations.

I personally think that giving yourself a pep talk every morning is one of the most effective ways of motivating yourself to work hard towards your goal and strive for success. Hypnotize yourself by telling yourself ‘I can do it!’ repetitively makes you believe that you can really achieve what you want and boost your overall confidence and performance.

Self-Affirmation is also a powerful way of overcoming your feelings of doubt or fear. Attitude means everything. By developing a positive mental attitude, you will be able to develop personal and professional success and happiness. Think of the setbacks you currently encounter as the stepping stones to success, lessons to learn and seek for the solutions instead of complaining about your problems to other people or blaming others for what happened.

Pressure Yourself

Diamonds are made under high pressure – and the same goes to your success. In order to unleash your maximum potential, you must pressure yourself instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you.

You must raise your own standards, and the best way is to think of yourself being a role model for the others. Remember, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So decide and commit to mastery! Make your priorities a MUST, not a Should or Try.

You will feel satisfied with yourself whenever you push yourself to perform at your very best. For instance, you will feel great in losing weight after looking for methods to run the extra mile and pushing yourself to your maximum potential during a workout. Only with pressure way past our limits will help us grow stronger to handle more adversities.
So, what is the first thing that came to your mind that you must complete today or it’ll cause you a tremendous amount of pain? Whatever it is, start working on it right now. Hence, putting pressure on yourself will strengthen you in the long run while completing more significant tasks faster and prevent procrastination.

#5: Sharpen Your Saw

There are so many reasons for procrastination, to list a few:
• Lack of confidence.
• Feeling weak.
• Unable to perform in an important area of a task.

The feelings above discourage you and instill procrastination. These feelings cause death in productivity and accomplishments. I‘ve discovered that successful people do feel the same way too sometimes. However, they perceive these problems as challenges and work their ways through no matter what, even though the tasks can be too huge or intimidating. They constantly sharpen their saw every day to tackle big tasks. Regardless of how skillful you are today, you have to sharpen your saw because it’ll turn dull eventually if you stay stagnant and practice negligence. Decide what are your key results areas in your personal and professional life and work on it daily.

Successful people never stop learning. They always remain curious and have a thirst for knowledge to do their best to gain it through learning. Lifelong learning is definitely the most fundamental step in becoming an outstanding and successful performer in life, career or business. Upgrading your skills isn’t complicated at all, it requires hard work and commitment. Here are some key traits that you should practice:

• Be curious. Learning can be fun and stimulating. You should see success as a journey instead of a destination to keep them going.
• Willing to try. You must be willing to learn and experiment with new things.
• Not afraid to fail. You should learn from your mistakes and failures to be better at it the next time you encounter them.
• Be Humble. Admit what you do not know and ask for help from your mentor or professional.

The following steps are one of the guides I highly recommend in upgrading your skills:

1. Identify the main skills which can help you achieve better and quicker results.
2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Set a goal for it and plan to increase your ability in those areas.
4. Read something that is related to the areas you want to improve for at least one hour a day.
5. Attend courses or seminars that can help you in upgrading your skills.
6. Listen or watch self-development programs. It is also advisable to change your driving time to learning time by listening to audio programs in your car.

Once you gain extra information or an additional skill, you will make a huge difference in your ability to perform. The improvement in your ability to perform will consequently lead you to be more motivated, more energetic and enthusiastic in performing that certain task. You will also find it much easier to overcome procrastination and be more productive in completing your task.

You must know that, the more you learn, the more confident and capable you’ll be in your area of expertise. There is no limit on how far or how fast you can excel in your skills. You are the only one who is stopping yourself from excelling in life and achieve the ‘once-impossible’. To sum up, you get to reap these benefits from sharpening your saw:

• More motivated and enthusiastic
• Higher performance
• Better results
• Prevent procrastination

#6: Reward Yourself

Once you have challenged yourself to complete a major task or accomplish a few important short term goals, it would be great to give yourself pat on the back and reward yourself. It makes you feel great and keeps you driven. However, your reward must be appropriate. You must consider how much it has impacted you and how great was the goal.
The small reward for completing small goals could be simple yet satisfying. For example:

• Coffee break
• Taking a walk near the park
• Having a cheat meal when you are trying to lose weight
• Take a power nap
• Go on a mini-vacation or field trip
• Watch a movie
• Pamper yourself with a massage session or spa treatment.

There will be even more to celebrate when you meet your larger goals or long term goals. It is essential that you did some advance planning to avoid disappointment. Disappointment leads to no good as it demotivates you and knocks down your morale. You should be able to afford it once you’ve accomplished your goals. The examples of larger reward for completing a milestone are:

• Throw a party at a cruise.
• Go on a vacation.
• Buy yourself something you’ve been yearnings for, such as a car, yacht or house.

Setting goals is important in achieving success; nevertheless rewarding yourself for conquering them is just as important. Rewarding yourself gives you something to anticipate when you reach the goal and aim for higher goals the next time to continue to reward yourself.

#7 Revisit Your Goals

Once you have done #1 to #5, you are at a good start. However, you must be certain that you keep up with the plans. Therefore, you must review your goals habitually. I often check with my goals on a weekly basis, as well as reviewing my goals more thoroughly once a month. When I review my goals, I get to analyze what wasn’t as effective as I hoped and what I can amend for further improvement. You have to think about whether your goal is still relevant. The reasons to revisit your goals are:

• Things have changed over the month or the year.
• New opportunities.
• New challenges.
• Stay focus on your targets.
• Make sure you are on the right track to meet your ultimate goal.

If your goals are no longer desirable or practical, you have to accept it and change to a different goal or establish smaller goals along the pathway to your ultimate goal. I would like to share with you the 3 straightforward steps on how I check on my progress effectively.

1. Praise or reward yourself

• Look at what you’ve accomplished so far and take a moment to reward yourself as mentioned in #6.

2. Re-evaluate

• Dispose of goals that are no longer relevant.
• Identify the problems you encounter when you execute your goals.
• Find ways to improve the remaining goals.

3. Refocus your targets

• Ask yourself why did you set this goal initially?
• Recall what you’re truly aiming for in the long term.

The habit of revisiting and reviewing your goals helps you get much better in managing your time in setting goals. It keeps you flexible and realistic about what you can achieve.

Conclusion

It’s your choice to make your own decision in life. Would you like to reach for the stars or remained trapped in the endless loop of a dull meaningless life? Are you willing to get out of the comfort zone and strive for success? Remember, nothing is holding you back except yourself. Start setting goals today and take actions to rekindle your passions, chase for your dreams and live your life to the fullest. I wish you the best of luck in overcoming procrastination and conquering your goals.

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