“Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men’s souls.”
If you answered “yes,” you’re either incredibly blessed or a little naive. After all, very few people have lives and careers that are so perfect that there’s no room for any improvements whatsoever.
There’s only one catch. If you want things to be better than they are now … five years from today … you’ve got to DO something. Your chances of getting that “better” life or career without doing anything are about the same as winning the Powerball lottery. About zero.
Fortunately, there is a fairly simple and easy way to get a better life and career … right now. You don’t even have to wait five years. You can start seeing the changes and improvements you want in five minutes, or five hours, or five days once you discover and deploy The Payoff Principle. I’ll reveal all of that during the first week of December when my new book is launched, “The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets For Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work.”
Until then, to get yourself moving in the direction of positive change, I suggest the following:
1. Take an honest looks at where you are.
Answer each of the following questions.
____Yes ____No Do you have the sense that your life and work is complete … that nothing is missing?
____Yes ____No Do you know what you are passionate about?
____Yes ____No Are you well organized? Do you have a clear sense of your top priorities and get a lot done every day?
____Yes ____No Do you have a written plan for your personal and professional lives with clear time lines for accomplishing each item?
____Yes ____No Do you have plenty of time for your family and friends and feel good about the work-life balance you have achieved?
____Yes ____No Do you exercise at least three times every week to keep yourself in physical tip-top shape?
____Yes ____No Do you achieve your financial goals on a regular basis?
____Yes ____No Do you take enough time to keep on growing in the spiritual dimension of your life?
____Yes ____No Do you dedicate a certain amount of time each week and month to continue your learning and education?
____Yes ____No Do you feel like you are fulfilling your mission in life?
If you have seven or more “yes” answers, congratulations. Somehow or other you have already tapped into the three secrets of “The Payoff Principle.”
But, if you have three or more “no” responses, you need to make some changes … IF you want greater happiness in your life and greater success in your work.
2. Get serious about goal setting.
Most people aren’t. In fact, some research indicates that only three percent of people actually write down their goals. And that’s absolutely tragic, because other research shows that the folks who write down their goals achieve A WHOLE LOT MORE than those who don’t bother to do so.
The act of writing out your goals gives direction to your subconscious mind. It tells your mind of all the millions of possibilities in the world, these are the few that you would like. And as soon as your write out your goals, your mind begins to think of ways to make them come true.
For example, one of my big goals years ago was to live in large house, in the woods, next to a lake. But I had no idea how I could make that happen. My income certainly did not support my “dream” home. Indeed, it would have been easy back then to tell myself “I’ll never be able to afford that kind of house. Nice thought but it ain’t gonna happen.”
But once I wrote the goal down, my behavior automatically changed. I found myself reading real estate ads on lake homes, going through numerous open houses, cutting needless expenses out of my budget, saving money here and there, increasing my income by offering new services, and engaging in a host of other activities. And, of course, the day came when I walked into that new, beautiful, spacious lake home … all because I got serious about goal setting.
I know, I absolutely know that the same thing will happen in your life and work when you get serious about goal setting.
3. Take an hour to write out your goals … now.
Of course, some crybaby will say, “I’m too busy. I don’t have time to write out my goals.” Fine. It’s your choice. You can have a grand life or you can have a mediocre life, and to a large extent it will depend on how serious you are to committing your goals to paper.
And there’s always the question of whether or not you should post your goals once you’ve written them out. It depends.
When Jeff returned from college on spring break, he noticed a paper posted on the refrigerator. It listed some goals his dad had set for himself: 1) Help wife more, 2) lose weight, 3) be more productive at work. Jeff promptly added: “Send Jeff money every month.” A few days later his sister wrote: “Make payments on car for Sandra.” Then Jeff’s girlfriend added, “Buy Melissa a Jeep.” Finally the dad added a new goal to his amended list: “Wean kids.”
Presuming you want your life to be better tomorrow, five days, five months, and five years from now, start by writing out your goals in the following categories. Please note, if you only have one goal, for example, to make a million dollars in the next 12 months, and if all you did was focus on that goal 24/7 for 365 days, you’d probably achieve your goal. But the rest of your life, your health, and relationships would be a mess. So I strongly suggest that you write down goals for several aspects of your life so you end up with a balanced life.
Personally I like the way one of my colleagues, Dan Miller, does it. Perhaps you can adapt some of his questions below to fit you.
FINANCIAL GOALS: (What do you want to do with your income, investments, debts, etc.?)
- 5-year goals: (Be specific.)
- 1-year goals: (For example, how much do you want to increase your income in the next 12 months?)
- Beginning Today: (What can you to do get a start on these goals? You might even turn your goals into affirmations, such as: “I drive … I save … I give 10% of my income to …”)
PHYSICAL HEALTH: (What do you want for your overall state of wellness, appearance, exercise, etc.?)
- 5-year goals: (Perhaps you want a more balanced life. You may want to give more time to certain areas in your life.)
- 1-year goals: (Maybe it includes taking long walks, exercising, meditating regularly. Giving yourself 30 minutes each day to relax.)
- Beginning Today: (Make it personal. Turn your goals into affirmations, such as: “I am a non-smoker … I exercise 4 times every week … I get 8 hours of sleep each night … I enjoy a huge amount of energy because …”)
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: (Acquiring new knowledge, education, and self-improvement)
- 5-year goals: (Your success, financial or otherwise, will seldom, if ever, exceed your personal development.)
- 1-year goals: (Start doing something that you’ve put off because of the fear of failure. Want to learn a new language? This is the year.)
- Beginning Today: (Join the Automobile University. If you drive 25,000 miles a year at an average speed of 46mph, you will spend about the same amount of time in your car as an average college student spends in the classroom. The question then is, “What are you doing with that time? Wasting time hearing the same news over and over again or listening to audio recordings that will transform your success?)
RELATIONSHIPS: (Friends, family, children.)
- 5-year goals: (The second law of thermodynamics: things left to themselves tend to deteriorate. Great relationships don’t just happen. They come as the result of making deposits toward the “success” you want.)
- 1-year goals: (What is the kind and length of vacations you will take this year … and with whom? What would be your goal for more time with the people you care about? Instead of saying you want to be a “better” mom or dad, define what that means and do it … such things as : You may decide to spend 20 minutes each night with your child or one Saturday morning a month doing what he/she wants to do. Or how about scheduling one overnight event with your spouse every quarter?)
- Beginning Today: (You may take the time you normally spend watching a favorite TV show and spend that time instead with your spouse, a child or a friend.)
SPIRITUAL: (Church involvement, personal commitment, theological understanding, taking a stand on what you know is right)
- 5-year goals: (What are you a part of that goes beyond yourself?)
- 1-year goals: (Can you say that you are now living out God’s purpose for your life? Do you trust your dreams as being “inspired?”)
- Beginning Today: (Are you handling crises with less stress and more peace?)
SOCIAL: (Increased number of friends, more community involvement, etc.)
- 5-year goals: (Change old attitudes. Discard past negatives. Ask for forgiveness. Make things right with people.)
- 1-year goals: (Choose to mentor someone. Spend more time with the elderly and find out their fondest memories.)
- Beginning Today: (Ask for forgiveness. Make things right with people. Keep your promises.)
CAREER: (Ambitions, dreams, hopes)
- 5-year goals: (Where do you want to be in your career 5 years from now? What are doing to make sure you get there?)
- 1-year goals: (Are you engaged in work you truly enjoy? That not only taps into your competence and confidence but also your heart?)
- Beginning Today (What’s one thing you can do today, tomorrow, and the next day to get you closer to your ideal job?)
4. Review and revise.
Once you’ve got your goals written down, you’re ahead of 97% of the people in this world. Wow! All you have to do now is set aside two hours every month to review and revise your goals to keep yourself on track, getting the things you really, Really, REALLY want.
If you don’t have written goals, write them down this week. If you’ve got them written out, review them this week