“Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I’ll give you someone who will make history. Give me someone without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.” J.C. Penney
How true! Few things in life are more powerful than goals. Look at the Japanese people. After a devastating defeat in World War II, the Japanese leaders in government, business, and industry said “Let’s set a goal. Let’s become the number one nation in the production of textiles. And let’s accomplish this in a decade.” They did it.
In 1960, the Japanese set the impossible goal to become the number one nation in the production of steel. An impossible goal you might think, because Japan had no iron ore, no coal, and no oil. But they did it again.
In 1970, they set another goal–to become the number one nation in the production of automobiles. Again they did it, although it took them one year longer than they expected, achieving their goal in 1980.
Then in 1980, they established the goal of becoming the leader in the production of electronics and computers. I don’t have to tell you what happened.
From my 36 years of work as an educator and professional speaker, I can tell you absolutely, unequivocally, if you don’t have definite, written goals for every aspect of your life, you are not getting anywhere near what you could be getting out of life. You’re cheating yourself, your family, and your organization.
I’ve had the privilege of working with more than a million people across the world. I know that people who set goals have more money, more success, better jobs, better families — in a word, they are HAPPIER. I know that the real achievers in life do three things: 1) they set goals, 2) they have a plan for achieving their goals, and 3) they put their plan into motion.
That’s why I make sure that everyone who attends my two-day program, THE JOURNEY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY, really understands the goal-setting process … and then leaves the program equipped to accomplish all their goals. And the evidence seems to suggest that is happening.
Take Allen Wyatt, for example. He’s the Center Director for the Social Security Administration. He wrote to tell me, “Your goal-setting process worked beautifully for me. Ever since the first day of the Journey To The Extraordinary Experience, I have become a much more patient father. I used to yell right off the bat, without talking or discussing anything first. Now, I find it a lot easier to talk and work out problems with myself and my children without blowing up. It is bringing us closer every day. Thank you!! This was GREAT training.”
Or listen to Dr. Marilyn Joyce. She also attended The Journey To The Extraordinary and wrote, “I know for certain that your goal-setting process works. Within one week of affirming my goal and vision, consistently, I was asked to contribute to 4 major books, not to mention requests by major magazines for articles. Wow! Thank you, Alan, for the thought-provoking, powerful work you do. I recommend your seminars and materials to anyone I meet who is sincere about changing their life and their business.”
Well I can’t possibly teach you everything you need to know about setting and achieving your goals with a single article. It takes some concentrated effort and some personal coaching … like that found in The Journey To The Extraordinary experience. But we can at least get started on the process here. There are seven steps you need to take.
=> 1. List everything you want to be, do, or have.
Decide what you want — not what you think you want, or might want, or what someone else thinks you should want, but what YOU really want!
Close your eyes and imagine your ideal self, possessing all the qualities you would like to have. Then write down the type of personality and the inner qualities of character you want to develop. List 8 to 10 qualities.
Continue the process by defining the kinds of things you want to have. Write whatever comes to mind for each of 10 categories: physical, career, family, social, financial, recreational, spiritual, mental health, personal growth, and lifestyle.
Don’t think about it too hard. Don’t worry about the feasibility. The purpose of this first step is to loosen you up and get you in touch with your DREAMS. Take an hour to do this step.
=>2. Prioritize your dreams.
Count up the total number of items you listed. Divide by 3.
If you listed 93 items, for example, a third would be 31. Looking over all your lists, place the letter “A” by the 31 items that would be a top priority for you, items that are absolutely necessary for your happiness and success. Use the letter “B” to designate your second level of priorities. Put the letter “B” by the 31 items that would be very nice to have but are not nearly as fundamental as your “A’s.” Lastly, place the letter “C” by all remaining items. A “C” doesn’t mean that it’s not important, but it is something you could live without or could put off for a while.
=> 3. Balance your dreams.
Don’t make the mistake of having only one dream, such as career success. If you focus all your energies on one goal, chances are you could achieve it, but your life would be a mess. I’ve seen too many people have just one goal, such as making a million dollars. They make their million and then find out their health is gone, along with their spouse and kids. So balance your dreams.
In plain terms, that means you should have at least one “A” or “B” dream in each of the categories we discussed. You should have at least one quality you want to develop, and you should have something in the 10 other categories. No category should be overlooked.
Likewise, no category should be overbooked. If you have 9 “A” or “B” dreams in the career category, for example, and only 1 thing in the spiritual section, you’re going to feel something is missing, even if you achieve all your dreams. So double check your categories to make sure they are somewhat even in terms of quantity and quality.
=> 4. Avoid the temptation of trying to do everything.
Select one — and only one — dream from each category. Pick the one you REALLY want and you’re also motivated to do something about it.
That doesn’t mean you ignore all you other dreams. You keep your lists; you refer to them frequently, and keep them in mind. Once you’ve accomplished your selected items or they’re in pretty good shape, you go back to your lists and select something else to actively pursue.
=> 5. Turn your dreams into goals.
You do that by writing out your goals. Yes, you must write them out. The research is very clear. If you’re not willing to write out your goals, you probably won’t achieve your goals.
The act of writing shows your commitment. You are doing more than wishful thinking. And writing gives your mind a sense of direction. You’re telling your subconscious mind that of all the millions of possibilities out there, these are the few you would like.
When you write out your goals, make sure your write them appropriately. Make them specific. Write down exactly WHAT you want by WHEN. Make them achievable. Cast them within the realm of physical reality. Be able to visualize them. And make them controllable. Your goals have to be something over which you have control. You can’t write a goal of winning the lottery, but you could write a goal about making more money.
=> 6. Take daily action steps.
Once you write out your goals, you must spend a little time on them each and every day. Part of that time is simply spent on thinking about your goals. Your mind works on those things that it thinks about.
Beyond thinking, outline an action plan for each of your goals. There’s nothing more motivating than having a list of action steps that you cross off as you get closer and closer to accomplishing your goal.
One way to do that is to outline a series of mini-steps for each of your goals. A mini-step is a 5, 10, or 15-minute step you take each day on each of your goals. You commit yourself to taking some action on a regular basis. Some days it will only be 5 minutes; other days you’ll get excited and spend a whole hour on a particular goal. That’s okay. The key thing is you’re making visible, measurable progress.
=> 7. Celebrate.
If you follow these steps, you’ll have more success and more joy than ever before. So you deserve to celebrate your victories.
Besides that, celebration revs up your mind and pumps up your spirit. You’ll be more than ready to go ahead and tackle your next goal.
Action: Most people don’t get everything they want out of life. They don’t even think it’s possible. They’re the sad ones who get by when they could get up.
I encourage you to take an hour this week and an hour next week to lay out your goals as I’ve outlined above. If you do nothing else, you’ve at least put together a roadmap as to where you want to go. And that alone will give you more success than simply “winging it” without a roadmap.