I’ve told people countless times that they’ve just got to ask for what they want. The problem is that most people don’t know what they want. You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is.
So I’m going to start you on a wonderful path of painting your dreams into reality. I’m going to teach you the secrets behind setting—and achieving—your greatest ambitions.
Before we set off on this path together, let me make one thing very clear: The word “goals” can be intimidating. It can feel so overbearing that it keeps people from even beginning the process. Instead, think of goals as a to-do list with deadlines.
Do the deadlines have to be tomorrow? Or next week? Of course not. This is the to-do list for the rest of your life. Goals can be added, subtracted and, most important, scratched off the list as you move through your life.
Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re using a successful framework to create your to-do list:
1. Your most important goals must be yours.
Not your spouse’s. Not your child’s. Not your employer’s. Yours. When you let other people determine your definition of success, you’re sabotaging your own future.
2. Your goals must mean something to you.
When you write down your goals, you must ask yourself, What’s really important to me? What am I prepared to give up to make this happen? Your reasons for charting a new course of action give you the drive and energy to get up every morning.
3. Your goals must be specific and measurable.
Vague generalizations and wishy-washy statements aren’t good enough. Be specific.
4. Your goals must be flexible.
A flexible plan keeps you from feeling suffocated and allows you to take advantage of genuine opportunities that walk in your future door.
5. Your goals must be challenging, exciting.
Force yourself to jump out of your comfort zone to acquire that energy and edge.
6. Your goals must be in alignment with your values.
Pay attention to your intuition, your gut. When you set a goal that contradicts your values, something inside will twinge. Pay attention.
7. Your goals must be well-balanced.
Make sure you include areas that allow time to relax, have fun and enjoy people in your closest circle.
8. Your goals must be realistic.
Be expansive but don’t be ridiculous. If you’re 4 feet tall, you will probably never play in the NBA. Also be sure to allow yourself time to get there.
9. Your goals must include contribution.
Unfortunately, many people get so wrapped up in pursuing their goals that they don’t have time in their lives to give something back to society. Build this into your goals program.
10. Your goals need to be supported.
Either selectivity share a few of your dreams with a number of people, or share all of your dreams with a select few people. In either case, you’re creating a web of support and accountability for yourself.
It’s time to get started on your master plan. Give yourself some quiet time, put on some relaxing music and write down 101 goals. That’s right, 101.
Open your mind to all the possibilities. Start each goal with I am or I will. Don’t even think about restricting yourself. To help you with this process, here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- What do I want to do?
- What do I want to have?
- Where do I want to go?
- What contribution do I want to make?
- What do I want to learn?
- Who do I want to meet and spend my time with?
- How much do I want to earn, save and invest?
- What will I do for fun and optimum health?
This process might take two hours. It might take two weeks. Don’t stop until you have 101 goals. Remember, you’re building your better life here—it’s the only life you have.
Related: 10 Steps to Achieve Any Goal