Goal Setting: Make This Year the Best Year of Your Life (setting goals)

Coming from 2012 and beginning 2013 is mentally refreshing. It almost feels like a clean slate and a fresh new beginning.

Towards the end of last year, you may have been on “autopilot” and found yourself coasting to the end. But this is a good time to stop, reflect, and start from fresh:

Think about the highs and lows you had in 2012.

What were the most enjoyable parts? What were the worst parts? What were your most meaningful relationships?—If you have not reflected on this yet, then take a few minutes and give it a try. James Wedmore has a great video explaining how to do it right

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Didn’t that feel good? Did you learn a lot about your progress and understand what to put behind you, and what you want to work on this year?

Another great thing to reflect on is your relationships in the past year. Think about which ones were beneficial and meaningful, and which ones were draining and brought you down. Some will stand out much more than others.

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Did you learn from that? Consider slowly (or quickly) cutting contact with the negative relationships and strengthening your bond with the good ones.

Now that we have the past year covered lets move on to the big ’13.

 

 

1. Goal Setting

 

What is the point of goal setting?

Setting goals is mandatory to get things accomplished in the fastest amount of time. Without doing this, you may find it difficult to organize your many desires and find a clear direction in life.

Maybe you already set goals. In that case great.

But maybe you have experienced setting goals in the past, made strong progress in the beginning, only to lose motivation and give up after a few weeks.

I’ve been there.

But, fortunately for you and me, I have made great progress in the past year and found incredible tools to prevent this and get you started on your most productive year EVER.

 

Lets get started:

When you set goals, make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T.

I don’t intent to sound like your school teacher and tell you the “right way” to do something, but I’ve experienced first hand that things NEVER get completed when you don’t follow these guidelines (make goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, reliable and timely).

I’ve tried accomplishing things before, only to delay it to the next month, and the next, and the next—until it NEVER gets completed. This is, obviously, not what you want to happen.

 

Setting goals:

What do you want more of in your life? Do you want to change anything about yourself?

If ANYTHING was possible, how would you want your life to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years from now?

These are questions to ponder when setting goals and figuring out what direction you want to go in your life.

From my personal experience, once I define what I want in life and commit to it, I have found that I naturally move towards it. At the same time, the thing I desire actually comes to ME.

I’m not kidding.

This may sound crazy but, once goals are set, magical things can happen and incredible opportunities will present themselves. Many refer to this phenomenon as the Law of Attraction. { For more information on this topic check out this awesome post by my friend Phil Drolet (peak performance coach) who experienced the LOA, first hand. Also, take a look at an in depth interview I did with him here! }

 

Now lets start setting goals: Make sure to take your time and really think about it. Put a few hours aside for yourself (or maybe 10 minutes every night before bed).

I personally write goals down in the “Notes” app on my iPhone. This is convenient because I can write it down immediately whenever an idea pops into my head.

 

Set BIG goals and SMALL goals.

When you set goals, you will find that some are much more ambitious than others. I will keep it simple and call these Big Goals.

You will also have smaller goals which take less time and effort. But these are still completely necessary in order to move closer to what you want.

It is easy to see that big goals will take longer to achieve than small goals. Make sure to define a time scale for each goal (big and small) that allows enough time for completion, but short enough time so that you won’t procrastinate.

An example of a big goal is writing a best selling book. This obviously takes a lot more time and effort than writing, say, a blog post. Use your best judgement to calculate the approximate time duration for each objective.

 

Here is how to organize a long list of goals (for advanced goal setters):

Split up your short-term (small) goals, and organize them month by month (be specific). You can also do week by week (or even day by day!) if you like.

Organize your long-term (big) goals by picking a due date that is a few months, to 6 months, to a year, to even 5 years away.

Try to organize your smaller goals so that they are related to and lead up to the completion of the long-term ones. This way you “kill two birds with one stone.”

For example, lets say you want to write a nutrition book by the end of 2013: You start by getting organized and choosing three specific nutrition books to read each month. Then you decide to write two blog posts every month about what you learned.

Half way through the year in July you plan to start writing your book with your new found knowledge. You decide to write a new chapter every two weeks. Then by the end of 2013 you plan to have enough written material to publish your book!

Pretty exciting stuff, right?

Make sure to make your goals as big and EXCITING as possible. Desire is a very powerful motivator. The more you want something, the more motivation you will have to get it done! If you want it AS BAD AS YOU WANT TO BREATH there is no doubt that you will get it someday.

 

2. Guarantee Completion

 

Even if you set goals, how do you get around the problem of laziness and giving up? How can you ensure that your goals get completed?

 

Blackmail yourself.

Joel Runyon made an excellent post on this on his blog. It is important to give yourself a certain consequence if you don’t achieve a goal, because without it, you are not truly devoted.

If you are not willing to put something on the line as a punishment, then you don’t truly want to accomplish it.

Think about it this way: If you really want to get something done and believe that you can, then you would not be afraid of consequences at the end because you know you can complete it. Yes, it may be a lot of hard work and you may have to make some sacrifices as well (peer pressure, pleasure activities and some freedom), but the outcome will be far worth it!

Another helpful tool you can use is an awesome website called Stickk.com. On this website you can write in the goal you want to accomplish by a certain date, put stakes (money) on the line, choose someone to hold you responsible and get it done!

You can even set it up so that the money goes to an organization that you despise, if you don’t accomplish your goal.

How’s that for motivation?

 

 

3. Create Good Habits

 


Creating habits is part of human nature. We all have countless habits that we have accumulated throughout our lives (mostly subconsciously).

Old habits are difficult (but not impossible) to break. New habits CAN be made and WILL get ingrained into your subconscious mind (the most powerful part of your brain) with practice. It may require time and focus to get started, but new routines will seem quite easy once your subconscious takes over.

For a more in depth analysis of this concept, I wrote more about it in an earlier post here –> How to Be Unstoppable.

 

Generate Momentum.


It is important to create MOMENTUM towards your goals (also known as “the snowball effect”).
Work day by day towards creating habits that move closer and closer towards your goals. At first it may feel uncomfortable, BUT with persistence, you will make better habits for yourself and that will turn into momentum (when things really start to get going and continue on autopilot).

I have heard from various sources that it takes 30 days to truly make a new habit.

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Check out an excellent post HERE on how to guarantee a new habit. Also take a look HERE , HERE and HERE to read forums with real people discussing their stories about starting and maintaining good habits

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Examples of new habits could be:

1. Drinking a healthy smoothie in the morning instead of a donut

2. Taking a walk everyday to get in better shape

3. Taking COLD SHOWERS to overcome fear

4. Any other healthy routine that is repeatable

 

Making new habits that bring you closer to your goals is extremely powerful and effective. This is because it becomes automatic after time.

Before you know it, you will have achieved your goal without even seeing it coming—It may even seem anticlimactic since you may achieve a specific goal faster than you anticipated. I know from personal experience: Check out the DEADLIFT CHALLENGE I completed with the goal of doing 40 deadlifts in a row (with video proof).

 

Start a Morning routine.

Building some sort of a system to really get productive and start making consistent progress is a great way to begin better habits.
It takes small steps forward, inch by inch, to make BIG progress over time. Think about the tortoise and the hare race. The tortoise is slow and steady but never gives up. The hare is talented and fast, but does not have the will power and determination to really get it done.

Creating an awesome morning routine is a great way to slowly make progress every day.
Here is an awesome post on High Existence about starting the morning off right and a thread about people sharing their own morning routines.

 

It takes small steps forward, inch by inch, to make BIG progress over time.

 

Design your own routine.


Before you get started you have to take a little bit of time sitting down and organizing a routine. I like to organize about 5 different tasks and set a certain amount of time for each one (if you are just starting out, try one or two tasks). It is important to be SPECIFIC for this:
Write down an amount of time that you will spend on each task.

 

What to include in your morning routine:


Choose small tasks, related to your goals, that you can work on every morning.
For example, I started a morning routine last year and where I spent some time learning about current events, meditation, stretching, yoga, various books, and super healthy breakfasts.

Shortly into this, I realized that I would have to start getting up much earlier in the morning to allow enough time to get things done. At first I thought about it and told myself a typical excuse, “Well, I need my sleep so I guess this won’t work for me.” But then one day I read this article and decided to at least give it a try.

After getting up two painful morning’s in a row at 5:45am I was about to quit. But to my surprise, on the third morning I noticed that I woke up almost automatically at the same time.
So I started a normal morning routine just like that. This began in January of 2012 and here is what it looked like:

 

  • -10 minutes of reading the daily news
  • -10 minutes of reading about the presidential candidates
  • -8 minutes of meditation
  • -5 minutes of stretching
  • -10 minutes of reading a book
  • -10 minutes making a super healthy breakfast

…Find Your Greatness

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