How to Set Goals & Actually Reach Them
The idea behind the SELF Journal was to quit the yearly planning cycle and instead focus on one goal over 13 weeks.
In the 1960’s, psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham discovered that goal setting is one of the easiest ways to increase motivation and enhance performance, they found that setting goals increased performance and productivity up to 25 percent. On an average 8 hour work day this is like getting an extra 2 hours of work accomplished solely by having a goal based around the activity.
The SELF Journal was based around setting S.M.A.R.T goals:
Most of the time when people set goals, they don’t make them S.M.A.R.T. How many times have you heard someone tell you that their New Years resolution is “losing weight” or “making more money.”
There’s nothing measurable or specific in each of these, and therefore, they are already setting themselves up for failure.
Here is some example of a S.M.A.R.T goal:
“I will lose 10 lbs and be at 18% body fat by June 2016.”
“I will increase my revenue by $10,000 a month by June 2016.”
Make each goal attainable, but not easy. Setting a goal of losing 200lbs in 3 months isn’t attainable, realistic (or healthy)so you’re setting yourself up for failure. Make sure that while your goal is realistic, it won’t be too easy to achieve unless you hustle.
Commitment to the goal
Setting a goal is easy, it’s setting the right goal that can be more difficult. Your goal needs to be something you’re passionate about achieving and that will drive you each day from when you get up in the morning to laying down at night.
“Make $100,000 in 2016” is a goal. However it doesn’t evoke much emotion until you define why this would improve your life.
“I want to make $100,000 in 2016 so my wife can quit her job to stay home with the kids.”
You see the difference?
Defining the goal and knowing why you want to get there can be the difference between success and failure. Once your S.M.A.R.T goal is set, the next step is to break it down further so you can create the roadmap to get there.
By identifying the progress, you need to achieve to successfully hit your goal you will need to track some key performance indicators. For example with a weight loss goal like we mentioned above, a progess milestone could be “I will run an 8-minute mile.”
For the launch of a new product, it could be something like “I will get ten presales for my product” or “I will increase my prelaunch email list by 150%”. All of these progress milestones are a way to ensure you are behaving and taking action in a way that will get you to your goal.
Tasks & Actions
The next part of the roadmap is to break the progress goals down even further into the daily actions you need to take everyday to hit the progress milestones you set. These tasks are what go into your SELF Journal under the ‘Today’s Targets’ and also the daily timeline.
If a progress milestone was around weight loss one of the ways to break this down would be assigning yourself to complete 20 mins of cardio per day, or for the product launch it could be emailing ten prospective customers per day.
Making these tasks part of your daily routine and 20-mile march you can end each day confident that you are on the way to hitting your BIG goal within 13 weeks.
We know that when you first look at the 13-Week roadmap process, you may be daunted by the idea of all the different steps you need to take in achieving your goal. However, by taking the time to plan ahead, you will save yourself a headache and procrastination in the long run.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln
The Weekly Milestones
There’s an area within the SELF Journal to define the weekly milestones; this is a bonus section so you can write out what you want to achieve each week. These milestones could also be written on your wall calendar, so you stay focused with a visible reminder of what you need to achieve throughout that week. These weekly milestones do not need to be written out ahead of time; you can plan these as you go as you measure progress along the way.
If your 13-week roadmap goal is to launch an app or product - one of the first milestones on your roadmap could be Validation or Proof of concept. This means getting it out in front of your target customer to ensure you’re creating something they would use, and pay for.
If your weekly milestone included this validation process, what actions or tasks do you need to do during that week to ensure you get the thumbs up on your proof of concept?
Experience freedom in structure
The feeling of waking up in the morning and knowing exactly what you need to accomplish that day to hit your goals is liberating. No more waking up and wasting precious brain energy trying to figure out what to do.
Here’s a quick video we recorded to demonstrate further the 13-Week concept: