When it comes to setting goals there’s sort of this tragedy.
We’ve all been told that we should set goals. That we should write them down and that we should review them.
I’m guessing at some point in your life you’ve heard this. Just about all of us have.
Well, if that’s the case then why do very few people actually do it?
I mean companies like Nike tell us to ‘Just do it’…so why don’t we?
I think a major part of it has to do with the process people think about going through before they start setting their goals and planning their life in the first place.
So from the beginning it is flawed for them and that in turn is the tragedy.
From the get-go they don’t stand a chance.
But I believe there is a solution and no, it’s not a silver bullet or magic pill. It’s something that takes actual work, so if you don’t like to put in effort you can stop reading now.
If you are ready to have the best year of your life, keep reading because that’s why I’ve created what I believe is the ultimate guide to goal setting.
Not only will this post help you to set your goals, but more importantly it’s designed to help you actually ACHIEVE your goals.
At the end of the day that’s what is most important to you, isn’t it?
I sure hope so because in my opinion, it’s all about results.
Sidebar: I reference several different people and websites in this post including videos that they have created. All of this is designed to help you with your goal setting and goal achievement so I encourage you to check them out. I’ve also created action items for each step to make it easier for you to start implementing these ideas and strategy.
Execution is the biggest key and my business partner Daniel and I follow Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program. Highly recommend you check it out. It’s the only researched backed execution based system I’ve seen and it flat out works.
However, and this is an important note: I think you should take this process very seriously and at the very least, spend a whole day (if not two or three) going through this process. I know a lot of you are saying, “is he kidding me? I don’t have a whole day let alone multiple days to do this”. Honestly, if that’s what you are thinking you are looking at this all wrong. It’s by setting this time aside now that you are going to make the major breakthroughs over the next 6 months. This process will make crystal clear exactly what it is you need to do to reach your goals.
Below you will find 6 tips on getting the most out of this post.
How to Get the Most of This Goal Setting Guide
Here are 6 things that will help you get the most out of this guide to goal setting:
- Buy a fresh legal pad for this entire process. I personally use a Moleskin Journal for this.
- Set aside at least one full day to do your planning (2-3 days are recommended)
- It’s highly recommended that you do your planning in a big open space. I find it helps you think clearer and expands your mind to have much bigger thoughts and goals. Last year I actually did all my planning from my friend’s cabin in the mountains so I could be fully secluded (see the picture to the right).
- If you don’t have a big open space available to you I seriously recommend you go to a resort for a day in your area or rent a place on Airbnb or a related site for a night or two. If you do rent a place or go to a resort, try and bring all the supplies you might need. For example, when I went to the cabin I took my Vitamix blender, superfoods for smoothies, snacks, and all the supplies I would need. The key is you want to be able to stay focused and not have to be running around to the store, restaurants, etc. I got this tip from Kevin Wilke and it’s been working great for me ever since.
- Whenever you sit down to plan out any goals, you really need to look at what you’ve already done and how it’s worked for you. It would take too long to look over the last 10 years, 5 years and even one year in my opinion. Depending on what your goal is, I think it’s a good idea to look at the last 3-9 months. Now, I will caution you with this warning: the 3-9 months guideline is a little industry dependent. What I mean is that if you have a goal based around a fast-changing industry like online marketing, your time frame may be short because things change so much in that industry. Here’s what I would look at: Write down what you set out to accomplish, what you did accomplish, what you didn’t accomplish, and analyze how you think you did overall. Lastly, list what you could have done differently. It’s great if you can look at your businesses profit loss statements, previous plans/goals, and any type of reporting you have in place (might be good idea to print these things out). This process should be completed for more than just your business goals, but look at things like personal finances, relationships, physical fitness, etc.
The goal is to learn from what you’ve done in the past. By looking at your past you’ll pick up the mistakes you made and what you could have done to avoid them or have them resolved faster, cheaper and/or in a less stressful manner. You’ll learn about what you did well and where you really need to improve. The list can go on and on, but it’s important to not let the past alter what you can accomplish in the future. Always remember that your past is simply your past and your future is what you make it. Don’t let your past, no matter what it is, effect what you can achieve and become in the future.
- While this process seems very detailed, long, and maybe like a lot of work, it is by far the best time you’ll spend for your life, business, finances, relationship, and more. Without a vision, goals, and overall action plan for your life, you will most like just go aimlessly through the next 6 months and year. Spend a small bit of time now to craft your ideal and best life. I promise it’s worth it.
Let’s get started.
Step 1 – Starting With the Big Picture
Whenever you are doing any type of goal setting or planning, I recommend you always start with a big picture or a high level view as some call it.
For goal setting and achievement, I look at this as whatever my end goal is. At the end of the day what do I want to accomplish, how do I want to feel, etc. It is important when you think of this end goal that you apply a date to it. You MUST have a timeline in your head.
The problem that most people fall into is they are very vague on what their goals are and they almost never attach a timeline to it.
To give you an idea of what I mean, let’s look at an example:
Bad Goal Example: I want to make more money.
Good Goal Example: By March 1st 2014 I have earned $150,000 in profit from my Amazon business.
Do you see the major difference in these two goals?
Goal #1 is very generic and has no timeline or method attached to it. Make more money could be simply earning an extra $1 and I imagine the person setting that type of goal wants to earn more than that.
Now in goal #2, the person is very specific on exactly what they want to accomplish. They have given themselves a timeline of when to accomplish it by, an exact dollar amount that they want (note that it states profit not revenue), and the business in which that goal is set for.
Making sure you have all this detail is extremely important.
Also, understand that you should set all of your goals like this whether they are spiritual, financial, social, physical, business, or emotional goals.
Before we go any further, let me give you some more examples of a few kinds of goals.
Example of a physical fitness goal: By February 1st, 2014 I am 160 lbs. of lean muscle with a body fat percentage of 7%.
Example of a financial goal: On June 1st, 2014 I have earned a cumulative 150% profit on my options portfolio from trading stock options no more than 20 times a month.
Example of a marketing goal: By January 15th, 2014 I have setup at least 25 Facebook advertising campaigns and have achieved a positive ROI of at least 35% on 10 different campaigns.
Example of a secondary goal: By February 1st of 2014 I have taken 1 of my positive ROI Facebook campaigns and have scaled it to $1000 a day profit.
As you can see, all of these goals are very specific, have deadlines, and you are 100% able to track them. For example, if on February 1st you were to get on the scale and you are 168 pounds with 12% body fat, you’d know that you missed our goal by quite a bit. At that point, you can reevaluate the actions that you took and where you made mistakes. This also allows you to recalibrate your goal and adjust your actions to reach it (more on this later).
– If you haven’t already, get some type of legal pad or a moleskin journal.
– Make sure you have already analyzed your previous results as stated above.
– Make a preliminary list of your top 5 – 10 specific and measurable goals for the next 3 – 6 months in all areas of your life including:
- Health and Fitness
- Life Experiences (think of all the experiences you want to have over the next 6 months)
- Personal Finances
Some questions that can help get the juices flowing that I learned from Ryan Moran are:
- What are you most excited about right now and why?
- What are you most grateful about right now and why?
- What are you most frustrated about right now and why? What would be the ideal result in place of the frustration?
Step 2 – Creating Your Vision
Now that you have a preliminary list of your top 5 – 10 goals over the course of the next 3 – 6 months, you now need to create your vision and a detailed goals list so that you can get back into what needs to be done to accomplish your goals.
I would really like you to think about this. You should spend time designing exactly how you want your life to be.
Here’s how to create your vision and design your life in a few simple steps
First, decide what values you want to stand for.
Next, decide how you want to live your life.
Then think about exactly how you want to spend your days. What are you going to do with your time?
You really should become very clear on these things and I’d even encourage you to do the following exercise:
In your journal or notebook write down what your exact ideal day is. Simply start from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. What would you want the average everyday events of your life to look like? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Who do you want to see?
Once you have your ideal day written down be sure to read it daily. I like to read mine every day and every night. Keep in mind that it is OK if your ideal day changes. Just rewrite it and follow the same process.
This is a very simple thing to do, but it’s also a very simple thing not to do.
I recommend that you do it.
– Create your vision
– Know what you want to stand for
– Create your ideal day and read it every morning and every night
Check Out This Video on Someone Living Their Vision (Great Insights on Gratitude as Well)
Learn more about Louie Schwartzberg and Moving Art at http://www.movingart.com.
Step 3 – How to Work Backwards to Plan for Achieving Your Goals
At this point you should know exactly what your vision is for your life and have in detail the goals that you want to accomplish over the next 3- 6 months. It is critical that you complete these two steps before you move onto this section and that you’ve actually written this out. Don’t just have it in your head and don’t type it out on your computer. There’s something different and powerful about actually writing it out by hand.
Now in the previous section we talked about lifestyle construction and how to figure out what you don’t want and what you do want, which is really important. Most people only focus on what they want, which is important–but you really need to know the things that you don’t want in your life as well.
I hope that you also figured out and realized how little you actually need to change, achieve or do to live your best life.
It’s important that we now work backwards into each of our goals and figure out exactly what needs to be done on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to reach that particular goal. You see, just setting the goal isn’t enough. You need to build a clear, granular action plan on exactly how we are going to get there.
Don’t skimp on this part.
By having this crystal clear action plan, we know the things that need to be accomplished in order for our goals to be reached and at that point, it simply becomes a matter of execution.
The good thing about executing our action plan is we can simply focus on the stuff we want to do and outsource the rest (more on outsourcing in a minute).
Start by strategically breaking down what needs to be accomplished every single month to reach your end goal. These can also include what your Key Performance Indicators need to be to stay on track. You really need to list this out for each of your goals as you’ll be using this in the next two steps. As always, be detailed.
Once you have what needs to be accomplished monthly you can simply break this down to what needs to be done on a weekly basis. Basically, you need to include everything here that you have to do to reach your monthly KPIs and objectives. If you created a detailed list for your monthly objectives then this will be very easy to do.
After you know your weekly plan of action, you simply structure this into what you are going to be doing on a daily basis. I like to use the attached document below to plan out my weekly to-dos, deliverables, goals, etc. The document also allows you to keep track of your daily exercise, diet, things you are grateful for, and a few other things. Using something like this is really important as it allows you to review your sheet every Sunday to see how you did.
One of the major purposes of this exercise is to help you get 100% clear about what you need to do and what you need to focus on to achieve your desired outcome.
When it comes down to it, there are going to be a few major things that you need to focus on to achieve your individual goals. As an example, if you have a weight loss goal, really the two major things come down to nutrition and fitness. Or if you are looking at getting out of debt, it comes down to saving and spending. Of course, there are lots of things that support all the major actions and steps you are going to be taking.
But what’s important is to understand that you are most likely going to need help with some of these things. Seek help from your friends, families, business partners, your network, and most likely for some things, you’ll need to look into hiring people to help.
Now, a lot of people can get scared or nervous when they first start to hire people and outsource. They have this fear that the person they outsource it to will mess up, they won’t be able to do it as well as they can, they’ll give bad advice, etc.
Here’s the real deal, though. Outsourcing can be a little bit tricky at first, but once you start to get the hang of it, it can be one of the biggest blessings in your life. Understand that this post isn’t a training on outsourcing (though I do plan to do one soon), but when you are starting out you can use sites like OnlineJobs.ph, Odesk & Elance, Freelancer or even sites like Fiverr. Obviously, this is just a sampling of all the sites that are out there to help you outsource. You can also even look at sites like LinkedIn or Monster.com to find people or businesses to help you.
If you are really serious about outsourcing, and you should be I, recommend you invest in some simple training by an expert in outsourcing. One option is Replace Myself by Jon Jonas. Whenever you get started with outsourcing, start small and realize you can outsource things like cooking, grocery shopping, book keeping, paying bills, website design, content creation and tons of other things, too.
Figuring Out Your Key Performance Indicators
Once you have the clarity on what you need to do and why you need to do it, you now need to figure out what your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are.
When you know what your KPI’s are you can quickly and easily tell if you or anybody else on your team are on track to reach your desired outcome.
Most KPI’s are going to be measured weekly, but some can and should be measured daily or monthly.
For example, if I’m selling my own physical products on Amazon some of my KPI’s can be:
- The number of daily product sales.
- How much traffic I’m getting to my Amazon listings on a daily basis.
- The ROI of my weekly advertising budget.
- The number of reviews I’m receiving on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
These are just a few examples and you should be tracking your own KPI’s for each of your goals. You can include the main KPIs on your one sheet as discussed below if you like. It depends on your goal, but most of time a simple Excel spreadsheet and the normal reporting tools you use will work. But depending on everything that you are looking to do you may want to look into KPI-specific software especially if you have a lot of business and financial goals.
– Develop detailed plans for your goals by working backwards to your desired end results.
– Read through your goals every morning and night. This really gets your subconscious working. Another way to get your subconscious going is to ask yourself questions throughout the day. A few examples are: What can I do today to earn $1500 in profit? What can I do to be 160 lbs. of lean muscle and 7% body fat? I know this may seem a bit weird but it works. If you do it often enough you’ll start to notice a lot of opportunities that pop up to help you get to your desired outcomes.
– Weekly Planning with the Robin Sharma Weekly Design System.
– Start Outsourcing even if you start with simple tasks.
– Figure out your Key Performance Indicators.
– Use resources like the app Lift to keep yourself accountable.
Step 4 – Analyzing Your Resources
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they are creating their vision and planning their goals.
Everything we’ve discussed so far is important, but now you need to do an inventory of what you have available to you already that can help you accomplish your goals.
By making a detailed list of everything you have available, you are doing a few important things.
- You are making list of all the assets you have that can help you accomplish your goals. The amount of things on this list will surprise you and to give you an idea, I’ll do an example below.
- It will also help you realize what you don’t have available to you and what or who you need to get access to for additional help in achieving your goals.
- It’s going to help you get results faster.
Let’s look at an example. Keep in mind that your lists should be much longer and much more detailed than this.
For our goal let’s stick with the $150,000 in profit from Amazon by February 1st.
Resources I Have Available to Me
– Amazon Seller Central Account
– 5 Products Currently Selling on Amazon (I’d include exact stats and conversion percentages as well)
– Proven Amazon Business Model Training Course
– Software Tools to Help Me Communicate with My Customers
– Amazing Graphic Designer for Label Design, Logo Design, Site Design, Banner Ad Design and More
– Budget for Paid Advertising
– 5,000 Person Email List in My Niche Market
Hopefully this helps you get the idea of what you need to be doing to build up your list of available assets and resources. Again and I know I’m really emphasizing this, but it is critical that you be as detailed as possible on this. You may consider even writing next to each item exactly how it will help you.
Next, we need to know what we are missing.
Resources I Need to Gain Access To
– An E-Commerce Site Setup
– A Bonus for 2 of my Products
– Premium Packaging for My Existing Products
– A Supplier for My Next 4 Products
– An Outsourced Employee to Collect All My Lead Data
– A Customer Service Person to Phone All Customers and Respond to Customer Support Tickets
– A Package Insert for One of My Products
– Copywriter for Direct Mail Campaign
– Mailing House for Direct Mail Campaign
– A Proven Model for Driving Facebook Traffic that Converts for Physical Products
Depending on the goal, you may have a very long list especially if it is something that is completely new to you. Don’t let this deter you one bit.
As soon as you know what you have available to you, you need to inject these assets into your overall vision and goals. By that I mean simply go through all of your goals and list in the margins or below the goal the assets you have and how you’ll use them to help you reach your goal.
Next, take a look at your list of resources that you need to gain access to and spend some quality time thinking about how you can get access to these things.
Some examples of questions you can ask yourself are:
- Do I have anyone in my network that can help me with any of these tasks?
- Can I hire someone to do one of these tasks for me?
- Where do I need to go to get access to X resource?
- Is there some type of training program or consulting program that can help me with this?
What’s important is that you do this right away as these can be some major roadblocks for you. The sooner you can gain access to these, the better off you’ll be. I will say that if you are going to leverage your network to help you with this remember to be tactful in how you approach people. Always do your best to provide them value in some way as well and don’t be afraid to compensate people for their help and time…whether that compensation is with money, time, trade, or something else.
Also, don’t be afraid to invest in outsourcing/hiring employees/trainers/nutritionists/etc and definitely don’t be afraid to invest in additional training or consulting to help you get access to these resources. Remember that you just built an incredibly detailed plan of everything you need to do reach your most important goals in the next 3 – 6 months. Imagine how different your life is going to be when you’ve accomplished all those goals. Don’t let fear stop you from investing a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars or even more into training, consulting, exercise equipment, supplements, whole foods, financial advice, attorneys, trips, experiences, etc.
– Develop a list of all the assets and resources you have available.
– Write down how each of these assets and resources will help you achieve each individual goal.
– Develop a list of all the assets and resource you don’t have available to you.
– Think about exactly how you are going to gain access to these resources and assets (be tactful).
– Take immediate action on getting access to your needed resources and assets.
Step 5 – How to Make Sure You Stay Focused
If you made this far then you’re almost home free. But it’s important not to miss these next few steps.
I’m going to be honest with you.
There are going to be times when you don’t want to keep moving forward on your goals. You are going to hit hurdles, you will have setbacks, you will fail at certain things, but (and this is a huge but) you MUST keep pushing forward.
I look at all of these things as tests and trust me they are normal. We all go through them and really, you can just look at it as part of your character development. Don’t even worry about proving to others you have what it takes to keep going and not give up, but just prove it to yourself. You’ve already invested a lot of time and effort up to this point. Not to mention you have just designed your absolute ideal life and all of the things that you need to do to make that happen.
And you need seriously remember that every time you want to give in.
Whenever you want to give up or move on.
Remember this process and remember why you set that goal to being with. This should allow you to refocus and get yourself on track.
However, there is a way you can stack the deck in your favor so to speak.
Would you like to know what the secret is?
Well, it’s really simple and it has to do with your behavior.
You see, your behaviors actually drive all of your beliefs and belief system (more about beliefs in a video at the bottom of this page).
So by focusing on your beliefs you can shape your behaviors to be more resilient to tough times. Not to mention you can shape your beliefs to help you do more, love more, achieve more, and be more.
Now before I share 4 ideas with you that will help you with this, I want you to understand something.
If you realize and fully comprehend that no matter what you do you are going to have struggles, setbacks, and failures on your way to achieving your goals, then you are already 100% ahead of the game.
What I mean is if you come to that realization, all you have to do is prepare for it and when you recognize or meet those struggles, setbacks, and failures, just simply do what you’ve prepared for.
It’s as simple as that.
So here are 4 ideas that will help you shape your beliefs that I learned from Robin Sharma.
Sidebar: Sharma is seriously one of my favorite authors. His wisdom and teaching ability is unlike anyone I’ve seen in the personal development space. I highly recommend you pick up his books here.
4 Simple, Yet Incredibly Powerful Ideas
1) Gratitude – it’s the antidote to fear. Everyday consciously focus on the things you are grateful for. Think of everything and not just surface level things. Really dig into what makes you feel blessed and grateful. If you struggle with this at first, I encourage you to think of simple things to begin with like your friends, your family, shelter, transportation, electricity, running water, a bed, etc.
2) Affirmations – the words you use shape your beliefs, so use words of excellence. Most people think affirmations are kinda strange, but they are so powerful and they are something most people do already…just most of the time now they are not positive. I highly encourage you to watch this video about the Strangest Secret in the World (even if you’ve already seen it you should watch it again).
Download the Strangest Secret Here
3) Peers – focus on surrounding yourself with people who are world-class and that are like what you want to become. I can’t emphasize this enough. The people you surround yourself with is absolutely critical. If you need to find better people to hang out with, here are some ideas: go to live events (I wrote a post about events here), get involved within Facebook groups and connect with like-minded individuals there, join BNI or the Chamber of Commerce, go to Meetups, travel and meet new people, and the one thing that had the biggest effect on my business and life is being a part of a mastermind group. These are just a few ideas to get you started, but if you need more suggestions feel free to email me (ryan at ryancoisson.com–replace at with @).
4) Diet and fitness – your diet affects your moods and the food you eat should be treated as fuel. We’ve all heard it before and we all inherently know the importance of eating well and exercising. If you need some help getting on track check out my buddy Drew Canole’s Fitlife.tv, Foodbabe’s blog. Start eating healthy foods like you see here and if you need a total reboot do a cleanse.
Important: if you are going to cleanse, I highly recommend you only do a whole food cleanse. Don’t buy some crap cleansing pills or anything like that. Yuri Elkaim is an expert at this and has a great product called Total Wellness Cleanse that teaches you how to do this properly.
Now as far as fitness goes, I believe you don’t have to be absolute gym junkie, but first thing in the morning just get moving. Whether it’s a 30 minute walk in the park, a quick Pilates or Yoga class, some cardio, a session at the gym, or my favorite, 12-15 minutes of bodyweight exercises at your house, just do some exercising to get the blood pumping. You should also try and start drinking this first thing in the morning (article). If you have big fitness goals you should definitely start with some who is an expert and nutrition. I work with Brian Johnson.
Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. -Cavett Robert
– Plan and be ready for your failures, roadblocks, setbacks and struggles.
– Work on developing your behaviors and belief system.
Step 6 – Creating a One-Page Plan
We are now on step 6 and you may be wondering if this is ever going to end.
Stay with me! You are almost finished with having the absolute best chance at successfully achieving your goals.
At this point your vision and goals/plans are very extensive and you most likely have pages upon pages of information, which is absolutely fantastic.
What you need to do now is create some one-page plans or one sheets as I like to refer to them.
Simply put, this is going to be something that you can read through quickly anytime you are getting distracted and need to get focused. When you are having an off day (which is 100% normal by the way), you can take 2-4 minutes and read through your one page plan and it should give you an instant boost of motivation and drive to keep moving forward..
What should you put on a one page plan?
- First, take the top 3 values from your vision you created for your life and put them up top. These are really the 3 values that you want to live your life by.
- Second, write down what 5 things need to happen for this next 3 – 6 months to be the best of your life.
- Third, write down your core affirmations. By the way you shouldn’t have 100 affirmations I like to keep it to 3-5 things.
- Fourth write down 3 reasons why you can accomplish your goals.
– Create one-page plans for each category of your goals.
Step 7 – Putting it All Together
First off, congrats on getting this far. This blog post is pretty epic in length and even more detailed in what you need to do, so again, congrats on making it this far. I firmly believe that following the advice in this blog post can help you in so many ways and I cannot encourage you enough start this process as soon as humanly possible.
As we wrap this up I want to give you some final advice on putting this all together. Once you’ve followed all the 6 steps above I want to do a few final things.
- Create some positive pressure for yourself by sharing your goals with at least one person close to you. The objective is for them to keep you 100% accountable to your goals.
- Set rewards for yourself. We are doing this entire process to have our best lives and along the way you deserve to be rewarded. So I encourage you set rewards for yourself relative to the goal you set. A reward could be something as simple as a dinner, new toy, trip, a massage or spa day, an experience, etc. The rewards should be there to provide a little treat for achieving what you set out to do.
- Watch Sharma’s video below to learn how to achieve your biggest goals and start implementing Robin’s advice.
- Be ok with change. As you start to implement your action plan you will experience a lot of change. Embrace the change and adapt as needed to keep in line with your desired results.
- Now that you have your entire plan in place, you need to execute it. But you need to also make your decisions based on these goals. Whether someone asks you to do something, if you are going to go on a trip, if you have an opportunity to take on a business partner, or anything else, ask yourself if it fits into your plan. If it compliments your goals and plan, then do it. If it doesn’t, then say no. One of the hardest things for people to do is say no. To be successful though you have to become really good at saying no to things that are going to take you off your path.
- Follow this plan and create a new set of goals and vision at least every 6 months.
How to Achieve Your Biggest Goals
– Create positive pressure for your business.
– Set rewards for achieving your goals.
– Watch the above video by Robin Sharma and learn how to achieve your biggest goals. Start implementing his tips
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. I promise you that if you go through this entire process and spend the time necessary to do it right you’ll be amazed at what can happen. If you enjoyed this post, please share it by clicking on the buttons below. I’d also love to hear what you think so please comment below and tell me your thoughts.