This Guide to Life Goals is broken down into 4 Parts:
- Warm Up
- Setting Goals
- Experiencing Goals
- Achievement and Daily Maintenance
Things you’ll need:
- Quiet time and space. Set aside at least 1 hour for this entire process. It may seem excessive, but if you are going to take your Life Goals seriously, this is time well spent.
Before we start setting Life Goals, we first need to get warmed up. Just like stretching before working out, or having a pregame warmup before a competition, we need to warm up our mind and body so that once we start the actual goal setting exercise we aren’t starting out cold.
It’s important to get in the zone before you start to perform, so here are a few ways to change your state of mind, and put yourself in a positive, enthusiastic, confident, and energetic place before you start writing down your dreams and aspirations.
Listen to Music
You probably have a favorite song, or if you’re like me, you have several.
I have music I like to listen to in the car, before and during workouts, when I wake up in the morning, before a date, and before going out for a night on the town with some friends.
I also have music that I listen to before I start a project or work, like this gigantic article I am currently writing.
Music is great because it has the ability to take us from one emotion to another. It’s a way to transport us from anxiety to relaxation, from exhaustion to energy, from sadness to happiness, and from dejection to motivation and inspiration. It all depends on what you want.
Music is a valuable tool that we can use to change our state of mind, and if we listen to music with purpose and with an idea of how we want to feel after listening, it becomes even more valuable.
This is how we are going to use music for our goal setting purposes. We don’t want to be in a state of depression before setting out goals do we? So even if you are in a state of happiness, optimism, or confidence already, pick a few of your favorite songs that will take you even higher.
Be sure that your songs are positive, upbeat, and energizing. The idea is to let the music do the work for you. Pick something that improves your mood and makes you feel confident, and then just ride the wave and see where it takes you.
Here are a few of my favorite songs to get me in a positive, confident, and energetic mindset:
Move Your Body: Workout or Dance
Continuing with the theme of warming up, we need to get our bodies pumped up and motivated as well.
While you are listening to your music to get you in the zone, do a quick workout. Try pumping out a few push ups, doing some jumping jacks, pull ups, or lifting some weights.
If you are looking for a workout that is less testosterone-laden, then try dancing along to one of your songs.
The mind/body connection is real. Picture two people, one tired and depressed, the other energetic and confident. When you envision these people, they have drastically different body language don’t they?
This is why we are moving our bodies around. If you act energetic and confident, you feel energetic and confident.
Make sure to smile, stand up straight, move around and get excited. Even if you don’t feel it at first, eventually the movement will jumpstart your feel-good neurotransmitters and put you in a good mood.
All this serves to warm us up even more, adding on top of the feel good vibes from our music and revving our engines up even more before we get started setting our goals.
Watch Inspiring Videos
Same principle. Keep warming up.
Inspirational and motivational videos help us to focus on the right things.
If you expose yourself to videos filled with positivity, confidence, stories of people that never give up, and people that reach their dreams through hard work and perseverance, all of that good energy will flow to you and fill your mind.
If you don’t know of any motivational videos or don’t feel like searching through YouTube, here are a few really awesome videos that are sure to give you a boost.
Ask Yourself Questions
Asking questions is a great way to change what you are thinking about.
Since we are trying to get ourselves primed to set powerful and compelling life goals that are irresistibly motivating, we want to ask ourselves questions that put us in a state of inspiration and action.
Take out your pad of paper and pen and write down the following questions and your own answers to them. Take your time and really think about your answers before you write them down.
What kind of person do I want to be?
How do I see my life in 5, 10, and 20 years?
What am I passionate about?
What are my strengths?
How can I provide value to others?
If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?
Because we’ve already warmed up with some music, moving our bodies, working out or dancing, and watching inspirational videos, we are probably in a more motivated, energetic, and confident place than we were at the beginning of this exercise.
These questions serve to take that momentum and start pointing it in the direction of your dreams. The idea is to take the positive energy that we have already created and complete the final stage of the warm up by starting to think about our passions, our strengths, and what our life is going to be like in the future.
Setting Your Life Goals
I’m assuming that if you are reading this article, then you already know the power of life goals and why setting them is so important. If you don’t fully understand the importance of this exercise, check out this article on the importance of goal setting written by Wells.
Also as a quick tip from personal experience, I think it’s important to keep your goals to yourself for a while. I hear a lot of people talking about how they should broadcast their goals to the people in their life so that they stay accountable.
Maybe telling a very close friend or a mentor of yours, but in my experience people who talk about their goals all the time are all talk and no action. What will really make you stay accountable is making goals that are so compelling and fun for you that you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning.
Whether you are goal setting for your health, wealth, relationships, or anything else, intrinsic desire and motivation is often the factor that keeps you going when everyone else quits, not telling all your friends about your grand plans.
That being said, we’re going to jump right in.
For the purpose of organization, we are going to break our goals down into 3 categories:
This could easily be called career or job goals, but I personally find it more stimulating to think of my “career” as a mission, but I tend to have a more entrepreneurial mindset, and thinking of a mission gives me a sense of adventure and purpose. But enough about me.
This is where you say that you want to build a huge company, rise to CEO of a company that you are already at, win a Superbowl, make $1 Billion, start a charity, or create something that changes the world.
This is really your main focus in life, and how you see yourself fulfilling your true purpose.
This is the fun stuff. A few of the items on my list are great white shark diving, travel to every continent, and buy a 40 ft center console boat called the Midnight Express and go fishing with my dad in the bahamas again.
For you it might be a sprawling mansion on the beach, a yacht, owning a few different houses, buying a private jet, a cool car you want, a music studio, play basketball with Michael Jordan, or visit Antarctica.
As long as it’s something adventurous and fun, it can be put down on this list.
Among my personal development list is learning to be fluent in spanish, french and german, starting and raising a family, learning a martial art, workout 5 days a week, and complete a 50 hour Mental and Physical toughness course called Kokoro run by a former Navy SEAL.
For you it might be learning a new skill, developing a character trait like confidence or charisma, completing a marathon or ironman event, learning to fly a plane or helicopter, getting certified to scuba dive, or going to culinary school.
The idea is to stick with things that are attached to your personal development and are not really attached to money. It’s about cultivating the things that money cannot buy, like a good relationship with your family or learning a new skill.
So now that we have gone through our 3 categories, and hopefully you have already gotten some ideas from what I wrote out as examples, let’s start setting our goals.
We are going to go for 3 minutes in each category. Start by grabbing your pad of paper and pen, and start your timer. If you have a smartphone, the timer on your phone will do. Otherwise, just look one up online that can keep track for you.
Write down as many ideas as you can in the next 3 minutes. Don’t be shy, just write and write and write. Be a kid and really let yourself dream big. If you decide you don’t want a particular goal later, don’t worry. The objective here is to get as much down on your paper as possible for each category in 3 minutes.
***Be sure to go through the warm-up in the beginning of this article. It will make a huge difference in the quality and intensity of your ideas and how much you connect with them.***
Let’s start with our Mission/Business/Career Goals:
- Start your 3 minutes and write as much as you can.
- Now that you have your list of goals, put a number next to each of them, with the number representing the number of years it is going to take you to achieve it.
- Remember, a goal is a dream with a deadline. If you don’t put a date of expiration on it, it’s not a goal, it’s just a dream. Don’t worry if you don’t actually achieve it by the date you set, the important thing is to give your brain and nervous system a direction to head in and a deadline to stick to.
Now move on to Fun/Adventure and do the same exercise.
- Start timer for 3 minutes and write as much as you can for your Fun/Adventure Goals.
- Assign a number in years until completion for each goal on your list.
Now again with Personal Development.
- Set 3 minute timer and write as much as you can.
- Assign number to each idea for years until completion.
Experiencing Life Goals
At this point, you should have a list of ideas for each of the following 3 categories along with numbers assigned to each item on your list for the number of years until you reach it.
- Personal Development
Now that we have gotten this far and have put pen to paper, we need to take things a step further and actually experience our goals ahead of time.
Every part of this Life Goals Guide is important, but the following exercises that engage your senses and get you to experience and actually feel yourself living your dreams in the future is what will create a powerful connection to your goals.
Exercise 1 – Pick Your Most Important Goal In Each Category and Write a Paragraph about it.
This exercise is pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few things you might want to incorporate into your paragraph.
- Write down several reasons why you are committed. Why is this goal so important to you? What will it accomplish? You have to convince yourself of the importance of achieving and reaching this milestone.
- How does this goal improve your life and the lives of others around you? Sometimes we will do more for others than we will for ourselves. Make your achievements go beyond yourself and make sure that with all of your hard work you are benefitting all the people around you and bettering the world.
- What will you miss out on if you don’t achieve it? We’ve just created a lot of compelling reasons to achieve our goal using pleasure, now we have to use pain. It sounds terrible, but pain is a driving force in all of our lives. Many people decide to stay in shape so that they don’t get fat. The pain of being fat is what drives them to stay in shape. What is the ultimate price that you will pay if you don’t achieve this goal? Will you be poor? Will you be fat? Will your friends stop liking you? What will you miss out on? Great new relationships? Fantastic experiences and the freedom you truly deserve?
- Get creative and really think about what you don’t want in your life. It may drive you towards your destiny. Pain is often a stronger motivating force than pleasure.
Do this exercise 3 times. Pick the most important goal in each category, make sure it has a deadline, and write a paragraph about why you are absolutely committed to achieving it and what pain you will experience if you don’t achieve it.
If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations. With each action you take you are further ingraining your goals into your mind, and committing yourself even more to turning your dreams into reality.
Let’s take it one step farther and engage our senses so it feels like we are actually seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing the lives that we are now committed to achieving.
Exercise 2 – Engage the Senses
This is an excellent way to connect yourself to your future where all of your dreams have been realized. By engaging our senses, we can actually trick our brain into experiencing our wildest dreams ahead of time.
Have you ever had a dream so real that you woke up, heart racing, soaked in sweat, and had a hard time believing it wasn’t real?
That’s because with powerful enough sensory stimulation, your brain can’t tell the difference between your imagination and reality. And we are going to use this to our advantage.
Here’s what to do:
- Live a day in the life of the future you – wake up in the morning and experience your day. Use your senses. What color is your room? Are you married? Where do you live? What kind of car do you drive? What color is it? How do the seats feel when you sit in them? How do you spend most of your time? Who do you spend it with? Do you have kids? How much money do you have? How do you spend your money? Do you travel a lot? How is the weather? Get imaginative and have fun with it.
- Use your senses – Seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. Use all of them.
Here’s an example goal and how you would experience it:
(this is a fictionalized goal, created to give you an idea of how to experience your goals ahead of time)
- I wake up in my bed covered in a soft, blue, oversized comforter. I’m warm but the air in my room is cold because the windows are open.
- I can hear the waves crashing not too far away
- I sit up straight, take a sip out of my glass of water sitting on my wooden bedside table.
- I get up out of bed, my feet touching the hard wood floors and open the door leading to my balcony outside, the crisp breeze hitting my face as I place my hands on the cool metal railing, taking a deep breath of the salty air
- I watch the waves crashing onto the beach as I see a man walk with his dog along the shoreline. I live on the beach but hate getting sandy. Weird.
- It’s an overcast day, and I’m glad I work from home
- I shower and go down to the kitchen, I can smell my wife cooking bacon and eggs. A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice is already on the counter waiting for me. She walks over and gives me a soft peck on the cheek as I read the morning paper.
- I say good morning, give her a flirtatious wink and go back to reading my paper, looking up to see her smile like a little schoolgirl when her crush talks to her.
- I walk into my office and feel the smooth, dark, wood floors on my bare feet.
- I sit down in my soft leather chair and boot up my computer to see how my portfolio is doing.
- The portfolio manager program I use flickers to life with a flash of red and green price bars, and profit/loss numbers.
- Not much action overnight, and I’m still up for the year.
- It’s hard to believe I am managing my own hedge fund. Even with only a few clients my assets under management are significant and I’m making money in my sleep because my trading programs are automated.
- My phone rings. It’s a client calling. I’m fortunate not to have any nagging or know-it-all clients, most are just curious and want to enjoy the ride with me. They trust my judgement because of the rigorous risk management and failsafe measures I have implemented in my programs. They really like the way I trade because it’s not rocket science, it’s just based on common sense and easy to understand.
- I speak with my client and share the day’s numbers with him. We are up for the year still, but we are off of our highs. We both know it’s just a matter of time before the trending markets take over and the funds systems take off. It happens so often that we learn to accept the ups and downs of the year as just part of the process.
- We end our conversation and I decide to go to the gym with my wife.
- We talk about where we want to go on vacation this year. I want to go somewhere in Asia, she wants to go to Paris again. But we go at least once a year to Paris and I know we will end up there at some point, so I push the Asian agenda. Maybe Hong Kong. I have a client there so it can be a little business and pleasure.
- After the gym, I stop by the bank. I know I have a lot of money now but it doesn’t excuse these guys charging so many irrelevant fees. I talk to my banker, David, and he takes care of the fees, and apologizes for the unnecessary charges. He writes it off as a mistake and asks if he can take me to lunch. I politely decline and tell him my wife and I grabbed a bite after the gym. We shake hands and my wife and I head towards the door.
- I take a quick peek at my account balance before we leave. Managing my own hedge fund has been profitable. It makes me smile to see all of those zeroes. Money isn’t everything, but it’s nice to know that a lack of money will never again be a problem for me.
This exercise is incredibly fun for me, and I suggest you try to make it as fun as possible for yourself as well.
There are a few things I want to point out about my experience in this exercise:
I give myself an awesome life. I have an awesome house, a wife who loves and adores me, and a successful business that I really enjoy while interacting with clients who are friendly and easy to get along with.
I experience everything with my senses, not my thoughts.
I wake up in the morning to a soft, blue comforter.
I feel the breeze on my face and take a deep breath of the salty air.
I feel the smooth wooden floors underneath my feet.
Using your senses is incredibly important because they bring you into the moment and trick you into actually experiencing this life you are committed to building for yourself.
This exercise is incredibly powerful and I suggest doing it more than once. I think about this kind of stuff almost every day, and as a result I have created a powerful and compelling magnetism with my life goals.
Achievement and Daily Maintenance
Warm Up? Check.
Goal Setting? Check.
Engaging Senses and Experiencing Our Future Life? Check.
What’s left? We now have a powerful connection to our goals at a certain point in the future. All that’s left now is to start achieving and persist until we reach the finish line.
I’ll leave the nitty gritty details of day to day progress to you, there’s no way I can possibly know what your goals are.
What I can do is give you some tips for keeping your goals at the front of your focus, and staying productive everyday without getting lost in distractions.
Hopefully these tips will help you to stay on track and add some productivity to your life:
Surround yourself with reminders of your goal
One of my favorite ways to keep myself focused is to shape my life like a gun store.
Sounds weird right?
But when you think about it, if you are in a gun store, you are surrounded by guns, ammo, gun accessories, and gun ranges. When you are in a gun store, you cannot help but think about guns.
Same goes with a fishing store. All you think about is fishing.
Same goes with a sporting goods store. All you think about it sports.
So what’s my point?
Create a life that gives you the same effect as a gun store, but instead of filling it with guns, fill your life with reminders of your goal. If you do this correctly, everywhere you look will be a reminder of your most important goals. You won’t have a choice but to focus on it, and if you really want to achieve them, this is exactly what is necessary to succeed.
Here are a few ways you can create a life that has the gun store effect:
- Post it notes – Write down what is most important to you on a sticky note, and put them in places you frequent. A few places that I have them are my bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door, on the inside of my wallet, on the steering wheel of my car, and I also take a picture of the sticky notes and set them as the background of my phone. The concept is simple: surround yourself with reminders of your goal, and you cannot help but focus on it.
- Affirmations – Affirmations are some of my favorites, and despite what some people may say, they do work. And they work phenomenally. An affirmation is just a positive saying that you repeat several times a day. It’s the same principle, just repeated exposure and focus. When you first start using affirmations, it’s like planting a seed. You give it love and attention through your repeated affirmations and focus, and at first you won’t see much progress. But eventually roots begin to form, and before long a sprout will come out of the soil. Keep on giving it attention and focus, and that little sprout grows into a mighty oak tree. Do affirmations every day. They work phenomenally and absolutely have the potential to change your life if you are committed to using them.
Redo this exercise every few months
This is a long exercise, with a lot of moving components. But the basic idea is to get yourself warmed up, set goals, experience them, and maintain the momentum you have created through daily progress, positive attitude, and persistence.
I suggest doing this exercise 3-4 times a year. At some point, our goals may eventually change. We are allowed to change our minds. And who knows, on the way to your goal you may find the path to your destiny.
Goals are just a target for our brain to move towards. When you get in the car to drive somewhere, you probably have a destination in mind before you leave your driveway, right? The important thing is to be moving in a positive direction. Moving in any direction, no matter how slowly, is better than wandering aimlessly and is infinitely better than staying where you are.
Repeating this exercise will strengthen your ability to get yourself pumped up, set goals, use your senses(so powerful it’s crazy), and maintaining momentum through daily action and achievement once you have a set goal.
If you don’t believe me, set aside some time tomorrow and do this whole thing again. I guarantee that you will have a more powerful experience simply because you have done it before. Practice makes perfect.
Use your body language to connect with a better version of yourself
A final way to maintain momentum towards your goals and actually strengthen your performance during everyday life is the use of body language.
I’ve already spoken about the mind/body connection, and that how you look and act is generally how you feel. This technique uses the same logic but applies it in a different direction.
All you have to do is emulate the body language of the version of yourself who has already achieved your goal.
So go back and read the paragraph you wrote about yourself and the reasons why you are committed.
Then read the “day in the life” sensory experience you wrote.
Now imagine the person who lives that life. The person who has achieved everything that you want to, and is living their dreams every day.
And remember that this person is you.
How do you look?
Look at your smile.
What is your body language like?
How are you breathing?
Are you relaxed or tense?
How do you interact with others?
How do you respond to challenges and setbacks?
Be sure to imagine all of these scenarios and even think of a few more on your own. Remember that this is a version of you that has overcome so many obstacles already, and you have absorbed the confidence that comes with overcoming challenges and winning at a high level.
Take on the body language of this advanced version of yourself.
Take a minute and walk around the room. If you’re at work, walk to the bathroom. But in this moment, even if you walk to the bathroom, YOU ARE A WINNER.
You are that person who has achieved all you have ever dreamed about.
You have overcome the haters.
You have overcome countless obstacles.
You’ve been through hell and back and now you know what you’re made of, and that nothing can break you.
When a new obstacle or challenge pops up, all you do is smile, because you know that it’s just another challenge and another way to sharpen your skills.
Remember this person, and live your life as a better version of yourself. Take on the body language, posture, breathing, and interact with others the way you will once you turn all of your dreams into reality.
This is one of the best ways I know how to accelerate growth and start living your dreams right now.
I hope this article and the exercises within help you the way that they have helped me in my life.
Setting Life Goals is one of the most important things you will ever do, simply because you give yourself a target and a destination to move towards. You must have a vision for your life if you want to succeed.
Now all that you have to do is maintain this momentum and make progress, no matter how small, each and every day. Take on the body language of a winner, be positive and persistent, and you’ll arrive at the finish line in no time.
Be sure to leave a comment below and tell us what you think. Feel free to share some of your own experiences and goal setting exercises that you do to create a compelling future.