Last week I wrote about routine and how important it was to achieving your goals in life. Some of the feedback I have received was that people don’t really have specific defined goals that they would be able to drive a daily routine at. So I thought there was no better way to follow up the routine piece than a piece on goals.
There are a lot of smarter people in the world than I that have written entire books and made careers on teaching people how to set goals for themselves so I am not going to pretend to be the expert in this area. I am, however, going to share with you how I set my goals, how often I update them and how often I am looking at them.
Every June starts the new 12 month cycle for my yearly goals and every 3 months from then (September, December and March) marks when I update those 12 month goals if necessary (ie. if I meet my 12 month goal in December then I would update the goal for that category for the next 6 months).
For most people to write a 12 month goal is hard and seems like a long term goal. If you read books on or speak with some of the most successful people in the world they will tell you that 12 months is most certainly a short term means to an end for their longer lifetime goals. I have lifetime goals in a number of categories such as financial, family and business among others. As an example, one of my lifetime goals is to have been able to put each of my children through college without debt to them so that they don’t start their careers in debt.
I take that lifetime goal and break it down into this mindset; In the next 12 months, what can I do to move closer to achieving that goal? In my daily routine, the first thing I do is take a look at my goals, both lifetime and 12 month, and figure out what I need to do today that is going to drive me closer to achieving them. I do this for every category of my goals every day. This is how I make sure that everything I am doing today is moving me closer to achieving those lifetime goals.
The key is to start big with your lifetime goals and then work backwards into the shorter and shorter term. Each of your shorter term goals should lead into one of the longer term goals. You should make personal, business, spiritual and family goals for starters and add any other categories that are relevant to you and what you want to do in your life.
Tasks that are working you closer in multiple categories are ones that you are going to be more motivated to complete and are what I would call power tasks for the day. They are ones that are ridiculously efficient and the most important as they are giving you the most return on your time and effort. Do one thing and move closer to your longer term goals in multiple categories…makes sense right?
Goals are just ideas until they are written down on paper and given an actionable plan. Once you are able to do this and then build them into your daily routine you will become a superhero. It is pretty cool. Every minute of every day become purposeful and full of meaning. When you don’t follow your routine or aren’t doing things to achieve your goals you will feel like you just missed out on an entire day. This brings me to my final point…weekends count.
What I mean by this is that your routine and goals don’t take time off. If you are truly going to do great things you need to continue with your routine of pushing towards your goals. Now your focus may change on the weekend and that is actually what I would recommend. I focus more on my family, personal development and spiritual goals on the weekends because I have more time for them. During the week I focus more on my business and financial goals. So regardless of the day or my focus for that day I am always working towards my goals.
If you can move towards this mindset you will find that you enjoy every minute of every day more and really start to find meaning and beauty in the minutes of every day.