Believe it or not, most of us end up not achieving our goals not because we don’t have the willpower or the discipline to achieve them, but because we don’t know how to set goals the right way.
If you only set your goals the right way, you will be ten steps ahead in actually achieving your goals.
This is from the third episode of my Podcast, ‘Heart of Living’ where I share about the right way to set your goals for the year ahead.
You can read the post or listen to it here,
How to set goals the right way
Table of Contents
It’s my yearly practice that at the end of the year I do an annual review and at the beginning of the year, I set my goals for the year.
I have shared my 2022 annual review on my blog and today I want to share with you my goal-setting process for the year and also give you some tips on how you can achieve your goals for the year.
I know for most of us, and even for me it used to be that I would be highly enthusiastic about reaching my goals and be full of determination in the beginning, but as time passes by, my enthusiasm would start to wane out or I would completely forget about my goals.
But here I want to tell you that the problem lies not in your determination, motivation or your willpower, but in how we set goals because we end up making so many goal-setting mistakes.
So today I am going to share with you my own goal-setting process and how I plan on achieving them. This is a step-by-step process so you can get a Pen and paper or just note down on your phone what you need to do.
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1. Write down your desires
So the first thing to do if you want to achieve your goals this year is that I want you to write down all your desires.
You can write down your desires by answering these three questions-
- what do I really want to do this year?
- What do I really want to have this year?
- What do I really want to be this year?
I really really suggest that you don’t skip taking the time to Write them down.
You can take as much time with it and you need not write them just in one day. I write them down in almost a week’s time and I enjoy writing them because I then feel like I am actually now getting serious about this thing.
It makes me feel enthusiastic and happy about the year and also I feel like I actually come to know what I really want to do, have and be, otherwise in my head it would have just remained obscure and not clear.
But writing them down brings clarity and I feel I am ready to work on them now.
So, for me in terms of what I want to do- I wrote down that really want to start a podcast this year and which I did. I also wrote down that I really want to read a lot this year and be consistent with sending a newsletter and there are other things as well
In terms of what I really wanted to have, I wrote down all the things that I really wish to have.
And here when I write this, I don’t try to think oh! This is too big.. this might not be possible.. so I won’t write it. I just write it down because I know my heart would love to have it.. and why should I doubt beforehand?
So I wrote down that this year I want to have at least 200k page views every month for my blog (and I actually reached 300k already).
I wrote that I want to have good shoes this year (because my friend tells me that I really need good shoes hehe.
I wrote down that I really want to have 50k listeners for my podcast and 50k subscribers to my email list, want to do many travels this year and other things.
You can write down whatever you would like to have. Just Don’t think about logic and reason. Just leave the how and write them down as if you’re writing your order you’d like to send out to the Universe.
And with regards to what I want to be this year- I wrote down that I really want to be grounded and down to earth this year, to be authentic in what I do and just be slow and graceful this year.
I also wrote down my theme for the year. Last year my theme was ‘my year of slow living’. This year my theme is ‘year of being grounded as the earth and solid as a mountain’
So these are some of the things I have written down and I want you to write them down as well.
But I want to tell you here that these are not goals. These are just desires for now. It has still not been turned into goals.
And this is where most of us get it wrong.
Most of us confuse our desires for our goals.
We tend to say that my goal for this year is to have 50k YouTube subscribers or that my goal for this year is to get a job, write a book or get abs this year.
This is how most of us usually set our goals. And it is the reason why it hardly gets accomplished.
And why is this so?
Because here we are setting goals around the ‘end result’. Like
- My goal is to be a successful YouTube and get thousands of views and subscribers (end result)
- to write a book or to be published this year. (End result)
- To clear a competitive exam and get a job (end result)
- To get solid abs this year (end result)
All the typical goals that we set are always focused on the end result or our desires.
2. Set goals around the process instead
As for me I could say and think that my goal for this year is to start a podcast, to get 50k listeners or email subscribers, and to get 200k page views a month, but these are actually just my desires for the year.
And when we set our goals around these end results, there’s nothing much we can really do about it and when we don’t see it happening any sooner, we tend to get frustrated and just quit on it or forget about it.
We just can’t control the outcome, You might get 50k subscribers or I might not get it. You might get published or You might not get published. You might get a job or You might not. It’s really not up to us because we can’t control the outcome.
But what we can control is the process or the practice the best way to do this is to ask, ‘What do I need to do about it?’
That is, what action step do I really need to take for it?
- So if your desire is to get 50k subscribers this year, you can’t control whether you get it or not, but you can control whether you put out one video every week and that should be your goal- to put out one video every week and eventually you will find yourself closer to your desire or your ultimate goals.
- If your desire is to clear an exam and get a job, then your goal should not be to get a job, but to study or to solve past paper every day which is practice.
- Your goal shouldn’t be to just get healthy this year, but your goal should be to work out everyday which is a practice.
3. Get as much specific as you can about the goal you’re setting.
The more specific and attainable the goal is, the better- just don’t leave your mind with any options to think much about it.
Just make sure that your goals have two things:
- What (do you have to do)
- When (you plan to do it)
A good way to find out whether your goals are specific or not is to see if your goals can be measured or can be broken down into specific numbers.
Anyway, what I am saying is that you can’t really control the end result and it might dishearten you, but you can definitely control the process, the practice.
I used to be extremely thin, skinny and weak.
When I first started to exercise many years back, my goal was to gain weight and become strong and get abs.. and this would make me feel so frustrated at times because the end result would seem so far away.
But later slowly I shifted my focus to the practice of exercising and moving my body for at least 10-15 minutes every day.
I did not set a deadline for it and through the years, I have been able to increase my workout time and my strength.
By simply focusing on exercising every day I have been able to gain weight and improve how my body is. Now to exercise and being fit is not even a goal for me, it has already become a habit.
So forget your end result and set your goal around the practice, around the habit and You will see a vast difference in your moves.
And once we keep focusing on the process our long-term goals or our desires will take care of their own.
Now the other most important thing.
So with the desires you wrote down with regard to what you want to do, have and be is to take a look at them closely and think about what your goals should actually be if you set your goals around the practice.
4. Cut down on your goals
Then cut down on those goals and keep only a few goals.
Most of us make the mistake of setting too many goals because we really feel that we want to do them all.. We have high hopes and we wish to do this and do that in the beginning of the year, only to find that none of it gets actually achieved.
And this way often our own commitments to our many different goals becomes our biggest distraction to achieving our goals.
So this year, just focus on one thing or two things at max.
Among all the desires you have written down, decide what are the top 1- three things you really want to achieve this year and what action step you can take for it.
Then set your goals around those top 3 desires and only focus on them.
5. Divide your year into 4 quarters
You can also divide your year into 4 quarters.
I always do that at the beginning of the year and I’ve done it this year as well. I set out 1-2 small goals for every quarter to focus on.
It divides the year into 3 months each which iI feel is a perfect amount of time to also accomplish certain goals, not feel daunted by our goals and also get used to the habit.
So you too can divide your year and just keep 2-3 small active goals for each quarter.
And make sure that you keep this in front of you for the entire quarter and just focus on the main action you need to be taking for the quarter ahead.
As for your other goals, well you have to sacrifice a bit .. you can tell them respectfully that you will get back to them later.. and your desires are already there sent out so you don’t have to really about it.
You just simply for now focus on the goal centring around the process and the practice
Oh and also don’t forget to set your intentions for your goals and desires- that is your -why- behind your top desires and goals.
I would talk more about setting intentions for your goals, but that can be another episode entirely and I don’t want to keep you for longer.
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I would just like to end by saying that just be patient with yourself. Eliminate your distractions.
Don’t get too attached to the outcome, because time will pass anyway, so you focus on your habits and the process to reach your desires this year.
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