What is the one habit that all successful people have in common? They all have goals, and they spend their time working towards those goals every single day. As simple as it sounds, one of the easiest ways to ‘get ahead’ in life is to create goals–for your year, your month, your week, and day. But with so much to accomplish and so little time, how do you create goals that not only inspire you, but are actually achievable? Below are 5 easy, quick tips that will help you create such goals:
- Keep the list short. The Chinese have a saying, “a man who chases two rabbits catches none.” As tempting as it is to create a laundry list of goals and try to ‘maximize’ your list, don’t. Keep it short. Ask yourself over and over again when creating your goals, “is this really just a sub-goal of something larger?” For example, if you had two separate goals such as “I want to lose 10 lbs” and “I want to be able to do 50 pushups”, is there really a bigger goal that you could shoot for that would encompass both of those goals? If so, go big, and condense that list.
- Start Long-term, and work backward. It’s true that you have to set high, lofty goals in order to create the self-inspiration and motivation you’ll need to pursue them, but sometimes, large goals can feel more like ‘distant dreams’ than realistic goals. The key? Start long-term, and backward. For example, “I want to read 50 books this year” sounds lofty, but when broken down, that’s less than 1 book a week, and if the average book is 150 pages, that’s roughly 20 pages a day of reading–very attainable.
- Make your goals OUTPUTS. One of the biggest ‘mistakes’ I see in goal setting is making a goal that’s intangible, like “I want to be happy” or “I want to lose weight” or “I want to become fluent in Spanish.” In order for a goal to feel attainable, it must be concrete, and it must be measurable. So instead of “I want to lose weight”, which is a feeling more than it is a goal, pick a number. “I want to lose 20 lbs this year” is a lot more attainable than simply “I want to lose weight” because it’s measurable. The ‘output’ is being 20 pounds lighter, and that makes it very easy to say either “yes I achieved this” or “no, I did not.” Instead of “I want to read more”, say “I will read 50 books this year” or instead of “I want to start journaling”, say “I will write 4 journal entries a week.” By having your goals be ‘outputs’, you make the status of your goals binary: complete or incomplete. This is not only the easiest to track, but also more rewarding for you, psychologically. It’s easy to look back at your year, read your goal of “I want to read more” and feel like you came up short, even if you didn’t! By making your goals ‘outputs’, you eliminate that internal ‘feeling-biased‘, and your goals instantly become more attainable, and more rewarding.
- Breakup goals by category. I’m sure most of you, like myself, have several different ‘personalities’ to manage. There’s the ‘work you’, the ‘home you’, the ‘you with friends’, the ‘you with family’, the ‘private you’, the ‘charitable you’, etc. How do you keep your list of goals short while still appeasing all the different ‘yous’? Solution: Categories. Create 2-4 categories, and create 1-2 goals for each category. For example, I have 3 categories: Professional Goals, Personal Goals, and Character Goals. Then each week, I will create 1-2 goals per category, that are small steps towards my Yearly Goals for such category. Last week, I had a Professional Goal to “finish our web app and push it live”, a Personal Goal to “post twice on Medium”, and a Character Goal to “help 1 stranger a day.” By breaking up my goals by categories, I can keep my goals concise, and appease all the ‘Brians’ in my life.
- Every day, work on the most important goal first. The easiest way to feel ‘accomplished’ every day is to get the most important goal out of the way first thing in the morning. I recommend waking up at least 3 hours before work, and spending that early-morning, quiet-time tackling the most important goal for that day. If that’s “lose 1 lb this week”, start the day at the gym, or if you have a goal to “be able to hold a 5-minute conversation in Spanish”, start your day by doing a Duolingo class. Life has the habit of “getting in the way”, and at times, it’ll be challenging for you to try and juggle “life” and your goals. However, the best way to mitigate this is to do what’s most important to you before anything else! No, you don’t have to check emails in the morning, and no, there’s nothing on the news you ‘have to see.’ Wake up, brew your coffee, and knock out that first goal, first!
It’s true, your morning routines will either set you up for a successful, or unsuccessful, work day. Early successes set the tone for the rest of the day, by sending subconscious messages to your brain that “today is going to be a good day.” My goal is to help you make every morning a good day, so here are 5 tips that will ensure your morning is successful:
- Get Up Early: Like really early. The last thing you want is to feel “rushed” in the morning. Your mornings should be peaceful, productive, and stress-free, but if you’re getting out of bed 30 minutes before you need to leave for work, you’re going to feel rushed/stressed before you even walk out the door! This is not the tone you want to set before your day even begins. I recommend getting up 3 hours before you have to leave for work. So, if you need to be out the door by 8:30 AM every morning, you should be waking up at 5:30 AM.
- Drink a Large Glass of Water: Before you do anything else, go into your kitchen, find your largest glass, and fill it with water. Sleep can dehydrate you, as can coffee, so before you go “doubling-down” on dehydrating yourself by reaching for the coffee mug, start with water. Dehydration can lead to feeling anxious or easily irritated, two feelings we’re trying to avoid this early in the morning.
- Make Goals for the Day: Give your day some purpose by writing down your goals for the day. By taking 5-10 minutes every morning and writing down the 3-5 things you want to accomplish that day, you’re giving yourself direction, which will make you feel much more purposeful throughout the day. Life can be distracting, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of ‘feeling busy’, easily forgetting what you woke up for. By writing down your goals first, when it’s quiet and there are no distractions (yet), you’re setting yourself up for a successful, meaningful, day.
- Start on Your Most Important Goal Right Away: Don’t wait until you get to the office, do it NOW. By knocking out your most important goal of the day before leaving for work, you’ll walk into the office already feeling productive and stress-free. Instead of being the person at work who’s freaking out about potentially missing a deadline, you’ll be the calm, collected one spending your time helping others with their tasks, since you’re already done with your own. Your calm and collective demeanor will set the tone for your entire team, making your morning habits not only an advantage for yourself but for those around you as well. Now that’s a leader.
- Exercise: Last but not least, get a sweat in! The extra oxygen to your brain, the blood pumping, and warming up those cold, stiff muscles that have been still all night will make you feel alive and invigorated for the day! It doesn’t need to be intense, even a 15-minute jog or a walk with your dog will do the trick. The key is just to get moving, and warm your body up before leaving the house and beginning your commute! Again, this will have you feeling calm, but excited, for your day, instead of stressed, and anxious.
The true purpose of work is to create value for others, by either creating a product that people use and enjoy or performing a service that people need. And only once you’ve taken care of yourself, first, can you go to work and take care of others. That is what makes a morning to yourself, a successful one.
Some days, I just feel distracted. Sometimes, I blame it on support. I’m in the middle of doing something, and a call comes in. Other times, I blame people, I’m at Rose Cafe right now, trying to get work done, and a woman from Gold’s (who I’m not particularly fond of), comes up and talks to me for half an hour. Why does this happen?
The truth is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m always ‘behind.’ I’m always playing ‘catch up’ at work, and I have to balance the things I have to do now, the things I should have done yesterday, and the things I’d like to do before tomorrow. But if I could eliminate all the things that I should have done yesterday (by doing them yesterday), maybe I wouldn’t feel so distracted? Sometimes I think distraction is just a way for me to “escape.” It’s like drinking or partying, it’s used to escape my current situation. Not that I need to escape from it, but because I feel overwhelmed by it. I have so much going on, that I can’t focus on what’s in front of me. And maybe it’s because I always bite off more than I can chew, or maybe it’s because I am a procrastinator and I only take care of what’s absolutely essential every day, instead of going above and beyond to reach my goals. Whatever it is, it needs to change.
For now, until I can nail down the root problem, I’m going to blame the procrastination, and not finishing everything I want to for the day before the day is over. I think if I finish everything i want to do, every day, I’ll be able to be more “present” in the moment, and not want to throw a woman from Gold’s through the window when she tries to talk to me.
Anyway, just a thought. I’m going to get to work. Over and out!
Goals → Make the world go round.
Yesterday, in the first time it what seems like forever, I accomplished everything I set out to do. My checklist was completely crossed-out, and it felt amazing! Everything I wanted to accomplish, done!
I was right, accomplishing my goals does make me feel better. It also makes you more confident in your ability to reach your goals, and makes you want to create more and more challenging goals! Last night at Gold’s, I felt myself looking in the mirror a lot, really contemplating what kind of health goal I could set. I have this vision in my mind of what I want to look like, but I’m having trouble creating a goal around that other than to “be healthy” or “eat less junk food” or “eat less at night.” I want something more encompassing, like, “I will be 155 lbs by May 1.” But weight isn’t a goal. I could care less about how much I weigh, I only care about what I look like. Anyway, the struggle is real. I want to be shredded. I like training at Gold’s, and it drives me to up my fitness game. I want to have the best physique yet this summer!
Goals → Make the world go round. You can either make your own and work towards them, or don’t have any and work towards someone else’s. But, you’re always going towards goals!
Over and out, time to chase some goals. Mahalo!
“It’s not what you get that makes you happy, it’s who you become.”
This week, so far, has been incredible. I’ve been extremely effective, and efficient. I’ve done sales outreach every day, I’ve put Sales first, I’ve been good with my money, and my food intake. Gym has been great as well. I am feeling rejuvenated!!
What I’ve realized is, reaching my goals makes me happy. THAT is what makes me happy. That’s it. Everything else is just fluff. Just smoke and mirrors. The only way to truly be happy is to do what you love, and guess what, my goals are set up to put me in a position that I love being in.
“It’s not what you get that makes you happy, it’s who you become.” – Tony Robbins.
So true, so true.
I have a ton of goals for this weekend, and I’m going to accomplish all of them. I’m focused right now, and I love it. There is nothing better than accomplishing your goals. Yes, I’ve gotten up early every day. I’m tired, but I’m not. I feel full of energy! And why?? Because reaching my goals energizes me! This is why I used to always be so happy and outgoing, because I was super energetic and excited for life!! And I was excited because I was reaching my goals!! That’s it. It’s that simple.
That’s the theme of the weekend – “If you want to be happy, set your goals and work towards them relentlessly. Don’t stop until you reach them.” – Brian Foley