How To Set Goals and Achieve Them
Setting goals is something you hear a lot about. If you like reading about successful people as much as I do, you’ll notice that they all set goals and work very hard to make them happen.
Well, that’s great and all, but how do you actually set a goal? People often think that having goals means just thinking about what you want to do. Setting goals is a tool in and of itself that can help you make your dreams come true a lot more often if you use it right.
Here is a lesson on how to set goals from two men who have spent their whole lives trying to figure out what makes people successful.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Before “The Secret” made a whole generation believe that sending positive thoughts into the world could make your big credit card bill go away, there was “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Think And Grow Rich is “The Secret” for hustlers, people who want to go out and make things happen for themselves but just need a push in the right way. Even though it was written during the Great Depression and is 70 years old, it is still very important today. Even though it has connections to the past, anyone reading it now will feel like it was written just for this time in history.
Who was Napoleon Hill, and why should we listen to what he has to say about setting goals? Napoleon Hill spent a quarter of a century talking to the 500 best Americans of his time. He then put all of their advice into this important book. Some of these men were Henry Ford, Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, William Wrigley Jr., Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, and many more.
In fact, Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest people in history, was the one who told Hill to write a book and share the knowledge he had gained with the world.
How does goal setting come up in Think and Grow Rich?
The process of setting goals that Think and Grow Rich teaches can be summed up in the following points, which I highly suggest reading:
* Don’t be unclear about how much money you want to make.
* Figure out exactly what you’re going to do to make the money you need. What will you bring to the table? Don’t forget that nothing is free.
* Set a specific date for when you will have the amount of money you want.
* Set up a clear plan for getting what you want, and start right now, even if you don’t think you’re ready.
* Write down a clear statement of how much money you want to get (the amount from step 1), what you plan to do in exchange for the money (the value from step 2), when you want to get it (the date from step 3), and your specific, actionable plan for getting the money (the plan from step 4).
* Read your written message out loud to yourself twice a day. Do it in the morning and in the evening. While you read the statement, picture yourself following through on your plan and having the money.
* The above tips for making goals are part of a bigger plan that Hill calls creating a “burning desire to win,” but it is a key part of the plan in Think and Grow Rich. Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, is about making goals for financial success, but the same principles can be used for anything you want to accomplish.
Tim Ferriss – 4-Hour Work Week
Tim Ferriss talks about how he went from working 100+ hours a week on his online supplements business to making it into a business that made money for him while he traveled and did things he liked. He did this by making what he calls a “dream line” for the life he wants to live.
*Note: Don’t be fooled by the title. The 4-Hour Work Week isn’t about only working 4 hours a week. Instead, it’s about refusing what society says we “should” do with our lives and jobs. It’s about thinking outside the box to do less of the work we don’t want to do so we can spend more time doing what we want.
What Ferris calls a “dreamline” is basically a list of things you want to get or do, without worrying about how you will get them. The idea is to not be limited by what you think is or isn’t possible. Instead, you should design your ideal lifestyle, figure out how much money you’ll need to make it happen, and then try to build income streams that will support that lifestyle.
It’s about setting firm deadlines for building our dream lifestyles instead of putting off what we really want from life until “the future” comes along.
Here’s a part of Tim’s book “The 4-Hour Work Week” where he talks about how to make a “dreamline.”
Make two timelines, one for six months and one for a year, and write down up to five things you want to have, be, and do in that order. This could include material things like a house, car, and clothes, but it doesn’t have to be.
For now, you shouldn’t worry about how these things will be done. All of that is handled later.
Think about the question: If you had $100 million in the bank, what would you do every day? If you’re still stuck, put the following in the five “doing” spots:
* 1 place to visit
* 1 thing to do before you die (that will stay with you forever)
* 1 thing a day to do
* 1 thing a week to do
* 1 thing you’ve always wanted to know
Chances are that the final TMI number will be lower than thought, and it will keep going down as you trade more and more “having” for once-in-a-lifetime “doing.” This trend is helped by mobility. Even if the amount is scary, don’t worry. Case studies in the book show that it is possible to make more than $10,000 extra per month in three months. Most of the time, this is three or four times more than is needed. Most of the time, it’s not hard to get an extra $2,000 or $3,000.
You really can have it all.
Creating a “dreamline” or learning how to set goals is only the first step on the road to success. Read the 4-Hour Work Week if you want to find out how Tim reached his goal and how you can do the same.
The most important thing to learn from the 4-Hour Work Week about setting goals is that we shouldn’t let our preconceived ideas of what is and isn’t possibly tell us what our goals should be. People set goals based on what they think is possible way too often.
You should also make both short-term and long-term goals. You can write down a specific goal with a specific date, but if the end goal is 5, 10, or 20 years away, how do we measure progress in the meantime?
It’s important to set short-term goals that you can start working on right away, and you should always give yourself less time to reach a goal than you think you’ll need.
So, now that we’ve looked at goal-setting from two experts’ points of view, what are some of the things we can agree on? Whether we’re talking about the Great Depression or the modern internet age of remote work and the digital nomad, it seems like there are some things that are always true when it comes to making goals:
* Don’t let your ideas about what is and isn’t possible determine what you want to achieve. Instead, write down what you want to accomplish and then figure out how to get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be).
* Part of having goals is making a plan for how you’re going to get there, starting today.
* Goals must be clear and easy to understand. They should say what you want in clear terms.
* There must be a set amount of time to reach a goal.
* Putting goals on paper makes them more real.
* Think about your goals every day.
* Have these ways of setting goals helped you make a lot of progress in your own life? Do you have your own way of setting goals and reaching them? Feel free to talk about it in the comments.