Don’t worry if you have no idea what you even want your goals to be, in this exercise I’m going to take you through how to uncover your subconscious desires and dreams, and then map those out into goals that you can actually achieve.
So before we get started, I would love for you to grab a pen and paper. It’s really important to go through this exercise, because if you read the questions and then you walk away and you think about your answers, your analytical mind is going to take over and you’re going to rationalize away all of your big goals and dreams.
And so this exercise is not about being practical, it’s about coming up with the things that you truly want, no matter what you think about them.
When I used to set goals, I would really focus on my university grades, my career, and my physical fitness, and I found that when I was pursuing these things I would often neglect the other areas of my life, so my mental health, sometimes my relationships, and something really felt off. Even though I was achieving in the areas that I set goals in, I didn’t feel like I was very successful or happy in the other areas, and I was convinced that you couldn’t have success and happiness in all the areas of your life.
And this didn’t really feel right, but I didn’t know what else to think, so as I started to uncover, how can I actually improve all the areas of my life? I came to realize that what was stopping me wasn’t really that I couldn’t have it, it was that I believed that I couldn’t have it. And so I started to look into how I could create more holistic goals, and really reject the belief that I couldn’t be happy and successful in all the areas of my life.
So grab your pen and paper, and as I ask the questions, start writing down what comes up for you. Don’t think about whether it’s practical or achievable, or if it’s realistic, and please don’t feel guilty if you’re writing down things that you think are too much or too expensive. Just try to ignore all of those rational thoughts, and really just write the first thing that comes up, and don’t try to think about why you wrote it. Okay, so grab your pen, and let’s start writing down everything.
So think about, who do you want to become?
What do you want that person to be like?
How do you want them to behave?
How do you want to operate from day to day?
What do your habits look like?
Who are your friends?
Who’s your inner circle,
and what do they act like?
and what do they behave like?
What are their habits?
Think about, what do you want to learn?
What are some of the things you might want to teach?
Do you want to write a book?
Do you want to give a speech?
How do you want to show up in the world?
Give yourself about five minutes just to write everything down that comes up into your mind.
Now I want you to think about the things that you want to buy, and the things that you want to experience.
What kind of house do you want to have?
What kind of clothes do you want to wear?
What kind of purses or shoes or jewelry do you want to have?
What kind of car do you want to have?
Do you want to travel internationally?
What kinds of experiences do you want to have while you’re there?
Do you want to go to a play in the West End?
do you want to go skydiving?
do you want to go scuba diving?
Is there anything that you haven’t experienced that you want to experience, or maybe you’ve experienced it, and you want to be able to do it more often?
Think about when you’re traveling to these places, are you traveling first class?
are you chartering a plane?
do you have your own plane?
Just write down everything that comes up for you that you imagine that you would like to have or experience, and give yourself about five minutes to do that.
Next I want you to think about the financial aspects of your life, and ask yourself four questions.
How much do I want to make?
how much do I want to save?
how much do I want to invest?
how much do I want to donate?
If you have a business.
think about how much you want your business to make?
what is the profit margin?
how much do you want to pay yourself?
Give yourself about five minutes to write all of these down.
Now let’s think about health.
So what does your physical health look like?
How much do you weigh?
Do you have a certain body fat percentage?
Do you run marathons?
do you do yoga every day?
What does your peak physical fitness look like?
What does your mental and emotional fitness look like?
Do you have a different mood than you have now?
What specifically about your mood in the future looks different than it does now? And your spiritual health.
Do you meditate every day?
Do you want to get out in nature every day, and put your feet on the ground?
Do you want to be by the trees, do you want to be by the ocean?
What helps you nurture your spiritual health?
Maybe it’s religious, maybe you want to go to church more often, or get more involved in church communities.
So think about what your spiritual goals are.
how do you want to grow and evolve in terms of your overall health, physical, mental and emotional, and spiritual?
And give yourself about five minutes to write all of that down.
Now I want you to think about the relationships in your life.
So in your best self, when you’re being your best self in the future, how are you in your personal relationships?
So as a spouse, a partner, a friend, a son or a daughter, a parent, what does that look like?
And if you’re different, what specifically is different? What specifically do you want to do differently in your relationships in the future?
And give yourself a few minutes to write this down.
Now you should have goals written down in several areas of your life, and you should be able to categorize them in five different categories or more.
So most likely you’ll have a personal development category, the things you want to buy and experience, financial, health, and relationships, and you may have more, so make sure those are all grouped together, and then you want to go through and write that they are either a one, three, five, 10, or 20-year goal. Once you’ve got those all labeled, you want to go back and grab your top one-year goal from each category and write it on a separate piece of paper. These are the goals that you are 100% committed to achieving in the next 12 months.
Once you’ve got those down, we want to go through and make them SMART goals. So I first heard about SMART goals in business school when I was studying human resources management, and it’s a way to make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. And I use this in a corporate setting, and I use it in my online business, and so no matter what your goals are about, the SMART method is really going to help you achieve those goals.
So in order for a goal to be specific, we want to make sure that we know who’s doing the goal and what specifically they are achieving, so “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
“I want to lose 20 pounds,” you really want to know why, like what’s the purpose of losing 20 pounds? Perhaps losing 20 pounds is going to help you feel like you look better, but it probably goes deeper than that. Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds because it’s going to help you play with your kids, and right now you feel like you can’t keep up with them and you can’t really participate in things with them, and it’s really upsetting. And so that is a more purposeful why, “I want to lose 20 pounds because I want to be healthy and be there for my kids.” So go through each of the goals, and make sure that it’s really specific, who’s doing it and what is happening, and what is the purpose behind it?
Then you want to make sure that the goal is measurable. So “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to lose a lot of weight” is not measurable, we don’t really know if we’re achieving that goal. “I want to lose 20 pounds, and I’m going to measure it by weighing myself every week,” that makes the goal measurable. And not only does it move you towards achieving it, but you also can measure your progress, and during the ups and downs of actually achieving the goals, you’re going to want to enjoy each of the baby steps towards the goal to keep you motivated and really excited.
And then is the goal achievable and realistic?
So, this isn’t meant for you to think small and pick a goal that you can definitely achieve, but is this something that you are willing to work towards? Are you willing to expand your knowledge, are you willing to give time, are you willing to adjust your life as it is in order to do what you need to do to achieve it? And is it realistic? So, you know, “I want to lose 100 pounds in the next month,” it’s possible, but it’s not really realistic, and there’s a good chance you won’t do it, and even if you do, there could be some health concerns around that, so saying “I want to lose 100 pounds in a year,” that’s a lot more realistic.
So making sure they’re achievable and realistic is going to help you actually achieve those goals, and there’s going to be times that You know, you don’t achieve your goal 100%, but if it’s so out of reach, you might feel like you don’t even want to try again.
And the last piece is to make sure that it’s timely, so when do you want to have that goal achieved by?
So once you go through and answer all those questions, you want to write each of your goals in one sentence that has all of those components in it. Write down each of them, and then when you’re done, take that sheet of paper and put it up somewhere that you can see it. A lot of people make vision boards as well. If you’re able to actually create something visual around your goals, then when you’re reading them you’re also looking at them, it’s stimulating several parts of your brain, and you are more likely to feel like, “Yeah, you know what? I can definitely do this.”