Archives For Goal Setting


I’m writing this 37,000 feet in the air en route from New York City to Hong Kong. I’m sitting in business class on Cathay Pacific with my wife next to me. I have so much room to type this. The bed lays down flat. I have a huge TV screen in front of me to keep me busy for the 15 hour flight. I’m so full from all the food. We’ll stay in Hong Kong for two nights then a couple days later we’re going to continue to Taipei, Taiwan and stay for four months.

I didn’t have to think twice about doing this. I didn’t have to ask a boss for permission for time off. I didn’t even pay more than $300 for these business class ticket.

I don’t share this to brag. I’m sharing to show you what is possible when you take 100% responsibility for your life.

All this didn’t happen by accident. I wasn’t handed this on a silver platter. I’m not an overnight success either. What I did was take control of my life and planned it to be this way. Was it easy? Not all the time. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

What was important was a change in how I perceived this dream. Instead of being jealous of other people’s lives, I thought “if they can do it, why not me?” Before I would think it wasn’t fair. Why were they happy and I wasn’t? Complaining to no one in particular never helped. It only dug me deeper into a hole of self pity.

So I changed how I looked at them. I understood that there were other people doing what I wanted to do. That’s why I knew it was possible. There were just regular people too. They weren’t rich. They didn’t have connections or knew exactly what they were going to do in life right out of college. These people early on were people like Pat Flynn and Chris Guillebeau for me. These were ordinary guys who I could relate to and were living their lives doing what they wanted and with much more freedom.

I always knew that I had more to me than what I had done. I know many of you feel the same way because you email me and tell me that.

What was missing was being so determined to make it a reality. I was waiting for a miracle. I was hoping someone would tell me exactly what to do and how to do it. I had this unrealistic imagination that I’d wake up one day with sudden clarity for my future.

After wasting most of my adult life feeling stuck, I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way in late 2010. Not even the pain of being a beginner, self doubt, failures, and impatience.

Over four years since I wrote a letter to myself to wake up and get busy living and I feel proud because I took 100% responsibility for my life and am enjoying the results from it.

Your dreams might be different, and that’s completely fine. What you and I have in common is a desire to enjoy life more. We want to do work that’s fulfilling. We want more excitement. We want more freedom.

I want you to be able to create that.

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Get Busy Living 2014Stop. Don’t Do it. Don’t tell yourself that you’re doing to do more of _______. It’s not going to work.

In two months, you’re going to be back to where you are right now, but worse because you’re going to be upset that you already failed. Then you’ll slowly forget about it and go back to your old ways. By December, you’ll be thinking of all the changes you want to make beginning January 1, 2015.

I know because I’ve never kept a resolution.

If you’ve made a specific resolution more than once, then stop making it again. The problem isn’t with your resolution, but with your approach. You don’t change your approach and that’s why you’re making it again.

Does this sound like you? If so, I’m here to give you another solution so you won’t be like 98% of the people (an educated guess, but probably close) that start the new year with hopes of the best year ever, but fizzle out soon.

Later in this article, I’m going to tell you about a course I created last year that going to kick your butt, change you on the inside, and help change the direction of your life. If your life is good, it’ll help take it to a new level.

Don’t take my word for it. I’ll share what some of my students have said.

First I’m going to share with you seven ways to help you make 2014 your best year yet. None of them include making a New Year’s resolution.

1) Write down your goals

I told you to not make a New Year’s resolution because they don’t work, but writing down your goals is not the same as making a resolution.

There are many reasons resolutions don’t work. One reason is because it is just an idea floating around in your head. It’s easy to get lost when you have 70,000 thoughts a day. After that initial excitement, you will forget about it.

This year do something different. Write down your goals. When you write down your goals, you are making a declaration. You’re saying you want to do this and it’s not just a wish.

Write it on a sheet of paper or print it from your computer. Place this list where you will see it everyday.

2) SMART goals

Writing down your goals is better than just thinking about it, but these goals needs to be structured in a way that is going to help you.

Don’t just write generic goals. Instead set SMART goals. Those are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Saying you want to lose weight is too general. There’s no urgency. How will you know you have lost weight? How much weight? By when? It’s too weak.

New year’s resolutions are just as general. That’s why they fail to stick.

If you follow the SMART guidelines your goal will be “I will lose 15 pounds by June 1, 2014.” It’s measurable. You can step on a scale and know. It’s specific. It’s attainable. It’s something you want to do so it is relevant. It has a deadline. Without one you will just procrastinate.

Before I finish talking about goals, I do want to say one thing. I believe settings goals are so important. You might come across some articles online that say setting goals is a bad idea and they will give their reasons why.

I don’t follow that. Set some goals. If you’ve never set goals before, then definitely set goals this year. Try it out.

Goals give you direction. You set the navigation system in your brain and it helps you reach your destination. If you’re driving from Los Angeles to New York and have never driven that route before would you just get in your car and start driving or use your navigation to guide you?

If you don’t use navigation, you still could get there, but it might take you longer and you might get lost many times along the way. Why waste time when navigation can get you there faster?

Set SMART goals in 2014 to guide you.

3) What is your WHY?

Why do you want it? Why do you want to make that change or achieve that goal? If you can’t think of a strong reason why, rethink your goal. Are you doing it because someone said you should?

I bet that your past goals have failed because you didn’t have a strong enough reason why.

Whatever your goals are you will face challenges. I promise you it’s not going to all be easy. Change is hard. Doing something new is hard. You will want to quit. If you have a reason why you want to achieve it, then it’ll push you through tough times, keep you motivated, and focused on your goals.

Do you know someone who had a high school reunion or a wedding and their goal was to lose weight before the big day? I think we all know someone. It might have even been you.

I had a friend that lost 50 pounds before his wedding. Before that he struggled to lose the weight he gained from years of partying in college. He wanted to lose weight, but just never had a great reason why.

What was the difference? He had a strong reason why and a deadline.

More money might be your reason why, but think about why you want more money. What will it do for you? How will it help? How will you use that money when you have it? Go deeper than the desire to just have money because that isn’t enough to keep you focused and motivated.

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Lego Titanic

How are those big new plans you’ve decided for yourself working out for you so far? Still on the right path? Great. Losing some motivation? Oh no. Already quit? That’s not good.

Getting started is the easy part. We’ve started so many times to achieve goals or form a new habit. The hardest part is finishing what we’ve started. At the end of the year, are you going to be better off than you are now or getting ready to make the same New Year’s resolutions?

Here are ten ways to make sure you stick to your big goals for the year.

1. Don’t call them resolutions

A friend of mine posted on her Facebook that she has been doing really bad with her New Year’s resolution of cursing. In fact, she felt like she was cursing more than normal. I replied that she should have made a resolution to curse more, then she wouldn’t be cursing at all.

That’s how resolutions usually turn out. Whatever we set out to do, the opposite will happen, which is not the result we’re aiming for.

I stopped making resolutions a long time ago. Before I would make them and quit after a month like the 99%. I’m not a fan of the word anymore cause of how we treat resolutions. We treat them like crap. When I now hear people making resolutions, I view it as a feeble attempt making a change in their life.

A resolution is a decision to do something. That’s it. It’s just an idea in your mind to want to make a change. It sounds so weak. I wish we could all just decide to do something, and we’d do it forever. It doesn’t work that way though. We face challenges. We lose motivation. We give up.

So instead of calling them resolutions, call them goals and treat them as more than just a decision. There needs to be a plan of action and a way to ensure you don’t give up after the first month.

2. Accountability

One ways to stick with your goals is to make them public. When you tell others about what you intend to do, it puts pressure on you to keep working at it.

You could also find an accountability partner to check up on your progress once a week or bi-weekly. Do it over coffee, over Skype, the phone, or email. You could be each other’s accountability partner, which would be even better. Just go over what went well that week and what didn’t. Then state what you will achieve for that next week.

What’s the punishment for not doing it? You both could come up with a punishment or just knowing that you didn’t accomplish what you said you could can be punishment enough.

3. Put your money where your mouth is

Aren’t the two biggest motivating factors in life money and sex? I could be wrong, but both definitely make people do crazy things.

One way to make sure you follow through with your goals is to put some money on the line.

There are a couple ways you could do it.

Let’s say you have a goal of running four days a week for a minimum of thirty minutes each time. Set aside an amount of money that if you lost it, it wouldn’t be cool. Everyone has a different amount. Someone might not care about losing $50 bucks, while others will hate it.

Give someone you can trust (important) your money. Let’s say you give them $300. Set a time frame. Maybe you want to run for twelve weeks. So every week that you complete your goal, that trusted person will give you $25 back ($300/12 weeks = $25 each week). If you run less than four times (no excuses allowed) that person keeps $25. Then the next week you start over and it’ll end with you getting $25 or your friend keeping $25.

Most likely you’re going to have to be accountable to yourself. If you missed a day, sure you can lie and say you did it, but what’s the point in that? The whole point of putting money where your mouth is to get you to take action.

You can do this for anything goal or habit. Set a time frame, guidelines, and an amount of money.

Do it with a friend you trust! This is so important. If you don’t, your friend is going to spend the money you gave them and say they’ll pay you back as soon as they can, which means kiss it goodbye.

Also make sure you do it with a friend who’s going to support you and not try and try to sabotage your progress just so he/she can collect money. If all your friends are like that, then you need to find new friends.

Another way to do it is to give your friend a lump sum of money if you don’t do what you say you will do by a certain date. For example, if you don’t finish the first outline of your book by June 1st, you’ll give your friend $300. Be accountable for it by letting others know the plan.

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How was this year for you?

Are you thinking, “Where has this year gone?” I think we all say that every year around this time.

I hope it’s been a great year for you! If it hasn’t been the best, then don’t worry. You can start today to make sure 2013 is your best year yet by doing your annual review.

Last year I wrote a post to help you do an annual review, and it was one of my most popular posts.

At the end of this post, I’ll share with you the worksheet so you can do yours.

Why should you do an annual review? 

Doing an annual review is like going to the doctor, optometrist, or dentist. I go to find out if everything is okay and stop any problems before they get out of control.

An annual review can do the same for you.

You need to know what worked and what didn’t work this year. You need to make sure you’re doing more the right things.  You also need to figure out what held you back or slowed you down, so can do less of that or find a way to improve.

Don’t like the results you got this year? Do an annual review to find out what thoughts, behaviors and actions were holding you back.

Ask yourself

  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go well this year?

This is a great place to start. If you need help jogging your memory, take a look at old photos, blog posts, a journal, your Instagram feed, Facebook status updates, or anything that will help you remember this past year.

Think about what successes you had. It could be small or big. It’s very easy to forget about those, but it’s important to remember the wins so we can see how much we’ve grown this year.

Your Year in Review Worksheet

I’ve created a free worksheet that has questions to help you review your year and plan for the next.

Download it, print it out and find a quiet time to complete it. Don’t rush through it. These questions will really make you think. Be honest with your answers. These are just for yourself.

Don’t have too many accomplishments to write down? Then next year make sure you consciously do more. It could be because you’re in your comfort zone too much. Find areas in your life you want to improve and set goals that’ll make you happy if you achieved it.

If you’ve never done a year in review, try it this year. You’ll learn more about yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Don’t just fill this out and put it away. I encourage you to put it in a place where you can access it and refer back to it throughout the year. Because you need to remember the parts of your life you said you needed to eliminate or improve.

Download the worksheet now (right click to save)

I really want this to get in as many hands as possible, because I really believe in its effectiveness. Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or e-mail it to someone.

Next week, I’ll share my annual review with you.

Finally let me ask:

-How was your 2012? 

-What went well for you and what didn’t in 2012?

Bambi vs Godzilla

Goals might seem big and scary, but they can be beaten.

If you don’t set goals in life, what is the reason?

Is it because you don’t know how, don’t believe in it, or are anti-goals?

We were never taught this in school, so you may not know how. If you don’t believe in it, it’s probably because you’ve tried and failed many times.

Some are anti-goals. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits says he doesn’t set goals anymore. He feels more liberated. He lets his passion guide him.

Is this a growing trend?

Just as there’s countless ways to exercise, and different ways to get to your destination, there’s different ways to live your life. If you don’t want to set goals, that’s up to you. It’s your life.

But I believe you feel stuck or want to achieve more in life, goal setting can benefit you. It’ll give you something to aim for instead of wandering through life. It’ll weed out the not so important goals with the ones that really matter.

I’m a on Team Goal Setting. My 2011 would not be the same if I didn’t have a system to start and finish my goals.

I knew what it had done for me, but I wanted to find other people who are Team Goal Setting. Where could I find them?

I went to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and posted my question. This is what I wrote.

I’m working on a post on the power of goal setting. There seems to be a movement where people don’t believe in goal setting. However, I believe in it and want to find others who have consistently used goal setting to achieve their personal and professional goals. How long have you been using goal setting? Why do you believe goal setting works? What are some accomplishments you’ve achieved because of goal setting? If I use your story, I’ll be happy to mention a link to your business or product if you’d like.

I got nearly 50 replies! Way more than I expected. It took so long to sort though them. I couldn’t list every single answer, so I’m sharing eighteen of them.

I really enjoyed reading what they were able to accomplish. Goal setting has helped people start their own business, become a CEO, author books, quit their corporate jobs, travel, work for Playboy and more.

After reading their stories, it convinced me goal setting is a powerful tool for life.

If you want advice on how to do it properly, learn from those who’ve done it with success.

Let’s get started.

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Take a moment to look back

It’s almost the end of the 2011. Where has the time gone? How was it for you?

For me, it’s been quite a year. I started 2011 with no blog, no iPhone app, and no wife. Now I have all three!

Now it’s December and it’s my favorite time of the year because of the holidays. I do wish one night I’d wake up and see snow covering the city, but that’s unlikely to happen in Jacksonville, FL.

It’s also a great month to do a review of your year. Not just sit and think about it, but find a quiet time with a piece of paper and pen.

Why should you do a review of your year? 

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