Many people feel that they are drifting through life aimlessly. They never feel they have taken control of anything in particular and that things just happen out of good or bad luck. The problem with this way of living is that it makes you passive, or a victim of the decisions and goals of other people. Your relationships, finances & career will all be dictated heavily by the plans other people have set in motion and the impact they have on you will simply be a by-product of the changes made by others.
If you’re fine with this, then carry on. But if you are someone who wants to achieve more, take control of their own life and be the person they’ve always wanted to be then you need to set goals and achieve them. Let’s discuss the why and the how.
Why Set Goals
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” – Earl Nightingale, Motivational Speaker.
Some reasons why you should set goals for yourself are that they:
- Provide motivation on a short-term level to achieve things on a long-term level
- Allow you to see and measure forward progress
- Allow you to hold yourself accountable
- Give you a clearly defined vision to work towards
- Give you a clearer focus on what is important every day
By setting goals and achieving them over time, you will build up your confidence and momentum that will continue to propel you onto bigger and better things as you continue.
How to Set Goals
The best way to set goals is to set SMART goals. SMART goals are those that are:
The reason this is the most popular way to set goals is that it very clearly outlines what needs to be done & how you will verify the achievement. It ensures it is not so far out of field that you don’t have the motivation to start it. It is relevant to your greater vision and it has a deadline to hold you accountable.
Take the following examples:
- I want to make more money
- I want to increase my income from $50,000/year to $65,000/year by taking on a part-time job by the end of this year to increase my ability to save for a house deposit.
You can see that the first example is vague and gives no guidance around what changes need to be made, what the goal actually is and why it is worth achieving, and by when. The second goal has more thought put into it to make it much more doable. This is because all the parameters are set and it is simply a task of carrying this out to reap the rewards.
You will also find it beneficial to break up your goals into different categories, such as:
You don’t have to set goals in all categories, but these are simply to give you some ideas. Picking 2 or 3 areas that broadly align with your ambitions is the best way to go for keeping things simple. Once you have your areas identified, begin adding your SMART goals. Don’t go overboard, you can always add to your goals, but if you can set a clear 2 or 3 goals per category to start with, this would get the ball rolling for you.
Further Tips for Setting Goals
Write your goals down – This gives them more force than having them hidden in a file on your computer that you never see
Revisit your goals regularly – This keeps them front of mind and lets you see how you are progressing
State your goals positively – Make your goals positive and uplifting, such as “I want to improve…” rather than “Stop being so bad at…”
Prioritise your goals – If you have a lot of goals, identify those that are more important so that these can get the most attention
Set goals around performance not outcomes – You can’t always control an outcome, such as when you will get your next raise or how your audience may grow, but you can measure the effort you put into your craft, the amount of content you produce, the effort you put in at work and so on
When you achieve a goal – Celebrate! It is important you take the time to acknowledge what you have accomplished so that you don’t feel like you are never progressing. This will keep your motivation and energy levels high. Don’t go overboard here, as the reward should be consistent with the size of the goal achieved.
You also need to take some time to reflect on your goal. Was it too easy? Did it take longer than you expected? Did the process of achieving it bring forward some new goals to consider? You should take this time to reflect on how you can improve your goal-setting moving forward as well as what other goals you may want to achieve next.
Don’t forget that what you learn from this goal may lead you to change your other goals too. If you think they can be made harder, or if they aren’t specific enough, then refine them iteratively. You are only competing with yourself here, so do whatever you can to help yourself.
My Goals for 2020
2020 is going to be a big year for me. In March, I will be getting married to the most wonderful young woman in the world, which is amazing. This will also mark a significant time of change for both of us. We will be moving out of home to be together, taking on additional responsibilities as adults and building our future together. Not to mention other large goals around potential real estate purchases & income progression. I am excited and intimidated for this year, as well as the rest of the decade but in the best possible way. It is important to remember that “You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.” – Les Brown.
My 2020 Goal Breakdown:
- Be the best Husband, Son & Brother I can be to both my existing & new family. By the end of 2020 I hope to have spent more quality time with those who are close to me by going on at least 1 holiday with my soon to be Wife, my direct family & my direct in-laws.
- Continue to go to the gym at least 3 times per week to maintain my health throughout 2020.
- I want to slow down & enjoy 2020 for the year of great change and experiences it will be. This is a hard thing to measure, but I want to remind myself to live in the moment and soak up the fantastic life events that will take place this year.
- Be able to have a basic conversation in Italian by the end of 2020. As I have been learning through the second half of 2019, I want to continue this in my longer term goal of being fluent in Italian.
- Achieve 2 more Salesforce certifications by the end of 2020 (1 in H1, 1 in H2).
- Post at least 100 YouTube videos on my new channel (I hope to average around 2 videos per week) by the end of 2020.
- Comfortably demonstrate my skills as project manager throughout 2020 by managing 2 projects successfully. 2019 saw me dabble into project management by inheriting a project which will see me start the New Year off very intensely. I want to successfully see this project through to completion and impress enough to be made responsible for a second one.
- Earn $100,000 (or more) gross by the end of 2020. 2019 saw me gross close to $85,000, and a longer term goal has been to hit 100k before I turn 25, which will happen in early 2021. I will achieve this through my continued salary income, plus my additional focus on my side hustle (YouTube / This blog) & hopefully a promotion at work too.
- Earn at least $5,000 from my YouTube channel by the end of 2020 through ad revenue, affiliate sales and/or sponsorships.
- Increase my cash savings by $45,000 personally. In 2019 I saw my pure cash savings increase by $43,000 not including retirement superannuation funds, sales of cars etc. Just pure cash savings which amounted to around 75% of my net income. The jump from 43k to 45k might seem ridiculously easy here. But as I mentioned I will be moving out of home, and will be carrying a lot more expenses so this will be a difficult but exciting goal to achieve by the end of 2020.
I would like to commend you on reading this post, as your determination is already clear in that you are seeking out this information. Best wishes on your goals for 2020 and beyond and I hope you are in a far better place a year from now because of your actions.