My process for setting goals in the past has been a haphazard mess. Identifying and setting goals is often not the problem for me, more so the execution of said goals becomes my problem.
There are two reasons this happens. First, I rarely make my goals public, I file them away in my mind for me, myself and I to contemplate. Unfortunately, as you might guess this is prone to failure, with no accountability or most times action. The second reason is that I rarely write the goals down. There is nowhere I can physically look back to it and see what I set. The reliance is on me to remember the goal and to remember where I am at.
In the coming year and decade, this is a process I want radically change in my life. When I set a goal for myself, I want the outcome to be the goal achievement without a doubt from the moment I set the goal. I don’t want to have to set a goal to remember to pursue my goals.
Identifying The Goals
The most important part of setting goals is the very beginning when you have to identify the right goal. There is no point in setting a goal that does not interest you now or that you will lose interest. But this is entirely different to setting a goal that may seem out of reach. Setting a goal to record a music album for me would be useless as I have no interest in doing this. However, setting a huge writing goal gives me something to grow and build towards, even if it seems unachievable in the beginning.
Previously when I set myself a goal to walk 15,000 steps per day, it was something that I end up finding fairly easy to achieve and stick with over a long period. In fact, it is a goal that I have only missed 12 times since I first started 1,661 days ago. Likewise, I set myself a goal in 2018 to ride my bicycle 5,000 km. That was something I was interested in pursuing and achieving, and I subsequently achieved that goal.
With this in mind, I have identified four areas that I want to focus on for the following year and set goals within. These include writing, publishing, income and walking.
Writing and publishing could fall within the same goal, but for this year, I want to separate them for a reason. I am looking to work on some bigger projects around writing, which I may not complete within the year. So assisting with motivation on both sides, I wanted to split the goal into two.
My Framework for Setting Goals
In setting my goals, I did not want to just take a leap of faith from a brief idea. I want my goal-setting process to be thoughtful and actionable. As I mentioned earlier, I want the outcome to be a certainty from the beginning. To achieve this, there are three things that the goal needs to have.
- The goal must have a quantifiable metric. If you cannot measure your goal, there is no true way of knowing if you succeed or not. There should be no uncertainty in this process, a review of progress should identify where I am up to and how I am progressing.
- Ideally, the goal needs to have some actionable steps to get started. Having every step from start to finish mapped out is not essential, just knowing the next step is a good start. When driving between two destinations following the GPS navigation, it only gives you the next step, but you still reach your destination.
- A process for regular review and change of direction toward achieving the goal. Sometimes it is easy to go in one direction, but if you don’t take time to ensure you are going in the right direction, you can end up in the wrong location. Likewise, with goals, it is essential to review your progress and change your approach to ensure the best chance for success.
Although not part of setting the goals themselves, there is one more aspect that I will follow this year. I will put out into the wild what my goals are and how I am progressing on them. While I could consider this public accountability for me, it is also a diary of sorts for my records.
The 2020 Goals
In 2020, I have identified four goals that I want to pursue. These goals cover the areas of writing, publishing, earning, and walking. The Four Goals are:
- Writing: Write Abundently – 1 Million Words in 2020
- Publishing: Publish Prolifically – 500 Posts in 2020
- Earning: My Best Year Earning – Earn over $100,000
- Walking: Wander Widely – Walk over 7 million steps.
Each of the goals listed above has a dedicated page explaining each goal regarding my framework above. Over time, these pages will also link to any update relevant to that specific goal.
To achieve something that you have never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.Les Brown
Each of my goals this year are things that I have never done before. I may have done things to a certain degree, but never as extensively as I have laid out for my goals this year. It got me thinking on the quote above to achieve these goals I will have to change myself. I will have to do things I have never done before, make changes that will be uncomfortable and put in a lot of work to even get close.
One thing I know is that I am looking forward to the challenge in the year ahead. But also the decade ahead with the next level of challenges that will come from this year. Because once you achieve a goal the next question is where next?