Periodic goal-setting is one of the most important things you can do if you want to be sure you’re on the right path with your professional (and personal!) goals.

A good goal-setting process provides clarity on:

  • Where you're at now
  • Where you want to go
  • What needs to happen to get you there

To that end, here's a simplified version of the goal-setting system I've used and taught over the years.

At the most macro view of this process, you're looking to articulate your dreams so you can turn them into a vision with clear goals. From there, you determine the skills required to achieve those goals, and create daily habits and action steps to move the ball forward.

Go to a coffee shop, get a quadruple espresso (I'm kidding, I'm kidding... NO I'M FUCKING NOT) and give yourself an hour to complete these 4 steps.

1) Write out a super-detailed and ambitious vision of your life in five years.

"Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in five years." - Someone

(...according to the internet, who attributes this quote to at least five people)

Be as detailed as you can and think big picture; where you live, what you do on a daily basis, your savings, your income, your health and fitness, your relationship status, your family, your yearly flow of work, how you vacation, what you give to charity, etc.

Give yourself 10-15 minutes and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Like most skills, you may not be great at this type of visioning the first the time you do it. But if you do it every three months for several years, you'll get better. Voila!

Getting better is fun!

Would you like a list of cueing questions to help stimulate your visioning? I'll give you one. Go HERE and I’ll shoot right to your email. BAM!

2) Write out a super-detailed vision of your life in one year.

Your five year vision will inform this one year vision.

It's not as simple as "20% of your 5 year target income," or "Have 1/5 of a baby" (which, btw, sounds super fucked up). However, you do want to consider where you're at now and where you plan to be in five years. There's an art to balancing your ambition with staying in the world of possibility.

Be as detailed as you can and think big picture; where you live, what you do on a daily basis, your savings, your income, your health and fitness, your relationship status, your family, your yearly flow of work, how you vacation, what you give to charity, etc.

Give yourself 10-15 minutes and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Now things get interesting…

3) Look at your vision for your life one year from now.

What skillset(s) would you need to master to improve the odds of you achieving this vision?

Is it…

  • Communication skills?
  • Public speaking?
  • Marketing?
  • Time management?
  • Computer coding?
  • Stress management?
  • Physical fitness?
  • Writing?
  • Social media?
  • Management?
  • Advocating for yourself?
  • Listening?
  • Pizza-making?
  • Speed-pooping?
  • Genetically engineering your dog into a dragon?

Now turn your vision into daily practice.

Once you decide on an area you need to focus on, commit to daily action.

PRO TIP: Make sure this isn't something you can outsource. If you can simply pay someone else to do it, consider the cost/ benefit of mastering it yourself vs. simply hiring someone.

4) Take action!

What are all the ways you can improve this vital skillset?

  • Read books
  • Listen to audiobooks
  • Hire a coach
  • Take an online course
  • Take an in-person weekend course
  • Take a college course
  • Find peers who can help you
  • Share your educational focus with those you trust to help you shape the plan

If you work on your chosen skillset for 3-5 hours a week for a year straight, you will vault past those with "natural talent."

Ask people you trust for advice on effective education in your chosen domain. Do some internet research to lay out all the possible options. Then set up some meetings and/ or buy some books and/or sign up for coaching.

Do SOMETHING before the end of your work session to get the ball moving forward.

Final Thoughts

  • Being clear about your five year plan won't ensure you reach it.

You'll still have to do the work, and luck always plays a part in life. Sorry survivorship biased gooroos! And of course your dreams will change over time. However it's very unlikely you'll "accidentally" create the life of your dreams.

"Plans never work, but planning always does."

Even without guarantees, it's far better (and more fun!) to live a proactive life than simply watching life happen to you.

  • Repeat this process every three to six months.

It will allow you enough time to get traction, but recalibrate as necessary. You'll also find you get better at the process itself, and become more specific over time.

That said, if you find your life plans or chosen skillset focuses seem to wildly thrash about.... that's a consideration.

  • The most important part is the follow-up ACTION.

You have to work on the skillset on a regular basis. Most people struggle to do this without some form of community to hold them accountable. If you know that's you, make sure you build that into your action plan.

  • Can't carve out any time for on-going personal or professional development?

Great!

This means you should start by focusing on time management. If you want my very best time management tips, tricks, apps, and book suggestions, click HERE.

  • This is a VERY quick and dirty version of the more extended goal-setting system I teach in workshops.

There are other nuances and exercise that can make this even more effective. (i.e. articulating personal values, clarifying your personal mission, identifying your zones of genius, etc.).

However, if you commit to doing this simple process, you'll already be living with more intention.

Your skills will become more valuable, you'll make the world better, and you'll be more personally fulfilled.

And THAT…

Is fucking awesome.

For a list of cues and my very best time management tips, tricks, apps, and books, go HERE!