A Step-by-Step Guide to Mapping Out Your Goals
GOAL SETTING & WHY WRITING IT DOWN WORKS
Your mind is filled with thoughts firing all the time. These thoughts are occupying your mind like juggling balls. Which is why goal setting is so important.
The more thoughts and ideas you have the more balls you are juggling. This can be stressful, and make you feel overwhelmed which could lead to just doing nothing.
When you write your thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, business goals, anxieties, etc., down on paper you effectively put down one of those juggling balls.
Also, writing all your thoughts and ideas in one place gives you the opportunity to revisit those thoughts and ideas. You can also track the progress of where you are at with your thoughts, ideas, and feelings about the direction you planned. This is Professional Goal Setting at it's best.
But, Paul, that is going to take so long…is probably what you are saying. This does take time, but it's a good project to do because you will get really connected with what you are working towards.
Roll up your sleeves and let's get to work.
MAKE A WISH LIST – The Start of Smart Goal Setting
Set a timer for five minutes. For the next five minutes, imagine that this piece of paper is magical; whatever you write in it will come true within the designated time frame. Think of it as a wish list describing your ideal life. Ask yourself, “IF I COULD HAVE ANYTHING, BE ANYTHING, OR DO ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?” Write every single thing that comes to mind and be as specific as possible. Lastly, do not feel the need to be realistic READY…SET…GO.
- 3 Months – Date
- 1 Year – Date
- 3 Years – Date
Time's up! Now set the timer for 1 minute. Go back and for each of the four sections above, circle one goal that would have the MOST positive impact in your life. READY…SET…GO!
These are the four goals that you are going to prioritize. Think of them as the most important destinations in your life right now. Now we are going to create a ACTION PLAN to map out how to get there. Your ACTION PLAN is a mind map that visually breaks down your goals into steps that are specific, actionable, measureable, and time sensitive.
CREATE YOUR FIRST ACTION PLAN
A GAME CHANGER is the goal that would have the most positive impact on your life right now. Draw a box at the top of your paper and write this goal down in this box and if you are unsure of what to write, simply write the goal circled under your three month section. Set your timer for five minutes. Write down as many necessary steps you must take or tasks you must complete to get you to your goal; the more detailed the better.
Assign due dates for each of these tasks by estimating the amount of time needed to complete them. Be specific and be sure to indicate how much, how many, or by when.
CREATE A TIMELINE
Look over each task and write the number 1 next to the one that must be completed first. Add a number 2 next to the second task, and so on until all tasks are numbered.
MAKE A DATE
Now write these tasks in the corresponding due dates in a weekly layout. Throughout the year, use these as check points to keep you on track.
WORK AT IT!
For this goal, strive to do at least one productive thing everyday before 10 AM to get you closer to your goal. Consistency is key: if you skip a day, be sure to make up for it the next day.
Repeat this process for as many goals as you'd like.
- Find a follow-up buddy to check in with you and help you stay accountable for your goals.
- Cross out “Lifetime”, “1 Year” and “3 Months” , and replace them with “3 Years”, “3 Months” and “1 Month” respectively. Now challenge yourself to meet those deadlines.
For many years, I've been using my computer to write my thoughts and ideas down. However, I have found it a little difficult to go back and re-evaluate where I was at that point in my life. What I've accomplished based on my thoughts at that specific time.
I started with a plain ole notebook, and now I've upgraded to an actual notebook planner. Now, I still use my Google Calendar so my wife can plan activities and such. However, the physical planner is so much more powerful.
I've found a planner for entrepreneurs (CLICK HERE – If you end up purchasing please use this email as the person who you referred you firstname.lastname@example.org – I could earn a FREE planner for 2016) which breaks everything down and more into very detailed tasks. Here are my weekly tasks:
- This Weeks Focus
- Good Things That Happened
- Personal To-Do List
- Work To-Do List
- Takes Notes – Draw – Journal – Brainstorm
For a Monthly Breakdown I have:
- This Months Focus
- Monthly Check-in
- Personal/Passion Projects and Goals
- Work Projects and Goals
- Top Priority Projects
- Break It Down Section to Create a Mind Map
Monthly Reflection Questions such as:
- From 1 -10, How do you feel overall about this past month?
- What was the most memorable part of this past month? Describe it.
- What were the three biggest lessons you learned in this past month?
- Review your planner for the past month and assess your priorities. Are you happy with how you spent your time? If not, what steps can you take this next month to adjust them?
- How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
- What or who are you especially grateful for this past month?
- Name three things you can improve on this coming month. What are concrete actions you can take to work towards these improvements?
I have to say this is one of the most powerful tools which has helped me stay accountable to myself. Because, the only person I am competing with is myself. I only have to be better than I was yesterday and focus on taking action.
I really hoped this helped you and more importantly. I hope you take action in doing this project. I promise, you will see a change in how you go about your business.
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