After sending a recent message to someone on LinkedIn, I figured I’d post that message here. I’ve had several people from around the world ask me how I set my goals. I definitely don’t think I’m an expert at this – yet – but I do think I can give some advice on it. I’ll try to organize all of this as a simple Q&A. Ok, here we go…
Do you have a vision board?
I do have a vision board, but it’s not your typical vision board. I’ve tried making a few vision boards in the past, but they would always seem to break or the cutouts would either fall off or get crumbled up. I use Pinterest for my vision board now. I was never big on making vision boards until I discovered Pinterest. Honestly, I don’t like to think of it as a
vision board anymore. I call it my “Lifestyle Design Board”. I think that word-picture fits my personality better. lol. Since Pinterest gives you the option to create multiple boards, I’ve have the freedom to create boards and pin things that I never would have even thought of. I figured I could build a bigger Lifestyle Design Board faster online than if I tried to do it physically. Plus, making it public has kept me accountable to it. I refer back to it often to stay inspired. It’s become one of my favorite places to get inspiration and understand what I like, what I want, and who I want to be. I’ve even used Pinterest for creating my current office space and bedroom. I’m also using it to plan for the future office space for my company, 4th Park Studios. Pinterest is literally the coolest thing!
How did you come up with the idea to create your 100 Life Goals?
Honestly, the biggest thing I’ve done was deciding to write down my 100 Life Goals. It all began when my former pastor – Shaun King – did a message series called 100 Life Goals. He awakened possibility in all of us to think about the breath of our life in a more colorful way. Until then, I had never realized the full scope of what my life could be. I had never thought to write down my goals that way. I was so used to limiting myself to only a few types of goals (financial and experience goals). I never thought about skills goals or family goals or influence goals until I had to write down 100 of them during that message series. So to clear the record, I didn’t come up with the idea. I wish I could take the credit, but I’d be stealing someone else’s thunder. lol.
Why did you decide to make your 100 Life Goals public?
I posted my 100 Life Goals here on my website a few years ago as a way to keep track and measure them. I figured that if I keep them hidden away in some document on my computer, I’d be more likely to forget them. Making them public has made me accountable. I’ve had people from all of the world view my 100 Life Goals on my site. It actually made my site the #1 search result in Google for almost a year for the keywords “life goals” and “100 life goals”. Talk about AWAKENING POSSIBILITY. lol. With that many people paying attention, it makes it harder for me to forget. It forces me to be more intentional about accomplish them.
How do you set goals?
As far as my goals, I have a series of techniques that I use. I use Evernote to write my goal list for the year. This list is called my “Milestones For The Year”. Each year, I try to come up with a set of milestones. These are points of progress that I want to make throughout the year. I try to break down some of those milestones by the month. For example, on my Milestones 2013 list, one of my milestones if was to grow my team at my company. I set 2-3 months to achieve that milestone. I didn’t try to designate a milestone for each month. It’s not important to have 12 milestones for the year. You may only have 3. And it may take you 3 to 6 months to accomplish one of them. I also try to assign each of my milestones a date. This gives me an actual end point. Instead of it being a goal I want to achieve, it becomes a due date that I have to prepare for. Totally different approach. Trust me.
Once I can see how my months align with my milestones for the year, I try to itemize each month down to daily Action Items. That way I can see progress being made day-to-day. I have a Circa Notebook that I use to write down my Action Items. I make it a MUST to have Action Items that I try to knock out every day. I periodically refer back to my monthly and yearly milestones in Evernote to see if I’ve accomplished any of those. I try to celebrate accomplishing milestones by treating myself. I’ve found that placing a reward either on or after a due date has made accomplishing my milestones more exciting and fulfilling. This SHOULD be exciting. It’s my life and I get to celebrate it how I want.
How do you measure progress?
At the end of the year, I do my Year In Review. This is a document that I got from Scott Dinsmore, an amazing blogger and ‘awakener of possibility’ who has devoted his life to helping people live their legend. I took this document and adjusted the questions to fit my personality. I use that template as my guide to measure my year. The year will change, but the questions usually stay the same. Here are some of the questions I ask to assess my year:
- What are 10 great things that happened to me in 2012?
- What are 5 accomplishments I am most proud of in 2012?
- When was I most excited about life in 2012? What was I doing? Who was I with?
- What are 5 lessons I’ve learned in 2012?
- What was the smartest decision I made in 2012?
- What was the biggest risk I took in 2012?
- How would I sum up 2012 in one sentence?
- What are 5 things I need to do less of in 2013?
- What are 5 things I need to do more of in 2013?
- What are 5 things I need to stop doing completely in 2013?
- What are 5 milestones I want to achieve in 2013?
- One year from now, what do I want my ideal life to look like?
What books would you recommend for setting goals?
Here are few books that have helped motivate me to set goals and develop routines:
- The Art of Non-Conformity
- Making Ideas Happen
- Manage Your Day-To-Day
Why are goals important to you?
As you can see, my goal-setting process is a little sophisticated. I’m a systems freak. lol. But this has helped me make HUGE progress in my 20s. I’m BIG on maximizing these years of my life, since I’m single and without kids. Even if I were married with kids, I think I’d still make it a MUST to live to the max. There’s no reason why I should be living below my own potential. I deserve the greatest expression of myself. And I don’t have to watch life happen; I can MAKE it happen. That’s the gift God gave us; the gift of life. Abundant life. Amazing life. Awakened life. A life that’s present, colorful, and rich with possibility. We all have this gift. Goals are merely points of progress that help you get the most of of the gift. It’s not about the goals we set or the things we do. It’s about the person we become in the process. That’s the beauty of it all. The beautiful art of a life that matters.
What keeps you motivated to accomplish your goals?
I’ll be honest… I slack off at times. I’m not always motivated to accomplish every goal every day. Everyday is always a fully illuminated day. Some days are dim and gloomy. Some days are frustrating and overwhelming. Some days, I just want to be lazy and sleep. But what I love most about it all is that there’s always a new day. A brighter day. And each day brings with it, its own possibility. Each day presents us with its own blank canvas. A canvas to which we can create art. And what we create is up to us. What more can you ask for? We have the tools to create a masterpiece everyday. Our lives are masterpieces. And since I’m doing all of this talking, I think I’ll stop right here. There’s some art that needs to be made today. And I’m going to take these brushes and grab this paint and make something! And you should too! :)
July 13, 2013
Thank you for making several salient points in your piece including the fact that all days on the way to accomplishing one's goals are not smooth sailing, but every day is a day that any effort, even a small one will keep you in forward momentum, and it may simply be thinking about a possible solution to a problem. Often goals get delayed and even snuffed out because their are difficult days or periods, or a need to re-evaluate the goal itself. If it were easy, everyone would be aces at this, its not easy, but it is effective. Somewhere I read that only about 9% of the population actually set goals, of those, around 89% of them achieve their goals, which makes one wonder, if this is such an efficient tool, why isn't it used by more people and with more frequency. You also noted the importance of keeping your goals or your "life design" (I really like that phraseology) visible, as for the most part the minutiae in life can take over our days causing us to quite easily lose focus of the "big balls" (big goals/desires) in our play space. As you noted, simply setting goals doesn't guarantee a thing, action plans have to be in place, and monitoring (measurement) must take place on a fairly regular basis to determine whether you are putting in the necessary mileage to get to your destination at the time assigned, whether you have completely left the road, or whether you need to completely revamp your route. I applaud you for having a mission to awaken in others, their possibilities - as you mentioned also somewhere else on your site, many are sleepwalking through life, unaware that they can design their lives, and work on manifesting that design. For those who did not have a role model to foster the setting and accomplishing of major life goals in their lives, opening up your journey is certainly a place that they can find some inspiration and virtual mentoring. My mission is to help in a similar way, as we focus on the setting and accomplishing of financial goals, moving individuals from dreams to results. Thank you for your open and invigorating right-brain example.
October 21, 2013
I was looking for the sort of goals people have in their life and came across your list. You are obviously a very motivated and dynamic young man. Best of luck with your interesting list of goals!