At the beginning of 2022, I set myself 15 goals. It was going to be the year that I wrote two books and published one, all while purchasing a rental property and securing tenants.
I only achieved 4 of my 15 goals.
By the beginning of October this year, I could tell something was going wrong. I’d already failed with a few of my goals and was way off target with most of the remaining ones.
Frustrated, I knew something had to change.
Salvaging 2022 wasn’t possible but I wanted to set up a system that helped me finish the year strong and be prepared for the best ever 2023.
Browsing through some of my old notes, I came across a quote which enlightened me on the error of my ways and led me to a discovery that has dramatically changed my approach to goal setting (and produced some dramatic results).
While re-reading my notes on Man’s Search for Meaning, I saw the following passage from author and psychiatrist, Victor Frankl,
Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.
This may not seem like your typical goal-setting advice but it lit a switch in my mind.
With all of my previous goals, I’d been aiming at success. I was thinking about how much I could achieve in a year and wanting to set massive targets which, I believed, would inspire me into action. However, setting my goals in this way actually achieved the opposite.
Instead of inspiring me, they left me overwhelmed. Instead of enabling me to achieve, they left me confused.
So, I decided to rip up my previous playbook and start setting goals according to a completely different set of principles.
Here’s what I did . . .
Following Frankl’s advice, I needed to stop aiming at success.
This meant that goals based on book sales, or making a certain amount of money, had to go. They were going to lead me to focus on the outcome and overlook my present situation.
Instead, I had to get lost in my work. I had to allow the passion I feel for inspiring people to break free from the system to guide my efforts without thought to what I might achieve.
In theory, this sounded great. However, I could tell there was a possibility I might be unfocused and jump from one project to another if I followed this approach.
At this point, I remembered another influential book and further refined my goal-setting approach.
Gary Keller’s, The ONE Thing, teaches the reader to focus their energy and attention. He asks you to answer one key question, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
Pondering this question forced me to apply focus to my passion. Instead of 10 or 15 goals, I had to select one important goal for 2023 that, through achieving it, was going to have the greatest impact on my business and life.
Of course, selecting a certain number of book sales was out of the question (for two reasons).
Therefore, I decided to make my “one thing” a goal that was 99% within my power to achieve (more on this to come).
With this established, I then had to work backwards from my goal and figure out all of the steps in the road that would enable me to get there.
Let’s explore how this is achieved.
My main goal for 2023 is writing and having my 5th book ready to publish (I’m just putting the finishing touches on my 4th).
Here’s how to choose yours and what you should do after that.
Decide upon your main goal for the year.
The criteria for selecting your yearly goal for 2023 are as follows;
Once you’ve decided upon this goal, starting January 1st (or whenever it is you read this blog post), set one goal for the month (and every month after that).
The criteria for choosing these monthly goals are as follows;
Once you’ve decided upon your goal for January, begin setting your goal for the first week of January.
The criteria for choosing weekly goals are as follows;
Once you’ve decided upon your goal for the week, select your goal for each and every day of that week.
The criteria for setting daily goals are as follows;
And there you have it. A goal-setting approach that will increase your motivation, momentum and focus.
If there’s any confusion about how to apply it to your life, here’s the simple version.
Since I’ve adopted this approach (October 2022), I’ve over doubled my productivity. My hope is that it’ll do the same for you (and if you’re struggling to apply any of the points then please let me know in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to help).
Before I go, it’s worth mentioning one last point. If you were to ask me the secret to making this approach work, I would respond that you shouldn’t demand too much of yourself when setting your yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.
Elon Musk claimed that the Falcon 1 – Space X’s first ever rocket – would successfully launch and reach orbit by 2003 (Space X was founded in 2002). It took until September of 2008 for this goal to be realised.
Therefore, set a series of achievable goals, get used to meeting them every day, week, month and year, and watch your motivation and momentum soar.
If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The System. Click here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!)