This post will teach you how to create goals for this upcoming year that won’t leave you empty when you achieve them.
This actually happens a lot because “goal lists” are rarely accountable to all areas of our lives that are important to us.
If you have a bunch of goals that are solely focused on one area of your life (cough work), you’ll probably end up feeling unhappy even if you crush them.
Below is a methodology you can use to set goals for 2014 that are holistically ambitious. It relies heavily on a 400 year old Buddhist tool called the Bhavacakra or “Wheel of Life.”
You can use this framework precisely as outlined like I did last year or simply as a guidepost. Remember these are your goals so don’t be afraid to iterate on the process!
Okay, moving on…
The methodology is broken into 2 parts: How to Set Goals and Goal Execution.
How to Set Goals
1. Identify the areas of your life that are most important to you.
If you don’t know where to begin, you use any or all of the sections from the “Wheel of Life” personal development tool pictured below.
- Friends and Family
- Significant Other
- Personal Growth and Learning
- Fun Leisure and Recreation
- Physical Enviroment (i.e. home)
I want to develop more….
I want to become more….
I want to learn or get better at
I’d like to spend more time…
Here are some examples of how I might answer these questions:
I want to develop more financial freedom.
I want to become more selfless.
I want to learn salsa dancing.
I’d like to spend more time with my family.
3. Take each aspiration and group them into the corresponding areas of your life that you’ve defined as important.
Developing more financial freedom -> Money
Becoming more selfless -> Personal Growth (or maybe family and friends)
Learn salsa dancing -> Fun and Recreation
Spending more time with your family -> Family and Friends
4. Look at all of the areas of your life that you’ve defined as important and answer these questions:
• Are all of the high level things you want to accomplish there? If not add some and don’t be afraid to get specific
• Is there an in-balance between my goals and the areas of my life that are important to me? If so, are you okay with that? Remember the goal is to have holistic ambitions
5. With each aspiration, try to crystallize it into a measurable, completeable goal
Here are some examples.
• I want to lose weight -> I want to lose 10 lbs and maintain that weight.
• I want more financial freedom – > I want to put away $500 more from my paycheck every month into savings.
6. Determine how you’re going to measure or verify progress on your goals (if applicable)
Goal: I want to lose weight -> I want to lose 10 lbs and maintain that weight.
Measurement System: On the 1st and 15th of every month I will record my weight to have a clear picture of where I’m at .
7. Schedule a regular goal review and plan implementation
Remember creating this list is just the first step! Implementation is what really matters and regularly charting/planning progress is the easiest way to get there.
Last year, on the first and 3rd Sunday of every month I reviewed my goals, updated my progress and planned how I was going to accomplish the remaining ones. I also identified goals that were no longer relevant and added new ones. You can view the public version of this here.
Important: Your goals are not meant to be concrete! They are simply guideposts that should only be on this list if they are something you continue to want for you life.
Don’t be afraid to gracefully bow out of an ambition if it is no longer relevant or desireable.
Optional But Important
Find a way to keep yourself accountable to completing these goals.
This can be as simple as emailing or talking to an accountability partner after you’ve done your regular review or as extreme as posting your progress publicly like I did.
You want to strike the balance between what you’re comfortable with and what will motivate you.
If you’re really struggling with motivation, tie failure to complete a goal to losing something that is important to you. Giving money to a friend is a simple example of this. You can also give lambo’s to your favorite bloggers ; )
I made a pretty pdf of this framework that you can share with friends and will be emailing my personal goals for 2014 to everyone who downloads it here.
If you’re still feeling a little lost, you can also check out when I first defined my goals using this framework in 2012 here.
How have you set goals for yourself in the past? Did you do anything to keep yourself accountable that worked really well?