How To Achieve Your Goals and Dreams
It’s not good enough to set a goal or dream a dream. Lots of people do that. It’s quite easy. Achieving the goal or dream is something completely different. When you know how to consistently achieve the goals and dreams you set for yourself you join a class of your own. You no longer simply talk about what you hope to achieve. You achieve it. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave you the ULTIMATE guide to accomplishing all your goals and dreams so you can be successful, happy, and fulfilled? Well – today’s your lucky day. I’m going to do just that.
(This is Part 1 in a 3 – Part Series. Check out parts 2 & 3 to get the whole shebang: Part 2: How to Really Reach Your Goals in Life | Part 3: Tools and Resources to Help You Achieve Your Goals)
But first who am I to tell you how to achieve your goals and dreams? (I’m sure you’re thinking it). I have to say I’m pretty good at achieving goals:
- I wrote an Amazon best seller, From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Transform the Life You Have into the Life You Love
- I started making six figures in my mid twenties
- I took that money and invested in multiple rental properties before I turned 30. (Wanna learn how? Get Real Estate Investing 101: Transform Your Wealth).
- I’ve traveled the world from Asia to South America to Europe. I took my first trip solo because I had a goal to travel the world and I was going to achieve it with or without a companion.
- I’m certified as a life coach (you know helping other people get their life together).
- I’ve learned from and studied achievement from the best (Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, Jack Canfield, and Mary Morrissey to name a few).
- I’ve gone on multiple mission trips serving God and helping people (Read about Haiti and Colombia).
That’s just a few. And these are all things that I had no precedence for. No one in my family has written a book or invested in real estate. No one’s endeavored on mission trips. I say this because sometimes when there’s a family succession it can be easier to achieve the goal. There’s shared knowledge and resources. I didn’t have a leg up. So even if you don’t have a leg up the world is still your oyster. You can still accomplish all your goals.
I’ve also lost weight, built my confidence (blogging and speaking in front of people was sooo not me. Read my About page), paid off thousands in credit card debt and more. When I set a goal I’m pretty good at achieving it. I’m so committed to achieving my goals and living my best life. One of my good friends posed a question on Facebook. She asked what would you do if money wasn’t an option. I said I would travel, write, go on mission trips, and invest in real estate. She said, “Charlene, you’re already doing those things.”
She was right. I am already doing the things I set out to do. When I set a goal I’m in it to win it.
So that’s what qualifies me. I don’t know what your goals are at this point in your life. (Leave a comment and let me know.) I do know there are a few universal principles to achieving your goals and dreams whatever they may be.
Make the Vision Plain
This should go without saying, but you have to know what you want. When you want to be someone who consistently slays their goals you have to have sharp vision. You have to see where you want to be clearly. If you can’t see the vision plainly it’s probably because you’re not really passionate. Chasing a vision that you are not really passionate about is crazy town. You’re wasting valuable time you could be spending chasing the real thing. You’re always wasting energy and money. You will not reach massive success in an area you’re not really passionate about. You can spend years turning your wheels but it’s not working because deep down you don’t really care.
So don’t just make THE vision plain. Make YOUR vision plain. Get super clear on what you really, really want to achieve.
- Spend time reflecting on what you want.
- Work to understand more about yourself. Journal. Take personality tests.
- Test drive the vision. Tour the house, drive the car, hang around people.
Identify What You Need Next
It doesn’t make any sense to put the cake pan in the oven if you haven’t even mixed the ingredients. This is what happens when people go after their big life goals. They attempt to do it all out of order. They focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time. They focus on everything when their goals would be better served if they concentrated on one or two things. It’s critical to focus on what you need next not what you need five steps down the line. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t know what you will ultimately need. I’m saying once you know what you’ll need in the future come back to the present and focus your energy on your next move.Once you know what you'll need in the future focus on your next best move. Click To Tweet
A lot of the goals and dreams you have have smaller steps or milestones you have to hit between where you are now and where the goal is. For example, depending on your situation, buying a house includes various steps. You may need to improve your credit score, save for a down payment, find a realtor, and so forth. If you don’t have a good credit score what you need next is to improve it. Maybe you need credit counseling. You don’t need to be picking out granite counter-tops.
This is a pretty basic example. Truthfully, buying a house can be a quick, straightforward process even with challenged credit. But I don’t want you to miss the point. When working toward a dream you should also work on the thing that is the most immediate obstacle first. Once you remove that obstacle you can start working on the next. Some things can be tackled in tandem. A home buyer can work on improving their credit score and saving for a down payment at the same time. Where it makes sense you can work on multiple “next” needs at the same time. You just don’t want to go too far down the line to where you’re skipping over critical steps in favor of something that doesn’t even matter right now.
Based on what your goals and dreams are and where you are right now, what do you need next?
In other words what’s the one thing that is stopping you from making progress? This could be things like:
- Bad credit
- Web Traffic
- Dates (this is what’s holding back my love life!)
- Lack of ideas
Whatever your most immediate obstacle is is what you need to be solving for. If you don’t know what your most immediate obstacle is you may need knowledge or clarity.
It’s very important that you identify the right “next” need. Again, because if you’re focused on the wrong thing it can through you off track. One way to be clear on what your truly need next is the 5 Why’s exercise. This was adopted from Lean Methodology. Here’s how it works:
- Complete this sentence: The reason I don’t have (your goal) is because __________
- Ask yourself “Why?” the answer to #1 is the case.
- Continue until you have no more answers. This is the root cause or your most immediate obstacle.
Let’s do a real example:
The reason I don’t have a million dollars is because I haven’t earned it.
Because I don’t know what to do.
Every idea I have to earn a million dollar doesn’t work.
I don’t have the right idea.
Super simple example off the top of my head, but this person may decide that their next need is a million dollar business idea as opposed to new branding for their business. If you know your branding isn’t holding you back and your ideas are you focus on your ideas.
Set SMART Goals
Once you know what you need next it’s time to actually set the goals you will be working toward. I said before the goals you have for your life can most likely be broken down into pieces or milestones and you can’t work on two many pieces at the same time. One of the reasons people struggle with achieving their goals is that they are trying to achieve the big goal and not the smaller, this is what I need next goal. The first step in setting a SMART goal is making sure you’re setting the right goal. If you’re following this in order that is exactly what you’re doing. Good job. You’re on the right track.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Time Based.
Your goals should be super clear. Any ambiguity should be clarified as much as possible.
You should be able to measure them.
They should actually be attainable. Trying to achieve a goal that cannot be attained is pointless and can be demoralizing.
Your goals should be realistic. Don’t set a goal that you know you will not achieve. This isn’t to be negative. If you’ve set a goal that isn’t really plausible in the time frame you’ve indicated you probably won’t work towards it. You probably won’t work toward anything at all.
Don’t make a deadline for years away (unless you have smaller milestones along the way). If you have all the time in the world to get there because there’s no immediate drive to accomplish it you will put it off over and over and over again.
Know Your Goal Slaying Style
Everybody doesn’t accomplish goals the same way. There’s simply no one size fits all. If you try to accomplish a goal using the same methodology as someone else you could be sabotaging yourself. Perhaps you need really big goals to inspire you. Or maybe smaller, more manageable goals with some quick wins will inspire you. Before you start slaying the goal you have to know what your approach is going to be.
Some questions to get you started:
- What was the last goal you accomplished? What made you successful?
- What are some goals you set but didn’t achieve? What threw you off track?
- Are you more inspired by BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) or goals where you can achieve smaller, more frequent wins?
- Do you find it helpful or intimidating to share your goals with a lot of people?
- Are you self-motivated or do you have more success with an accountability partner or coach?
What is your goal slaying style?
Once you’re clear on what type of environment sets you up for success in achieving your goal build the right structure into the process. For example, if sharing your goal with everyone you know energizes you start sharing! If it can be intimidating keep your plans to selected few. If you need smaller, quicker wins focus on the areas that allow you to do that. If you’re paying off credit card debt you may choose to pay off the one with the lowest balance so you can experience a quicker win. Alternatively, if you thrive off of BHAG goals you may decide to tackle the largest balance first.
Create A Strategy
Strategy can be defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” As they say there are multiple ways to skin a cat. Your strategy is going to be unique to you and your goal slaying style or persona. As you think about the SMART goal you set based on what you need next to achieve your bigger dream how do you plan to achieve it?
If I said I’m not making the type of money I want to make because I’m not getting enough traffic to my website my SMART goal could be something around increasing traffic by 50% by December. There are multiple strategies that I could leverage to accomplish the goal. I could focus on search engine optimization. I could focus on a particular social media channel.
What is your strategy for achieving your goal?
NOTE: Strategy flows through the entire outline presented. Let’s say your life goal is to be a millionaire. That’s certainly one of my life goals. There are many ways to earn a million dollars. My strategy is buy and hold real estate.
From there I set SMART goals. Buy two rental properties by the end of the year.
I only focused on what I needed next. My first “next” need was money. I went from tackling Money –> A house –> A general contractor –> A tenant.
I knew my goal slaying style. Only a few close friends and family knew the goal. My financial advisor didn’t even know!
I had a specific strategy for purchasing the first house. I worked with wholesalers as opposed to real estate agents.
I devised a set of tactics. I would get up in the morning and check HAR.com, Houston’s real estate listing website for new properties.
And so forth.
I struggled with where to put this section because strategy is apart of all the steps but decided to leave it here. Just know that you will need to have a strategy throughout the process of achieving your goals and dreams.
Decide on Tactics
Tactics can be defined as “the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end” (Merriam-Webster). In other words, tactics are the actual actions that you will be taking to achieve the goal. Your tactics align with your strategy. Let’s say I wanted to grow my web traffic by leveraging social media. There’s a lot of different tactics I could employ. I could do live video. I could buy ads. I could post a certain amount of times a day.
What tactics will you employ?
Per the note above there is still strategy inside of tactics. If you’re posting on Facebook everyday you want to be strategic about what you’re posting and when. Or if you’re exercising for thirty minutes a day to lose weight you want to be strategic in what exercises you’re doing, what time a day you’re working out, and even what order you’re doing different exercises in. Be strategic even with your tactics.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
Create A Plan of Action and Implement
So now you know what you’re doing and you know why you’re doing it. Put pen to paper and create your plan of action. Start taking action. Plan your work and work your plan. This means when are you going to do what you’re going to do. This is where you plan out your tactics from the step above.
What’s your schedule?
How often are you going to do a certain activity and when? Will you workout 3 times a week Monday, Wednesday and Friday?
Or how many times do you need to do a certain activity? Such as: Do you need to make 5 sales calls before you close a deal?
Is there a sequence of activity? What is it?
When are you going to shift or move on to the next tactic?
Your action plan should be clear, concise and complete. You should be able to look at it and know exactly what you should be doing and when. It should also be fluid as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.You should be able to look at your action plan and know exactly what you should be doing. Click To Tweet
What is your plan of action?
You can’t plan and plan and plan. You actually have to implement. Don’t let a love of planning and planners distract you. Get together a solid first plan of action centered around the tactics that you’ve identified which should latter back up to the strategy you’ve defined. This is not the plan for the rest of your life. This is the plan that you are going to implement to see if and how it moves you forward. But you will likely have to revise the plan. So don’t get caught up in trying to create the perfect, fool proof plan. Some people never get started for all their planning.
Your plan will change so don’t obsess over getting it perfect. Obsess over getting it in to action.
Actually implement your plan and stick with it.
Analyze and Adjust
It’s not very likely that you will achieve your goals in a straight line. Some of your ideas and tactics won’t work. Some will work for a while and then suddenly stop. Have you ever been on a weight loss regimen that worked amazing at first and then you hit a plateau? Well, expect this to happen in all your goals. If it doesn’t great! But if and when it does you’ll be prepared.
It’s easy to lose progress on your goals because you’re not paying attention. I had a goal to increase my Facebook fans. Yet I stayed flat for an entire year. (You can change that! Like us on Facebook). Why? Because I wasn’t paying attention. Of course I knew my fans weren’t growing but I wasn’t really paying attention. I should have adjusted my strategy within the month. But I continued with my plan of action filled with my tactics and getting no where.
Whenever you adopt a strategy or tactic you should be of the mindset that you’re testing it out. Not that it’s your magic bullet or the answer to all your prayers. We have a tendency to hear of a best practice or crazy success story and implement what we’ve heard then forget it. You can’t set it and forget it. It doesn’t matter who gave you the advice or nugget. Know that you have to test everything. Two people can do the exact same thing the same way at the same time and get different results. When we adopt a strategy without thought to testing it we can hold on to it for too long.You're not setting and forgetting. You are testing and learning. Click To Tweet
You are testing your plan of action. Put it in place. Analyze how things are or are not working and adjust your strategy, tactics, or plan as needed. Do not adjust your goals. Just adjust how you get to the goal.
Don’t ignore your results. Have regular intervals for when you are going to check your progress. (Remember you are testing.) The intervals will vary depending on the goal. Some things can be monitored daily such as writing goals. Others may be monitored weekly or even monthly (losing weight, saving money). You should identify upfront when you’re going to check your progress. Be prepared to shift or adjust if things aren’t progressing.
When will you check your progress?
It’s important to continuously monitor and track your goals. This will keep you on track and get you back on track when you fall off. Additionally, you can hit a goal and then revert back to where you were previously. Losing weight is a prime example. If you hit your goal and you stop monitoring and tracking the goal you can (and probably will) gain the weight back. The same can be said with relationships. In the beginning you do all you can to attract that person. Once you’ve done so there’s an attitude of mission accomplished. The mission is never accomplished if you want to keep something in your life. Accomplishing a goal doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s even more important. That’s why you have to commit to ongoing tracking to make sure that you don’t lose what you worked so hard to gain.The mission is never accomplished if you want to keep something in your life. Click To Tweet
This blog post is an example of this process. This post is a part of a plan of action (blog everyday for a month) which ladders back up to a strategy (SEO). The SEO strategy is the direction I’ve decided on to hit the goal of doubling traffic to my site by the end of the year. Doubling my traffic is key to achieving the vision of increasing my income. Also SEO isn’t the only strategy I’ve deployed toward the goal. I also have a Pinterest strategy. Notice the Pin It buttons on all the images? SEO takes a longer time to ramp up. Pinterest can start driving traffic to my site immediately. This too is a strategic decision. And the two work together. Because as I blog everyday to help my SEO I’m also creating new images and pinning new topics to Pinterest everyday.
(If you want to help me with my goal of doubling traffic you can! Simply share this on your favorite platform!)
This is the blueprint to achieving your goals and dreams. If you can get this right you are in a really good position to slay some serious goals. Check out Part 2 where I’ll be covering Circumventing Obstacles, Coming Back from a Setback, Discipline, Consistency and more.
Don’t forget to check out parts 2 and 3!