There are several processes that are involved in goal setting and achieving goals. That’s why in this article, you’ll learn the goal setting process steps that are the most efficient and will put you on track to achieve your goals.
Cassius Clay was not a natural boxer. Not by a long shot.
He didn’t have the physique, nor the strength and the moves that great fighters possess according to the “tales of tape”.
And somehow, Cassius Clay, who is later known as Muhammed Ali went on to become the greatest boxer that ever lived. He defied expectations and imaginations by defeating much more talented and powerful boxers like Sony Liston.
It is simple really. All he did was that he tried his best to win each and every match before stepping into the ring. Every time!
He starts by obsessively studying his opponent. He repeatedly studies his opponent’s moves both in the ring and outside the ring. He gets a comprehensive idea of the type of person he is.
On the mental side, what he does wonderfully well is that he sees himself buying luxurious things before becoming the world’s heavyweight champion. He has been doing so since he was 12.
Cassius Clay’s case is not an isolated one. In any sport, victory is rarely achieved in the fight itself. Victory comes from everything you do leading to the fight.
Setting goals is easy. Achieving the goals is the real challenge.
Your goal of losing 30 pounds this month is the same as Cassius clay’s goal of becoming the world heavyweight champion.
The game of goal achievement is also mental. When you have the goal of losing weight for instance, it is not your daily work-out routine that will make you successful—it is your mental preparation that will determine if you are going to stick with those daily work-out routine or not.
The goal setting process steps in this post are a checklist that will prepare and toughen your mind for what’s to come as you embark on any of your goals.
As you are executing your goals, these steps will help you to complete your goals when your back is against the ropes.
As you read this article, you will discover the power of goal setting process steps. You will discover the power of planning and mental preparation.
Because at the end of the day, the path to success is all about your level of preparation.
Goal Setting Process Steps
STEP 1: Write down EXACTLY what you want to achieve, AND MORE!
I want you to imagine being at the Restaurant de l’Hötel de Ville in Switzerland. And you are not just there, you are there on a completely free anything you buy one-week coupon.
As you are sitting in a corner of this exquisite restaurant, the waiter brings you the menu and says to you in a French accent, “you can choose whatever you want”.
Wouldn’t that be the nicest thing to hear?
This is the first step in goal setting. This is the step where you get to put your order in!
This is the step where you set the course and give your subconscious mind where you want to go. This is your starting point.
Goals can be set in any aspect of your life. The only question you have to ask yourself at this stage is, “What Do I Want?”
Not what your parents want. Not what the society wants of you and definitely not what your friends are doing. Your goals must be personal.
You can go ballistic and set 101 goals like some people and you can achieve every last one of them goals. But, each of those goals must be yours. Must be what YOU want to do!
At this stage, be with a mindset that if you can’t fail, what would you achieve?
Get a notebook and start writing. Write the different types of goals you have. From your long-term goals to your short-term goals. From the ones related to your finances to your relationships.
Let’s say Mr. Fred wants to start using this goal setting process, his list of goals can look like this;
- Earn $50,000 every month
- Have more confidence in myself
- Get in a loving relationship
- Start my own side hustle
- Write a novel about photography
- Visit Rome before the end of the year
- Start eating a vegetarian diet
We are only limited by the bars that our “mind sets”
STEP 2: Find the ones that strikes an emotional chord.
Human beings are emotional beings. You should choose a goal that as you think of accomplishing it; you feel some (good) tingling in your hands.
These are the goals that will enhance the secretion of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and a chemical cocktail that will spike your motivational levels.
In short words, choose the goals that means the most to you at the moment. And make sure that thinking of that goal makes you feel good.
When goals don’t mean much to you and doesn’t make you feel good, when the going gets tough, you’d easily throw in the towel.
Go through the list you made in step 1 and find the goals that strike a positive emotional chord in you.
This single step will give you leverage in the future.
Mr. Fred goes through the list he made in Step 1. When he thinks about all the things he could buy with $50,000 every month, he gets really excited.
A vegetarian diet is just something he heard on the TV. But when he thinks about the diet, he is not that excited about it.
When he thinks about his goal of getting in a loving relationship, he thinks of how broke he is and how much he lacks confidence right now. Thinking about that goal actually makes him sad.
He does this for every goal on his list and he came up with this final list;
- Earn $50,000 every month
- Have more confidence in myself
- Start my own side hustle
- Visit Rome before the end of the year
Mr. Fred is not abandoning the goals that didn’t make this final list. He is only putting them in a “to-do-later category”. He will still get to them after he is done accomplishing the goals that made this list.
STEP 3: Create a definite plan for achieving that goal and don’t stop at that!
Goal setting without a plan is just wishful thinking.
And as I’ve found out recently, planning without a system in place is not enough.
Your aim in this step is to eventually create a system.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s take it one step at a time as we’ve been doing so far.
Plans are maps to the realization of your goals. A plan can be simple and it can be elaborate. It often goes like; if I want A, I have to do B and C.
An example of a plan for Mr. Fred’s goal of earning $50,000 per month can be to improve his sales skills.
This is where most people stop. After all, they’ve come up with a plan!
And this is why most people fail at achieving their goals. The simplest reason for this is that plans often overwhelm the brain and the brain starts panicking.
The fear circuit of the brain gets activated and this often overwhelms the motivation circuits of the brain.
So, don’t stop at that! Take your preparation beyond plans. Create systems!
Systems are super specific. Systems are simple. Systems are audacious. Systems are what enhance manageable and measurable growth. Your brain can handle systems better than plans.
An example of a system that can be created from a plan of increasing sales skills is to make sure you contact 5 potential buyers daily (through email or phone calls). Don’t be too quick to dismiss this exact system. Jack Canfield and Marc Victor Hansen have used this exact system to sell over 500 million copies of their chicken soup for the soul series.
So, with this type of system, every morning when Mr. Fred wakes up, he wouldn’t have to think about his sales skills (the plan) too much. All he has to do every day is to make sure that he does his 5 reach-out.
Here’s where systems becomes super amazing. If today, he does the 5 reach-outs, he doesn’t need that much motivation to do it again tomorrow as he believes he’s already done it yesterday.
And before he knows it, he is already raising the bar, exploring other avenues of reaching out (like doing interviews, speeches, newspaper ads, giving out free stuffs), and setting new records. And before you know it, you already have different clients buying your products without thinking too much about it.
STEP 4: GET a deadline attached to your systems if you haven’t
Have you ever wondered why you usually get a lot of things done at “the last minute”?
It is because deadlines activate the genius parts of your brain when used properly.
When a deadline is approaching, as the consequence of not meeting up with the deadline becomes apparent, a small burst of dopamine is released in the brain and this dramatically increase motivation.
If systems are properly formed, I believe they automatically come with a deadline. These deadlines are usually daily, bi-weekly, or weekly.
For example, a system of 100 push-ups daily has a 24 hour deadline automatically attached to it.
This is another advantage that systems have. It allows you to leverage the power of short deadlines which makes you accountable. As opposed to longer deadlines that might make you lazy.
So, if your system is devoid of a specific timeline, put one now!
STEP 5: Be realistic and create a cost evaluation list.
Everybody loves a success story.
What we rarely pay close attention to is the cost of that success.
Next time you are on youtube and looking at videos of people that have succeeded in getting what you want, try to pay attention to the process they went through and what they had to sacrifice.
They most definitely didn’t make that start-up business a success while watching 5 hours of TV a day. The six-pack most DEFINITELY didn’t come about by eating junks every day. I could go all day with this contrasting list.
Recently, I heard that Mark Zuckerberg has stopped watching TV altogether.
Know what you have to do and prepare your mind for it. Know what you have to give up.
So, think about the habits that will hinder the progress of your goals and cut them off from your life.
As you are reading this, you might be thinking, “I can’t live without TV!” “No facebook? Kill me already!”
Are you feeling like the pleasure of achieving your goals (or the pain of NOT achieving it) is less than the instant gratification you’ll get from facebooking?
Then, you need to get a “burning desire” for achieving your goals.
This next step is for you!
STEP 6: Get a “burning desire” to achieve your goals with the help of this motivational tree
Napoleon Hill was brilliant with the choice of his words. “A burning desire”.
Although those words still confuse a lot of people on what they actually mean, it literally means “reasons”.
Reasons are powerful. Every action we take has a reason behind it.
But if Mr. Hill had just written the word “reason” in his book, it wouldn’t have had the moving impact that he was hoping for. Also, there would be no need for a city hall debate on the issue. And forget about not knowing the meaning, most people would misinterpret it.
So, he chose the word, “a burning desire”. What a genius!
He wants you to find reasons why you should take action on your plans/systems in order to achieve your goals. But not just any reason, a “burning” one. A reason that keeps you on your toes because your butt is on fire. In other words, a reason that is “compelling”.
In this step, you want to overload your brain with a giant list of “compelling” reasons.
Humans are naturally moved by two principal reasons. One is that we gravitate towards pleasure or a promise of it. Also, we move away from pain. Those are the two ultimate motivators.
What you’ll aim to do in this final step is to make three lists of
- the PLEASURE associated with achieving the goals you have
- the PAIN associated with NOT achieving the goals
- the PEOPLE that this goal will affect and the PEOPLE that those PEOPLE will affect.
This step is basically the same as step 2 where you find the emotional chord. The difference is that this step is just a more visual exercise than step 2.
In step 2, you kind of had these reasons for choosing that goal floating around in your head. But in this step you get to write down those reasons that have been floating around in your head.
What you will discover with this exercise is that as you start writing down these reasons, more powerful reasons that you didn’t know were part of the equation will start popping up.
It’s like growing a tree by intentionally planting an acorn. Only in this case, the tree grows within ten minutes of your first line.
The tree will start spreading roots and growing branches. At the end of the day, you come up with this big and solid tree that has its roots deeply entrenched into the soil.
As a result of this, you have a clearer perspective on the reasons why you must achieve this goal.
When you come up with this list, you cannot NOT take action. You now have a “burning” hitch that you need to scratch. When you start feeling lazy about your goals, you are jolted back to life by the list of pain associated with not taking action or encouraged by the pleasure it promises at the end.
STEP 7: Take action! Take action! Take action! Repeatedly!!!!
At this stage, you are Muhammed Ali as he’s about to step in the ring.
You are ready! You are prepared!
And you know that as each round comes, you are winning the championship belt.
So, all you have to do is start taking action around your systems. On the days when you don’t feel like it, call on your motivational tree and keep at it.
On the days you fail to hit the mark, chuck it up as a learning experience and keep on!
I promise you that one day, your goal will be marked as completed.
Contribute your opinion on this post using the comment section below. Also, if there are questions burning you up, feel free to ask.