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If you are anything like me you’ve probably experimented with a lot of different goal setting strategies and tools in an attempt to improve your quality of life and get more of what you want in life.

“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”
― Seneca

Do you know to which port you are sailing? The truth is that most of us don’t have a clear idea of what we want in our lives. Goal setting could be a powerful tool in your arsenal to design a more fulfilling life.

Knowledge is not Power

I used to have a tendency to binge on personal development books and videos. Consuming a lot of material and applying very little, if anything, to actually get the results I wanted. Sound familiar? Keep on reading.

It took me quite some time to understand that it’s not about seeking out the latest hack or strategies — just pilling on knowledge is not going to get you anywhere. The key like almost everything in life is: consistant action. In other words, results are not generated by what you do occasionally, it’s what you do regularly that matters. In this sense, knowledge is the potential of power, and action based in knowledge is real power.

Minimalist Goal Setting Approach

When it comes to goal setting, I like to take a minimalist approach, which makes it as easy as possible to follow through.

So, today I’m going to share my streamlined goal setting system with you. I encourage you to try it on for size. It is comprised of 3 key steps, and 4 tips. Let’s dig in!

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
— Jim Rohn

Here is the golden rule to respect when setting goals: write them down and review them often. You have to make your goals part of your daily life, not just an exercice you do once, and then put it aside for two weeks. Your goals have to be fresh in your mind, so read them everyday, out loud if possible.

3 Steps:

Step 1: Identify precisely what you want to accomplish. Be specific. What is the result you want?

Step 2: Determine why you want this. Without a strong enough why you will not follow through. What is the purpose of accomplishing this goal?

Step 3: What actions, decisions, or tasks are required? What needs to be done? Break bigger tasks into smaller ones and then just do it. Complete and check tasks off your list. Remember: setting deadlines is required.

Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary and watch yourself get happier and healthier by pursuing what you love.

So here’s an example:

My goal is to get to my ideal weight of 70kg by December 2018.  Why? Because I want to have more energy to travel, and because staying at my ideal weight makes me more confident.

To-dos

• I need to hire a plant-based coach by the end of the month.

• Sign-up to my local gym this week-end and work out 2 times a week.

• Find a gym buddy.

Voilà! Now on to my top four tips.

4 Tips:

Tip 1: Fear setting: Identifying what scares you most can also be helpful. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I face this fear? Write down the worst-case scenario, and also write how you would confront it. This helps to dissolve our most irrational fears because, 9 times out of 10, the worst case scenario is something would be figure-out-able.

Tip 2: Get the accountability you need. Let’s face it… most of us have a hard time keeping ourselves accountable. This lack of accountability causes us to not follow through on our commitments, which in turn hurts our self-esteem, and causes us to throw our hands-up and… we’re back to square one. So getting the right accountability can really make the difference — whether it is finding a gym buddy, or hiring a health coach in order to increase your odds of being successful with your goals. Feeling techie, check out StickK, a site that leverages the psychological power of risk aversion and accountability to help you reach your goals.

Tip 3: Rewards. Factoring in strategic rewards can help you stay on track. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even something you buy. I like to factor in rewards that includes giving back. For example, when you reach a milestone, why not give to one of your favorite charities? Or treat yourself to Thai massage? Just make sure that your reward isn’t self-sabotaging. I.e. Once I lose ten pounds, I’ll have a huge piece of chocolate fudge cake.

Tip 4: Less is more. Make your goals as simple as possible. Start with a few easy goals, to build momentum, and then increase the complexity gradually. What does this look like? Want to get into writing? How about writing two pages a day. Want to start exercising? How about exercising once a week for 45min? Want to eat more greens? Start to eat the smallest bowl of salad you can find before your lunch, just to get the ball rolling.

Remember… goal setting is a skill, and you get better by practicing. So what are you waiting for?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Ready, set, goal!