Updated: Sep 23, 2022
Are you regularly wondering what it would be like to afford all you want financially? Do you find yourself dissatisfied with your success and wanting more out of life? If you are, you’re far from alone. The five steps to creating structured goals could change your life.
Before I became a successful CEO and discovered how to achieve structured success, I was underachieving and going unnoticed in my job and life. I was living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford the things I wanted and feeling dissatisfied. For me, the moment of realisation came at a moment of complete failure.
“For me, the moment of realisation came at a moment of complete failure.”
I was standing on a stage in front of my respected colleagues and bosses from across the Asia Pacific, delivering an inadequate presentation on a topic I was under-prepared to deliver. My inadequacy was apparent to everyone in the room, and I just wished the ground would open up and swallow me whole.
However, the hopelessness I felt that night and the proceeding days eventually drove me to re-evaluate how I structured my life. I was missing a structured set of goals and processes to prepare for each day. Instead, I lived aimlessly, working hard, hoping to be swept through life by external forces but going nowhere fast. That single moment of adversity, embarrassment and feeling of inadequacy drove me to have a plan. It set me on a path to discovering a formula that subsequently accelerated my career, finances and the comfort of knowing I can achieve whatever goal I desire in life. And it is so beautifully simple; anyone from any background, origin, ethnicity, gender or financial position can do it too. In fact, almost all successful people already follow this formula or something akin.
Following is the process that I find sustainable and like to follow for setting goals and achieving all my ambitions. The following isn’t a set of inflexible rules for you to dogmatically follow. Instead, they provide a framework and a series of tips to inspire your thinking into an actionable plan. The most important thing is setting goals and taking action against them, so feel free to sprinkle some of your own flavours and preferences into the process. You’ll likely feel greater ownership of them and experience a greater sense of accomplishment when you smash them.
Step 1. Setting your goals
When you sit down to write your goals, it’s important to be focused entirely on the task at hand, free from distraction. If you’re in a loud place, put some headphones in and play some calming music or better still, lock yourself away in a quiet place where you can be assured of privacy. Also, try to attempt this task when you are in a positive mindset and dream with a high degree of ambition. Before you start, write down five things you’ve accomplished in life that you are proud of. This will help begin the process in the right mindset and warm your brain up for the next step.
Once you’re in the proper physical and mental space, take a piece of paper, or use the Grind goal setting template, to write down ALL your goals and desires for life. Write down between 40-60+ goals you’d like to achieve in 1, 3, 5 and 10+ years. Start with your 10+ year goals and work backwards. When you get to your 1-year goals, try to imagine you’ve just been advised you have a terminal illness with one year to live. When faced with a terminal situation, it is then many people apply a lot deeper thought to their immediate goals – why wait for that moment to arrive?
Step 2. Organising your goals
Once you have your list, think about what kind of goal it is and organise it into categories:
Is it a:
Career goal? E.g. a promotion or completing a course.
Financial goal? E.g. a level of income or savings.
Life goal? E.g. starting a family, buying a house.
Physical goal? Losing weight, running a marathon.
Some goals could fit into more than one category, so choose the category that most suits the goal.
Next, you’ll need to balance your goals, especially the time scales. Aim to have 10+ in each timeframe of 1, 3, 5 and 10+ years. Take out goals where you have too many and add somewhere you have too little. It’s healthy to have some spread in the categories, but most important is the timeframe to achieve being balanced.
Step 3. Prioritise your goals
From your 10+ year goals, highlight the top 4 dream goals. From your 5-year goals, do the same and highlight the four most important. Then, ask yourself if those goals contribute towards achieving your 10+ year dream goals? They don’t always have to, but some should. Do the same with your 3-year goals and, finally, your 1-year goals.
This process breaks down your long-term goals into smaller short-term goals you can act on immediately and achieve. The remaining 16 are your primary goals to focus on. The rest, you can consider your minor goals. Distilling your goals into a smaller, prioritised list helps you focus on what is most important.
Step 4. Laser focus on your prioritised goals
Once you have identified your primary goals, take the top 4 in your 1-year goals and describe them in detail. Describe them so well you can visualise them. For example, if your goal is to get a new car, what make and model will it be? What colour? Will you have silver rims or black? What will the interior look like? Vividly describe the goal to create a powerful image in your head of what it will be like to achieve.
Paula Radcliffe, the champion British Marathon runner who held the Women’s Marathon record for 16 years, had a picture of the New York Marathon finish line posted in her bedroom since she was a young child. Describing and visualising your success will have an enormous impact on your ability to achieve it.
Now write down the person you will need to become to accomplish your 10+ year goals. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, you’ll likely need to be fitter or perhaps leaner. If it’s to become a business owner, maybe you need new skills or more knowledge. Achieving your long-term goals is a journey, and often the journey is more important than the outcome itself. So think about the person you want to become and write it down to consolidate your thoughts.
Step 5. Create your winning sanctuary
Someone very dear and important to me always used the phrase "show me your friends, and I’ll show you your character." The people you surround yourself with influence who you are and how you behave. For example, if your closest friends you spend the most time with like to drink a lot of alcohol, chances are, you will also drink a lot of alcohol. If their character is to make fun of others, you might find yourself making fun of others.
Success can signify different things to different people, but while studying your goal list, write down the people who most align with your goals, and invest your time with those characters. If your goal is to become a millionaire, spend time with a millionaire. Equally, identify a list of the people with traits least likely to represent your goal list and begin to spend less time with them gradually. Letting go of toxic people in our lives is often associated with hurt and a difficult step in self-growth, but it is necessary to make deliberate changes.
Next, write down three things that you find uplifting and get you motivated in the morning – things that make you feel good about yourself. It could be running for 30 minutes or achieving your 10,000 steps. It could be reading a good book or listening to a motivational podcast, maybe meditating or making your bed. Similarly, write down three things that de-motivate you in the morning. Perhaps it’s hearing the latest covid numbers on the news or seeing a negative work email that came in overnight.
Create a morning routine that motivates you and sets the tone for your day from your list. The feeling of having accomplished that routine will help you deal with the challenges life inevitably throws at you. You’ll be better equipped to remain focused on your goals and respond to adverse situations with a clear and objective mindset.
Finally, share your goals widely and as often as you can. Sharing your goals creates accountability, but it also lets the people around you help accomplish them. The right people around you will want to help you achieve your goals, and you might be surprised by how generous people are. As you achieve your goals, celebrate them with your friends and family. There is a divine satisfaction involved with celebrating an achieved goal that will motivate you to achieve the next. Replace it with another from your minor list when you complete one primary goal.
Remember, it helps if your short-term goals contribute in some way toward your long-term goals.
If you’d like to download the Grind Goal setting template, simply register on this link to receive a free copy. If you’re looking for even more support, you can purchase the Grind Journal for structuring your day and achieving a happier, healthier life. If the Grind Journal doesn’t improve your discipline and happiness in 30 days, we’ll happily refund you in full.
Remember to catch the Grind Academy podcast series to hear from high-profile athletes like NFL Superbowl Champion Mike Neal, high-performance business personalities, inspiring entrepreneurs, award-winning authors and professionals.