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The following article was taken from my upcoming book, titled What They Won’t Teach You. It has been repurposed for this article on Thrive Global. Enjoy!
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it is absolutely pivotal to your success. Setting goals are so important, I can not stress this enough. Goals have changed my life in a huge way. For years, I would hear all these successful people talk about the importance of not only setting goals but also reading them out loud and writing them down. It never really occurred to me that I needed to start doing this. When I didn’t have any goals, I would sleep in, feel unmotivated and tired, and overall, I wouldn’t have any inspiration in the morning to wake up and get things done. But as soon as I began to set goals, things changed rather quickly. I first set 10 important goals that I hoped to achieve in the year 2019 and I wrote them all down on my whiteboard wall so that I would see them multiple times on a daily basis. We will cover the process of how exactly you should set your goals in just a second here.
One of my goals read “I will write and publish my first book before December 2nd, 2019.”. Under this goal, I included steps on how I would get there, one of them being that I would set my alarm for 6 AM (2 hours earlier than the time I would usually wake up at) so that I can write for a good 2 hours straight with no distractions. So, as I began to do this, I was shocked at the way I felt every morning waking up and getting 2 hours less of sleep than usual. I felt energized, inspired, and motivated to get out of bed. And this is 100% because of goal setting. The goal I set for myself required actionable steps, and waking up at 6 AM to write was one of those steps towards achieving my goal. So every time I would wake up, I knew EXACTLY why I was waking up, and what I needed to accomplish because of this.
So, what is the best way to set your goals? As I said, so many of the greatest life coaches and leaders preach the importance of setting goals, but there are different strategies to doing so. What worked for me was starting with why, which I adopted from Simon Sinek. So, when you are setting your first goal, first ask yourself why you want to achieve that goal. Here is an example of what my WHY looked like when writing this book:
“To increase students awareness of opportunities outside of the classroom and enhance their ability to become the best version of themselves.”
Once you have a clear and motive driven why then you can move on to your WHAT. This is where you will write a cutthroat sentence on what exactly you will accomplish and when. It is imperative that you set a goal that can be measurable. It is also important to set an exact day you wish to accomplish this goal by. The most important part of this sentence is starting off with the phrase “I will…” because it breeds self-confidence. Another great thing to think about when setting your goals is to live as if you already possess them. Make your “I will…” statement clear enough so that you can paint a picture of it in your mind as if you already achieved that goal. Do this on a daily basis, and your mind will go to work for you to achieve it. Here is an example of what my WHAT looked like when writing this book:
“I will write and publish a bestselling book by December 2nd, 2019.”
The last step of setting your goals is to write down actionable steps on how you can get to the finish line. What will be required to accomplish your goal? This can include things you can do on a daily basis, ideas that you will explore, deals that have to get done, investments that have to be made, and so on. These are essentially what I call “micro goals”. They are mini goals and tasks that will enable you to accomplish your bigger, more concrete goals. Here is an example of what my HOW looked like when writing this book:
- I will wake up at 6 AM every day to write for one hour.
- I will write at least 1 page per day.
- I will review and edit my writing daily.
- I will submit my book to editors for their opinion.
The most important thing here was just writing on a daily basis. I needed a system where I would pump out at least a page a day so that I would have a decent length book written by July. And this changed everything. This was only 1 of my 10 goals. This helped me to understand what I had to get done on a daily basis. Rather than waking up feeling uninspired and not really knowing what I should work on and why setting goals made me 100% aware every single day of what needed to get done.
Setting daily goals is also super important. As I said, these can be seen as “micro goals” as well. You can set daily tasks that will ensure you are working towards accomplishing your bigger goals. But the most important thing is that you are taking action on this. Again, as I said earlier, I would read and listen to all the greats, including people like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Ed Mylett, and everyone else preach the importance of doing this exercise. But I never realized the power and importance of actually going out and doing this exercise until I did it myself. And it shifted the direction of my life.
More on Mental Health on Campus:
What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need
If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help
The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis