Last year I wrote a book on goal setting.  I am now in the process of editing that book.  As I edit, I will post excerpts here on my blog.  This is from chapter two:

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Let’s get back to our three goals.

Each year, I set one goal in each category.  I then spend the year working toward those three goals.

Narrowing my goals down into these three major goals helps me hit my goals year after year.

Don’t get me wrong.  You can have as many goals as you like.  I do.  I have hundreds of goals.

But, these days, I prioritize.  I did not prioritize before.  I went after all of my goals at once.  And, I rarely hit any of them.

These days, I write down all my goals and my dreams.  I write down as many as I like.

You can do the same.  Write down all of your hopes, dreams, and goals.   Why hold back?

Next, look at your list.  Chose three goals.  Choose a healthy goal, a wealthy goal, and a wise goal.

Focus on those three goals for a year.  File the other goals away.  They will have to wait.   

To show you how this works, let’s set a healthy goal, a wealthy goal, and a wise goal.

Imagine we have written down a long list of hopes, dreams, and goals.  We have looked over the list and have chosen only three goals, a healthy goal, a wealthy goal, and a wise goal.


Exactly how to set goals

Okay.  Let’s get into it.  This is so simple I am surprised schools do not teach it.

First, grab a piece of paper and a pencil and fill it with ideas.

You need no high-tech equipment.  No fancy applications, computers, or digital devices.  All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil.

Don’t wait to get started.  Start right now.   

I call this, “Thinking on Paper.”  It may seem simple, but thinking on paper is critical.

If you try to l manage your goals in your head, if you rely on your memory alone, you will end up with a confused and chaotic mess.  Chances are, you will confuse yourself and you will not take action.

However, if you get your thoughts down on paper, you will find them easier to manage.  You can re-arrange them.  Erase them.  Prioritize them.  You can do all kinds of things to them. This works well only if you have written your goals down.  Do not skip this part.  Also, do not underestimate the power of old technology, a simple pen, and a piece of paper.

On the piece of paper, write down a list of all the things you want to accomplish.  Write down all the places you want to visit.  Write down all the books you want to read.  Write down all the languages you want to learn.  Write down whatever you like.

Do not hesitate here.  Do not hold back.  Dream.  Dream big.

Write down as many things as you like.  Write down five things.  Ten things.  One hundred things.  It does not matter how many things you write down.  This is your dream list.  These are your dreams.

There is only one rule.  You must write something down.

You must come up with at least one idea.

Next, go through your dream list.  What one goal on the list do you want to hit most?  Pick one.

This isn’t fun.  But, you’ve got to do it.  You’ve got to narrow your focus.

When I was a kid, I liked starting campfires with a magnifying glass.  It works.  This only works if you focus the light of the magnifying glass.

Had I run all over the campsite with my magnifying glass in the air, nothing would have happened.

The same applies to your goals.

You must narrow your focus.  Choose one goal on the list and forget the other goals.  For now.  You can always come back to the other goals later.

Here’s my recommendation.  Choose the one goal on your list which you feel will make the biggest impact in your life right now.   

Focus on that goal.   Put your dream list away for now.  You can always come back to it later.

I always choose three goals.  I choose a healthy goal, a wealthy goal, and a wise goal.

What happens to all the other hopes, dreams, and goals on your list?

Keep them.  You can go after those goals later.  When you start hitting goals, you will simply start working your way down the list.

For now, though, we are going to choose our three primary goals and focus on them.

Next, get clarity.  The more clarity you have, the greater your chances of hitting your goal.

Break your goals into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily action steps.

Let’s say you want to write a book.  Great.

How are you going to do it?  Let’s work backward.

  • Annual goal: I will write a book this year.
  • Monthly goal: I will write one chapter a month.
  • Weekly goal: I will write 15 pages a week.
  • Daily goal: I will write 2 to 3 pages a day. 

That’s it.  You now have the daily steps you need to write a book this year.

By the way, if you write six days a week, you will have 313 days to write.  If you write one page a day, by year’s end, you will have a 313-page book.

One page a day does not seem like much.  But, it adds up.  That is the power of breaking down your goals.

We will work more on this process in the next chapter.

Once you have your goals written down, broken into daily tasks, it’s time to take daily action.

You no longer have to spend much time thinking about your long-term goal.  Instead, learn to trust the process.  Take daily action toward your goal and you are bound to hit it.

This is important.  I am going to say it again.

Take action every day toward your goal and trust the process.  Taking action every day will carry you to your goal.

You will need a checklist to track your progress.

In the coming chapters, I will show you how to create a daily checklist.

I recommend you post your checklist in an obvious place.  Make sure you see it every day.

Whenever you complete a task, check that task off the list.  Simple as that.

Checking each daily task off when you complete it will feel good.  Try to create winning streaks.  I am doing this right now as I write this book.  I don’t write on Sundays, but not counting Sundays, I haven’t missed a day in a little over three weeks.  I write every day, and I check that step off on my checklist.

Build your own little winning streaks.  See how long you can go without sugar.  See how long you can go missing a workout.  See how long you can go without complaining.

Whatever your goal is, see how many days you can go.

You may have heard of the famous comedian, Jerry Seinfeld.  He uses this exact strategy.  He writes a joke every day.  When he does, he puts a red letter X on a calendar.  He tries to fill each day on the calendar with red Xs.  His goal is a month full of red Xs.

Do the same on your checklist.

Inevitably, you will miss a day, or two.  When you mess up, start over.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Each day is a new gift.  Start over.

Over time, you will see steady progress toward your number one goal.

The disruptions and distractions will bother you less and less as your progress adds up.   

As you fill out your checklists each month, do not fall into pass/fail thinking.  When filling out checklists, you cannot fail.  You are simply running an experiment on yourself.  You are gathering data.

At least once a week, take a look at your long-term goals again.  I do this on Sunday mornings while everyone in my house is still sleeping.

Think about this.  Most people will think about their long-term goals once a year, usually around New Year’s Day.

If you are reviewing your long-term goals weekly, you are looking at your goals 52 times a year!