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Ultimate 4 Step Goal Setting Guide
Whether you have a big dream or need clarity to work out what you really want, chances are that you could do with setting goals in life. Many of us have big dreams but at the same time balance a bajillion priorities.
So, In your already chaotic life, just how do you make room for goals?
This guide covers the four main steps in personal goal setting and includes two free to download templates that you can keep forever. For your copy of our Clarity Template and Goal Setting Template read on.
This ultimate goal setting guide is for ambitious people who want to achieve more. If you are ambitious, we can help you achieve your goals in less time. The ideas that we are about to share with you will save you time, energy and years of hard work. This is how to set goals – the right way.
Trust me, this guide can have a tremendous impact on your life.
I have worked with hundreds of ambitious individuals and businesses throughout my career. The one technique I share repeatedly to harness their ambition is the power of goal setting (done right).
Over the course of this ultimate guide, I will share my universally proven four-step system to help you achieve your goals. Read on and you will learn:
- Why successful people set goals
- How to gain clarity
- How to set a POWER goal (with my easy-to-use goal setting exercise)
- How to create your super team
- How to get and stay motivated
Get ready to create balance over burnout and direction over disappointment.
The results, as you will see, can be absolutely staggering (that is, if you put in the work, of course).
P.S. Even if you already feel like a goal-setting master, I promise that you will learn something new (forget SMART goals, we are talking POWER goals).
Goal setting is a powerful technique for getting results so it’s important to set your goal the right way. It’s advisable to work your way through each section of this guide in sequence. However, should you want to skip ahead, you can use the navigation icons below.
Setting and achieving powerful goals will have a monumental impact on your life. The most successful people in the world get what they want because they set goals.
The benefits of goals are well-documented. Here are our top three reasons why successful people set goals in life.
1. Goals help you achieve more (in less time)
Goal setting unleashes the extraordinary power of our subconscious mind. The subconscious is perhaps one of our most underutilised resources.
Unlike our conscious mind, the subconscious never sleeps and never rests, enabling us to achieve significantly more, in less time (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?).Once we communicate what we want to the subconscious, it works 24/7 in the background to achieve it.
Working towards an ambitious and specific goal can increase performance by up to 250 percent. People who have clear, written goals are 10 times more successful than those who don’t.
2. Goals increase happiness and reduce stress
Studies show that people who set ambitious goals are both healthier and happier. This is because goals provide purpose in every area of life which turn increases happiness and reduces stress
What’s more, scientists and philosophers can agree that well-balanced goals are set not only with personal growth in mind but also contribution. We are all designed to grow and contribute to the world around us. Successful people understand that they need to set goals greater than themselves.
3. Overcome social comparison
If you don’t set goals in life, you fall into other people’s. You do what other people want to do, not what you want to do. You look at others, see their successes and become immersed in a life of envy and comparison.
Our goals in life move us forward, design our future, and send us in the direction we want to go.
The most successful people never worry about what other people are doing. Take successful author JK Rowling as an example. She attributes her success to the moment she ‘stopped pretending’ that she was anything other than what she was.
Australian nurse Bonnie Ware asked 100 elderly people on their death bed about their life’s regrets and compiled a list of the most common.
According to Bonnie, ‘The most common regret of all” was: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.’
Feeling unclear about what direction to take in life? Confused about your purpose? Clueless about your passions? It’s time to consciously tackle your confusion and gain clarity.
Understanding yourself and working out precisely what you want is the first step to achieve your goals. In fact, I would as far as to say that clarity is the foundation for proper goal setting.
A few years ago, I had total lack of clarity. I didn’t know what it was I wanted in my own life. I was caught up in other people’s goals. Truthfully, I felt resentful that others seemed to have life all ‘figured out’.
This clarity exercise was one of the first steps that changed the direction of my life forever, giving me the focus to go after what I really wanted. Within five months of this exercise, I was designing the life I wanted to live. I had quit my job, started my online business and was travelling around Bali and Thailand.
If I can do it, anyone can do it. (If you are interested read more about me and my journey here.)
Why is clarity important?
When we gain clarity, we gain purpose. Clarity points your mind in the direction you want to go, with laser-sharp focus.
You will be amazed at the people and opportunities you will start to attract as you gain clarity about what you want from life.
In this section, I am going to share with you a simple, highly effective technique to move you quickly from confusion to clarity.
As Marie Forleo says, “Clarity comes from action, not from thought.”
Already got clarity?
Confident that you already know what you want in life? Fired up and ready to go? Skip ahead to set your goals and unleash your power in step two NOW.
The following exercise will enable you to gain clarity, focus and purpose. You should allow 10-15 minutes to complete it.
To work through it, grab yourself a pen and print out our free clarity template (linked below).
Alternatively, you could write down the questions below as headers on a piece of paper – it’s up to you. As long as you are writing down your goal (that’s important!). To find out more about why you need to be writing down goals.
- Where am I now?
- In the future, where do I want to be?
- Why do I want this? What’s my purpose?
This is an amazing exercise that will really nourish the power of your subconscious mind. After the exercise, notice how you feel: excited and confident about your future.
Download Your FREE Clarity Exercise Template
– it’s yours to keep forever for free
Where am I now?
In this section, write down exactly what’s going on in your life. Make a note of any areas you want to improve or that are a source of frustration.
Review your notes and take a moment to contemplate this question: ‘In what ways are you responsible for your current situation?’.
In the future, where do I want to be?
Here’s where you can think big and without limits. In this section, write down your wildest dreams, the things you really want.
The most successful people dedicate time to think and create their long-term futures — you should too. The goal that you aim for is more than likely going to be the one you hit So, why settle for the attainable? Overcome your self-limiting beliefs. Be extraordinary; don’t underestimate yourself and your abilities.
Useful questions to consider asking yourself:
- What do I really want to do in life?
- If I only had six months to live, what would I do?
- What sort of lifestyle am I living?
- What do my relationships with other people look like?
- How much money do I earn?
- What is my ideal career or business?
- What is my health and fitness routine?
- How do I contribute to the happiness of others?
Why do I want this? What’s my purpose?
This is where the magic happens and the secret ingredient is purpose. Purpose is the fuel that’s going to give the power to achieve your goals. Whatever the purpose, write it down and make it compelling.
Having a clear purpose activates your subconscious and the law of attraction.
It’s amazing to watch the opportunities and people that present themselves as you become increasingly aligned to your purpose.
In this step, you worked to gain clarity. Now it’s time to take your vision of the future to the next level. In the next chapter, we are going to set a POWER goal with my tried-and-tested goal setting process.
The most successful people in life understand the importance of goal setting (and chances are that if you are reading this, then you do too). Did you know that only the top 3 percent of people set goals?
By creating well-designed goals, you can get ahead of the rest. I know you are ready to set POWER goals in your life. And your life is ready too. We are designed to set goals, to want more, to be more.
You already know that absolutely everything around us is in a constant state of change. Nothing stays the same. You can choose to either increase or decrease your success and happiness. Only you can make the decision to take action.
As Tony Robbins once said, ‘Why live an ordinary life, when you can live an extraordinary life?’.
There will be five main stages that I’ll be covering to create your goal. We will work through each one in sequence. You can really enjoy working on each stage of the process, noticing how, your clarity, focus, motivation increase.
Free POWER Goal Setting Template
POWER goals are completed in five simple goal setting steps:
P: Positive — State your goal in the positive, directing your energy towards what you want.
O: Outcome — Understand the impact that achieving this goal will have on your life.
W: Where and When — Get specific on exactly where and when you will achieve your goal.
E: Evidence — What will you see, hear and feel when you achieve your goal?
R: Ready — Get ready by planning your first steps to achieving your POWER goal.
We have created a goal setting template for you to download. Simply click the link below to download.
That way you can print a copy but, if you prefer, you can just write out each of the five steps above on a blank piece of paper — whichever works best for you.
Download Your FREE Goal Setting Template
– it’s yours to keep forever for free
Don’t just think it, ink it: This might sound a little old fashioned, but to make the most out of this guide, print it out and complete it with a pen. Why? Studies have shown that those who write down goals are two to three times more likely to achieve them (I’ve written a post on this why you need to be writing down goals).
Dedicate time: By setting a POWER goal, you are creating your future. Dedicate time and space to work through this exercise (your future self will thank you for it, I promise).
Challenge yourself: Setting goals that challenge you are scientifically proven to increase self-motivation. Set goals that excite and scare you at the same time.
One step at a time: The exercise should take 20-30 minutes to complete. Work through each stage, in sequence, taking as much time as you need.
Goal Setting Exercise
P: Positive – State your goal in the positive, directing your energy towards what you want
Think about your goal. It could be an area in your life that you want to change, reinvent or improve.
What do you want your life to be like? What area or areas do you want to improve? It could be to improve confidence, lose weight, or expand or launch your business. Whatever it is, your goal should both challenges and excite you.
Taking a piece of paper or using our free goal setting template, write down your goal.
Looking at your goal, ask yourself, ‘Is my goal stated in the positive?’. A great example of a positive statements is: ‘I want to lose weight’. Stay away from negative statements such as ‘I don’t want to be overweight’. That doesn’t work.
Why? Research has shown that our subconscious brains struggle to understand negatives. For example, if I say, ‘Don’t think of a white elephant’, what is the first thing you think of? Energy goes where attention flows, and I want you to focus your mind on what you do want, not what you don’t.
Rewrite your goal, over and over if you need to, to make sure it is stated in the positive. And keep it simple. Some of you may be able to capture your goal in a single line. But realistically, your goal should not exceed more than two sentences.
O: Outcome – Understand the impact that achieving this goal will have on your life
In stage two, really think about the impact achieving your goal will have on your life. Consider the following questions:
- Is this something that I really want?
- How will this goal change my life?
- Am I doing this for myself, or am I doing this because others expect it from me?
- If I could have it now, would I take it?
Now that you have thought about the outcome, are you confident that the goal will enhance your life? If your answer is yes, then move on to the next stage.
W: Where and When – Get specific on exactly where and when you will achieve your goal
It’s time to get specific with your goal. Creating goals that are time bound and measurable is known to increase levels of self-motivation. What’s more, if your specific about your goal, then you will be able to recognise when you have achieved it.
Get specific about your goal by considering these questions:
- What specifically do I want to achieve?
- When and where do you want this goal?
Now that you have the when and where you want to achieve your goal, it’s time to progress to stage four, one of the most powerful stages in this goal technique.
E: Evidence – What will you see, hear and feel when you achieve your goal?
Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between imaginary and reality. By really seeing, feeling and hearing your desired goal, you manifest your dreams (making it appear faster in the real world – scientific magic!).
Get ready to power up your subconscious!
What will you see? Imagine the colours, the scenes… Perhaps if it’s a weight loss goal, you might visualise yourself in a new outfit. If it’s a career goal, maybe imagine your bank balance or your new office. Draw a picture or write a description of the images you see.
What will you hear? It might be your own internal voice congratulating you. It could be friends telling you how great you look. What type of things will you hear yourself and others say when you have achieved this goal? Write it all down.
What will you feel? How will you feel inside? Will it be pride, happiness, contentment or confidence? Where in your body is this feeling located? Really imagine what it feels like to have achieved this goal. Take a moment to feel the sensation and then describe it.
To really benefit from this stage, repeat it over and over until the sights, sounds and feelings are anchored in. The stronger the better.
Amazing work. Your subconscious is now prepped for success! Let’s head straight over to our fifth and final stage.
R: Ready – Get ready by planning your first steps to achieving your POWER goal
You know what you want, how it will enhance your life, when you want it and how you will know when you have achieved it. It’s time to get going and turn this dream into reality.
Big dreams are only realised when you take meaningful action.
Write down three immediate things you can do toward achieving your goal. Include where and when you will do them.
Congratulations. You are now well on the way to achieving your POWER goal and reinventing your life.
Trust the process and believe in yourself. Amazing things are going to happen because that’s what happens when you set power goals.
But no woman or man is an island, and if you really want to super charge your success, you’re going to need a super team.
It’s a fact that the people we spend the most time with influence our success and happiness. Do the people in your life move you towards your goals in life? Or drag you further away? Are they small minded or big dreamers? Do they inspire solutions or provide problems?
It’s time to consciously create your super team (here’s everything you need to know).
What is a super team?
A super team comprises of a group of successful, goal-oriented people who inspire, motivate and support you to achieve your goals. It could be friends, work colleagues, your partner business associates or a professional, like a coach.
If you really want to achieve more in life, you need to ditch small-minded people who drift through life, regardless of how nice they are. Jim Rohn, the famous motivational speaker and early mentor to Tony Robbins, believes that, ‘You are the average of the five people you most associate with.’
It is important to realise that success breeds success.
Why do I need a super team?
Once homeless and now multi-award-winning comedian and author Steve Harvey, in his book Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches, shares a valuable, relatable analogy on the importance of having a super team. ‘When you are a person who is success-minded, you have a wagon that you are pulling uphill.’ He says, ‘You are totally responsible for your wagon. You are the only one on rope.’
What determines how fast you achieve success or whether you achieve it at all ‘comes down to the people around you’.
Steve explains, “In order for the wagon to go up the hill, you have to have people, like-minded people.” He goes on to say that, “As you pull this rope up the hill, you have to make sure that everybody that’s on the wagon is doing something to get the wagon up the hill.”
Who will be in your wagon? Who is helping you to move towards success? Who can you learn the secrets of success from? Who in your life is in the wagon, lying back and enjoying the ride? Who gives you energy and who takes it away When you are a person who is success-minded , you have a wagon that you are pulling uphill?
How do you select your super team?
It’s time to get selfish and selective about whom you allow into your life. Think about who is going to raise you up and who is going to drag you down. Think about who will give you more energy and who will simply take it away.
Success leaves clues behind. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people enables you to learn and model their behaviours, accelerating you towards your goals.
You have gained clarity, set your POWER goal and you are ready to go. Right away, it’s probable that you are either feeling motivated or overwhelmed. Regardless of the stage you are at now, it’s time strap yourself in and prepare the motivational roller coaster.
If you’ve followed the exercises in the previous chapters on gaining clarity and setting power goals, you are 90 percent there. But once you set off and push for the end result, you will need motivation on your side to help you across the line.
Motivation is key to success. It can make the difference between reaching your goal or falling short. All of us know what it feels like to be motivated. I’ll bet we all know what it feels like to lose interest and enthusiasm too.
When this does happen — and it probably will — the good news is that there’s a way to get back on track. We are going to share with you our top goal-setting techniques on how to get motivated and stay motivated, even in the most challenging of circumstances.
1. Break your goals down
As humans, we love instant gratification. Research shows that the further away the goal, the further away the gratification and the greater the chance of failure.
Therefore, it’s important to break our goals down into small, manageable chunks that reward our efforts and increase motivation.
Think about someone who wants to lose 10 stone. It would be unwise of them not to monitor their progress. A smart strategy (and those adopted by the largest weight loss companies) is to encourage them to set weekly goals, review their progress, understand what went wrong and reward the different milestones on their journey to success.
Top tip: Write down a weekly or daily goal — record it in a journal, review your progress and write down any obstacles you face. Your journal can help track progress. A visual written record of how far you have come is a great place to spot patterns of success and failure.
2. Visualise your success
Take time to visualise you achieving your goal — daydream about it during the day, and think about it before you go to bed at night. on your subconscious mind. Really see yourself achieving your goal: put yourself in the movie of your life, turn up the sound, brighten the colours and intensify the feeling.
Visualising your goal activates the law of attraction, and you will be amazed at how opportunities and circumstances unfold.
Case Study: Sara Blakely (Founder of Spanx) Sara is the youngest self-made billionaire, launching Spanx with just $5,000 in her savings account. She is also a huge fan of the power of visualisation. Sara created powerful visualisations, which included clearly seeing herself on ‘The Oprah Show’ — 15 years before it happened. (Impressive, right? What will you visualise?). Interested in learning more about what visualisation can achieve? Read my article on 4 successful celebrities who use the power of visualisation.
3. Respect your failures
No matter how much clarity you have, how powerful your goal or how incredible your super team, you will not be immune to failure. The most valuable lessons can come from failure.
Detach yourself from the failure, look at the situation as an observer, notice what caused it and ask yourself, ‘What can I learn?’, and ‘What is the best solution to move me forward?’. Remember, you only fail when you stop trying. Get strategies in place to help you fail fast and fail forward.
Top tip: It’s extremely powerful to re-frame mentally how you view failure. Try repeating the following affirmation: ‘There is no such thing as failure, only feedback’.
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You have the power to reinvent your life and go after your big goals. It's my job to show you how. Let's enjoy the journey together.
Sarah’s energy, drive and passion are infectious”
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