How To Properly Plan Your Goals To Achieve Anything In Life

how to achieve your goals

People are always look for the secret shortcut.

The secret to becoming successful. The secret to becoming rich overnight. The secret to losing weight instantly.

And the secret is quite obvious once you think about it.

The secret successful people have is a system in place that allows them to follow the right process to achieve their goals.

It sounds so simple… yet not many people achieve their goals.

You see, successful people have to go through countless amounts of failure just to finally figure out only one way to achieve their goals.

They just keep on working and working until they finally find something that actually works. And they keep repeating this process until they achieve their goal.

And there’s only two ways to know if you are always heading towards your goal:

  1. Experience (You’ve done it before)
  2. A Mentor (Someone who has done it before and can guide you)

Chasing after your goals is never a straight line. It’s a cobbled jungle mess that tangles everywhere when you start heading towards your goal.

And it’s up to you to untangle that mess… figuring out where it leads to and fixing whatever problems you encounter.

Which is why your first planning session is probably going to be a disaster.

You don’t know where you are going. You don’t know what you are going to encounter in the future. But you sure as hell know where you want to go and have a gut feeling on where to go.

And that’s my job today. To help you create this messy roadmap that eventually leads to your dreams.

Because unless you been there before or know someone who has gone achieved your goals, chances are, you have no clue where to go.

And it’s always better to follow a messy roadmap than no roadmap at all.

Even if someone was able to create a detailed step by step plan and you don’t follow it…

Then you will never reach your destination (no matter how much you study and strategize for that perfect plan.)

Which leads to second secret for why people become successful:

They chase after their goals like rabid dogs starving for food.

And not only do I want you to create the best damn roadmap you can create right now, but I also want you to execute it today. Not tomorrow. Not when you have free time. Today.

But you can’t do it right now just yet… you need to learn the essentials and that’s what I’m going to do today.

What Is Goal Planning? (And Why Should I Care?)

Goal planning is a systematic approach to achieving your goals.

The prerequisites. The 123’s to getting what your greedy heart desires.

And you need some semblance of a strategy to achieve your goals.

Otherwise… you will find out constantly visualizing that you achieve your goals and not taking action won’t work (which, unfortunately, I had to go through 2 years as a dumb idiot to realize this.)

But what visualizing does is provide you motivation and energy so it becomes easier to put in the work. Visualization goes hand in hand with putting in actual work (so don’t write visualization as woo-woo nonsense.)

The tricky part though is you can’t just start blindly putting work into anything.

  • First, you need to have a goal.
  • And second, your actions need to make sense for achieving that goal.

And that’s where planning out how you will achieve your goals comes in.

The hard part about goals is that you never know when you achieve them because of too many variables:

  1. People have different skills
  2. People have different experiences
  3. People have different networks
  4. People have different luck

And we can change everything except luck.

This means your goal planning should focus on finding the correct process for your goals to happen.

If we follow the right process and a system then eventually you will be able to achieve your goals.

And the only way to find the right process is to continually head towards your goal learning from your mistakes and fixing your path along the way.

It will always be a continuous goal to always look for the right process until you finally achieve your goals.

And that’s where the fun part begins. Constantly reevaluating where you are to make sure you are heading towards your goals.

So What Type Of Goals Do I Need For A Successful Goal Plan?

I’m sure you heard of SMART goals which stand for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

And it makes sense.

You want a clear goal that is not physically impossible to achieve in a certain time frame.

It wouldn’t make sense if you wanted to lose 10 pounds but it took you 80 years to do so.

But the problem is that people don’t really explain how SMART goals can actually be applied to your specific needs…

They just slap it onto your face and tell you to figure it out yourselves.

Then this already messy roadmap becomes even messier because you aren’t sure that your goals are fully optimized to start chasing after.

Because you yourself don’t know what you truly want yet at first.

For example, many people say they want to lose weight. Then this means that all you have to do is eat fewer calories than you burn while only eating big macs.

And let’s say you don’t want to do that cause it sounds disgusting and you want to be healthy.

So your goal went from losing weight → losing weight and being healthy.

And eventually your goals will become clear enough that you know exactly what you want.

This means the first step to having a proper goal system is to have correct goals to chase after.

Specific

I want your goals to be as clear as possible when you make them. Something that you can easily visualize.

So rather than

  • “I want to lose weight” → “I want to lose 10 lbs. in 90 days with a 22% BMI while being healthy.”
  • “I want to start a business” → “I want to start a freelance copywriting business that will earn me $10,000/month with 2-4 clients working only 4 hours a day”
  • “I want to play the piano” → “I want to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on the piano”

And it’s alright if you can’t make it as specific as that at first. The goal is just to start.

Think about what you really want right now. Who cares if it isn’t what you expected it to be (you can always change your goals later.)

Only by chasing after your goals can you reevaluate what you truly want and don’t want.

The more you chase after your goals, the more you realize what you truly want.

So the goal here is to make your goals as specific as you can in the beginning and reevaluating them as you go along.

Measurable

You have to be able to create goals that are able to track the progress…

And then actually track the progress.

That last part is really annoying but it is the first step to reevaluating your goals correctly.

Because us humans usually have crappy memories when it is not on a day to day basis.

If I asked you what you had for lunch last Tuesday or what you were doing 4 pm last Wednesday, would you be able to answer? (And if you didn’t cheat then I am incredibly impressed.)

The only way we would be able to remember this if we anchored it to an important event (like a meeting at 4 last Wednesday or the best turkey sandwich you had last Tuesday with your special someone.)

Otherwise, most of us are going to blank out and then reason what we could’ve had instead of what actually happened.

It’s the same thing with goals.

You think you worked 8 hours yesterday but when you actually measure you found out you were on social media for a total of 2 hours yesterday.

And not only that… having vague goals creates vague outcomes.

For example, If you just want to learn how to play the piano… you can technically play the piano if you can push one key.

Or what usually happens is you start to become discouraged when you aren’t making progress for a vague goal like “playing the piano” after one month.

But you can measure when you can play Mary Had A Little Lamb (and impress all them ladies).

You can see which parts you excel at. Which parts you need extra work on. Which parts you don’t need to practice anymore.

And then watch your progress from there.

This means going onto an excel sheet and noting your progress daily.

This probably makes no sense to you but I like to track my pomodoros and running like this

If you are seriously going to chase after your goals you have to constantly reevaluate yourself where you are and did the steps you take to make you one step closer to your goal.

What gets measured gets managed.

Peter Drucker

Data doesn’t lie.

Having a bird view’s perspective on a weekly and monthly rather than the daily grind gives you another perspective to reevaluate what’s working and what isn’t.

How To Measure Your Goals

The major components you need are:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly

I personally just use an excel sheet for both tracking my progress and as my to do list.

You can use Trello, Things, Google notes, mind maps, regular pieces of paper, etc.

It doesn’t matter what medium you decide to choose.

All that matters is choosing your favorite one and then measuring your goals systemically.

A way where you can tell if you were slacking off or seeing actual improvement.

And don’t focus on too many goals at once. Usually 2-3 big goals are enough to occupy you for awhile.

Attainable

Don’t make it physically impossible for yourself like wanting to work 24 hours a day forever (and become a working machine.)

And don’t make it so unrealistic that it’s practically impossible.

And when I say unrealistic I’m not talking about big dreams like achieving $10,000,000 per year or being a CEO of 5 major companies (They are possible if you put in the time and energy for it.)

I’m talking about where you are at your current skill set and experience.

If you have absolutely no experience, skills, and money… then it is going to be a lot harder to make $1,000,000 in one month than someone who already knows the exact process and exact skills with a business that generates $100,000/month to achieve that.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim big when you are starting out.

It just means you should aim big but be highly realistic where you currently are and start from there.

Relevant

Don’t make goals that you don’t want (Whoever made this probably needed an R to create the SMART acronym)

Timely

You need some sort of deadline to reevaluate the progress on your goals.

It doesn’t make sense if you decide to want to lose weight to look sexy for the beach for the summer but that summer is actually 80 years into the future.

It also creates a sense of urgency.

When you start to create artificial deadlines you start to see how much work you can realistically do so you can make better informed decisions on future goals.

The Goal Process Vs. The End Goal

I want you to set goals that is something that you can control.

So instead of “achieve $1,000,000 by the end of the year” it should be something like “work 8 hours a day on my business 7 times a week.”

But those 8 hours of work everyday works towards achieving $1,000,000.

I want you to focus on the process because it is something that is within your control.

It’s the process towards the micro goals that allow you to achieve those bigger dreams.

You can’t physically control when you will make $1,000,000 dollars but you can control how hard you work every single day.

You want to feel like you are in control of your destiny rather than being controlled by a goal that can’t be directly influenced by you.

The main caveat is that you can measure that you need to make $83,333/month to make $1,000,000 but you cannot control other people to buy your products and services.

But you can control that you work 16 hours or however long is necessary to make that goal one step closer.

If you know the right process… then it’s just a matter of following that process until you achieve that goal.

Big Goals Vs Small Goals

People get confused about which ones they should follow because there are sooo many people on both sides of the coin.

Both are essential.

I want you to have big dreams.

Having big dreams not only gives you more motivation but forces you have to think unconventionally on how to achieve those goals.

For example, if your goal was to make $100,000 a year then all you would need is a comfy job that pays well.

But let’s say you wanted to make $1,000,000 a year instead and you aren’t even sure how you can achieve that.

This means if you truly want that goal you have to start making different decisions that may seem risky and counterintuitive.  You might have to start up a business with an idea that seems it might work but you aren’t completely sure.

The ironic part is they both take the same amount of effort.

It’s just different kinds of effort.

In this example, One effort will be making your boss happy to give you a raise to $100,000. The other effort is forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and taking on lots of risks to achieve $1,000,000.

Either way both of these “big goals” are made up of many small goals together.

And that’s where you should put in your focus. Making sure to complete all those small goals. It won’t feel like you are going to achieve your big dreams any time soon but you will be one step closer.

Think of your big goal as a roadmap to guide you and your small goals as the roadmap you have to drive on.

Your small goals will change depending on what your bigger goal is.

And it is the smaller goals I want you to put your focus on while having a picture of the bigger picture.

It’s those small goals that you can control that makes you feel like you are in control of your destiny.

So I Followed Your Advice And Made My Goals Correctly. How Do I Properly Plan Them Out?

When you start strategizing your goals you may have no clue where to start.

There’s only two ways to know if you have the correct goal plan.

  1. Make your best estimate on what you think you need to do and actually do it (and calibrate from there)
  2. See what people who have done what you wanted to do before and follow their processes

But in most cases, we are left to our own devices to figure out how to plan our goals out. So I decided to create a simple 4 step process to help you achieve any goal. Here it is:

  1. Create SMART Goals as best as you can
  2. Brainstorm how you are going to achieve those goals
  3. Measure your progress and reevaluate where you are
  4. Continue the process if its working otherwise change it

Create SMART Goals as best as you can

I already when over this but it’s pretty hard to create perfect goals from the start because you probably don’t know what you want.

And the only way you know what you truly want is through experiencing and chasing after your goal.

Brainstorm how you are going to achieve those goals

A crappy roadmap is better than no roadmap at all.

What most people usually do is they follow the advice of someone who has achieved what they want and starts copying them (which is perfectly fine.)

But sometimes it doesn’t work…

And the only way it works or not for you is if YOU actually try it yourself.

You have to create a plan and then start working on that plan.

That’s the only way you know if that plan works specifically for you. Everyone has different circumstances so different methods may work for different people.

And it’s only up to you to experiment to see which plans start working and allows you to see progress.

Measure your progress and reevaluate where you are

You have to compare yourself from the moment you started your plan to where you are and see if there’s any progress.

You might have to work for 1 month without seeing progress. 3 months. 1 year.

Either way it’s up to you to reevaluate from a standpoint and ask yourself…

Am I making progress towards my goals?

Continue the Process Or Change it

Once you answered that question and it works… then don’t stop! Keep on using that process until you start to get more results or until you reach a roadblock.

And if it doesn’t work, then change your strategy.

Maybe you need to change your:

  • Goal
  • Strategy
  • Perspective
  • Mindset
  • Etc.

Example – Sales Copywriter

I decided to make a mini example and decided to choose a freelance sales copywriter.

So let’s say that you want to make a $1,000,000 in one year as a sales copywriter.

That means on average you need to make $2,739.72 per day or $82,191.78/month.

But I already told you that you can’t physically control how much you make so you have to focus on the process of making $1,000,000 as a sales copywriter.

And let’s just say you are starting from scratch and no absolutely nothing about copywriting.

So the first step would be to acquire the skills to write some copy at a proficient level that people will want to pay for.

And you can do this through

  • Books
  • Courses Online
  • Mentor
  • Etc.

You would want to learn the fundamentals before even trying to sell your services.

And you don’t want to stay stuck in this stage because all you are doing is just learning. And learning doesn’t mean jack if you don’t put it to use.

Now that you have acquired the skills, you have to learn how to generate clients for yourself.

Some possible scenarios you can do are:

  • Build your own product and sell it → Shows results to your clients that you can actually sell
  • Build yourself as an authority (blog, social media, networking)
  • Start cold emailing/messaging 100s of your target clients to land a client.

And you know that all of these are viable options but you aren’t sure which one to pick.

So the best thing to do is pick one that you like and see what happens.

So you decide option 3 because it makes sense to contact clients to find client work.

And then you start cold emailing 100s of clients. Some give you a response that they are interested in. Most don’t even open your message. Some say no.

And now you are finally getting feedback based on your actions. You would start to reevaluate where you stand and start asking yourself some questions.

  • Should I send even more emails?
  • Should I focus on my negotiation and email writing skills?
  • Do I need to make results before clients actually trust me?

And then you pick one and go through that process. Over and over and over until you finally find a way to get your job as a sales freelance copywriter.

Maybe you find a client and realize you need to make $2,739 a day but he only offers you $2,000/month. You won’t reach your target goal this month and then you ask yourself some more questions.

  • Should I work for him and gain experience of clients and working with them?
  • Should I prove I can sell by actually selling my own products and find clients willing to pay higher?
  • Will this lead me to more future opportunities to more paying clients?

In this scenario, I would choose to work for him just to gain experience and see where it leads out even if this goal wouldn’t meet my monthly quota to reach $1,000,000.

Maybe it does lead to more opportunities. Maybe I’ll learn the skills to sell my own products to reach my goal. Maybe it won’t lead me anywhere.

But if you have literally no experience or money then there’s only two ways to make $1,000,000:

  • Be lucky and win the lottery
  • Find a proven process that will allow you to make $1,000,000 that works

And what you will eventually notice is that by being proactive and taking action allows you to start generating more ideas that help you reach your goal.

This means there is no right process that works for everyone. There may be many similarities, but each person walks a slightly different path to achieve their goals.

This means you don’t know the exact steps to make your goals happen. But figuring out through trial and error does make you one step closer to achieving your goals.

And that’s how you achieve your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Visualize My Goals And “Feel” Like I Achieved My Goals?

Doing this can help you achieve your goals.

Your brain can’t distinguish between reality and what goes on your head so when you do this you activate the Reticular Activation System (RAS) which allows you to help guide you in reaching your success.

For example, when you are driving you notice some cars go by but you never really paid attention. But let’s say you decided to watch a show about pickup trucks talking about its specifications. You decide that they are really cool and decide to purchase one for yourself.

All of a sudden, all the pickup trucks that you ignored when you were on the road before you start to notice.

Your brain decides to accept and ignore information based on what you want.

But this doesn’t mean just visualizing is enough. It only helps guide you to the next steps.

It’s up to you to do those next steps.

Conclusion

In order to find the right process you need to have the right goals in place.

And it doesn’t work if you don’t take any action. YOU need to take control of your life. Writing an incomplete goal plan and following it is 100x better than fantasizing about your dreams.

Create the best strategy that you can currently make and revise as you go along.

That’s the way to make your goals happen.

Which goals are you shooting for and how are you thinking you are going to achieve them? Let me know in the comments below!

anthony_lake

Anthony Nebel

Anthony Nebel is a full-time freelancer and copywriting expert. Join Anthony here on AnthonyNebel.com to learn how to make more sales with your website. Anthony has managed email marketing, web design, as well as copywriting for local business owners wanting to make more sales.

anthony_lake

About Anthony Nebel

I created this blog and now write high-converting landing pages for business owners looking to make more sales.

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