4 easy steps to set your goals and get more from life

Great goals - an olympic Gold medal

Improve your life by setting impossible goals!

Setting goals will improve your focus, your results and your life. If you’ve tried to set your goals alone, there is a high chance that you still don’t have goals, or you’re ignoring them.

I have discovered that setting great goals is a 4 step process that I describe in this post.

I thank setting goals for finding Anya, my wife, and being happy.

How? Some background first. I like to live in my cave. Going out, meeting people, socializing is not my cup of tea.

Four years ago I wrote my goals for the next 5 years. One of those goals for the next 3 years was to “Find someone to love and be loved by”. A goal that seems impossible at the time.  The goal pushed me to go to events, to parties and going out of my comfort zone by saying “Hi” to strangers. I was lucky. I have found her on my second big party, limiting the time in unknown territory, and she was the one saying “Hi”.

Now we are married, we have a beautiful 1 year old boy and I smile happily every morning.

Does it work?

The positive impact of setting goals is not mine, the initial paper has been written by Edwin A. Locke  in the mid-1960.

More recently, goals are habit #2 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is a Wikipedia page and an article on TED. Plus tons of other documentation online.

The 4 steps

1) Create a someday list
2) Select 4 goals out of the list
3) Envision success and when it happens
4) Find and do the first action

Step 1 – Create a someday list

Your goals are hidden in all the sentences you can think about, starting with “Someday I will…”

So your first task is to write as many “Someday I will…” sentences as you can.

My example

A couple of recent examples from my personal list

  • someday I will be good at writing in English
  • someday I will speak fluent Russian

Step 2 – Select 4 impossible goals

Select 4 goals that are impossible. Impossible means that big changes are needed to reach your goals. Great goals need to bring big positive changes in your life.

Goals are here to make you a better person or be in a better place, this can only be achieved by going out of your comfort zone.

Succeeding in delivering a single  goal should make your life much better. – Frank Contrepois

Do not waste too much energy, limit yourself to 4 goals. Four “someday” sentences that will become, “I will” sentences and “I’ve done” sentences in the future. For those 4 goals you are going to dedicate time, energy and passion. You will make them happen.

My examples

“I will have a blog with 4000 view per week”. I wrote this goal because at work, we identified that communication was my main limiting factor. Verbal and written communication needed to improve. This gave me the motivation to dedicate time and energy to writing. It’s good for me, it’s good for work. I’ve just been told that my writing is not good enough and now I plan to attract people to read me without being forced to? This is “impossible” without a lot of effort.

“I will speak fluent Russian”, this is more of a survival goal. My wife is Russian and during my first visit to Moscow to meet the family I ended up at a table surrounded with Russians (quite logical) talking Russian and sometime looking at me. This was uncomfortable, I couldn’t understand if the comments were positive or negative? Maybe they were talking about the weather and I was worrying about nothing? Being able to speak fluently a language with a different alphabet sounded impossible, even in 5 years.

Step 3 – Envision success and when it happens

The next step is to feel what success is like. Have a clear picture of what will happen when the goal is achieved, what you’ll be feeling, what will be the results. When the reality is like the mental picture, then you’ll know you did it!

From the mental picture, try to find clues about timing, when is this happening, is it short term (6 month to 1 year), medium term (3 years) or long term (5 years)? Write it down.

Now rewrite your goals to include your mental image and the time.

My examples

By the end of 2015, I’ll look at my blog weekly statistics. The last 4 weeks will have each more than a thousand views and 200 different visitors.

Before my son Lucas is 4 years old, I will be able to have a full dinner at my in-laws participating in the conversation without thinking too much about it.

Step 4 – Find and do the first action

Now you have a clear picture of the destination, your brain has already started to find ways to reach the goal. This is how brain works. Set the target, envision and, boom!, the brain starts filling the gaps.

Search for the first action, the first PHYSICAL action to make it happen. It will probably be trivial like searching online, asking someone or buying something. DO IT, do it now and start. The second action will follow naturally and you’ll have started the path to achieve your goals.

My examples

My first action for the communication was to search online for information about how to write a post blog and I found “How to write a blog post in 70 minutes or less”. It takes me two and a half hours to write a blog post, I’m far from 70 minutes, yet.

My first action for the Russian was to go to Wikipedia and search for the Russian alphabet. The second step was to study it on a flight from Zurich to London.

I thank setting goals for finding my wife and being happy today. – Frank Contrepois

Have a great day, have a great life!

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