HOW TO ACTUALLY ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS (or if you don’t know where you’re going you’ll never get there)

“Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course?
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME”
(Marc Levy, If Only It Were True)
The System to Achieve Your Goals
Well in order to achieve your goals you need to be intentional and make sure you mange your process in a structured way… other way, life just gets in the way.
How many times have you got to the end of the day and then felt like it was a lost day? Most of us have got into bad habits when it comes to managing what we do on a daily basis. Have you ever had something important you needed to do and at the end of the day when you got into bed you thought, “damn it, I forgot to do x, y, z today! I’ll have to do it tomorrow.”
The next day comes and goes and when you got into bed you realized once again that you’d forgotten to do what you said you would do. A week goes by and still nothing… it can go on and on.

So how do you escape the struggle with time? How do you breeze through your days and weeks feeling on top of everything and making massive progress?? Having studied this subject for years of painful personal experience, here’s my system to achieve your goals and make them WORK FOR YOU.
achieve your goals epic guide
Step 1: Vision
To help you slay your goals, your vision will be your true north. Think of it as a promise to yourself that you will do everything you can to get there. Everything you do will keep you focused on attaining this. It’s GREATER than your goal. An intention is less about the specifics of what and how, and more about who you are and your why. For example, your intention might be “to be truly free from the 9-5 world”. It should be a short statement, that you could even use as a mantra. 

WHAT TO DO: Say to yourself and write down somewhere you can see it, “Next year this time I will be...” Also, consider taking this further and writing yourself a letter of intention that you can read one year from now. Use all the emotion and feelings that you have about your present circumstances to help you make this commitment.
Step 2: Brainstorm
Now let's start thinking about the “what” and “how”. What are the requirements and resources you need to reach your intention? How can you get there? What do you need to accomplish? Maybe there are resources or people in your life that can help you. Take stock! Try to keep these as natural and intuitive to you, your experience and interests, skill set and knowledge as possible. Don’t try and be something that you are not, but let your imagination run free.

WHAT TO DO: Brainstorm a list of your ideas of how you can reach your intention. Use a blank sheet of paper, a document or note. Digital lists are great because you can take them with you and just add new ideas when they come to you. This step is really a bucket list, no need to filter things out (it will come latter in the process). Just put down everything that comes to mind in terms and be as detailed and specific as you can.
Not sure where to start and how to figure out you passion and set your goals? Try the only tailor-made quiz to help you figure out the best direction and define your goals, based on YOUR personality type:
Step 3: Declutter
Once you’ve worked on the mental clutter take time to work on the physical clutter and then start creating systems and processes to get tasks done more easily and efficiently! If your office or desk is cluttered and messy it can really have an impact on your productivity – there are more things to distract you, it can take more time to find things, it can make you feel more stressed out by seeing the mess. In fact, a lot of the stress you experience that relates to time comes from feeling out of control. By getting organised, you are taking back that control. This one simple step can make you feel more relaxed and back on top of everything really quickly.

WHAT TO DO: There are 3 simples mini- steps here: Tidy up your desk, tidy up your folders and PLEASE tidy up your computer (and stop saving everything on the desktop)
cluttered desktop
Yup, that used to be my desktop. Honest to god...
Not my proudest moment. Lucky I came a long way!
Step 4: Set Smaller Goals

What are the milestones or major steps that can lead you to your overall intention? Think about the next year and what three goals you need to achieve in order to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. Is there any knowledge or skills you must obtain, certification you need, resources to save for or purchase, connections to make, sales goals to hit, skills to utilize and so on. You're looking to identify the MAJOR milestones. There are various types of goals you can set:

  • Subjective Goals- (having fun, getting fit)
  • General Objective Goals- (winning a championship)
  • Specific objective goals- (increasing personal stats in a game)
  • Outcome Goals- (focuses on results of a contest)
  • Performance Goals- Improvements relative to one’s own past performance
  • Process Goals- Specify the procedures in which the person will focus on during the event

WHAT TO DO: Use your list of brainstormed ideas from Step 2 to set 3 smaller goals for yourself. You should strive for a healthy balance between your goals. Be as quantitative and as specific as possible, avoiding the use of fluffy adjectives. If it helps, think about setting SMART Goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Most of all, be hopeful, yet honest and humble in your expectations. You’re going to have to accomplish these, so make them achievable.

Step 4: Make a TO-DO list
What are the requirements of your 3 goals? What timely-tasks or to-dos do you need to do and by when? You’ve set your goals, now it’s time to dig deeper into the requirements of meeting that goal. To recap, think of yourself as building a pyramid to where you want to be one year from now: you’ve set your intention (the peak), then your 3 smaller goals (the middle), now you’re scheduling your to-dos for said goals (the bottom).

WHAT TO DO: Break down your 3 goals further into timely to-do tasks. Schedule time into your calendar to work on your to-dos. It’s best to find a way to incorporate your to-dos into your daily or weekly routine. Establish your time-line and set deadlines for yourself. The goal of this exercise is to have time scheduled where you’ll see and be reminded to do them and create a routine (or habit) of accomplishing them. This is your to-do list.
Need some help in panning out your 3 main goals?
Here is a free 90-day planner to help you put your vision on paper and carefully plan your TO-DO list to achieve your goals:
Step 5 : Prioritize
Prioritizing is two-fold: determining what is a priority for you to accomplish in order to reach your intention and also prioritizing your resources to get it done. Ask yourself, what needs to be done first? You need to be able to determine the difference between what is a “need to do” and a “would be nice to do.” Your path to your intention needs to be as direct and as lean as possible. Also, how do you need to prioritize your three resources of time, money and energy? How much is required? You only have so much of each, so choose todos that are doable. You want to prioritize what is essential, for the best cost and has the greatest potential outcome.

In a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was quoting Dr J. Roscoe Miller, president of Northwestern University, said: "I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." This "Eisenhower Principle" is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities.

He recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. In other words, we must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, we need to understand this distinction:
So here's an example of my own break-down of the principle.
Now you will notice that my kids are *super important*, but is it really that urgent to browse through amazon looking for end-of-the-year gift in the middle of April? Probably not.
Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else's goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.

Important activities, however have an outcome that leads that will help you achieve your goals, they will take you one step closer to your desired outcome and dream life - whether these are professional or personal.
WHAT TO DO: OK this one is a game changer, so focus up.
When we know which activities are important and which are urgent, we can overcome the natural tendency to focus on unimportant urgent activities, so that we can clear enough time to do what's essential for our success.
In other words, if you want to achieve your goals, you have to learn to say "No" to many things that get thrown at your direction and can distract you from your main goal here. This is how you move from "firefighting" into a position where not only do you set your yearly "NY resolutions", but can actually achive your goals and grow your businesses and/or career.
Step 6 : Get Over Analysis Paralysis
I spent years spinning around in circles trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. What was my dream career? What was my purpose? How could I make the biggest difference to the world? I knew that I wanted to help people. But how? Oh how many hours I spent on the computer researching careers and courses, then getting myself all confused, and not doing anything. Money, timing, indecision, uncertainty, and other complexities got in the way.
The hardest part is just getting started. It’s so easy to say just do it, but actually doing it another story. You have your plan, now take action. Don’t even try to be perfect. Nothing keeps you from making progress like the obsession with perfection. You don’t need to have it all together or even all your ducks in a row to put yourself out there and accomplish something. Just get going, worry about improving it later.

WHAT TO DO: You’ve prioritized your to-dos, you’ve scheduled time, you’ve found your focus, and now it’s time for action. Start with an easier, less time consuming task that can give you a quick win to encourage you onwards. Then build on it. We often find ourselves getting so confused about what decision to make that we miss the biggest clues concerning the answer. Writing a pros and cons list can sometimes even add to the confusion. I have found that identifying what I know for sure, what I’m not sure about, and what I am confused about, can sometimes help me identify a step to take. Essentially that led me to this post’s moto: START WHERE YOU ARE, DO WHAT YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!
Step 7 : Review and Improve
Did you accomplish what you’d set out to? Maybe you attempted too much? Maybe you got pushed back by self doubt and fear gremlins? Don’t feel bad about setbacks or false starts, just make adjustments for the next month. Your quarterly reviews are to see how well you’re meeting your overall intention. Don’t be afraid to make the changes you need to slay your goals. Also, if you’re struggling week to week, review and adjust your goals and to-dos. You could be overambitious or your path could just be too complicated. A smaller win beats no progress any day!

WHAT TO DO: At the end of every month review your progress and make adjustments where you need to. You should be keeping track of what you’ve done or didn’t do. Also, consider holding quarterly reviews with your
making your plan work for you in order to achieve your goals
So what's next?
Now you take action.
Yes I know, it sounds scary, overwhelming and you just want to gather some more info before you get started.
I did. For years I would read up dozens of articles about procastinationa nd how to achive your goals... but somehow I never felt ready.
Well guest what? You'll never feel ready. So there's no better time to take the first step.
Got get them girl!

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Comments

  • To do lists are the Bain of my life! I totally agree they are necessary but I just seem to have so many of them! I need to learn to work through them!

  • Tawnya

    Interesting list. I do agree that these things will help you get things done more, but they alone may not help you reach your life goals. That will take a lot of extra planning and work, usually over a several year period. However, if being more productive on a daily basis is your goal then these are definitely helpful in doing so.

  • There are some great tips and advice here! I agree with the steps, when I write a to do list I tend to get more stuff done

  • I really liked your idea of a mental vs physical clutter as that is not something that we tend to think of is it? I definitely need a mental clutter in order to be able to achieve my dreams.

  • Such a great post and so helpful! Especially to me. I follow most of those steps but sometimes I am just a master procrastinator ahah! But I still need to organize my time better!

  • Great article, i love the tips especially vision because it aids me in placing me focus in attaining goals that has been set by me as priority.

    • Rita2G

      Glad you liked it. If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll never get there – so setting the goals is super important!

  • Great post! Totally agree with you Rita! Especially with # 6.

    • Rita2G

      Thanks Em. Analysis paralysis definitely kept me on the bench for way too long!

  • Thanks for sharing these tips. Analysis paralysis used to be a huge issue for me. Instead of doing the work I would just keep researching until I’d found so much information I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’ve tried my best to get over it and just take action but it sure can be challenging at times.

    • Rita2G

      It’s always a journey. I find myself overdosing on info sometimes too 🙂

  • I agree with all these great tips. Setting set goals and having a to-do list helps get things done.

  • Perfect timing on these tips for me! I’m planning on rebranding my blog and have been a bit overwhelmed and stuck! I’m on it!

    • Rita2G

      Thanks Milena. Glad you liked it… do let us know how your rebranded blog is going.

  • I love your advice! I am smack dab in the mid of this process right now. I am a little over a month away from leaving my job to run our businesses and I had to go through much of this process to get to this current mindset. In fact, I am right in the middle of clearing out my closet of all current job-related clothes) that don’ Express the work I will really be engaging in! Like you said, the clutter in the closet does not support my new mindset, so I am purging it. Thanks for reminding me that!

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