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Ascend Life Blog #17: Define Your Goals

Daniel Gant

“Lack of direction not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” - Zig Ziglar

Think about that quote for a minute. The highest achievers and producers only have 24 hours just like me and you. How do they do it?

In this 24 hours, we all have basic needs like food and sleep that take about the same amount of time. Give or take an hour we all need about 7 hours of quality sleep on a regular basis to have our best performance (barring the rare exception who can perform well on less sleep).

Why do some people get so much done and others feel like they never have enough time?

When someone says they don’t have enough time, what they are really saying is that other things prevent them from spending the time they would like on the things they would like to spend it on.

Go back to that quote. Lack of direction is the problem.

Without a clear plan and a clear finish-line much time will be wasted on things we think are important, but really don’t get us where we want to go.

Someone might say, “but I have to work a job to pay the bill.” Yes, of course, but you can choose a job that will still pay the bills that also helps you get where you want to go.

In order to get where you want to go, you must always ask yourself if what you are doing is aiding or hindering this achievement.

In other words, you must have a plan!

Setting effective goals is the key!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? How is it going? Did I strike a sour cord?

According to Statistic Brain only about 9.2% of people who make a New Year’s resolution feel they are successful in achieving it.

Ok, so I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a lot of “wishes” I would like to make into goals and achieve them. I am sure you can relate to this on some level. Whether these goals are in career/business, personal development, health, or many other areas; there are areas where we want to improve our lives.

I am going to walk you through some steps that are necessary to creating effective goals.

I really like this quote from Zig Ziglar, “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”

What Zig is saying here is that you must have goals otherwise your life will tend to go nowhere.

In order to create an effective goal in any of these areas of life, the goal needs 5 things. It must be specific, measurable, time limited, your goal, and in writing.

If it isn’t specific then you don’t really have anything to aim for. If it isn’t measurable, then how do you know if you have achieved it? If there is no time limit, then you will never finish.

“I want to make more money.” or “I want to lose weight.” These are wishes not goals, they are not specific, measurable, or time limited.

“I want to make $10,000 more this year.” “I want to lose 10lb in the next two months.” Now we have a target to aim for, we will know when we have reached the goal, and we are on a schedule.

When your goal is specific, measurable, and time limited; you can break it down into a plan.

“I want to make $10,000 more this year.” Great! This year you need to average $833 more each month, or $384 more every 2 weeks. Now you have something you can work on. Getting a second job that pays $10/hr and working and extra 20 hours a week is one way to get you there.

“I want to lose 10lb in the next two months.” Sweet! You need to lose 5lb a month.  Or 1.25lb each week. Start eating healthier and doing more exercise.

See what has happened? We are able to make a plan of small steps that we can take action on right now.

There are still two more elements of an effective goal, and these are vital to the accomplishment of an goal.

The goal must be yours. If this is someone else's goal for you, then you probably won’t get there. You must want this and own this for yourself. You spouse wanting you to lose weight probably isn’t going to work. Until you want something you will never take effective action on it no matter how good the plan is.

The goal must be in writing. What I really mean here is that you need accountability with your goal. Put your goal in writing and put it somewhere so you will see it regularly and be reminded. Tell someone about your goal. Someone who will ask you how it is going and help to keep you on track.

One word of caution here is to be picky about who you use to keep yourself accountable. If your goal is to lose weight and exercise more, then don’t choose a couch potato to keep you accountable. It just won’t work. This person needs to believe that this goal is good for you too!

Take Action!

You have to charge down your goals. If you haven’t, go read post #9 Success Like a Rhino. In that post we talk about how important it is to take action and just start moving.

Entreleadership has a great goal tracker worksheet that I highly recommend you download and use.

I want to fully admit here that I am by no means an expert at this. I wrote this as much for myself as for you. Learning to set good achievable goals is vital to improving our lives.

I know for me that many goals I would like to make seem very intimidating. I don’t feel like I can achieve them… Remember the Belief Cycle? So, I am going to start with a very simple, achievable goal to get my momentum going.

I have a prototype that I am working on, but it has been awhile since I made any headway with it. So my goal is to perform an initial powered test in three weeks. This goal is specific because it is an important test of this prototype. It is measurable, because if the prototype isn’t ready, then I can’t perform the test. It is on a time limit of 3 weeks.

This goal is also mine, and I have told you about it. Please keep me accountable.

Next week I need to have finished the preparation of the prototype. The following week I need to have finished final assembly. Then the last week I need to perform the test.

Once I have done this, I will share with you what it is. Hopefully some fun video as well.

Now you know mine, how about you? What goal are you going to plan out and achieve? I would love to hear about it.

Let’s all start becoming doers not just dreamers!

God Bless,


P.S. Watch the video below for a more on setting goals.