For most of my life, I’ve used a simple goal-setting method that I learned from a colleague as a young man. I write my goals on index cards using this format:
What? The specific, measurable goals that I want to achieve and the date that I set them. (No vague dreams.)
By when? The date for achieving the goals. (Research shows that 90-day goals can be most effective. Longer-term ones tend to get lost; shorter-term ones come to resemble to-do lists.)
Why? The reason why each goal is important. What values are central to the goals?
How? The process, step by step, that I will use to achieve each goal.
Support? The people I will work with to achieve each goal.
I like this system because it is intuitive. It follows the questions your brain would naturally ask: What do I want to do? How fast am I going to get it done? Why do I want to do it? How will I get it done? Who will help me?
Your plan does not have to be hugely detailed, but you do need a plan. I have a whole box of goal cards going back to 1968. As a reminder of the goals I have set, I carry a folded-up index card in my wallet listing them. I add and cross off as I go.
You can find more detailed goal-setting approaches, but this low-tech version is easy and effective. And it is easily adaptable to our microchip-driven world. Feel free to make your shoebox full of goals a digital one.
Write out the short- and long-term goals that will get you the next steps towards your lifetime vision. Define their what, by when, why, how, and describe the support you will need to achieve them.
Prioritize and make a plan for each goal. Consider what might keep you from achieving these goals and make plans to address perceived obstacles. Here Are Ten Steps to Setting Goals Which Are Right for You
Discover your strengths.
Uncover your passions.
Understand your personality…and recognize your blind spots.
Learn how you manage your energy and your body.
Become mindful of your own mind.
Based on your family and your experience, learn how you relate to others.
Define your mission and core values.
Clarify your lifestyle values.
Create your vision for success in work and life.
Discover your career sweet spot.
After going through these ten steps, you are finally ready to create the right goals for you: goals that will lead you to a life truly worth living.