The Ultimate Guide To Fulfilling Your Goals
New year, new you, right?
It’s that time again, time to reassess your life and decide what the future will look like.
After many attempts at refining and achieving my personal goals, I have come across a framework of thinking that leads to both achievement and fulfilment.
I will provide a free template for you to use to do this yourself, but first, let’s go through why this works.
I want to first walk through the three main lessons I learned on the journey:
Focus on inputs and outputs rather than external validation to avoid shady practices
Outcome-based thinking helps for priority management
My Identity and Values changed my behaviour more than setting goals
Where I Started
Since age 22, I have been an advocate for journaling. It is an investment that is still paying dividends when I reflect on past decisions and directions.
I usually sit down about once a month on average and informally write about what is happening in my life and business. It sparked the blog you are reading now and helped define what I really wanted.
I eventually decided to dedicate a separate document to my goals after reading The Winners Bible by Kerry Spackman1.
The book describes how a person can rewire their brain by consistently focusing their energy using a self-made handbook filled with inspirational images and text that excite the mind and stimulate the brain’s neuroplasticity.
When I created my own “Winners Bible”, I finally took time to sit down and decide exactly what I wanted in life.
The question I asked myself was, “if money was not an issue, what do you want?”
Knowing what you want sounds simple, but the act of defining it in detail is the essential first step towards making it happen.
Over time, I refined my list of goals and strategies to achieve them. I learned to focus on fulfilment and continue to simplify and streamline my commitments. I had some help by adopting frameworks from Cal Newport, Steven Covey and Tony Robbins and eventually developed the system that I offer to you to try below.
It has been many years since I first started to physically write down my goals to find what works best for me. I’m excited to share these tips and tools, hoping they will also help you change your life and mind.
Why My Goals Initially Sucked
Like many people, I’m frustrated when I don’t achieve my goals in the set timeframe.
When I reflect on what failures hurt the most, it was the goals that focused on external validation that drove me mad.
Focusing on external validation, such as the number of fans we have, or the amount of money in our bank account, can instigate us to cut corners.
External validation can lead to perverse incentives when we focus on controlling things that are not within our grasp.
Over time, as my goals progressed, I found that my achievements become more fulfilling when I focus on what I put in (inputs), such as the habits that I build and the amount of effort I put towards something.
Let’s look at one of the achievements that I re-framed;
Old Goal: Have 5000 raving fans
New Goal: Create valuable content every week to engage my audience.
By focusing on what I was putting in instead of getting out, I could focus on creating the best possible content without buying fans or selling out.
When I focused on my inputs, I got better, and so did my content. As a result, I created more value, and my audience decided to start sharing my content with their friends and family.
What Will It Give You
Have you ever sat down to think precisely what you want?
Not many people take the time to define their ambitions truly and put them down on paper.
It is necessary to settle down, dig deep and ask why? Why? Why?
If you want more money, it is usually because of a specific material item or even a particular feeling you are seeking.
Your goals act as a proxy between you and what you want.
We usually say, “When I get this, or when that happens, then we will feel and be secure, independent, happy, joyful… etc.”
Once you have written down your goals, it is worth going over them and simplifying some overarching feelings you are trying to achieve.
The beautiful thing is, once you identify your ideal state of mind, there is a possibility to feel that emotion straight away. Just as if you had already achieved the goal.
You can use this instant change of your mental state as a beacon to guide you towards your ideal outcomes.
The Way I Think About Goals Now
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” James Clear
To create a system for achievement and fulfilment, I use the form below and update it every 6-12 months. This forms the basis of the fillable .pdf you can download at the end of the article. The sheet has four columns intended for different segments of your life. As an example, the columns could represent health, family, wealth, and creativity, respectively. Once you have defined the parts of your life that you want to focus on, five categories help you determine what you want in a concrete way.
Outcome / Results
Purpose / Why
What do you want? How would your ideal situation go if the situation could turn out even better than you expected?
When writing your goals, it is best to make them exciting. It would be best to look at what you write with a big smile and a feeling of fulfilment. If your goal does not excite you, it is probably not what you really want. Over time, you will refine this, so try not to think and reflect too much. Get into the state of already having the feelings you want, then write quickly from that place.
Your Driving Purpose, the Why?
Your why will become the rocket fuel of your goal. These must be compelling and make you want to pursue your ideal outcome. If there was a brick wall between you and your goals, then your why will find a way to smash through. Even if you have to remove each brick one at a time.
The Roles defines who you need to become.
Identify who it is you need to become to fulfil your outcome. Maybe you need to become a teacher or an accountant. I suggest using words that excite you, so instead of the above examples, you could re-frame them into “Leader of the Next Generations” and “Money Manager Extraordinaire”. (use your most compelling role as the identity to define this subset of goals at the top of the .pdf)
What do you need to believe to make it happen?
Our Beliefs and values will drive us towards our goals because they speak directly to our identity2. Maybe you hold some limiting beliefs that are not serving you and need replacing. Think of excuses that have held you back and use an alternative solution. If you have always thought “money is hard to get”, you could change your belief to “Money is infinite.”
Habits will wrap all the previous categories together.
Look at what you have written and decide what you need to do consistently, daily, to ensure that you get what you want. Make your habits simple, and try not to overcomplicate them.
Your habits are the propellers for your goals, thrusting them into flight. Your habits define how you spend your time on what is truly important to you.
In our lifetimes, we can do anything, but we can’t do everything.
It is crucial to take some time to think of exactly what you want, why you want it, and who you need to become to make that happen.
If you consistently fail to achieve your desired outcome, you will likely need to change your approach and actions. But, first, you need to ask yourself if this is what you want and why.
Remember, all of our time here is limited, and in order to make the most of your precious life, it is worth developing a system that will help you get what you want.
I hope that the worksheet provided gives you clear insight and ultimately helps you fulfil your greatest dreams and desires.
Feel free to share this idea if you find it valuable.