Setting Goals and Sticking to Them: A Strategy for Achieving your Biggest Dreams!

Is it just me, or do you get overwhelmed thinking about all of the goals you want to achieve? Trying to figure out what to focus on and where to start stresses me out particularly because I have so many different interests. Besides photography, entrepreneurship, Haiti and chocolate chip cookies, I also love real estate investor. I listen to real estate podcasts (biggerpockets podcast is my absolute favorite) and spend a lot of time soaking up information about real estate investing wherever I can find it. Last month, I attended a real estate meetup which I was expecting to be very technical and dense. Instead, the meeting was about goal setting strategies for life and business. The moderator was a successful real estate investor and he shared his strategy for goal setting in his own life. I found his approach to setting goals, starting with long-term descriptive goals, to be completely life-altering(I'm dramatic, I know). Below, I'll share the strategy I learned in this meeting. It's taken me a month to write out all my goals and the process has made me really think about what I truly want. If you do decide to try this strategy, please share your thoughts! If you have other strategies for setting goals, I would love to hear them! I hope it is as beneficial to you as it was for me.

The cornerstone of this strategy is setting specific long term goals, then working backwards and breaking them up into smaller, measurable benchmarks. Goals go unfulfilled because there is no plan of action or accountability to accompany them. The dream seems so big and unattainable, its hard to know where to start and you end up not starting at all. Using this strategy, you will set big goals, break them down and hold yourself accountable to reaching specific benchmarks.

10 Year Goal: 

Make a list of goals you want to accomplish for the the following categories: Personal, Career/Finance and Play(fun stuff just to make you happy). 

Notes on your 10 year goal list: 

-These goals should be BIG! Take your biggest dreams, and triple them! Don't limit yourself from the very beginning by thinking small. 

-Use descriptive and specific language for these goals. Instead of saying 'I want to be rich', decide what income you want to make(then triple it!!!) and where the income is coming from (job, investments, business etc).  

-This should be a completely exhaustive brain dump kind of list. Every dream, goal and desire you can think of that you want should be included. 

Once you have your three lists, choose the top three goals from each that are most important to you. This will allow you to direct your focus towards specific goals. It took me a looooong time to choose my three goals but forced me to be introspective about what I truly want my future to look like. 

5 year goals: 

Repeat the same process. 

Make and exhaustive, brain dump list for your personal, career/finance, play goals. Use descriptive language. Choose the top 3 you want to focus on. 

3 year goals:

Same process! 

1 Year goals: 

Same process!! 

Break your 1 year goals down into quarterly goals.

Then break your quarterly goals down into monthly goals. 

Every month, sit down and set weekly goals that will put you on the path to achieving your monthly goal. 

Set aside time every week to review your entire goal list, starting with the 10 year goals. Review your progress over the last week and your goals for the upcoming week. Write down action items in your calendar for the week that will allow you to achieve those goals. Scheduling action items is KEY!! If it isn't on a calendar, it's not happening. Another really important part of this strategy is having an accountability buddy. This is someone you schedule a call with every week to go over your goals and progress and vice versa. 

Who this person should not be: 

someone who will not keep the weekly meetings, someone who will cut you slack when you don't make progress, someone who lacks focus and follow through, someone who doesn't have big goals and dreams. 

Who this person should be: 

someone who is comfortable giving you crap if you slack off, someone who is focused and reliable, someone who will force you to do the weekly call even when you don't feel like it. 

Let's try this with a concrete example 

Let's say we have a 5 year finance goal of building an emergency fund of 10,000 dollars(that's a lot!)  In 3 years, you should have 6,000 saved. Every year, you have to save 2,000 dollars. 2,000 dollars per year may still seem like a lot but if you do the math, we see that you have to save 500 dollars every quarter to reach your goal. If we save 167 per month, we will reach our quarterly goal (not so bad!) We need to save 42 dollars each week in order to reach our monthly goal. Our action item could be that we transfer 42 to savings every week at a scheduled time that we write down on our calendar (like right after you get your paycheck so you don't spend it on something else!) We could also decide to do a daily transfer to our savings of 6 dollars every night before we go to bed and we would reach our weekly goal. You and your accountability buddy have 'transfer money to savings' as an event on your google calendar at an agreed time. You have to text your accountability buddy after you make the transfer, and if they don't get a text from you they WILL nicely harass you about it. If you don't make the transfer one week because you say you are low on cash, but you post an IG story of you drinking mojitos at the club, they will respond to your story with question marks and the money bag emoji. 

PLEASE NOTE I'M NOT AN ACCOUNTANT SO IF MY NUMBERS ARE A LITTLE OFF CUT ME SOME SLACK.

Go forth, set goals and prosper!! 

Let me know what you think of this strategy and if you have any of your own!