goal setting

Goal setting exercise to put you on the path to success

First i want make the point of why goal setting is important, think of the times you’ve been grocery shopping not taken the time to write a list and then you get home and realise ‘damn i forgot to get the …..’ and tonight’s dinner just wont taste the same. The same is with goal setting, as we go to the supermarket of life we get caught up and without a list we end up with many things we don’t want and just few things we do.

That being said its time to get started.

Advanced goal setting for beginners


  1. Brain dump. ‘The mind is its own place and itself can make a heaven of hell and hell of heaven’ –John Molton

*For a quick version just select your top 10 goals

  • First, we must get ourselves in a positive state
  • Sit as you would if you were portraying some with supreme confidence in themselves (upright posture and make sure your chin is not tucked in)
  • Take 10 deep breaths while maintaining posture
  • While taking these breaths remind yourself, ‘ I can do it if I want and I can want to if I choose. (Repeat) ‘The first step is you have to say that you can’ – Will Smith


  • With the belief that you’re able to achieve anything you put your grind to, it’s now time to pull your goals from your thoughts and bring them into existence by taking the first step (identifying what your goals are).


Write freely about how you really want your life to be. Ask. *Note state your goals in the positive, and as though they are achieved. Focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want, e.g. if you want to lose weight don’t say I want to lose 3 stone, say I lost 3 stone.  Create a connection with the goal, feel good about it, enjoy the success of its completion if only for a taste of what it’s going to feel like.

  • What do I want to do for myself?
  • What do I want I want to do for others?
  • What do I want to be?
  • Where do I want to  go?
  • What do I want to have?
  • What would you like to see?


  1. Prioritise ‘I learned that we could do anything, but we can’t do everything. At least not at the same time. So think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing’. –Dan Millman


Now really think about each of these goals, how important are they to you on a scale of 1-10 (place this figure next the goal). When thinking of the goals importance, think of how much of a positive effect it will have on your life and the lives of those you care about.

  1. De-clutter ‘It is not the daily increase but the daily decrease, hack away at the unessential’ –Bruce Lee


  • Remove the goals that are marked 6 and below by crossing them out because the reward of reaching them is not equal to the cost of time and energy that is consumed achieving them (This time could have been used to do something important. The higher the priority the task completed, the better the potential reward which is performance dependant.


  • Think about the cost of your goal, the hours of labour it is going to take to achieve them, the sacrifices that will need to be made.


  • 5 whys Developed by Sakichi Toyoda (used by Toyota during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies)


It is used to explore cause and effect, the goal is the effect we are seeking and why 5 times will reveal the root cause, a reason, a why (or at least give a greater understanding of it). This is also a good technique for working out the root cause of a problem.


Ask the ‘5 whys’ of each of your goals to determine what your purpose is,

What’s really in it for you?

E.g. goal: to be 15kgs lighter.


Q1. Why do you want to be 15kg lighter? A1.To be healthier?

Q2. Why would you like to be healthier? A2. To have more energy.

Q3. Why do you want to have more energy? A3. So I can engage more with my children.

Q4. Why do you want to engage more with your children? A4. So I can share happy memories with them

Q5. Why is sharing happy memories with your children important? A5. So they grow happy and feel loved now and forever.


Purpose: to be 15kg to be have more energy to do more thing with your children because3 it’s important to you that you share happy times with them in order for them to enjoy their childhood and reach adulthood happy and loved.

If the answer to you why’s are not strong enough, this is not compelling and lacks a call to action, discard goals with a weak purpose. The goals remaining should be goal you have a strong connection with.


  1. Visualise ‘I am a big believer in visualisation, I run through my paces mentally so that I feel even more prepared’ –Allyson Felix 4x Olympic gold medallist


To form a mental image- to see with the minds eye requires focus just like it does to see clearly with your normal eyes. It’s best to be in a non-distracting environment in order to have fewer things to block out from your visualisation.


Imagine you have obtained your goal, use as many senses as possible (visual, sound, touch, smell, taste).

  • How does it feel to have achieved your goal?
  • What difference/contribution has it made to your life and others?
  • Are there any unexpected changes to your life?
  • How could it be better?


The mind is the source of creation, our mind and the collective minds of all those living are constantly creating ‘our reality’, why our reality? because our reality is shaped by what we focus on, the brain rarely focuses on the hidden (behind the scene, what is in the process of manifesting) it focuses on what it can see which in most cases the past because most developments go unseen which only up a portion of reality.

Imagine…. What a powerful word. How impactful are our beliefs? If you believed a loved one was dead would you become sad? Even if this was not true, why? Because what we believe does not have to affect us.

Focus, we all know about when you buy a new car and we start to see it everywhere compared to before (or know of the stories) is this because loads of people went out and copied us? Of course not, it is because we are now focused on it, we identify this car much easier out of all the cars, this is what focus is meant for to be used tour advantage, to identify what we are looking for, so this brings the question, why do we not find what we are ‘looking’ for? the truth is that we do, we just will not all admit it meaning we find what we are really seeking, but we do not really seek what we wish for, to change your results change your focus (level/direction). So you want to have a great day? Focus on the positive, do not focus allow the negative to own a place in your mind and just like the new car you will start to see all the positives which were there all the time which you did not notice. When you have a goal focus on it to the point where your radar is adjusted and anytime something goal related appears you can identify it because you are looking for it.

Distraction is a momentum killer, ever been talking with a friend and you get interrupted, and then you forget what you were saying, the same happens to the mind when you allow it to be distracted by gossip and TV sitcoms it forgets about your focus it forgets about your goals, avoid distractions.



  1. Amendments

Make improvements/adjustments to your goals based on the results of step 4.


  1. Steps forward and costs. ‘Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things, while they are still small, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step’ –Lao Tzu

(a) You already know the last step, which is the achievement of the goal, now you need the first step and those in between. You may not know all the steps right now but list as much as possible (spend some time later trying to see if you missed any and update as you go along).

  • List in order all the steps you can think of (start to completion)


(b) Calculate the cost of each goal in time (hours) and money and then total up the costs.

E.g. get driving license

               Step1 practice theory                                            15hours          £0

               Step 2 book theory                                                            15minutes     £25

               Step 3 pass theory                                                 45minutes     £0

               Step 4 find instructor and book lessons             1hour              £200

               Step 5 complete driving lesson                            15 hours         £0

               Step 5 Book driving test                                       15minutes     £85

               Step 6 pass driving test                                        1.5 hours        £0

                                                                        Total               33hrs 15min              £310


‘By plotting a course, you have a track; you become like a train, hard to derai.l           You just need to maintain a steady pace’ – E. BLACK


  1. Goal ecology

(a) This is where you look at the impact of achieving your goal on your overall life. Are there any negative or positive side effects as a result of achieving your goal?

E.g. your goal is to get promoted at work, but the added responsibility leads to longer working hours, which leads to it negatively effecting your social life or the time available to work on other goals, on the positive side you receive an increased salary and the opportunity to grow through added responsibility.

(b) Workout if the cost is worth the gain by acknowledging the negatives as well as the positive side effects. *Note try to think of ways to counter act the negative or at least limit it and also a why to increase the positive.


  1. Amendments

Remove goals that you don’t think are worth the costs (step 6) and side effects (step 7)


  1. Time frame

Now it’s time to workout the time that you have available to dedicate to the achievement of each goal and then use that information to determine how long it will take to achieve these goals. *Note ensuring to dedicate more time to your higher priority tasks (step 2)


(a) Place the year in which you want to achieve your goals next to them.

(b) Now you are to workout your fixed costs in time (time that is already dedicated and reoccur regularly).

E.g.      Sleep               7 hours x 7 days = 49 hours

                        Work               8 hours x 5 days = 40hours

                        Commute       2 hours x 5 days = 10 hours

Total       = 99 hours

This is just an example I expect most people will have more than 3 fixed costs (exercising, socialising, entertainment and etc. try to average them out even if not exactly same weekly).


(c) Multiply this total figure by 50 weeks (minus 2 to try accommodate holidays even though generally there is more holiday from work sleep is a daily routine plus many others) to find your yearly average.

E.g. 99 hours x 50 = 4,950 hours there is 8,760 hours in a non leap year

            8,760 – 4950 = 3,810 remaining in the year to achieve you goals.


(d) Add up the total cost in hours of your goals, for each year (repeat for each year)

E.g. 1,250 hour (2015). We then subtract it from the time available to us

3,810 – 1,250 = 2,560 remaining.

The number is not negative so you can see there enough time to achieve your goals in 2015. Great! *Note if there is not enough time to achieve goals make amendments to your goals or your fixed costs.


(d) Now you know you have enough time. Break it down weekly so you can slot your goals into your schedule in step 10 and also so you can see how many weeks it will take to achieve each goal.

E.g.      24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours (hours in a week)

168 hours – 99 (fixed cost) = 69 hours in the week to complete goals


E.g.      one of your goals is to run a marathon and you have calculated including preparation it will take 150 hours to complete this goal.


There is 2 ways to do this:

  • If you have a deadline of 10 weeks

150 hours / 10 weeks = 15 hours. It will take 15 hours per week to complete your goal. Using this method you can workout how much input is required to meet a specific deadline

  • The other way is to know how many hours per week you want to dedicate to the goal g. 5

150 hours / 7 hours = 30 weeks. By dividing the hours you will dedicate each week you can workout how long it will take.


Flex zone

E.g. of how it would look like                       cost/hours      weeks       p/w to invest

                        Marathon                                           150     /   10   =         15       

                        Pass driving test                               20        /   5     =         4

                        Pt course                                            120     /   12   =         10

                                                                                                  Total    69* – 29 = 40

                        *Hours per week available to complete goals

These 40 hours are now your flex zone, which are your margin for variable costs (not easy to forecast), lateness, unforeseen events, etc.

I recommend that you keep your flex zone at least 15% of your available time because ‘ the tree that does not bend breaks’

Now you have done the calculations you can be sure of your goals achievability and also be confident of its completion date.


As an added bonus for your final visualisation in step 10 also add up the money, you plan to save and have available for investments so each year you visualise you will have a good idea of your financial situation.


  1. Visualisation

By now you have identified your goals, which are important to you with the costs/side effects and why you want to achieve these goals. You also have the steps on how to achieve them and an idea of how they look, feel smell, sound, and taste. Now you are going to repeat step 4 but now you’re going to play the visualisation year-by-year e.g. 2015- 2020. Wake up in your house, go about your day, travel in you car or whatever means you plan to use, go to your workplace if it’s in your plan to work. lose or gain the weight you want to over the years Etc.

  • How in sync is your life?
  • Is this really the life you want? If not make amendments and repeat step 10 until you’re satisfied

*Also make a recording of your visualisation to listen each morning and night where you close your eyes and connect with it.


  1. Living it

Now you incorporate your goals into the time in your week not occupied by your fixed costs.

  • Create a 7 day calendar with each day broken into hourly slots
  • Insert fixed costs (step 9)
  • Insert goal hours
  • Work the plan


Now that you have set the times to work on your goals keep adding up the hours until they accumulate into their completion.

you can also download this exercise from here Goal setting


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