Have you ever woken up in the morning and asked yourself
“What am I doing with my life?”, “Where am I going?”, “Where did my life go?”, “Where did all the time go?”, “I never imagining when I was a teenager, that I would be here..at this age..stuck in a rut?”. And then you realise that life has just passed you by, that you have just let life happen to you and you don’t even have a plan about what you really want to happen?
Well, when I turned 40, all these thoughts were circling through my head. I was divorced, I didn’t own a home, I hated my job, I hated the toxic relationships I was attracting and couldn’t believe I had amounted to nothing in the 40 years I had been alive.
I had been through depression, and come out the other side, so I didn’t wallow in these thoughts, instead I TOOK ACTION. I spent an exorbitant amount of money for a Birthday present for myself which was a trip for myself to Bali to teach me how to make money online.
It was a life changing experience and I did learn all these skills, however it took me years to put it into practise.
In moments like this, I would suggest setting and writing down goals. As, once I learned this imperative skill it was the moment my life started to get a clear purpose and direction. Started to and still is.
“There are five important things for living a successful and fulfilling life: never stop dreaming, never stop believing, never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning.”
― Roy Bennett
Was everything just fine before that moment?
Of course, it was and when I think about it, I’ve always had some goals that I followed, loosely. I just didn’t have a plan to ensure that I reached them. I guess not having set concrete goals for myself and not being clear on what I wanted in my life and a path for myself meant that some of the things I wanted were things I thought I wanted for myself and might not have come from me, they might have been something that somebody else gave me an “idea” about what I wanted and where I should be going. And if I followed them by knowing that I really want to achieve them or some of them I just “had to”.
I wasn’t an academic student, I was into arts and loved being creative, I started a Tafe (Technical and further education institute) course straight out of High School, as I wasn’t able to go to university due to my grades not being high enough. I was interested in pursuing interior design, as I wanted a career doing something creative. Those dreams halted very quickly when I found myself pregnant at eighteen years of age, in that first year of studies. Finding a good job, with a Tertiary degree now seemed like it wasn’t an option.
That was how I felt at that time, I look back now and I could have pursued studies, as my parents were very supportive, but being a good mother was more important to me than studying. I took a low paying office job to support my child, which left me no time or desire to study. Neither of my parents went to university, so neither of then encouraged me to pursue extra learning to be able to be qualified for a good job.
I jumped from job to job, trying to find something that I liked and that would give me some sort of job satisfaction. I found a role in direct selling at the age of 27 and loved the work life balance. I made a tonne of money and trained a team. I had to hide my success from my husband as he was not supportive and didn’t see it as a real job.
After we were divorced and I had a mental breakdown and got myself a “real job”, I was even more unhappy, as now I was working 9-5 and earning a 1/4 of what I was working for myself. I desperately wanted the life I had in that Direct selling role. I had been turned off Party Plan, due to the company I had been with, albeit 10 years, not supporting me in my health issues and I still had to trade my time for money.
I found myself years older and at this age just living my life aimlessly day after day, not going anywhere. I didn’t have any clear goals, just things I dreamed of that I would have loved to do. The fact is that one can live a life doing what life puts in front of them as tasks and issues. There’s nothing actually wrong with that. For me personally, when I turned 40, I suddenly had in the forefront of my mind lots of questions, the big one was about meaning. What was the reason for me being in this life? What was my purpose?
I guess getting divorced and having to find myself, after being lost in a 12 year marriage made these questions surface. Whatever it was, I was now determined to find my purpose, find meaning in my life. I wanted to get rid of the feeling I had that I had wasted enough time and that I did have dreams that needed to be followed and that I wanted my life to mean something. I wanted to leave a legacy of my existence.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S Lewis
In the rush of everyday life and trauma, it turns out that we forget our dreams, forget what we dreamed about and wanted as children. We begin to live a life of reaction responding to everything that the daily routine gives us as tasks. So we spend more and more time on the daily tasks at work and at home and less time in order to follow our true desires. We even spend less time to think about “what I actually want?”.
So..Do YOU need to set GOALS?
If you are one of those people, who find themselves thinking, just like I did, about where you are in your life, why you are stuck and where do you really want to be.. I would love to share a few tips, because YES you will need to set goals. I would like to help you set and follow your goals. Then all you have to do is “just” make the first step … and of course follow through with the plan to achieve them.
Here are 5 steps in Goal Setting:
1. Write your GOAL’s down
Write down everything that you would like to achieve in your life. This can take some time, when you have never thought about what you really want. Put the list in a place where your eyes will meet it often. The more often you see it, the more your thoughts and focus will return to what you really care about and the more often you can think how to make the next small step towards achieving what you want. You will begin to see opportunities and come up with ideas that have eluded you so far. Keep writing the list until you have a clear picture of all the things you want for your future.
I create Visions of the things I want long term. These are also my Long term goals. I like to create a Vision Board where I put these things I want in my life on it, so I am reminded regularly how I want my life to be.
There is evidence that when one has a clear focus, their thoughts are turned into reality.
2. Regularly revise your old goals and set new ones
It is not a must that you have to achieve all the goals you’ve already set. While following the path to a goal you may realize that this is not exactly your goal. And then you can change it or quit it – just be sure you are aware of the reasons why. It is a good idea to check and re-think your goals from time to time and not just follow them blindly once they are set. Also since the last time you revised your goals has probably been some time and it is likely that you have new goals to add. Add them but be aware they should not get too much. It is considered that the maximum number of goals should not exceed 7.
Ok, but how often to revise them? It is good to make it at least once a year. Each of us has a time in the year in which usually thinks about what’s going on in life, about the accomplishments, the issues, about what would like to achieve, etc.
Whether it’s Christmas / New Year or around your birthday when another year is counted, use these moments to review, reconsider and correct the direction you are moving to.
3. Put time frames on your goals
A 90 day action plan goal is the easiest to set, because they are easier to achieve. They are the “small” goals, which you want to achieve in the next months or a year. Beside them, it is good to have long term goals too, that have time frames of 3, 5 or even 10, 20 years.
Why? Because the action plan goals are meant to define paths to reach the Long Term goals or your Vision. Your Long Term Goals will give you the perspective to choose which of the action goals are more important than the other and also make the action goals aligned with each other.
You want to be in a good shape and set a goal to have the “dream body” in a years time. In order to reach that you decide to go to the gym 4 times a week. In the same time, you also have a goal to do something nice for yourself every day just for the pleasure of it.
And there comes the moment in which you are standing in your favourite Cafe in front of a delicious piece of cake wondering whether you should buy it or not. On one hand you train in the gym regularly and take care of your body, but on the other hand, you want to have the pleasure of eating the amazing piece of cake.
It turns out that your goals are not aligned and you have to choose which one is more important to you. If you really want to achieve a goal to be in good shape and health, then the choice is obvious, although maybe not very easy.
The idea, however, is to have a clear understanding how your actions are aligned with the different goals you have and to take a conscious choice, no matter what you decide to compromise on.
You also have another choice – when you find a conflict like this you may choose to change your goals in a way that you will not have to take heartbreaking decisions every time you walk past the bakery
And finally, visions, often help us answer the most important question:
4. What is your WHY?
Why do you want to achieve that goal? When you write down your goals next to each of them add a description answering as detailed as possible “why do I want to achieve that?”, “why this is important for me?”. Pick as many reasons as possible. While you make the list you may find out that some of the goals are not as important for you as it seemed in the beginning or vice versa – to realize that an “accidentally” set goal is really important.
The answers to the question “why” are the fuel, that will drive you forward and will motivate you to chase and pursue the goal.
Here is one of my favourite examples. You have a vision for your personal growth and want to go to a very good but expensive Event. So you set a goal “Go to Event X”. Then start saving for that and you will need a few months for that (it IS an expensive one).
Month after month you follow that goal, saving for the Event. However at some point “Go to Event X” becomes just a phrase and at the same time, there are so many nice things you could use the money for. In that moment if you have access to your “why list”, its highly likely that you will be re-motivated and inspired to stick to your goal, instead of using the money for something else.
Here’s what a list like this looks:
“I want to go to Event X”:
- because it will improve my skills for my business.
- this will give me great opportunities to improve my life.
- because I love to do certain things and in that seminar I will gain more knowledge how to do them better. Once I get good enough I can do that for other people, make money doing it and live my dream life.
- because I will learn new things and this area of personal growth really inspires me
- this way I will make my next step on the path of being a better person
- because I will learn new things about myself and my capabilities etc.
After you have answered the “why” question and you are clear about why you want to achieve your goals there is one last step to make in order to achieve your goals.
5. Follow the Action Plan!
That may sound easy in words, but sometimes that is the hardest part. Either the goal seems too big and unachievable or we lack the persistence to follow it or we have too many daily issues to solve and no time for anything else, etc.
The key is to break up how to achieve the goal into small steps. Then regularly make the steps. Each week, each month, each year. You may be surprised how the small victories gain progress and unnoticeably you find yourself so much closer to reaching the goal.
I have been setting and working on my goals for the past 4 years, whilst I wish I could have been doing this for way longer than that, I have already achieved goals that I would never have been able to without a system. I have travelled to the Philippines with a friend, I have found my perfect life partner, I planned my Dream wedding in only 4 weeks, I have created my own website, I have lost 10kg and taken control of my health and I have launched my own side hustle.
I use my “Action Plan” all the time and improve it constantly. I have been asked to share what I do with others, so that they can have a plan to identify what they want, make it a clear goal with a date they want to achieve it by and why they want to achieve it. Then create an action plan with time frames which will help people to achieve what they want in life and feel more satisfied, more joyful, more confident. And until that happens I will share with you everything that I’ve learned so far and everything I come across in the future.
Click here To follow me on Facebook and be notified of my next instalment!