We all have dreams and in those dreams, we imagine ourselves doing crazy, insane, out of this world things like becoming a rock star or owning a baseball team or becoming an emperor who can speak with animals and ruling an animal empire for eternity.
I mean, how sick would that be though?!
Yes, these dreams can be outrageous, but when we start talking about achieving our dreams in a realistic sense (like, not actually being Elisa Thornberry and speaking with animals but actual real world goals), many of us still picture these dreams as far out impossible desires instead of actual possibilities.
Why is this?
I, like 99% of the population, thought like this for a long time. I have always wanted to be a rock star and play music in front of sold out crowds at Madison Square Garden with a kick ass band who sells millions of records with a mansion full of pet gorillas and waterslides and 5 star chefs making macaroni and cheese with Doritos on a daily basis. See how crazy that dream sounds? So why would I think I could ever achieve that.
Maybe the above is an exaggeration, but the point is self-doubt ruled my life when it came to achieving anything such as getting that amazing out of my league job or getting that expensive, luxury car. We tend to look at our current situation and imagine ourselves getting somewhere that we could never fathom, but in staring at out there we see this big, ugly amorphous blob of “how the hell do I get there” in front of the goal.
So, we give up and just tell ourselves that we’re just going to have to live our lives without that pet gorilla.
Well, not anymore!
Once I learned the amazing power of setting incredible, boundary stretching goals, the world began to open up and flourish with opportunity to really achieve what I’ve always wanted! Once we let ourselves believe that achieving anything in life is possible, it really does become possible!
I mean, three weeks ago I laid down in bed and went through my goal setting exercise and came up with “I am going to start a blog that will inspire people across the world to achieve happiness and success.” And look, here I am! F’ing doing it!
Still doubting? Think about this:
Every celebrity, every self-made millionaire, every president, every king and queen, every lion trainer, every mountain climber and every ukulele enthusiast is just like us: a living, breathing human being.
No different. They have hearts, they have brains and they have genitalia.
What makes them different is how they stretch themselves to achieve. How they picture what they want out of life and grab it by the horns!
I could sit here for hours and write about every person who has started with nothing and made something of themselves. The list is literally endless. All ages, races, sexes; everything! I could literally write an entire book on the subject (and perhaps I shall, hmmm, new goal!).
But John, they have this and they have that?! I’ll never have this and I’ll never have that!
True, but they’ll never be you!
We’re all special in our own way. We all have talents and skills and thoughts that no one else in the world thinks. We all have our own desires and our own wants. What separates us is how far we’re willing to go, how much we’re willing to sacrifice, and how much adversity we’re willing to withstand to get what we want.
So what is it that each of us wants and how do we go about achieving these things.
Glad you ask, homie!
Here are my 7 steps to setting and achieving meaningful, life changing goals!
- Open yourself to endless possibilities
Step one begins with opening yourself up to the idea that the only thing separating you from everything you’ve ever wanted in the world is hard work. That’s it! Anyone who has ever achieved anything has first started with believing they could.
Like J.K. Rowling who went from a 31 year old mother on welfare to creating the best-selling series of all time and the highest grossing film series in history!
Like Mark Cuban who went from a bartender at 25 to a multi-billionaire owner of a basketball team! A fricken basketball team!
Remember that we are no different than both of these individuals on the outside.
Open yourself up to the possibility that you really can write the next best-selling fantasy story or make so much money you can buy a basketball team, because just like you, they believed they could achieve these things.
- Write down as many goals as possible
So we know that we can do anything and achieve anything through hard work, but maybe we don’t know exactly what it is we want. This is a challenge. In order to even beginning aiming at achieving our goals, we have to have a clear picture of what they are.
Here’s a great exercise I like to do to brainstorm goal ideas.
Grab a piece of a paper and a pen. Seriously! Only these two items! A computer won’t work and a pencil you can erase. We want to actually feel ourselves move our hand and see ourselves write our goals.
Then, for 5 minutes, write as many goals as possible. Write until you feel like your wrist is going to detach itself, pack it’s bags for Mexico and leave you.
And write every crazy goal idea you have. Own your own island. Make a million dollars. Make a billion dollars. Make so much money you can sleep on a bed of it. Play two instruments at once. Throw snowballs at the white house. Eat lunch with Richard Branson. Every single goal is worth it.
After 5 minutes, you should have at least a page filled with potential goals. Now…
- Determine how long each goal will take
Now that we’ve let the monkey out of the bag and released our imagination on a poor piece of loose leaf paper, it’s time to dial back at take a look at each one of those goals.
Next to each goal, write down how long achieving this goal would take. 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? 10? 50? Whatever you think, put it down and…
- Pick one goal in different categories
Hopefully, we’ve now got plenty of goals written down to select from, so our next order of business is breaking these goals apart into different categories. Usually the categories to go with here are Financial, Fun, and Personal/World Growth.
Financial- Anything along the lines of making some absurd amount of money, starting a business, balancing our checking account, or investing in the stock market. Money related is the key here.
Fun- This could be something such as owning a speed boat, buying a castle, traveling to Tahiti, or creating an international nerf gun league. These goals are more about making you smile.
Personal/Worth Growth– Any kind of goal that would better yourself such as learning a language, exercising, or grafting robotic eyes to give yourself laser vision. This could also include goals that would better the world such as planting trees, volunteering, or grafting robotic eyes to give others laser vision.
Once the goals have been broken apart by category, it’s time to select which ones to focus on.
- Pick one goal from each category that can be completed within a year
Yes, do this! This will set us up for success right away and will allow us to see changes to our life relatively soon.
- Imagine the outcome and picture it everyday
I know that this step sounds lame and unnecessary, but trust me when I say that it is critical for success!
First, we need to see exactly what these changes will do for us. If we want to learn to speak French, we need to see ourselves ordering food in France and having the waiter smile at us for knowing his home country language. Or if we want to own a yacht, we need to see us throwing a party on said yacht with Macklemore and having a killer time!
Trust me, there will come a time after we’ve started working towards our goals that we lose focus and slip. We might lose motivation or inspiration or maybe there is just so much going on in life that we don’t have time to put in the work.
This is the exact time we need to picture that outcome again and re-motivate ourselves to achieve that goal.
- Start right now!
Immediately! As soon as we’re done setting our goals, we have to start working on them. There is no better time than today and sometimes someday becomes never.
Get the ball rolling and get the momentum going on what you want to achieve. Life is just a series of goals waiting to be accomplished to make life exactly what we want.
Now get out there and do it, you badass!