How to Set and Achieve Big Goals in Life

What would you like your life to be like in 5 years? What have you planned to complete by the end of this month? What is the ultimate objective of your current work? For such questions, almost 90% of us have no specific answers. If you desire a prosperous life with maximum productivity, it is vital to set goals in life – be it small or big. No matter how old or young you are, this article will outline a definitive path towards success.

The fact is that the road ahead may not always be smooth. What awaits on the path ahead may not always be clear to us. This happens to be a key reason behind our fear in setting big goals in life. Clearly defined goals play a vital role in any success story – no matter how big or small. Having goals in life has many benefits that we know (and tend to overlook). Goals render a sense of purpose in life. They provide direction like a compass does, not to mention the great satisfaction it brings when each goal gets accomplished.

There’s much for us to know in today’s world about setting goals. They all seem different but boils down to a few key principles. Achieving your goals may not be as hard or as easy as you may think. You will definitely have challenges and setbacks on the way. The key is simply to keep going without losing hope. Focus on the goal, not the progress.

You can apply these steps to achieve more than just one goal – be it long term or short term goals. For your convenience in understanding however, I will write the steps around setting one big goal. This way, it is going to be much easier if you are just starting to get serious about getting things done in life.

1. Find Your True Passion

How to Achieve Goals in Life

If waking up every morning to go to work makes you feel sick or you have a “snooze addiction” on your work days – you are unconsciously running away from a productive and prosperous life. Realistically speaking, you must love what you do in order to achieve any goal in life – no matter how big or small.

Therefore, it is very important to set goals within the boundaries of your passion. If your true passion is in food business, you have got to be doing something around that. Don’t fall for temporary impressions caused by others’ success stories.

Quick Story: In Maldives, I have often seen people trying to “copy” others’ success. For example, a neighbor sets up a food cart by the beach and starts making a lot of money in a short amount of time. The story goes viral, and many food carts start popping up all around the island. Unfortunately, majority of them hardly make a significant income. This trend continues not only with food carts, but many other small and big ventures all around the country.

Here’s one way you can find your passion. If you are given only 5 years to live, what are the 5 most important things you want to accomplish before you die?
Out of those, if you could only pick one thing, what would it be?

If you find it difficult to pick one among the five, eliminate one at a time. The last one to remain should be the best you can aim at.

2. Define Your Goal

How to Achieve Goals in Life

Now that you identified your passion, it is time to clearly define what you want – your goal. Moving forward without a clear goal in life is like laying bricks without knowing what you are trying to build. It is NECESSARY to know in advance, what you are aiming at. From getting a promotion at work to becoming a multi-millionaire, learning to play piano to becoming a bestselling author, no dream is too big and no dreamer too small. If your goal is set around your passion, YOU CAN DO IT!

Don’t be scared to set your goals higher. You can never get out of a room that you are scared to step out of. Always remember, no successful person naturally woke up one day and found success. The lives of successful people you see around the world are actually final products of hard work and patience. They might have taken many years to reach there, or much shorter. Your count completely depends on your goal and several other factors.

Write it down:

Take a piece of paper and write your goal at the top. For example, “Become a Professional Butler by January 2019”. The more details, the better your chances of achieving it. Right below it, write down what your life would then be like, in present tense – as if you have already accomplished the goal. Here’s a dummy list based on the example above:

  • I work as a butler for one of the top 5 resorts in the Maldives.
  • I make great experiences for my guests.
  • I earn XXXX monthly.
  • I own a beautiful apartment in CITY.
  • My management and colleagues respect me as I respect them.
  • My parents are proud of me for who I have become.

By now, you should have a goal set based on something you are truly passionate about, and a definition of what your life would be like once you reach the goal. Call it your “GOAL STATEMENT“.

3. Break It Down

How many times have you given up something that you wanted so badly, just because you thought it would be impossible? Or just because someone said you can’t do it. Probably more than just a few times. Again, you cannot get out of a room that you are scared to step out of. This is where “breaking down” a goal becomes a vital step.

How to Achieve Goals in Life

The illustration above is just for demonstration. Here, John sets his goal to reach $1 million. He chunked up his goal into 9 steps, starting from “Do the research” all the way to “Scale up the business”. Thereafter, John focused on one step at a time: as he did the research, he only focused on the research alone and nothing else except his end goal in mind.

Likewise, you can write down your goal, followed by ALL the things you can do to achieve it. I would suggest you write at least 20. The more you can write, the easier your road ahead. This is your PLAN OF ACTIONS to achieve your ultimate goal.

Note: Keep feasibility in sight. It is always a good idea to think with an open mind, about the feasibility of your goal. Earning a million dollars in 30 days may only be possible if you have the access to the required resources.

4. Write and Review Your Goals Daily

How to Achieve Goals in Life

Writing down and reviewing your goals daily increases your chances of achieving them. This is a method I have tested over time and is proven to be extremely effective in achieving big goals in life.
Have a notebook with you especially for this purpose. Write down your GOAL STATEMENT and PLAN OF ACTIONS – all in present tense – daily in the morning. Write as though you have already achieved the goals.

It is important that you do so without referring to what you have written the previous day. This way, some of the things on your plan of actions and some definitions on your goal statement will change over time.

Once you are done writing, take a moment to read what you have just written. Repeat the reading right before going to bed. Read it loud enough so only you could hear.

Do not take too much time doing this. It may take some time in the beginning. Over time however, you will need only 10-15 minutes for this task daily.

A quick insight:

In a remarkable study conducted in the Harvard MBA Program, graduate students were asked if they had set clear, written goals for the future. Surprisingly, only 3% had written goals, 13% had goals in mind and 84% had no goals at all. Just take a moment and figure out which group you currently belong to.

After 10 years, the same students were interviewed again, and the results came out were eye-opening.

The 13% of students who just had goals in mind, but did not write them, earned twice more than those who had no goals at all.

The 3% who had written goals were earning on an average 10 times more than the remaining 97% of students combined.

You are likely to accomplish greater goals in life if you write and review them daily.

That said, would you not take 10-15 minutes daily for a simple habit that could change your life? If you find it hard to believe, give it a try for just 21 days, without skipping a single day. If you do so, you will see significant results in your work, the way you perceive life and the level of your satisfaction.

5. Keep Your Goals to Yourself

How to Achieve Goals in Life

Psychological tests have proven that your chance of achieving a goal gets only lower if you tell someone about it. If your weight loss goal is a common topic in your social circles for example, you are less likely to achieve your goal weight. Telling someone tricks your mind to partly see the achievement. Again, this is something I have very closely experienced.

Therefore, always remember to keep your goals to yourself. This is not necessarily to keep it as a secret on purpose, but just to keep yourself from talking about it.

If you have a mentor or a like minded close friend…

Having a mentor to guide you and keep yourself accountable is one of the best things you can do (applicable to certain types of goals). If you cannot find a mentor, a like minded, reliable and trustworthy friend can be ideal too. I have seen many mentors who had helped ordinary people in setting and achieving big goals in life.

6. Patience & Persistence

How to Achieve Goals in Life

You must believe in yourself and your goal, before you set yourself up for it. This is important to tackle the “Devil of Impatience” that awaits you at the beginning of every hardship you face along the way. It will try to talk you out of your way quite convincingly. Therefore, you must be packed with patience and persistence to fight against impatience.

How many times have you heard yourself, your friends or family members making “New Year Resolutions” – something ancient Babylonians started some 4000 years ago. Today, this is a global trend that happens at the end of every single year. The sad thing is however, over 80% of people who set New Year Resolutions quit before February of the same year.

When impatience knocks on your door, shift your focus towards your end goal. This should be relatively easier for you as long as you write and review your goals daily.

7. Set Milestones for Celebration

How to Achieve Goals in Life

Now matter how young or how old you are, any goal you accomplish will bring you excitement. In my experience and opinion, celebrating the milestones you achieve along the way will help strengthen your focus and persistence.

If your goal is to lose 40 pounds for example, you may set 4 milestones: celebrate every 10 pounds you burn.

If your goal is to have $100,000 balance within 12 months, treat yourself with something you like by every $12,000 you earn to keep. For example, you made the first $10,000 and treated yourself with a brand new iPhone 7 Plus. Perhaps you may want to upgrade your iPad to an iPad Pro? You could purchase one only once you reach $24,000 in total.

Important: You’d only be silly to celebrate with all what you’ve got. Make wise investments into such celebrations.

Another idea…

Perhaps you have always wanted to take your family on a luxury vacation. Your big goal is to make $500,000 per year. Commit to spare 3% of your monthly earnings for your holiday budget. Now, the more you earn monthly, the bigger your holiday budget.

Apply a twist if you like extra intensity. If you earn $20,000 this month, spare 2 per cent / earn $40,000+, spare 3 per cent. The logic here is, you must work more to get more – creatively applied in practice.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can set milestones and celebrate on your way to achieving big goals in life.

Ready to set big goals in life?

If you are still reading, that proves how committed you are towards your life ahead. I hope what you have learned in this article were mostly what you already knew, but things you did not pay much attention to.

So, how do you start? Prepare your mind, get a pen and a notebook, and get yourself started.

NOW is the best time. Get yourself moving towards big goals in life!

Abdulla Hussain

Abdulla is a freelance designer, creative director and entrepreneur from the Maldives. With primary focus on web design, user interface and experience design for digital products, Abdulla has shared his expertise with over 195 clients from 22 different countries worldwide since 2013. Besides work, Abdulla can be seen spending time with his family, reading a book or simply thinking of ideas.

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