Using Goals to Get What You Want From Life!

Whats the one thing I can guarantee you without ever having to meet you? Nothing is going to get handed to you in life. Nothing! Everything you want must be earned through long nights, early mornings, stressful and emotional days.


Each and every desire you have in life, that you have mentioned on passing or have dreamed about is as achievable against the amount of time, effort and planning you put into getting it. When you set out on going to a particular destination in your car, you will have an idea of how long it will take you to get there and what route you’re going to take. If you don’t take a car and use public transport then you have to figure it all out. Get the bus to the train station, the train station to your destination and then maybe a taxi. Setting goals should be treated no differently. You need to set yourself a route you can take, what you need to do along that route, how much money you may need, any obstacles that you might come up against on the way. This is the only way you can increase your chances of making it happen.


We are very lucky growing up in such a tightly connected world. Compare to 10-20 years ago, the world was a much bigger place and information on certain topics was impossible to find. This makes goals easier than ever to achieve. Everything for you to increase your chances of achieving them is at your fingertips. Your biggest obstacle in achieving them is you, your mindset, work etihc, persistence, determination and planning. You!


Case Study:

I have read about a case study numerous times but I cannot find any direct evidence of it. Though I would suspect that the numbers are fairly accurate. The case study is as follows.


A graduating class from Harvard were asked; “Have you any written goals for the future?” The results were as follows:

  • 3% had written goals.
  • 10% had goals in mind, but nothing written on paper.
  • 87% had no idea of their goals.
  • 10 years later, the whole class was interviewed again. The results were astounding.
  • The 10% of students who had goals in mind, but nothing on paper were earning twice as much as the 87% who had no idea of their goals.
  • The 3% of had written goals, were earning on average, 10 times more than the 97% combined.


The above does not surprise me. 87% of people walk about life haphazardly, going with the flow expecting everything to come to them. They dream and talk about everything they want in life, but never find it in themselves to realise, nobody is going to hand you anything.


The Process:


I recommend on reading the article as a whole first, then set a date, time and place where you can have 30-60mins of peace to get through as much as possible. The chances of you going through and doing this now is very unrealistic.


Decide on the goal.

You should have goals for every area of your life that you want to see improvement. However, being realistic you probably won’t.  It really depends on what you want and what your current circumstances are. Ie whats the No.1 thing you want at the moment more than anything else. For me at one point, all I wanted was my own business. That year that was all I focused on all day every day. If you are starting out with goals, just pick one or two. The most important step is getting started and using goals. You can add more over time. These are the areas I have come up with over time.


  1. Health – Your key health goals. I want to be 79kg and go to the gym 3 days per week.
  2. Income – What you would like to make per year. I want to make €150,000 / year
  3. Relationships/Family – I want to spend more time with my family.
  4. Business/Work – You want a certain promotion, own a business,
  5. Experiences – Parachute jump, climb Mount Everest, live with a tribe.
  6. Legacy – What do you want to be remembered for? Great husband/wife, charity work, commitment,
  7. Achievements – What do you want to accomplish? Climb Mount Everest. Retire at 45.


Some of the above areas may cross with another area. This does not matter, all you want is to get everything out of your head and down on paper. I would recommend on spending no longer than  one minute doing this initially. Write down your first list as quick as possible. Usually, the most meaningful things will come to you straight away.


Recording your Goal:


Getting your goal down on paper and out of your head is critical. I like to take it one step further and write all my goals down on a google spreadsheet. From here, everything is a lot more manageable. I can set reminders and share with other people. I will always know where it is. I will share a special spreadsheet I use at the end of the article; this will make life super easy for you and increase the chances of you hitting your goals tenfold.


Set your start/deadline date

I like to have start / deadline dates. This lets me know when I need to start planning my next goal and when I need to have the goal complete by.  For every minute you spend in planning, it will save you 10min’s in execution.


Assign how much you will think it will cost to reach this Goal (Budget)

A lot of people miss out on this one. You will need a certain budget to achieve a goal. If you want to climb Mount Everest it would cost in the region of €60,000. As of today, 31/12/2013 it costs $250,000 to fly to space with Virgin Galactic. Maybe to build your dream home you will need €500,000. Whatever the amount, it’s something you need to consider.


Time Required:

To hit your goals, how much time is required by you. There is no point setting a goal of traveling around the world if you can’t take if off work. Some goals may not take any time as they are goals you accomplish over a longer period. You should consider it for some goals and ignore for others. Something I find very helpful is I take the last week off every quarter. This spaces out my holidays evenly and lets me slot plan well in advance what destinations I am going to visit. 


What’s going to stop you from hitting your goals?

Make a list of everything you can think of that is going to stop you from hitting your goals. This is powerful as too many people set goals then when they hit their first obstacle it stops them dead in their tracks.  Make these obstacles your No.1 priority action steps towards that goal, this is called negative planning. I have found that this helps me tremendously reach my goals. It puts you in a different frame of thinking and gives you a much clearer line of sight of how you can achieve your goal. There are bottlenecks to any good plan, you need to look hard ahead to spot these and find a way to eliminate them.


How can you leave you your goals so they are inevitable?

This will only apply to some goals but again, I find this very powerful. You are looking for ways to achieve your goal by putting less work on you. So if you want to get fitter, you might hire a personal trainer. If you want to learn a new skill you might book a course right this very minute so you have to go. One of my goals was to eat healthier a while back so now I get fresh fruit delivered to my office every Monday. I noticed before when I had to go out and buy it, I rarely did. I also share all my goals with my PA, once the goals are set, she helps me achieve them. She books trips, checks availability, does research etc. For every goal I complete she gets a bonus.



Inform someone of your goals, this may be your girlfriend, wife, friend or someone that may be able to help you. The more people you involve, the higher your chance of hitting everything. Make others part of your goal by sharing the experience with them, it will encourage you even more.


Break them down

Break down each goal into small manageable pieces. The smaller and more detailed they are the easier the goal will be to achieve. You’re looking for the specific steps in order of sequence from start to finish.


Action Calendar

Write down what you need to do for each goal on the following basis.

  • Daily habits / action steps
  • Weekly Habits / Action Steps
  • Monthly habits / Action Steps


Review – Set time aside to review your goals. Depending on how disciplined you are, you can either review them daily or weekly. I prefer weekly. I review all my goals on a Sunday evening, review the previous week and plan the following week.

It’s very rewarding to sit down and trash out your life goals. It doesn’t take long for this part, so I would highly advise on doing it. When you have to break down each and every goal into action steps, it can be a bit of a pain. Lucky you, I have a really easy way of doing it. I have made a google spreadsheet that guides you along the whole process and makes everything super easy for you. It will send reminders to your email when you need to start certain goals and when there deadline is approaching. It also breaks up your goals and leaves them a lot more manageable than having a piece of paper. All you have to do, is sign up for my newsletter and I will send you details of the spreadsheet together with a video showing you how to use it.


My most important question yet!

So which category do you fall into from the case study?

  • 3% had written goals.
  • 10% had goals in mind, but nothing written on paper.
  • 87% had no idea of their goals.


28 Dec 2014 Update! 

I originally wrote this article in 2013 and have learned a lot since this. Some updates that I would like to add. 

I no longer use a spreadsheet to track my goals. I now use The reason I made the move is Asana gives me the option to share my goals with other people, discuss them and make more actionable tasks under each one. I can choose to assign a task to another person or just myself. 

I spend even more time reviewing and updating my goals that ever before. It’s a bit of a cliche but I have found the more planning, preparation and reviewing I have put into my goals the bigger return I get. To make things easy for goal reviewing I take the last Friday off to review all my goals for that month. I also take the last week off of each quarter to review everything from that quarter. Taking so much time off made me nervous initially but It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Your circle of friends. Who you hang around with most will either push you towards your goals or pull you away from them. There is a famous saying from world renowned self help guru Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” This is very true. If you want to own your own business, then start mixing among entrepreneurs and business people. If you want to earn more money, then start spending more time with people who you admire and look up to. This was a difficult one for me, my childhood friends are happy and in content with where they are at the moment. I on the other hand want to push myself forward, this meant seeking out the people I wanted to be like and start trying to spend some time with them. 

Achieving your goals is by no means an easy task but when you do, it is the most satisfying feeling in the world. Once you are persistent and hungry enough to pursue your goals, nothing will stand in your way! 


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