Every January, I write down a set of goals. Some are financial. Some relate to my business. And some are personal. When I put my new list down on paper, I feel powerful and confident. Here are the things I will accomplish this year. Clean and simple. I imagine how I will feel when they are completed, and that feeling is good.
Start Today by Selecting Your Goals – the Rest Is Easy
Take out a sheet of paper. Title it “Life’s Goals” (if you have no shame) or “Stuff to Do Before I Croak” (if you are afraid someone will see it).
Now make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Everything. Making a lot of money. Writing books. Traveling to Rome. Learning to tap dance. Write till you are done.
Next, you need to convert that list into long-term Life Goals. One of them, of course, will be to build wealth – not in order to accumulate money, but because of what that money can help you accomplish in terms that are more important. After all, financial independence gives you the ability to help other people, provide for your family, pursue your intellectual and artistic interests, and become an inspiration to members of your community.
Narrow your list down to four. Think in terms of a long-term wealth-building goal, a long-term health goal, a long-term personal-relationship goal, and a long-term personal growth and development goal.
These are your top priorities, your bottom-line objectives.
Of the four, pick one that is numero uno. On a separate sheet of paper – or perhaps on an index card – write down your four Life Goals with the top choice on top. Highlight that one.
The plan you are about to learn will pretty much guarantee that you will achieve all four of these objectives. It will definitely allow you to complete the first one. How good is that? Consider this: If you haven’t done these things yet and you’re over 30, there is an 80% chance that you won’t accomplish them … ever.
Unless you follow this program.
Okay. Here’s what you need to do now. Convert those four goals into five-year mid-term objectives. For example, let’s say that one of your Life Goals is to have a net worth of $10 million by the time you retire. And let’s say you want to retire in 10 years. You might make “having a $5 million net worth” your five-year goal. Now, use this five-year list to create a one-year list. To have a net worth of $5 million in five years, you will have to have a net worth of $1 million at the end of one year. Figure out what you have to do to – invest in real estate, start a new business, save more – to reach that one-year goal. Then move on to year two, year three, and so on. Setting Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Objectives
After you’ve developed yearly goals, you need to break them down into manageable, bite-sized monthly objectives.
Let’s say one of your yearly objectives is to get a business started. So you would break that down into 12 monthly goals – what you need to do each month to get your business up and running, from doing the initial research to the grand opening.
Then, break each of those 12 monthly goals into four weekly goals. For instance, if your first monthly goal in getting a new business started is to identify a good business opportunity, perhaps each of your four weekly goals will be to research at least 10 possibilities.
Finally, you work your way down to the action you will take each day to fulfill your weekly objectives. If you have made a commitment to research 10 business opportunities each week, one of the top priorities on your daily “to-do” list will be to research two possibilities.
Expect to spend a good chunk of time planning out your year. Once a month, you’ll sit down for two or three hours to map out your goals for the next four weeks. Once a week, you’ll spend one hour establishing your goals for the next seven days. And you’ll spend about 30 minutes each morning organizing your day.
I know that sounds like a lot, but you’re really spending no more than the equivalent of a few days a year to map out your strategy for achieving your long-term Life Goals.
This is how I establish my own goals, focus my objectives, and set daily tasks. It’s not, by any means, an entirely original system. It’s a patchwork of systems that have been developed by others and added to by me. But there is something about this particular system that seems to work.
It works so well, in fact, that I encourage everyone who works for me to use it. Those who do find that it works very well. I think you will too.[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]