So you think you want to go somewhere in life? You truly believe that you are capable of something more than mediocrity? Well, have you written down your goals? Do you know exactly what it is that you want? Do you really know? If you do, how do you know? Why is it that this is what you want and not something else?

You will wander aimlessly through life unless you clearly define what you want, why you want it, and how you will get it. Do you want that muscular body that drives the women crazy? Then you must eat the right foods. Do the lifts. And, above all, make it a priority. Do you want your dream career to lead a stable life doing what you love? Then you must go to class. Do your homework. Spend the hours studying. Sacrifice partying and friends.

Regardless of what you want, YOU NEED TO WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS. This is so fundamental in the self-development community yet I believe very few people actually do it (for the longest time I was one of these people)! According to a Harvard business study, 3% of the population writes down its goals. And, those 3% are thirty times as successful as those who do not (and three times more success than those who have an unwritten goal in mind). If you want to experience thirty times the success, you need to write down your goals every day. Make it the first thing you do when you wake up.

I have been asked time and time again: “How do I start to change my life?”. Sure, there are plenty of good habits you can develop, such as a consistent exercise routine, meditation, and a consistent sleep schedule, however you are never going to go anywhere unless you know where you want to go!

I do not mean to make this a rant; but, rather, a call to action!

You reading this right now. Write down your damn goals. However, if you do not have any goals, start by defining some. You are probably asking yourself, “Well, how the hell do I do that?”. To you, I say go out and find something you care about. Do you care about how uncomfortable you get in social situations? Go out and meet people. Make a goal to talk to X amount of new people each week. Do you care about your grades? Make a goal to get high marks by setting aside Y hours of sacrosanct time to study.

If I am going to tell you to write down your goals, I might as well tell you how to effectively make them. Your goals should be what you call “SMART”. SMART meaning:

  1. Specific - What do you want to achieve?
  2. Measurable - What is your target that indicates success?
  3. Achievable - Is this goal realistic? Is it not too high or too low?
  4. Relevant - Is this consistent with your overall life ambitions?
  5. Time Bound - By what time will this goal be achieved?

I am not going to lie, setting a goal can be intimidating because you are defining a source of failure. Failure is one of the most difficult things to learn to overcome. It is not easy, but the only way you do this is by failing over and over again. It is for this reason that I recommend you start with microgoals. This worked for me and it can work for you too.

Essentially, start small by defining a weekly goal. Then, break that weekly goal down into bitesize daily goals. For example, if you suffer from social anxiety, set a weekly goal of talking to seven new people. This can be broken down into microgoals of talking to one new person each day. There are many opportunities to talk to new people that you might not even realize. The cashier at the gas station, someone in a class lecture, or the guy at the gym front desk.

Even if you talk to five new people, that is great! You succeeded! You did better than not trying at all! In fact, this is exactly what you want. Believe it or not, there is an art to goals. A psychological flow where the goal is just high enough that you push yourself, but not too low that you achieve it without requiring growth. This quote sums this up perfectly.

The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.” ~ Georges St-Pierre

I will leave this quote as a preview for ideas we will explore in a future post.