How to accomplish your goals
“In life, the magic can be found in the constraint. Lack of resources, lack of a certain appeal … these things can be looked at as detriments to our success or catalysts for it.” —Jordan Thibodeau
Thank you for joining this class. My name is Jordan Thibodeau. I’m the founder of the Silicon Valley Investors Club, and I’ve interviewed bestselling authors, venture capitalists, world champion poker players, billionaire hedge fund managers, and CEOs to learn what makes them successful. I’m joined by Samara Veler, a top-notch, self-made editor. We have combined our goal-setting experience to provide you with a comprehensive course about how to create, prioritize, tackle, track, and accomplish even your most difficult goals.
In the abstract, completing your goals sounds easy. But actually putting in the time and work to achieve them is much like riding a roller coaster.
The Big Goal Emotional Roller Coaster
The Big Goal Emotional Roller Coaster is a ride that all of us have to endure as we try to achieve our dreams. During this undertaking, we will all go through multiple emotional phases that, if not properly prepared for, could end up knocking us off track altogether.
Here are the phases of the Big Goal Emotional Roller Coaster:
1. When you first start working on a new goal, you will be hit with a jolt of inspiration.
2. This inspiration will soon shift to excitement as you anticipate all the possibilities that your completed goal could open up for you.
3. Not long after your inspiration shifts to excitement, your excitement will turn to euphoria, and you’ll feel like nothing can stop you from achieving your goal.
4. Unfortunately, this euphoria won’t last long. As you work on your goal, reality will start to kick in, and you will realize that a few of your estimates and assumptions were a little off. It will actually take a great deal of hard work to complete your goal.
5. At this point, if you allow it to, this realization that your goal isn’t going to be as easy as it seemed will plunge you into the Pit of Quitter’s Despair. This is where most people stop working on their goal and convince themselves that they will never succeed.
6. Only a determined few are able to reflect upon what has transpired, reset their expectations, and remember why they set this goal in the first place. This is necessary to climb out of the Pit.
7. After this reflection, you will redouble your efforts and begin to notice that you’re making progress.
8. Finally, your progress will gain enough momentum to propel you up to the finish line, and you will accomplish your goal. Success!
What You Will Learn in This Class
This class will help you identify why you have struggled to achieve your goals in the past and provide you with the tools you need to accomplish your goals in the future. The lessons contained within are backed up by scientific research and inspired by the techniques that Samara and I have both personally used to achieve our own biggest goals. By the end of this class, you will know:
• how to choose between competing goals
• how to identify the actions that are most critical to achieving your goals
• how to develop rituals to successfully conquer your goals
• how to build a schedule that will help you reach your goals
• how to allocate enough time to complete multiple goals simultaneously
• how to track your progress toward your goals
• how to work with yourself while accomplishing your goals
• how to prevent yourself from unconsciously sabotaging your goals
• how to strengthen and re-strengthen your commitment to your goals
• how to fortify yourself against distractions from your goals
• how to adjust your plans in response to unattainable goals
• how to recover from setbacks while struggling to achieve your goals
• how to recognize when you’ve accomplished your goals
• how to wield what you have learned to launch a brand-new goal
Lesson 1. How to Pick the Best Goal
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
The first step to completing any goal in life is to choose what that goal will be.
Differentiating between Goals and Big Goals
First off, let’s establish an important distinction: the difference between goals and Big Goals. Everyone has many goals, or tasks that they want to complete.
For this course, we will primarily be discussing Big Goals—our most impactful, life-changing projects that will take a significant amount of time and consistent effort to achieve. Examples of everyday goals could range from buying this week’s groceries to getting the house presentable for guests before an occasion. Examples of Big Goals could include learning a new language, writing a book, losing weight, creating a new app, living a healthier lifestyle, spending more time with your family, meeting the love of your life, or anything else that requires hard work to accomplish.
Too Many Goals to Choose From
We live in a time of unparalleled opportunity, and this privilege comes with both benefits and consequences. While we are each more capable of accomplishing what we want today than our ancestors were at any other point in history, we are also more uncertain about which goals we should commit our focus to. We suffer from analysis paralysis in that we spend more time deciding which goal to pick than actually completing anything. Many of us fear that working on one goal at a time will cause us to forfeit the chance to accomplish other goals. But that thinking is flawed. We must dedicate ourselves to our one most important Big Goal and sideline all the others.
Helpful Steps for Choosing a Big Goal
Now it’s time to choose your Big Goal. Which of your goals should you choose? For some people, this choice is simple: It’s the goal we’ve been dreaming of for weeks, months, or even longer. However, for many others, this choice isn’t so straightforward. A few of us may struggle to narrow down our list of goals to just one. If you can’t decide which goal to choose, try following these steps:
Step 1. Write out a list of all the goals you hope to accomplish.
Step 2. Look at this list and answer the following questions:
• Do any of your goals feel less important than the others?
Shelve those goals for now. We will discuss how to incorporate these smaller goals into your schedule later on in this course.
• Are any of your goals time dependent?
Will delaying their completion put you at a disadvantage, either financially, emotionally, or socially? Put a star next to those goals. It’s likely that one of these will be your Big Goal.
• Are any of your goals more vague than specific?
Vague goals make it hard to track your progress. Ideally, your Big Goal will be specific enough for you to clearly measure your progress as you work toward success. Goals like “be a stay-at-home parent,” “become wealthy,” and “afford a larger apartment” are great places to start, but they’re far too lofty and vague to build an effective Goal System around. Cross these off your list.
• Are any of your goals unachievable within your current means?
These goals should be sidelined for now. They can be tackled later.
• Do any of your goals depend on someone else to complete?
For example, the goal “get a promotion” relies heavily on the actions of your boss and coworkers and not solely on your own choices. Goals like this are complicated because doing everything right doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make any meaningful headway on them. Their success depends too heavily on someone else’s actions. Instead, you may see more success by reframing these goals so they don’t rely on other people. Instead of “get a promotion,” you could aim to improve your work performance and arrive on time every day.
Step 3. Review your new list of goals.
You may have narrowed your options down to one Big Goal already, or you may still have a few items to choose between. (If any of your items have been starred, then you should cross off the remaining unstarred goals for the moment.) Now, looking at your remaining goals, which one would make you feel the most fulfilled to have completed? Which one tugs at your heartstrings and makes you feel the most motivated? This should be your Big Goal.
Please complete the following homework exercise. Once we explain the steps, please pause and reflect on them.
1. Choose a Big Goal. If you don’t know which goal to choose, then list out all your options and follow the directions above until you have just one goal remaining. This will be the Big Goal that you’ll work toward for the duration of this course.
2. Make a copy of our Goal Journal to record your Big Goal.
3. Keep a record of which goals you have decided to sideline; it’s likely that one of these will soon become your next Big Goal.
In our next lesson, we’ll learn how to break down a Big Goal into small and manageable steps.
Samara Veler and Jordan Thibodeau
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