We set goals because we want to become better versions of ourselves or we want to upgrade our life experiences. Yet, achieving your goals can be challenging. It’s easy to set them but hard to complete them.

There are times when we evaluate our lives and set intentions as we move forward to get these goals. By using this four-step blueprint, you can grow your potential. By deep-diving into your dreams and regrets, you can determine what your next steps will move you closer to your goals. This blueprint can serve as a reset button for clearing out what didn’t work in our relationships, jobs and personal growth and re-setting intentions to make our dreams and goals happen based on this valuable information.

Use this blueprint as an evaluation tool every three months to keep the data fresh and relevant. It helps important questions that can be used in setting the direction of plans and action steps. And they are a used like a roadmap for keeping you on course. Without your internal GPS knowing the internal state of your life, along with all the ups, downs and changes that can occur in a short amount of time, it’s easy to get diverted or pause in the journey.

To begin your journey by using this blueprint, answers to the following questions with as much detail as possible.

1-What’s Right and What Needs to Change

All change starts with being honest with yourself. The best way to bring up the truth about your state of mind is to ask yourself uncomfortable questions. Tap into your emotion of pain of what may not be fulfilling or what may be irritating to you. These questions can look like:

Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Feeling like something could be better? What’s missing? What could make it better? What do you want to be remembered for and are you living it right now? How do you want to make more impact on the world? What will fill that emptiness now?

If you’re like most people, you avoid pain at all costs and run towards pleasure. I’m not saying that you should live in discomfort all the time, but it is worthy to spend some energy trying to get the root of your pain. Once you have knowledge of what’s distracting you from being fully present and making conscious decisions to alleviate suffering, then you’ll be able to have more freedom to grow without having anything get in the way.

2- What Do You Want?

Ask the ordinary person and they’ll tell you what they don’t want. Examples of these answers are “I don’t like my job” or “my partner doesn’t understand me” or “I don’t enjoy going to my gym so I stopped exercising.” Most people understand more clearly know what they don’t want because pain, as explained above, is an excellent communicator.

The most difficult part of asking what you want is the realization that you might not get it. People don’t like setting themselves up for disappointment. Instead of planning for a dream vacation or starting your own business, they simply drop the issue and feel like goals are unattainable.

What people tend to forget is that achieving goals is a process. While you’re dealing with the busyness of life, work, family, you could plan for small steps of accomplishing the big dream. Let’s say that you achieve 25% of your goal of writing a book within a 6-month period? Would that feel better than getting nothing written at all. What if you could complete another 25% in 3 months because you were able to problem solve and free up more time in your schedule by getting up an hour early?

This is how goals get realistically get achieved. There’s a starting point, a long middle part, then a completion, one step at a time. As you slowly check off steps, you move towards your goal. Add in a bit of problem solving and the steps get checked off faster.

The question still remains. What do you want? Are you willing to have the courage to start on your goals? Do you have faith in yourself that you’ll figure things out to keep you headed in the right direction?

If there’s no real goal at this point, then ask yourself questions about times in your life that gave you great satisfaction. Ask yourself these questions.

What was the best year of your life? What does it look like? What three things made it the “best” year? Did you have more free time to give back to your family and community? How did you extract yourself out the busyness and chaos of each day? What lessons did learn and are you putting them into place now? Did you have a daily self-care routine? What did you do to grow personally? How did you avoid stagnation?

3-Why do you want it?

One of the most important steps is knowing why you want to accomplish this goal or dream. By understanding the importance of a goal, we can understand the emotions and motivation behind achieving the goal. This emotional energy can determine your “skin in the game” of completing the goal. It’s the juice that carries you to the finish line.

Imagine that you’ve achieved your goal? How do you feel? What is it giving you (i.e status, more money, better health)? Why are these things important to you? What would it feel like if you ignored getting this goal? What would happen in your life?

Let’s say you want status. You want to be viewed as successful by your peers. Let’s do a simple yet revealing exercise to look at the reasons you want to be seen as successful.

Ask yourself a repeating question to get deeper understanding of this goal. Ask yourself “Why is status important to me?” and write down whatever comes to mind. Give yourself 30 seconds to consider the answer. Ask yourself this question twenty times and if the answer is the same, then change it slightly to another noun or adjective. After the twenty questions have been answered, then review the answers.

Your answers should reveal some or many clues about the importance or the value of achieving the goal. Is it worth the time, energy and resources? Is there another way that I can achieve the goal (i.e. building up my own feelings of success and value so it other’s opinions don’t weigh in?)

Another example of this exercise is the goal is to earn more money. Ask yourself “what will the extra income provide?” and write down the answer for each time you ask. Ask the same question twenty times. Is the reason worth the time and resources needed to earn more money? Is there another solution like cutting out some expenses to free up more money in your budget?

If you decide that the goal is worth the effort, then you have validated the reason for achieving the goal. When you understand why the goal is important, you will have better success at completing it and staying motivated throughout the journey.

4- Create a Plan and Measure Your Success

One of my favorite sayings is “A wish stays a wish until you put action behind it.” Unless you determine how you’re going to achieve your goals, it will remain on the wish pile.

How do you determine the action plan? First, break up the large picture goal into milestones and then into small tasks. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in 6 months, then a milestone could be a loss of 5 pounds. To reach your first milestone, break up the tasks and set up a plan, such as dropping sugar from your diet and increasing exercise. Be specific regarding how often these tasks will take place. It makes sense to enforce dietary habits on a daily basis, but perhaps your target exercise tasks will occur every other day.

You need to be very specific about how and when these tasks will take place. Defining the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach. It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. Questions such as “How much?” or “How many” leads to confirmation that your task is being accomplished because it can be measured.
Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. Define deadlines for yourself that are realistic. When the target date comes and goes, you’ll be able to track your success. If you fail to achieve tasks, then perhaps it’s time to problem-solve the reasons and rethink better strategies for making the task easier to complete.

Some of the questions that you’ll answer include “what is the optimal time frame for setting the tasks in place?” and “will that allow me enough time to reach the final goal?” Also, set up back up plans in the event your task is interrupted by events in your life, which as we know from experience, it will.

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