Goals are essential for bending the future to fit our sense of calling, our dreams, and our desires. Goals empower us to be self-directed. I’ve been a generic goal setter for decades but in late 2013 I began to set better goals and my life has changed. I’ve written more books, essays, reviews, and blogs in the last five years than in my previous 15 years as a professor. I’ve gotten fitter. My relationships with family and friends are richer. I’ve even increased my income by 50%.
Without goals, time will pass and we will wake up wondering where the years went. Without goals, the agenda of others becomes our agenda (and others frequently don’t have much planned for us other than helping them achieve their goals). Without goals, we will expend the majority of our energy and time on tasks that don’t bring true satisfaction and growth. Without goals, the dreams that we have deep within will lay dormant and whither.
What do you truly want? What do you deeply sense you were created to achieve? What are God’s dreams for your life?
In this post, I will introduce you to the SET Method for setting and achieving goals. In coming weeks, I will breakdown the process more deeply and offer hacks to help you gain exponential results.
The SET Method is a three step process:
S: State your goal as a positive target. What do I want?
E: Explain the "why" behind it. Why do I want to achieve this goal
T: Take Action. "What can I do NOW to move forward?"
First, State your goal as a positive target. Ask: What do I want to achieve? Establish goals for different parts of your life: family, finances, spirituality, work, fitness, and fun. It is critical to set goals for what we really want and not merely what we should want. We must also not settle for goals that are easily achievable. I used to make the mistake of making my goals for the next year more of a “to do” list of my obligations than a true set of targets that when achieved would lead me to true growth as the person I was created to be and bring deep satisfaction in my life. Go for the moonshot rather than aiming for getting 10 feet off the ground. Don’t just look for 5% improvement. Be audacious. When we shoot for the moon, we may not make it but we’ll likely be much higher off of the ground than if our goal was simply to attain lift off.
So what do you truly want? Write these targets down using positive language. In other words, don’t set targets to avoid or flee from; set targets that pull you forward. For example, if you are presently deeply in debt, don’t state your goal merely as “I want to get out of debt.” If you achieved this, you would only have made it to $0. Instead, focus on achieving financial abundance. Be specific and include the date when you’ll achieve this. For example, I want to increase my income by 50% by Dec 31. Increasing your income would take care of your indebtedness and help you build a more robust future.
Now we are ready for step two: Explain the “why” behind your goal. Too many of us make the mistake of trying to figure out the “how” of achieving a goal. The “why” is perhaps more critical because it is the “why” that will drive us to discover the “how.” Think about our above goal of increasing income by 50%. What is the “why”? Perhaps its to provide a better life for one’s family. Perhaps its a desire to have more wealth to fund a non-profit. Find your “why” and write it down. It will become the inspiration that motivates you to achieve the goal. But make sure that you are descriptive and multi-sensory in describing your “why.” See your children smiling and laughing while enjoying a family vacation paid for in cash with the increased resources. Feel your own joy in having a more secure financial footing with a positive net worth.
Last, Take action. You’ll know that you’ve nailed the “why” when you are chomping at the bit to move to the final step. Our “why” inspires us to find the “how.” We do this by taking actions that move us toward the goal. Immediately work out an initial plan of action. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sketch out daily/weekly/monthly activities. Then, review your goal and your “why” and take action daily. If your initial plan doesn’t seem to work, revise and keep moving forward. Focusing on our sample goal of increasing income by 50%, here are some possible actions: ask for a raise, request overtime, start a side business, begin studying a new skill or topic that will allow you to earn more over time. Focus daily on the “why” to keep yourself energize. If your initial plan does not pay dividends, make revisions until you succeed.
This is the SET Method in its basic form. Stay tuned for more specific breakdowns and tips regarding each of the steps.
© 2019 Brian D. Russell