We know we’re supposed to set and follow through with goals.
But we don’t.
Why is that?
In this episode, I walk you through the exact process of how to set goals – the right way.
Want new results in your future?
I’ll show you how to get whatever it is you want.
The time to start is now.
Here are more of my favorite goal setting resources:
- Impossible Goals (podcast)
- The Magic Of Setting Impossible Goals (blog post)
- Why You Need To Set An Impossible Goal (YouTube video)
- Personal Development Master Class (free training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Full How To Set Goals Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast, where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hi, I am Natalie and I am so excited to be starting this podcast. It is episode one and it has been a long time coming. I am not even going to give you background about who I am. I just want to provide value in today’s episode, but if you want to read more about my story, you can find it at Nataliebacon.com/about NATALIE BACON.com/about.
Today I am so excited to talk with you about how to set goals. This is like my favorite thing. It’s amazing. No, because the reason that I love setting goals is that you can literally create your future from your future instead of repeating the past and you can design the exact dream life that you want.
So it’s super fun and it’s super exciting. And I’ve done this in every area of my life really, and especially in my career with wanting to become an attorney, which I did. And then wanting to become a financial planner, which I did, and then wanting to become a full time business owner that started off with a blog.
And I did that by setting goals and working backward to come up with all of the actions I needed to take in order to get it done. So if you want to get new results in your future, this is the process that you need to do. I see so many people doing this wrong. What they’ll do is they’ll just start from the present and work forward instead of setting a goal and working backward. So you want to make sure that you have like this goal out there and then you, you break it down so you’re working backwards.
So like there’s, it’s an impossibility that you don’t accomplish. It works every time. If you don’t have any goals right now, I want you to ask yourself why. This is like the exact perfect opportunity for you to start setting goals, like one goal at a time so that you can design the exact future that you want.
I highly recommend it. I recommend writing down your goals. They don’t have to be huge at first if you’re not used to it and you don’t have to do a bunch. In fact, I always recommend just starting with one goal at a time. You know, we have crazy lives in terms of all of the choices we have to make. So if you can just focus on one thing at once, it will make your life so much easier and more likely that you will accomplish your goal. Okay. So I want to dive into the process and I’ll kind of sprinkle my story throughout as well.
So the first step to the goal setting process is for you to create, um, visions for the eight life categories. So the eight life categories are health, relationships, career or business, money, personal and spiritual development, environment and space, recreation and fun. And then volunteering and contribution, the one that people always ask me about and get hung up on is like environment and space.
And what that means is like your home life or your office, your, your space. Is it organized as a clutter-free? That sort of environment is what I’m talking about. The other environment, you know if you’re passionate about, uh, that would be through like volunteer and contribution. So you have these eight life categories and what you want to do next is come up with a vision for it.
And this is like the broad way that you want to live. So I always think about for money, right? For um, your, the money category you would think of like, what’s your vision? Do you want to have a vision where you retire really early and then just spend the rest of your days like playing or volunteering or something like that would be the more the fire movement, financial independence, retire early movement, which is totally different than my money vision, which is um, more like entrepreneurship.
I want to work as long as I can and I want to provide value and give back in that way through my work, through a business. So you kind of have this idea of this like longterm approach to each area of your life. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but just write it down what that vision would be so that you kind of know where you’re headed.
So the person who wants to retire early and um, have a few million in the bank and like that’s it. They just want to stop working. You know, they probably going to have goals to do that by, you know, 40 something maybe at least that’s what I hear from the 20 somethings who are just starting this and or 30 somethings. But that’s like a very different vision and model than someone who’s like wants to build a multimillion dollar company.
It’s just like a very different way of looking at it and that kind of, um, the, the money vision will trickle over into the career in business. So you have your health, relationships, career and business, money, personal and spiritual development, which would include like religion as well, environment, space, recreation and fun. And then volunteering and contribution. Write down the vision.
Next I want you to make a bucket list for the things that you want to accomplish in each area. This would be like one to three like bucket list items for each area of your life. Um, this is totally up to you, like what do you want and it just, this exercise alone can be like such a game changer because we don’t do this. Isn’t it crazy?
We like spend so much time planning our vacations and our travel, but we don’t even know what we want or where we’re headed. It’s like insane to me. But I digress. Okay, so you have this, you have one to three things in each category and then I want you to choose one item, one thing, one bucket list item from one category. Just one. This is very important and I want you to set a one year goal for it or less. But typically it’s nice to work with one year goals because then you can break it up into 12 mini goals.
That’s what I like to do. The idea is like you might have, Oh I want to build a $5 million business as one of your bucket list items. Well, unless you already have a business that makes a lot of money, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be able to do that in one year. So you might have that as a bucket list item, build a $5 million business and then you break that out into a year goal.
So if you don’t even have a business, your one year goal might be start a business and make, it could be $30,000 from it or it could be a hundred thousand dollars depending on like the business model. But the point is is that you choose a goal that’s in line with one of your bucket list items that falls under like the vision that you have for that area of your life.
So everything is intentional. It’s like just a way of intentionally living. So then you have this one goal, one goal people. The reason that one goal is so important is because people love recommending like five we have five or six goals and have like a few in each area of your life. And that is just a very difficult to execute.
And if you try to set goals or a new year’s resolution before you know what I’m talking about, it’s like I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. We were like, Oh, we’re going to have a health goal and then we’re going to have a money goal and then we’re going to have a career goal and a personal development goal. And like you can do it, but it takes a lot of practice and skill setting. So if you’re not used to goal setting, I highly recommend just starting with one.
Okay? So you have your one goal and then I want you to write down your why. Now. This is really, really important. It’s so important that you know why you want what you want and don’t just ask yourself why one time. I want you to ask yourself why and then ask yourself why you want that and then ask yourself why you want that.
So for example, I used to think that I wanted to build a business just because I had student loan debt from law school. So the income would be fantastic. And then I heard Dean Graziosi on a podcast talking about um, how he does this exercise where he asks people why they want what they want and they go like so many levels deep. And his example really, really resonated with me and it had nothing to do with like getting out of debt.
Right? That seems like a very motivating why. But when you, when I kept asking myself, why do I want to get out of debt? Why, you know, is it like, do I want to just be location independent? Do I want to work from home? And really it came down to control for me. I am like hyper responsible and I love being responsible in what’s called like emotional adulthood.
So I like being responsible for my own income and I don’t want to have to be like answer to someone else for that. And so knowing that why for me is so strong, like nothing will stop me when it comes to my business. Like that’s just no failures, no obstacles. When I know my why like because obstacles are gonna come up of course, but when you have your why, you’ll hold onto it so much stronger. You’ll keep going. You won’t stop or slow down. So articulate your why, write it down.
Then I want you to do the next step, which is to break down that one year goal into 12 mini goals. This is somewhat tedious, but it’s so worth it because all of your likelihood of success is like wrapped up in these next actions where it’s like you’re actually doing the planning and it is tedious but it’s so worth it.
So you break down like you know you want to start a business and make $50 grand in your first year from it. You break that down into 12 monthly goals. So your first month might be to get a website up and start blogging and your second goal might be, you know, something else. Um, and you, you might have to change your 12 mini goals like the last 10, 11 and 12 as you go.
That’s okay. The point is to just make sure it’s measurable, right? It’s very measurable to know. If you have a website up and you’re actually blogging, like is there a URL where you can go to and click on blog or not? Um, let’s see. You want to break down and have these 12 mini goals, which works really, really well on like a monthly calendar based system.
Then, Oh my gosh, the most fun activity being sarcastic here. I want you to create an action list. What this means is for each of the 12 mini goals, you create an action list where you write out all of the actions you think you’re going to have to complete for that mini goal.
So, for example, if your goal is to start a new business and your first month is to get a website up and you are going to start blogging, right, your action list is going to be filled with like figure out how to start a website, maybe take a blogging course or a website course, maybe talk to someone who’s already done it or research you know, anything you don’t know how to do an action item for figuring out how to do that is totally acceptable.
But you want to overestimate your actions by like three times as much as what you think it’ll take, right? We’re often like, Oh, we want to start a website and starting a blog so I can do that in a week. And you know, we, we don’t, um, give ourselves enough credit for how much effort it’s going to take.
So I want you to three times your actions, I want you to write down, you know, like 20 actions. If you think it, it would be a third of that, right? So that way you are like all but guaranteeing that you’re going to get it done.
And then the next step is you take those actions and you put them on your calendar and you put them on your calendar as results. So literally, you know, it might be like buy a domain and hosting and um, uh, start, you know, write your first blog post. Those would be like the results that you expect to get. You put that on your calendar during a certain amount of time.
You do not put, you know, from 12 to 4 on Sunday, work on website or work on a blog that will not do it. Anytime you’re putting something on your calendar, always put the result on the calendar. Do not measure time and effort. You just measure the result you want. And that way you force yourself to get it done during that time. Like no ifs, ands, or buts.
The next step is to do what’s on your calendar. I’m laughing because it’s, it’s like a step, but it’s true. If you don’t do what’s on your calendar, none of this works. Right? And that has to do with the relationship you have with yourself, which we’ll definitely talk about in more detail in another episode.
But just know that, treat your appointments on your calendar with yourself, like better and more important than you with the person, like who you love the most. It’s so interesting how we would never miss an appointment for someone else, but oftentimes we’ll cancel things we have for ourselves and move them around. So really just get in the habit of honoring your own commitments to yourself and just practice this. Just start small.
You know, you put one action for two hours on your calendar to accomplish something and then do it. And then, you know, give yourself a pat on the back for following through and then that momentum will keep you going forward.
Then I want you to track your progress. So this means that you’re really measuring your success. So I don’t want you to go through 12 months of doing actions without seeing results. So it’s really, really important that you’re tracking along the way.
And then the final step is to like reflect on that and evaluate. So you want to, you know, working harder, doing the same thing is going to lead you to get the same results you’ve already gotten. So you want to make sure that you’re always working smarter, not just harder, right?
It’s like, especially in the startup phase of building a business, you might be working a ton of hours, but you want to make sure those are super productive hours and you’re actually getting the results when you do it. I will tell you that a couple of years ago I really ramped up my productivity and time management and started measuring everything based on results with my goals. And it has been such a game changer and now I just overproduce and it is so useful if you’re trying to start a business or wanting to get new results in your future from your future, highly, highly recommended.
Now I want to give you some tips when you’re setting goals. Um, a lot of times it’s like super fun and kind of romantic to think about, uh, coming up with all the possibilities for your future, especially if you enjoy goal setting. Like it’s really fun to say, I want to build a multimillion dollar business, or I want to become a six figure blogger or whatever else. Like that’s exciting.
Hopefully. It might be a little scary too, which is amazing. But I want you to know that when you actually start to do this process and take action and put things on your calendar and follow through, like fear and doubt are going to come up. So just starting this podcast, I’ve been blogging for a few years and I run my business full time. I even have a YouTube channel and starting this podcast, I had so much resistance about like even um, just doing this episode sitting down to do it.
And it’s just so fascinating because I have courses where I’m talking and it’s the same thing, but anytime you’re going to start something new that you haven’t done before, your brain kind of goes into freak out mode because it doesn’t have anything to pull from in the past that you’ve done to say, Oh yeah, I know how to do this. And that’s totally normal. So just plan on it.
A lot of times we’ll interpret that resistance and that fear and that doubt as meaning something like we’ll give it meaning and we’ll just make up stories in our head that just aren’t true at all. So don’t that. If you do some of your actions and they don’t work out the way you want or you’re experiencing fear or resistance like that is totally normal, I am right there with you. I experience it all the time and it just means to keep going. Don’t give it any meaning. Come up with another action and keep taking action until you get the results that you want.
Next tip, I want you to plan for problems and failures. This is so amazing because a lot of times we think that the place we want to get to and designer dream life, we think that problems won’t exist there. And I just want to let you in on a little secret that there is never a place where you arrive in your life where problems and failures don’t exist.
So that’s kind of exciting actually. It is good news because it means that, okay, well I’m going to have problems over there and I just know that and accept that as part of life and how it works. And that’s okay. And it’s kind of a relief and it means that nothing has gone wrong.
When you come up to these obstacles throughout your goal setting process, I want you to also plan habits as much as you can and create new habits that support your goals. So if you have like a health goal or really any goal that you’re doing at home that you’re trying to find time for, maybe you try to get in a new habit of waking up a little bit earlier.
Now, if you get up at 7:00 AM and you want to start getting up at 4:00 AM, unless you’re just like a Ninja, that that might be a big jump. So give yourself a break, start with 20 minutes earlier, you know, get up at 6:30 instead. Something like that. And just anything that you can make habitual is gonna make your likelihood of success, um, just increase exponentially, right? So habits are just a way of making the process easier.
And then I want you to use questions as well. So you’re studying goals and you’re gonna come across obstacles and you’re gonna want to make things means that you should slow down when that’s just not true. So whenever that happens, I want you to use a tool called questions. And it’s so amazing. So the way the questions work is that you, your brain is like a computer, super fun and it will try to come up with the answers to any questions that you ask it.
So what I want you to do is come up with questions that you want the answer to that support your goals. So the alternative though is also true. So do not ask your brain questions that you don’t want the answer to. Like don’t ask it. Why is this so hard? Or why haven’t I succeeded yet? Because your brain will come up with answers, but do ask questions that give you the answers you want.
Or like, how can I make, you know, XYZ happen? How can I create a new product for my business? How can I start a podcast? How can I get into this coaching program? All of those kinds of questions and the way that you do it, you don’t even have to say it out loud, you just kind of ask it, ask the question to yourself or you write it down or say it out loud, whatever you want.
Just be having that question as a thought in your head. I like to do this at night because then my brain kind of works on it at night and you do it over and over and over several days in a row until your brain kind of gives you the answer. And it could just come and like, you know, the next day when you’re looking on Facebook, like I had that happen once and you might be really surprised at how the answer comes to you, but just be open to it.
And you know, if you have fear or resistance about the answer, just give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. This will really, really help you. Instead of kind of using like affirmations. I like to use the questions technique. And then I want you to keep your goals written down in front of you. So I really like to use Evernote as an app.
I use it on my desktop, my laptop, and an app on my phone. It’s amazing and I take notes in there. You can use a word document, you can literally hand write at old school whatever you want. It’s just so important to be focusing on your goals and by goals, I mean the one goal that you set, and then those action items that you need to be focusing on. That way you’re able to say no to other people’s requests and focus on what you’re focusing on.
Okay? The last tip I have for you is that I really want you to know that anything is possible for you to create in your future if you set goals from your future, not from your past. So what this means is that our brains just love to repeat the past because just as a way to get us to evolve, our brain knows that if it does more of what it did in the past, you’re really likely to stay alive and your brain wants to keep you alive, which is fantastic and was really, really useful to get us to this point in modern society.
But what this means is that your brain freaks out when you try to do things that are new and different that it hasn’t done before. That’s okay. The freak out is just part of it. So just get in the habit of creating goals from your future, not from your past.
Like coming up with, you know, the thought like, I want to create a $5 million business. You might be a little like intimidated by that or think that that’s just not something you could ever do. But even if you don’t believe it yet and you kind of secretly want it, like just between us, just kind of think about that. Like it’s super fun. You can just believe anything you want.
And I just love knowing that because it will open up your mind to new ideas and new goals that you can set once you kind of get used to the idea that really, really anything is possible. I’m telling you, I never in a million years would have thought, you know, four years ago that I would be a business owner. Like I wasn’t one of those entrepreneurs from, you know, uh, childhood. I was always going to be a lawyer.
I loved school and I became a lawyer and I, and it wasn’t great. So I became a financial planner and now I also transitioned from that to running my own business full time. And I can tell you that every time I use this process and I set goals from my future, it is challenging and there are obstacles, but I do the work and it works like it really, really works.
So if you want more on this, I do have a book called Dream Year: How To Accomplish Your Number One Goal This Year And Feel Good Doing It. And then I also have Design Your Dream Life Academy, which is a goal setting course. You can find both of those in NatalieBacon.com/shop. Okay. I want you to make it an amazing week and I will see you next week.
Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. To learn more about designing your dream life, visit NatalieBacon.com.