This is a guest post by Eric at My 4-Hour Workweek and something that will help a great many of you become and stay successful!
Looking forward and really wrapping your mind around your goals is what will allow you to be successful. Being able to put your goals in writing and constantly remind yourself of them is a key motivating factor, in my opinion.
You’re probably familiar with a standard goal-setting process. Throughout school and in the workplace, we’re taught to set goals, and even forced to set goals. Often, this is seen more as an administrative burden, rather than something you want to do because you believe in it. The standard goal-setting process goes something like this:
- Define your goals
- Define specific actions related to those goals
- Determine specific measurements related to your goals so that you’ll later be able to figure out whether or not you’ve achieved those goals
This process does have value, but you’re seemingly caught trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You might be instructed to set 10 goals across 3 different general areas, but maybe you only have 4 goals that you’d legitimately like to achieve. The addition of the other 6 “filler” goals (just to meet your goal “requirements”) only serves as a distraction.
I’d like to propose a new way of setting your goals.
Imagine you have a website or blog even if you don’t actually have one. Common with most blogs is an “about me” page that contains some pretty basic information about what the author currently does, where they’ve been, and what they’ve accomplished. A lot of times, it reads like a very casual resume. If you read my current one, you’ll see it gives a little bit of my own background. The “about me” page is an effective and acceptable means of bragging, in a way, because people want to read about it. If you’re doing a lot of writing on your blog, readers want to know that you’ve had some level of success (and people even want to know about your failures), because it adds to the legitimacy of what you write.
What if, in addition to writing your current “about me” page, you were to write a 5-year “about me” page? In other words, you write down (or type out) what how your “about me” page would read 5 years from now. Normally, goals are so distant from you when you write them. They’re just words on paper. However, if you step into the shoes of yourself five years from now and are writing about your “current” life accomplishments, you’re forcing yourself to actually visualize your unachieved accomplishments. Not only does this force you to think about your goals, but it helps you actually believe in them.
What Your 5-Year “About Me” Page Should Contain
Before you can write your “about me” page, it helps to know what one contains. They can vary quite a bit (check your favorite blogs right now and see how they’ve written their pages), but usually contain the following elements:
- Who you are – your occupation, where you live (generally). For this exercise, this will contain who you want to be (use any interpretation of this) and where you want to live.
- What you enjoy – your interests, especially as they pertain to the work that you do or the content you write about on your blog.
- Your accomplishments – what you’ve done and how they’ve impacted your life and the life of others. This is the meat of your 5-year “about me” page because it’s where you’ll write about the things you plan to accomplish in the next 5 years, except that you’ll be writing as if you’ve already achieved them!
- A forward-looking statement – a statement that usually begins with “I plan to…” or “I hope to…” to let your readers know what they can expect down the road from you. Now you might ask, “This is already written from the perspective of 5-years in the future – what would the forward-looking statement be about? The forward-looking statement 5 years from now might contain even bigger dreams that you have and hope to accomplish later in your life.
Don’t be afraid to be unreasonable. It’s perfectly fine to have goals that appear out of your reach (and I bet Maren would encourage you to set goals like these!).
Complete this exercise ASAP! It may seem silly, but it’s really helpful to step outside the boundaries of normal goal setting. You may find that it gives you motivation like you’ve never had before, and again, it really helps you visualize your goals and make them feel a lot more real to you.
Eric is a full-time CPA who currently writes at My 4-Hour Workweek, a blog where he captures his struggle of creating sources of passive income while still balancing the workload of his “normal” job. Follow his journey as he attempts to escape the 9 to 5 and explore his true desire to be an entrepreneur.