Do you need a quick reminder of the basics? A quick glimpse of how to set goals and track them? This is the book. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt is my first read for this author and I am sure it won’t be the last.
When talking about pursuing our goals, we all have endless stories to tell. We all wanted them to be so inspirational, but unfortunately, most of them were not. Unless we put effort to make the process of setting and pursuing our goals a systematic one, we won’t be able to achieve a consistent progress in the key important areas in our lives. Michael Hyatt started his methodology by clarifying that we all need a balanced set of goals which cover 10 areas: Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional, Physical, Martial, Parental, Social, Vocational, Avocational (hobbies and pastime), and Financial.
The five steps that he illustrated are:
- Believe the philosophy
- Complete the past
- Design the future
- Find your WHY
- Make it happen
These steps are summarized as per the following.
Firstly, we need to clarify what current beliefs are holding us back and upgrade them from limiting beliefs to liberating truths. Usually, we all have limiting beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about the world which can take the form of:
- Black-and-white thinking: “when we assume we’ve failed if we don’t achieve perfection. Reality is usually a sliding scale, not a toggle switch”;
- Personalizing: “when we blame ourselves for random negative occurrences”;
- Catastrophizing: “when we assume the worst even with little evidence”; and
- Universalizing: “when we take a bad experience and assume it’s true across the board. In this way, we shift our thinking from scarcity to abundance“.
Upgrading these beliefs into a more liberating form is important to this journey.
Secondly, no matter what negative experience we had before, evaluating and reflecting on them is a must. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of “Regret” and how it can be an opportunity to set corrective behaviors, rather than cultivating self- doubts.
Within this context, backward thinking helps us to perform what is called “After Action Review” which is a great source of identifying and documenting our lessons learned.
Additionally, it is critical to develop a discipline of gratitude. Regardless of our gloomy past, we definitely had many blessings which we need to recognize and be grateful for.
Thirdly, we need to set SMARTER goals under two categories: “Achievements Goals” and “Habit Goals”. SMARTER goals mean: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Risky, Time-Keyed, Exciting, and Relevant goals. A key aspect here is to have these goals written.
Fourthly, we need to always link our goals with “WHY” which can be achieved by identifying the three key points that motivate us to pursue a certain goal. This list can be a great source of motivation when we feel that we are stuck in the middle.
One of the smartest tips I have ever heard about personal commitment and productivity is “Don’t Break the Chain” concept by Jerry Seinfeld. This tip implies that the success of any goal lies in the consistency, and in order to achieve that consistency, we need to track our progress on a calendar. So, on daily basis, we create a mark after finishing the task and then we do our best in order to keep going and not to break the chain.
Surrounding ourselves with the right circle of people is also important to fulfilling our goals. For example, our circles may be a mix of friends, family members, mentors, masterminds, accountability group, reading or study group, or even online communities.
Finally, in order to make the journey happen, we need to break down our goals into smaller sub-goals, identify and utilize specific “Activation Triggers” for these goals, and most importantly, review our progress regularly; daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
I am pretty sure that the above five steps follow the natural thinking of the famous Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle which proofed its success within the industry over many years. Thus, this kind of thinking will also bring insights into our personal lives.