1. Have you defined your most important goal? Pick a goal that is most important to you and simply write it down. REMEMBER: make this a huge goal, one that makes you gasp. The more uncomfortable and daunting it seems, the better. The mere act of writing down such a goal will inspire you.
  2. Do you have a clear deadline? Although deadlines are not fun, most of us wouldn’t accomplish much without them and for this reason they are routine at school and in the workplace. You should also use them in your goal setting. Setting a goal is meaningless if you don’t set a time frame in which to accomplish it. This will spur you to action. I recommend a three year deadline for large goals.
  3. How will you measure your success? Some goals, such as weight loss, are easy to measure and track. Other goals, like improved family relationships, are more difficult to measure, but you should strive to do so anyway. One way or the other, each of your goals can and should be measured, or you will never know whether you are making progress or have met your goals.
  4. What is the reason you wish to achieve your goal? If you cannot articulate a clear, compelling reason for why you must achieve a goal, especially a huge goal, you will likely not achieve your goal. Why? Simply because achieving any goal will likely involve changes in your life. It will possibly take you out of your comfort zone. It will most likely require hard work. Make your reasons as emotional as possible because no matter how logical we think we are, we are still driven by our emotions.
  5. What benefits you expect to gain by reaching your goal? Once you define the key benefits or results you expect, you will be more driven to do what it takes to achieve your goal. Make this list as detailed as possible. The more benefits to be gained, the greater the focus you will have on the goal. Getting clear about the benefits of achieving your goal is critical to achieving your goals.
  6. What are the consequences of not achieving your goal? Use as much emotion as possible. Sometimes it doesn’t become clear how important a goal is until you ponder the consequences of not achieving it. The desire to avoid pain is a big motivator.
  7. What are the obstacles to achieving your goal? Instead of viewing obstacles negatively, I encourage you to embrace them. If you define your obstacles carefully, you will find that your mind very quickly work to find solutions.
  8. What are the solutions to overcoming your obstacles? The mistake most people make is not listing their obstacles on paper. Somehow we rationalize that if we don’t write them down and address them they just don’t exist. This is foolish because once you put them on paper your mind will suddenly go to work looking for solutions. Why? Because we as humans are instinctive problem-solvers so when we write them down our perspective usually changes.
  9. What are some possible resources to help you attain your goal? We often assume we have to accomplish our goals all on our own. Why do we put this pressure on ourselves? There are many, many resources in the universe that we can tap into. We need only ask. Since your ultimate aim is to achieve your goal, does it matter if you achieve your goal on your own, or if you get help along the way?
  10. What are the clear milestones on your path to success? To make steady progress toward your goal it is critical to define steps and time frames along the way. Time frames allow you to assess your goal, determine your progress, and take corrective action if necessary.
  11. Who have you told about your goal? Many people make the mistake of hiding their goal, or only sharing it with one person. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but hiding your goal will not help you. Instead, you will find that when you have the courage to share your goal, you articulate it more clearly for yourself and this allows you to receive objective feedback from others and you strengthen your commitment to success.
  12. Have you visualized what your success will look like? You will find that visualizing success as vividly as you can is a vital step to achieving and exceeding your biggest goals. What will your goal look like, feel like, and sound like? Use everything you can to describe your success such as photos, mental images, and detailed descriptions.