7 Steps For Goal Setting: How to Set Goals That Resonate With You?

I am currently reading a cool book with a super cool name called The Type-Z Guide to Success: A Lazy Person’s Manifesto to Wealth and Fulfillment.

This book mentions some fascinating steps for goal setting and planning that I am now using to set my own future goals!

Steps for goal setting

Setting Goals Randomly

Generally, we set random goals or goals that are based on dominant desires.

For example, if I have always wanted to loose weight, then I will set a goal to lose 10 kg in one month. Or if I want to become a top notch blogger, I may set a goal to get 1000 visitors a day in 3 months. Things like that.

While setting goals like that is also extremely effective, in his book, Marc Allen mentions a superb way to make sure that you set goals that resonate with your deepest desires. Are you really setting goals based on what you truly want to do in life or are you setting goals based on social conditioning and what others think of you? Similarly, are the goals you are setting now really important to you – or will they appear irrelevant and foolish in an year or so?

I decided to test Marc Allen’s steps for goal setting because they looked very good to me. You can try his method too and see if it brings you good results or not.

According to Marc Allen, there are four main steps for goal setting. (I have added three more to make the steps clearer).

Step 1 – Imagine Your Ideal Scene

Marc Allen says:

“Imagine five years have passed And everything has gone as well as you would like and envision. What does your life look like?”

He basically asks you to imagine how you want life to ideally be – if everything goes perfectly as you want it.

For example:

Where would you be living in your ideal scene?

How would your relationships be in your ideal scene?

How would you spend your ideal day?

As a person, what would be the traits of the ideal you?

How would the ideal you feel as the day passes?

What would your ideal career be?

What would your ideal daily habits be?

What are the experiences you would ideally want to have?

The first step in setting a goal is to find out what you truly want. You see, what are goals? Goals are the deadlines you set for your dreams! They are just your dreams put in writing and given timelines. Therefore, it is first important to dream and truly find out what you want. Without that, you will set the wrong goals because you will not know what you truly want.

Therefore, the first step is to dream and imagine how you want your ideal scene to be. Don’t think about the HOW at this stage, just dream and write down what you want.


Step 2 – Write Down the Goals That Flow Naturally From the Ideal Scene

Once you have written down what you truly want to do ideally, the next step is to see what goals flow out from the ideal scene. This means making the points in the ideal scene more specific.
For example, let us say you experience financial abundance in your ideal scene. A goal would be: “Earn $5000/Rs 250000 a month”.

Another example. Let’s say you want a large house with a lot of greenery around it. A goal would be: “Have a house of at least 1000 square feet area with a lush green garden around it.”

Or maybe you want to be happier, live simpler and enjoy what you have in your ideal scene. In that case, your goal might be, “Focus on the present moment and live in the NOW.”

So, when you are converting your goals into your ideal scene, you make the ideal scene more specific.

At this stage, you need not give any timelines to your goals. You need not say, “Get a house by December 31.” That will come later.

Step 3 – Write Down the Goals as Affirmations

This step is very interesting – and when I first read it in Marc Allen’s book, I found it to be a bit weird. He asks you to write down all your goals as affirmations, as if they are already happening right now. He says that when you do that, you sub-consciously start connecting with the goal and you start believing that it is indeed possible to achieve that goal.

For example, if your goal (that you zeroed down from your ideal scene) was “Earn $5000 a month”, then he says, “write down your goals as: I earn $5000 a month.”

So, basically this step is about writing down your goals as if they are already true in the present moment.

Marc Allen says that to make these affirmations even truer, it is better to add phrases like “in an easy and relaxed manner” and “in a healthy and positive way” to your goals. So, the goal, “I earn $5000 a month” now becomes “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, I earn $5000 a month.”

He says, that when we set big goals which sound a bit difficult to us, we sub-consciously tell ourselves, “This is going to be so difficult. I wonder whether I will ever make it. And even if I make it, I’ll become so stressed out achieving this goal.” It is to counter these subconscious fears that Marc Allen advices adding “in an easy and relaxed manner” to our goals. It is not necessary that you add exactly this phrase to your goals. You can also add words that you find to be relaxing and helpful. For example, you can add the phrase, “with grace, ease and lightness” to all your goals or you can add the phrase “in a happy and joyful way”. Add anything that feels good to you.

This step is about rewriting your goals in the form of affirmations.

Step 4 – Choose the Most Important Goals You Want to Achieve in the Next 6 Months/ 1 Year

When you write down all your dreams, you will end up with a lot of goals. After all you have visualized your ideal scene and any ideal scene will have so, so many things in it! When I wrote down my goals from my ideal scene, I got 18 goals. Now that’s a lot of goals.

Therefore, it is important to set a time period and see what part of each goal you can achieve by that time period. For example, I have chosen my time period from June to December 2012. So I wrote down the parts of each goal that I could achieve in these 6 months.

Basically, this step is about fixing a timeline for some of your goals and writing down exactly which part of your goal you want to achieve by a certain time. Choose a timeline that feels comfortable for you.

For example, your initial goal (that comes from your ideal scene) may be: “I earn $50000 a month”. Now, what part of this goal can you achieve in the next 6 months? Maybe your current income is $1000 a month. Now, you may want to raise this to $3000 a month in the next 6 months. That will be the first step in finally taking your income to $50000 a month. So, your sub-goal in this step for the next 6 months can be:

“As on December 31, in an easy and relaxed way, I earn $3000 a month.”

Step 5 – Make a Plan For Each Goal For the Next 6 Months/ 1 Year

Now that you have come out with a list of what goals you are going to achieve in the next 6 months or the next one year, decide exactly how you are going to achieve this goal. Make a plan that clarifies to you what steps you are going to take, what you are going to do in which month etc.

For example, again, let us take that goal of generating an income of $3000 a month. What will help you get there? What are the things you can do? Brainstorm ideas that will help you earn that much income. Will you write an e-book? Will you sell a product? Will you freelance? Will you take up a better job? Whatever it is, let it be very clear how you will achieve your goal.

Note that making a plan for each goal will take time. But then, how can you achieve any goal without giving it time or attention?

Step 6 – Write Down What You Will Achieve With Respect to Each Goal In This Month

You have written down your ideal scene. You have written down your goals from the ideal scene. You have specified what part of those goals you will achieve in the next 6 months. You have even made a plan.

Well, the next step is write down what you are going to achieve in this month with respect to your goals. It is important to write down what you will achieve this month because that will make sure you are focused on your goals. If you write down only what you will achieve in the next 6 months, then you might end up forgetting that plan and not achieving anything in the next 6 months. Tracking month by month, keeps you on track.

Step 7 – Plan Your Week Based on Your Goals

Unless you know exactly what you want to do next in order to achieve your goals, you will not end up doing it. Weeks may pass and the month will end. How will you know exactly where you are with respect to your goals?

Plan your week, keeping in mind what you want to achieve in the month. These activities, the activities you will plan in your week, will basically be tasks and action steps that will help you achieve your monthly goal. For example, for me, my monthly goal is to finish writing 3 chapters of the e-book I am writing. My weekly action steps include thinking of possible topics for the e-book and judging the demand for different topics related to the e-book.

Let’s See How It Goes…

I have tweaked Marc Allen’s theory of goal setting a bit in the seven steps above. However, the essence has definitely been taken from his book.

In fact, I would definitely recommend reading his entire book too. What I really love about the book is the simple language he uses and how he clarifies that it is not necessary to be stressed out and spent to be successful. “You can succeed in an easy and relaxed manner”, he says. 🙂 If you read his book, you will learn more about the entire goal setting exercise: writing your ideal scene, setting goals from it etc.

Well, let’s see how these steps for goal setting work for me. It all currently looks superb because the focus is on finding out what you truly want and then achieving it.

All the best to you!