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Don’t Set A Lot of Goals – Set Clear Ones

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Hi readers! It’s another year, more days to reach our goals. Most people at the start of the year are thrilled and hopeful for the year to be good for them and to start something new and fresh. We hear new year’s resolutions, bucket lists, 2020 goals, and the like. In the years I started setting goals for myself, there are things that I realized and things that I learned on how to be more effective in reaching them. Remember that planning is fun, but the action steps are the ones that will determine if you’re really committed to head there – and most of the time, it is challenging.

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.

Orison Swett Marden

We might have lots of things we want to accomplish, but instead of aspiring to hit a lot of trivial goals, ask yourself this question: What is one thing that if I achieve this year, would give me complete fulfillment and encompasses all aspects of my life? Here are some of my suggestions that you can apply in your goal setting this year.

Lessen your options.

In a world where options and opportunities are almost unlimited, we fall into the trap of not acting upon our plans because we spend too much time choosing over a lot of things. In the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown, I realized that your decisions in life are similar on the way you choose your clothes. Imagine you have a lot of clothes in your closet and you can’t decide what to wear because of too much options presented to you. Same with your opportunities, there might be a lot of good opportunities out there, yet you can’t pick one. Thus, with these kinds of instances, your goal is to actually lessen the options you are currently facing. Personally, when I am faced with this, I ask myself these questions:

  • Is this connected to what I am currently pursuing right now?
  • Does this contribute to my overall goal, or does it consume my time?
  • What help can this bring to my financial well-being?
  • Will this improve or deteriorate my health?
  • Will this involve other people taking control of my time, or do I have complete autonomy over it?

Note that these questions are the ones I personally ask to myself, and this can serve as a guide for you to say no and put aside opportunities that might be distractions. Thus before deciding, lessen your options to start on something that gives you more value.


Like it or not, the world we are in makes it possible for us to have a lot of options. However, we are the ones who can actually decide if we will treat those as options or not. Break down your goals.

Break down your goals. Be disciplined.

Now that you’ve lessened your options and decided to start working on something essential, what’s next? In my experience of mentoring people, I have realized that there are two types:

  • People who are inspired to reach a big goal; and
  • People who are inspired to reach small goals that would eventually lead to the big one.

However, these two types of people both have the same big goal, but the way they see it and get inspired to it is different. The first one looks at the bigger goals probably because they have the confidence to reach it but the latter are more of having the feeling of being realistic, and that’s completely okay. Whenever I coach these people, I break their goals into reachable and inspiring goals so that they can see the timeline and progress on how to get there.

For example, Marx (not his real name), has a goal to get his first car this year. He told me that if he get the car, he will achieve different things. First, his income will increase (of course, you won’t buy a car if you didn’t project a good income). Next, it will provide more accessibility for him to go to meetings and having to take control of his time. Lastly, he can drive around his family in places that they want, without any restrictions. For others, getting a car is not really inspiring but for a person who sees this goal as something that can encompass his other aspects of life, it would be something he’s going to commit in. Thus, here are the details we took into consideration in planning out to get this goal:

  • Be specific with the goals you want. For the car, know the model, the color, and the like. For health goals, visualize yourself how you feel and look like and the things you can do. Don’t say I want to get a car, say I want to get an Audi Q3. Never say I want to be healthy but say instead, I want to be functionally fit to the point that I can lift items with the same weight as my body.
  • What specific date do you want to get this? If you’re not clear yet, indicate the month, or the quarter. Never say someday this year as your answer because you won’t get it.
  • How much does your (goals or dreams) cost? Like it or not, getting a goal has a price. May it be health goals or other things, it clearly has involvement with money. Thus, don’t let money control your life but instead, find ways to earn it so it fuels your ambitions.
  • Break down the cost to the timeline you set for yourself. Say the car costs 1M PHP and he plans to reach it by May 2020. Marx has 5 months to reach it. Divide the amount with the months, then the weeks (you can continue dividing until the day), and then you’ll see how much would be your weekly commitment to get it. Take note that you can get this not just by saving, but also with expanding your streams of income. For health goals, same thing works, it’s just that you need to consider the time you’re allotting to hit it.
  • Commit to the goal. Here comes the discipline. There’s no secret formula on how to be disciplined. It’s just being the strictest boss to yourself and doing things even though there’s no one looking. If you notice that you don’t feel like reaching your goals then try to rethink if you really want that goal badly. If not, then the goals you set actually don’t matter to you. It’s your discipline and mindset that comes in play. Read more here.

Read and explore new things, that’s also a way to be clear about it! I highly suggest reading the book I’ve mentioned earlier, Essentialism by Greg Mckeown, for you to get more insights on the disciplined pursuit of less. Another book that can help you start this year is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Happy reading!





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