Many people have difficulty achieving long-term goals. I think the reason is because they get distracted by urgent, “must do” activities. While it’s great to have something like a bucket list, your average person won’t take action on these items because they don’t have a strategic plan for achieving them.
I’ve learned the best way to achieve long-term goals is to focus on the next 6 to 12 months instead of a vague, distant future. The reason is simple. Life has a way of getting in the way of long-term goals. You really can’t plan for a far off future because you just don’t know what your life will be like at that point.
For instance, last November I signed a year-long lease for a new apartment. Within three months I broke this lease; chucked everything I owned into storage and started traveling the world. This was something I always wanted to do, but it happened after only two months of planning. For me, life changed that quickly.
Having, Doing, Being
When it comes to 6 to 12 month goals, I prefer Tim Ferriss’s concept of “Dreamlining” that he discusses in his book, The 4-Hour Work Week. He encourages people to take items from your someday list and turn them into an action plan you’ll achieve within the next year. Dreamlining focuses on three major areas:
- Having (What items do you wish to possess?)
- Doing (What do you want to experience or accomplish?)
- Being (What skills do you wish to develop?)
In his book, Ferriss recommends putting five items on each list. I don’t agree with this because this list is about what you really want to do. You shouldn’t set a goal just because you’re trying to get to the magical number of five. So put as many (or as little) as you want in each section. The important thing is to feel excited about these goals.
My “Having, Doing, Being” List
To illustrate this concept, let me show what’s on my “having, doing, being” list for the next six months:
1) Have an apartment that’s an inspirational place to work and live
2) Have a quality car that’s dependable (Yeah, I know…not very exciting)
1) Create the first information product for “Steve Scott Site”
2) Redesign the blog theme of “Steve Scott Site”
3) Complete the Boston Marathon
4) Help my brother create a successful online business
5) Take a month long trip through the southern and western part of the United States
1) Become a proficient public speaker
2) Become a master of time management where I eliminate wasteful activities
3) Become a major factor in the lives on my friends, family, and loved ones
As you can see, this list is full of actionable items. They’re not some pie-in-the-sky lofty dream. When I look at each item, I get that excited feeling where I can’t wait to get started.
What’s on YOUR “Having, Doing, Being” List?
I know you have a mental (or written) list of what you’d like to do someday. Now is the time to make things happen! Pick the items from this list that fit best with your present situation and make a commitment to do them within the next year. I can’t promise it’ll be easy, but you’ll be smiling as you cross a major goal off your list.
Take Action. Get Results.