Someone recently asked me, “If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?”
As simplistic and seemingly juvenile as this question seems, it was thought provoking. Mainly because I interpreted this question not as what I’d want my superpower to be, but rather, what is my one supertalent that stands out above all my other strengths.
The first thing that came to mind was my ability to set big goals and tackle them.
While this doesn’t seem nearly as exciting as mind-reading, I must admit that that I actually do feel like a superhero when I go after my goals. I visualize them with laser focus and I put tremendous effort and heart into realizing them. Then, I go big. I think of something that seems completely unachievable and for some reason, these are the goals that motivate me.
There are few things in life so satisfying and empowering as dreaming big and conquering an ambitious goal.
So why am I particularly good at this? What thought process, talent, drive or skill set allows me to dream big and to achieve my goals? Or to put it differently, why are other people not very good at this. My drive to succeed and continually challenge myself seems somehow instinctual. It doesn’t feel like a superpower. I don’t feel any more adept or talented than any other goal seeker out there.
Whatever personal traits I have within me that aid me in pursuing my goals are only mildly important. I believe that anyone can follow their dreams and achieve their goals by using simple and practical steps. I believe that these steps are the key to successfully conquering your goals and making progress in your life.
Here are the 7 essential steps you need to take in order to make goal setting your superpower:
Contents and Quick Links
- 1 Step 1: Decide that something needs to change
- 2 Step 2: Define the goal that will bring about the change you want
- 3 Step 3: Find your WHY
- 4 Step 4: Determine the steps necessary to reach your goal
- 5 Step 5: Do those steps every day
- 6 Step 6: Track your progress
- 7 Step 7: Revisit and adjust often
- 8 Putting it all together and Action Steps
Step 1: Decide that something needs to change
A goal is born out of the need for change. If you are afraid of that change and haven’t faced your fear, you aren’t likely to make progress on your goal. It’s easy enough to come up with a goal without really considering why you are setting the goal and what changes you will encounter along the way. This is why it is important that you first view your goal as a necessary change that you want to make in your life.
I will use one of my current goals as an example.
My goal is to start an income producing blog.
How in the world did I even come up with this goal? Here’s what I was feeling:
- Unsatisfied with my career
- Unhappy with my commute
- Locked into my job
- Geographically trapped
- Limited in my earning potential
If I wanted to address these concerns, I knew that something needed to change. I needed to evaluate my career and brainstorm what changes I could make that would put me on the path to where I wanted to be in the next 5 years. There were some career changes I could make but none of them excited or motivated me. It was time for bigger change. When I considered the crazy notion of starting my own business which would allow me the flexibility to work my own hours without a crazy commute AND had no income earning cap, I felt super excited.
NOW I have a goal. And not just any goal, a goal that means something to me. It has substance and it means amazing change that will improve my life and make me feel happy and fulfilled. And while change is a very scary word, it now holds enough meaning to me that I can be brave and persevere, despite my fear.
You HAVE to determine what it is in your life that needs to change, then you can define your goal.
Step 2: Define the goal that will bring about the change you want
I’ve determined what I want to change in my life and how I might accomplish this. Now I need to get specific about exactly what I need to do. After some soul searching and internal dialogue, I determined that I was very excited about starting a business. I have always wanted to experience the process of bringing a new product to market. Now I need to ask the question, does this goal bring about the change I want? I eventually determined that it did not fit with the changes I desired. More specifically, it would take a significant investment of my time and it was unlikely to make very much money because I didn’t have any prior experience with product development, manufacturing or marketing. I would still need to keep my day job indefinitely and this wouldn’t bring about any of the changes I was looking for.
Back to the drawing board.
The idea of starting a blog came about mainly as a means of tracking my own progress and holding myself accountable, but when I analyzed the idea of starting a blog from a business perspective, I realized that it met all my criteria for change. And so my goal was born – Start an income producing blog.
Step 3: Find your WHY
What does this goal mean to you? If you are going to successfully tackle this goal, it needs to be really important to you.
I want the freedom to choose my own work hours, the freedom to choose where I do my work and the freedom of unlimited earning potential.
When I step back and think about what my goal means to me and what my life will be like when I succeed, my WHY becomes so much bigger than any fear that could hold me back. Anytime I become overwhelmed with fear or with the work that I need to put into this goal, or when I experience a lack of motivation to keep making progress, all I need to do is think about my WHY. Then I have no choice but to keep moving forward. The reward is worth the struggle it will take to get there.
Step 4: Determine the steps necessary to reach your goal
Now it’s time to get real. Action steps real. What do you need to do to start making progress? Be specific and give yourself multiple deadlines.
What does it take to move forward and actually start an income producing blog? It takes a whole lot of research, that’s for sure! Since my goal is so HUGE and detailed, I’ll use an individual component that I broke into actionable steps.
Action Item: Write the initial 20 blog posts
Day 1: Brainstorm post topics and catchy titles
Day 2: Come up with 20 post ideas
Every Day: Wake up 60-90 minutes early every day and write a minimum of 800 words
Aim to complete 2 posts every week
Deadline: 8 weeks
These are the actionable steps I will take every single day to work towards the goal of completing the first 20 blog posts such that I have enough content to:
- Honestly assess if I can and want to do this
- Actually launch my new blog
Step 5: Do those steps every day
Now for the hard part. You actually have to do this every day! Set yourself up for success early. Write out your goal and your WHY and keep it with you. Post it on the wall next to your bed, the refrigerator, the bathroom, wherever! Make sure you are reminded why this is important and stay motivated to go through the everyday boring steps that will actually get you there.
It isn’t always fun and exciting! The steps aren’t rocket science. They may not require a lot of thought or effort, but they will get you there. Make sure you also set daily steps that you can schedule into your day. If you find yourself falling behind, revisit these steps and adjust your timeline for success.
Step 6: Track your progress
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many times again:
If you don’t know where you started or where you are going, you have no clear path to follow.
If your goal is weight loss, keep a food journal or use an app to track your food and calories. Take weekly weigh-ins and measurements, then graph these results out so that you can see that downward slope. There is nothing more satisfying than a clear graph depicting your progress. It will keep you motivated.
Here’s an example of how I tracked my progress while writing my first 20 blog posts. I created a very simple spreadsheet with formatted cells to color code as I completed my days.
Tip: The color coding really helps! It highlights your progress. Whether you use excel or hand write on paper or use a whiteboard, use colored text or pens. The more your small successes stand out, the more motivated you will be to keep up the momentum and keep crossing those small wins off as complete.
Step 7: Revisit and adjust often
Once you set your daily action steps and start chipping away at them, you’ll get an idea of whether you allowed yourself too much time, or not enough, or whether you have the right motivation to follow through every day. This is where you take a step back and evaluate your progress, and make the proper adjustments to stay successfully on track. Maybe you are missing too many days. This could be because you aren’t feeling motivated anymore and you can revisit your goal and your WHY, and be more strict about scheduling your daily action step. Schedule it on your calendar and ensure that you don’t have any distractions during that time.
Putting it all together and Action Steps
Setting a goal is a big deal! You are actively accepting change in your life for a very specific reason.
Step 1: Think about areas of your life that you would like to adjust or change. Hone in on one in particular and really dig into what is bothering you and why.
Step 2: From this your goal is born. Define that goal.
Step 3: Once you have a clear picture of what change you want in the form of a clearly stated goal, really think about what this goal means to you. This is where you will find your motivation to stay focused and work past your fears.
Step 4: Break your goal down into the steps it will take to succeed.
Step 5: Start chipping away at them every day.
Step 6: Track what you do and watch your progress!
Step 7: Keep your goal handy and review it often! Remember that you defined this goal out of a need to see some change in your life. Review your why and adjust your daily action steps as needed to keep on track.
Take these 7 steps and make goal setting your superpower!
Use the comments section below and let me know how it goes! Did you struggle with any of the steps? Did you make progress and reach your goal?