I can’t believe we are already closing in on the end of another year. While its not quite time to see how I finished up on my 2018 objectives I have already made significant progress on my plans for next year.
I’ve already discussed how to set a vision for your life and how to work backwards from there to figure out what you need to do today. For my journey I’ve set time points of when I get 55 as well as January 1, 2022. The 2022 objective was set as a 4 year objective and was set 1 year ago.
Overall, the idea is pretty straight forward. The objectives I’ve set for when I hit 55 are my north star. They give me general direction. The 4 year objectives (now jus 3 years away) are much more specific and are a shorter term marker I can shoot for.
Essentially what I’m trying to do with my 2019 objectives is to draw a line in the sand for what I need to do this year to make progress towards my 2022 objectives.
Objective versus Goal
The first thing you may be thinking is what is an objective? In a book I mention below (Measure what Matters) they utilize the term objective versus goal. For me, the meaning of an objective and a goal are completely different. Its probably because I’ve done so much research on goal setting each year and continue to come up short.
Goals seem so wishy washy. They seem so hopefully. Goal has become a weak word to me.
Objective means I can put together a mission to attach what I want to do. Its aggressive. Again, this is just my take, and I’m probably just biased but I prefer objective to goal.
Over the year I’ve set lots and lots of objectives. I’ve ready several different books and ran across other resources that may be helpful. Here are a few I’d recommend checking out.
The 1 Thing
This is a great book that I’ve read and/or listened to probably half a dozen times. I’ve learned that readying this book every so often is good for my mindset and helps me reset back to the basics.
It does a great job of showing you the basic as well as other items that are surprisingly helpful. More specifically, things that could hinder you on your way to your goals.
Measure What Matters
This may be my favorite book on this subject. Warning: there is a lot of fluff in this book. The first part of the book gives examples of companies using the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system that the great Andy Grove made popular.
Its worth the read and actually converted me to using the OKR Method. FYI the methods from Measure What Matters and The 1 Thing are essentially the same but utilize different terms.
The 12 Week Year
This is a great book that pairs nicely with either of the other two. The first two are for setting longer term/bigger picture goals. This one touches on that. However, the premise of the book is that you can get an entire year’s worth of stuff done in 12 weeks if you simply put together a plan and put an extreme amount of focus into it.
Full disclosure: I have not tried any of these journals out (other than the Black n’ Red). However, there are so many out there I wanted to point out a few that have caught my attention. While I haven’t tried them I do think the idea makes sense and I do plan to try these at some point in time.
Black n’ Red Journals
These are great. If you are looking for a cheap, reliable, and high quality journal I’d recommend anything by Black N Red. I use these every day and have purchased probably 10 in the last year for a variety of uses and purposes.
This one has been around for quite some time and have had a few recommendations on this journal from friends. This is just one of two journals I’m looking to try. I believe they offer versions for different time points. For instance one for an entire year and one for 12 weeks/a quarter. This version would pair nicely with The 12 Week Year book I mentioned above.
The 1 Thing Planner
This planner just came out but are from the authors of the book I mentioned above with the same name. I can’t speak to the quality of the planner but I do know they spent considerable time talking to their audience to make this the best planner/journal they can.
1. Make Them Quantifiable
Anyone that has done even the smallest amount of research on goals has read about SMART goals. If you haven’t I’d check out this link or this link. The biggest takeaway for me is to make sure it is black and white if you hit your goal. For instance:
Run a half marathon is a great objective. Run more is not.
Save $10,000 is a great objective. Save more is not.
Go on a date with my spouse per month is a great objective. Have a better relationship is not.
While this makes success very clear, more importantly, it helps you set more incremental goals. For instance if you want to save $10,000 you know you need to save $834 per month on average to hit your goal.
2. Set up a System or Simple Means of Tracking
I’ve already discussed the importance of systems. Tracking your objectives for the year is a great system to put in place. For instance, on the last day of every month write down your savings account balance. It seems simple but if you don’t do it then you wont know where you are in relation to your goal.
3. Don’t Set Too Many
FYI this is the hardest part of setting objectives. If you are in self improvement mode you’ll think that you can just tackle everything under the sun. I’d highly recommend against it.
How do I know? Because I do this every year. The best advice I can give you is to think long term. You don’t have to tackle your 4 year goal in 1 year. Break it into steps and just make progress.
As one of my favorite movies says “Keep Moving Forward”. The less you take on the more likely you are to hit your mark.
4. Break Each Objective into Multiple Steps
This is something that I just started doing last year but worked out tremendously for me. The idea is pretty straight forward. However, it took me a long time to figure it out. Here is a quick example.
If my objective for 2019 was to run a half marathon there are several steps that go into that. Some may get overwhelmed with what to do. I like to take that big, year long goal and break it down into smaller key results that can be tackled one at a time.
Objective: Finish a Half Marathon
- Purchase a sufficient pair of running shoes
- Sign up for half marathon
- Research training programs
- Execute training program
With this type of setup I can tackle one at a time. I realize that “execute training program” is realistically going to take 3-5 months but you get the idea.
I’m fairly cliche when it comes to setting objectives/goals but I like to do it over a calendar year. The primary driver of this is due to the reflective mood I get in around the holidays. I do my best thinking & reflecting once Thanksgiving hits for some reason.
If you run across this post in February, by all means, start now. The best time to start making yourself better and working towards the vision in your life is today.
My Vision for My life at Age 55
Here is what I’ve set for the vision on my life at 55. This is broken down into different areas of my life.
- physical: I am in great physical shape. I have an active lifestyle that is based on regularly working out (weights, cardio, yoga, etc) as well as eating right.
- financial: I don’t worry about my finances. I have the option to not work and do what I want with my time.
- spiritual: I have a close connection with my God. I am involved at church and my family knows Christ on a personal level.
- my wife: She is my best friend. We are partners through everything and are more in love now than we’ve ever been.
- my children: I have a close relationship with my children both as a parent and as a friend. I have taught them I will always love them, to always love everyone and hard work is the key variable to reach your goals.
- my friends: I have a tight knit group of friends and regularly talk with them
- professional: I have had a successful career in a 9-5 but have slowly built up my investments on the side to the point where they bring in more money than my job. I have built up business or investments that bring in enough semi passive (work part time) income to allow my family and I to lead the life we want with a margin of safety
- learning: I am an avid learner and constantly read books, meet new people and am constantly growing in every aspect of life
- volunteering: I actively volunteer for an organization or have started my own non-profit
My goals for 1/1/2022
Here is the “marker on the side of the road” to point me in the direction that I want to go. With the way I’ve set this up, if I’m able to accomplish these then I will be on my way to my vision.
- Physical: I am physically fit, weigh less than 165 pounds and eat well.
- Spiritual: I volunteer in my church once per month and have read the entire bible twice
- Relationships: I have strong relationships with my wife, children and friends
- Financial: I have a net worth of 300k.
- Job: I have my MBA and make greater than XXXk per year.
- Business: I have > $2k per month in income outside my job.
My Objectives for 2019
These are always a work in progress but below is what I’ve thought through so far.
The first thing to mention is that some of these are milestones (i.e bench 250 pounds) while others are more around habit formation (run 150 miles).
The second thing to mention is that I’ve broken down some of my goals but not all. I’ll do this as I focus on them. I figured no reason to spend a ton of time on them if I wont’ get to them for a few months.
- Objective: 1 rep max of 250 lbs on bench
- Get base strength up: lift 3 times x 4 weeks
- Research & Purchase whey protein
- Determine plan for increasing bench
- Execute Plan
- Objective: Run 150 miles
- Objective: Work out 200 days
- Objective: 1 rep max of 250 lbs on bench
- Objective: Attend church 34 times
- Objective: Read a chapter in the Bible 260 days
- Objective: Date night 6x
- Objective: Visit friends 2x
- Objective: Event with Dad/Brother 4x
- Objective: Talk to friends from school 12x
- Objective: Event with family 4x
- Objective: Average $XXX per month into savings account
- Objective: Take 2 courses specific to work
- Objective: Take 4 courses of my choosing
- Objective: Meet 4 successful people
- Side Business
- Objective: 1 month of 25k sessions
1. The Single Most Important Variable is the WORK
I’ve written about it before that I am a firm believer in the ability for work to help you achieve success however you define it. You control both the quantity and quality of the work you put in.
The fact of the matter is, the more work you put higher chance of success. Especially now that you’ve taken time to point yourself in the right direction. Your 2019 is on you and no one else.
2. Use your long term vision as your WHY
Everyone needs a why. I am writing this before 5am on a Friday morning. Its not fun and sleeping sure sounds good. The problem is sleeping in every morning isn’t going to get me where I want to go.
I know why I’m getting up and I know what I need to do. Every time I think about sleeping in I think of why I’m getting up and, it doesn’t make it any easier, but it gives me the will to do so.