- The first step to realizing your goals is to decide upon those goals.
- The second step is to work backward from your ultimate goal ten years from now all the way to today.
- The third step is to execute your daily goals that will lead to the big ultimate goal.
- Things like habits, daily writing, and visualization will help you but alone, they’re not enough.
After reading this article (and doing the exercise), you will have a complete roadmap that will enable you to reach your goal(s) in ten years or less.
Why ten years?
You can achieve almost any goal in ten years.
And you can definitely achieve any goal in twenty years.
This means that if you’re less than 60 years old, there’s still time to achieve almost any of your childhood dreams.
In this article, I’ll take you through the strategy that I used to:
- Have an acting career spanning over 12 years
- Live in eight countries
- Learn three foreign languages
- Study three degrees in three different countries
- Build this blog
- Read more than 50 books in a year
- Get on a carnivore diet
And much more.
It’s going to be cliché, but if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll hardly get there.
Any goal-setting strategy starts with your ultimate destination.
What do you want? The world is yours.
I insist on the “you”. What do you want?
When I watch Dan Bilzerian’s Instagram, I want to have his life. I want to learn poker and f*ck b*tches. This is because humans are inherently mimetic. We’re wired to want the things other people want.
When I wake up in the morning and think deeply about what I want, I realize I don’t want Dan Bilzerian’s life.
While it would be fun for a month or two, it’s a meaningless life that wouldn’t fulfill me at all.
What fulfills me is learning, reading, and writing. This blog is my liferaft in the ocean of instability that my life has become.
So, what fulfills you? Where do you want to end up? What do you want to build?
Do you want:
- A family?
- To save the planet?
- To help people get out of depression?
- To have your own bakery?
- To take care of animals on a remote farm?
To do nothing?
What’s your mission?
Bill Gates’ mission at Microsoft was to “put a computer in every home on the planet”. The mission was clear, simple, so he relentlessly focused on it and achieved it.
You need to choose an ultimate goal, or at least several small goals.
When I was a kid, my goals were:
- Playing in at least one movie.
- Having at least one girlfriend.
- Speaking English.
- Living in Australia.
I had achieved it all by the time I turned 22.
For a few years, I was lost, not really knowing what to focus on until I was 25 years old.
Over the years, I have refined my goals.
It has not been easy, there was a lot of trial and error.
I wanted to:
- Start a hedge fund.
- Work in finance.
- Do a Ph.D. in sociology.
- Get into politics.
- Enter the military.
- Becoming a public speaking consultant.
- Learn how to code.
- Work on an oil rig.
- Start a web design company.
- Start an Airbnb concierge startup.
- Start an online meat delivery service.
And tons of other stuff.
But none of these were meaningful to me.
Eventually, I have refined all of my goals over the years, and they have become this:
- Making enough money with this blog so that I can live off it.
- Building a company and making X millions with it.
- Having 10 kids and enough time to see them grow up and focus on their education.
These are my goals because they are meaningful to me.
- Making enough money with the blog would give me freedom.
- Building a company gives me accountability and responsibility, two other things that are meaningful.
- Having 10 kids is meaningful because kids are the meaning of life.
A goal, to be achieved, must be meaningful.
You’d probably love to become a billionaire, but if there is no meaning behind it, you won’t achieve it. You’ll stop once you become a millionaire.
Meaning is the life force that gets you out of your bed in the morning. It’s what entices you to work towards your purpose.
A good way to know what is meaningful to you is to pay attention to what you think about in the shower (Paul Graham).
If you don’t know yet what goals to focus on, it’s ok.
Take a piece of paper and write down everything you enjoy and everything you’d like to do in the future.
Stop reading the article until it’s done.
I’ll be waiting. Take your time.
Good, you now have a mind map of your desires and wishes.
Which are the ones that feel the most meaningful to you?
If you don’t know, take a few days, go for a walk, think about it, but not too much, then come back to it.
And make a decision.
Once you have found (a) meaningful goal(s), you’re ready for the 10-5-1 strategy.
The 10-5-1 Strategy
The 10-5-1 strategy is a strategy I shamelessly stole from MJ DeMarco, author of The Millionaire Fastlane and Unscripted (albeit I changed the name slightly).
It works as follows.
10 Years from Now
Take a piece of paper or a notebook (don’t use technology).
Write in it how you would like your life to be in 10 years.
Be as detailed as possible.
- How much money do you have?
- What do you drive?
- Where do you live?
- What do you do all day?
- Who do you talk to, and what do you talk about?
- What do you eat?
- How do you look?
- What do you read?
- What do you write?
- Who do you date?
- How many fish are there in your aquarium?
Write about it, print pictures and glue them, or draw.
Anything that helps you crystallize your vision is good to go.
5 Years from Now
Now go to another page, and write what your life would need to be halfway there.
Let’s say you want to end up with $20 million in 10 years.
Five years from now, you’d need to have a business making several million in revenue, and maybe have saved up around $1 million.
Be as detailed as possible, and write where you’d need to be in 5 years in all of the areas of your life you wrote about in the 10 years section.
1 Year from Now
Now go to another page and write what your life would need to be like to get 25% close to the 5 years plan.
If you need a biz making $3 million a year in year 5, you’d need to have a profitable business in year 1.
Be as detailed as possible, and write where you’d need to be in 1 year in all of the areas of your life you wrote about in the 5 years section.
You now have your 1-year and 5-year targets to achieve.
Forget about them. An awesome life is built day after day.
We are now going to lay a yearly plan that ensures you reach your target in one year (or even before that as I did with the books).
Focusing on Your Year Ahead
Now that you know where you’re supposed to be in one year, it’s time to map that year out.
Before we start, there are several things you need to know.
- To improve something, you must be able to measure it: if you can’t (or don’t) measure it, you won’t be able to improve it. This is why we will create a spreadsheet that tracks the most important metrics to you (don’t roll your eyes, these strategies are used because they work!!!) on one hand, and a very short daily journal on the other.
- Focus on what you can control. You can’t control the number of subscribers you have on your YT channel, but you can control how many vids a week you make.
- The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. 10 years is not made of 10 years. It’s made of 3 650 days. To achieve your 10-year plan, you need to get each of your 3 650 days right.
Let’s first set up the spreadsheet. You can download it here.
Side note: the sheet you see below is my sheet. The sheet you can download is a canvas you can adapt to your goals. Instead of “list of books” and “blog”, you will find “objective 1” and “objective 2”. Don’t have more than three objectives as it will be too much.
If you can’t see it well, zoom in with your browser. The definition is higher than it looks.
I don’t normally do 1-year goals because you can achieve so much in one year that I prefer to cram all of my objectives within 6 months. It creates urgency.
That explains the first column.
Write your objectives until the 30th of June (I assumed you started on the 1st of January, but if you didn’t, adapt the date in consequence. The date on my sheet is 23rd of May because I started it on the 23rd of November).
If you need to get a profitable company in one year, I suggest you have one idea validated within the next six months. Still in column A, write down the actions to take NOW to achieve your 6-month objectives.
In column B, I wrote “Leverage and Responsibility” because these are my focus for the year 2022, but you can disregard them. Then the column title is “not possible until”.
Find the blocks in the road that prevent you from achieving your 6-month objectives.
Eg: If your 6-month objective is to validate at least one idea, it won’t be possible until you start researching, or talk to a consultant!
Write down the roadblocks corresponding to each 6-month goal.
Column C is the calendar, organized per week. It helps you focus on your weekly and monthly goals.
Column D is where you write your weekly and monthly goals. Write the weekly goal in the cell corresponding to the week on column C, and the monthly goal on the cell corresponding to the title of the month.
This is a very important column, as this is how you will be able to measure your goals!
The smaller the tracking the unit, the more you can make sure you have moving forward.
This column is directly dedicated to a weekly objective, which is my reading schedule. I left the titles of the books because they’re all great books to read!
Column F contains all of the goals related to my blog. As soon as I achieve one, I pick another one and write it in column D.
Column G is a calendar for the months as the next column will have goals measured monthly.
Columns H, I, and J
Columns H look at the amount of money I am making each month, column I looks at all the income streams I currently have, and column J is a random column for a chocolate business I may start soon.
As you can see, the most important columns in my sheet are columns E and F.
These are the goals I am working on on a weekly (daily) basis.
You should never have more than three objectives per week (but you can have as many tasks as you want).
I use color codes to make the sheet more lively.
Green is used to highlight the tasks I have finished. Red is used to highlight the task I am not capable or willing to do at the moment. It’s a “pause” button.
Yellow is to highlight what I need to work on this week.
And orange highlights the barriers I can work on right away.
Use your own colors how you want it.
The Daily Journal
On the 28th of September 2021, I began to write a daily journal.
Every day when I wake up, I write my:
- Life goals
- 7-year goals
- 6-month goals
- Monthly goals
- Weekly goals
- Daily Goals
That enables me to remain focused and determined.
This way, I always know what to do, and why.
In order to make it easier for you, I made a PDF sheet with the daily journal.
Print a few of them.
Once you got the habit going, buy a journal like me, it will be more practical.
This pdf sheet has time-length written.
This one doesn’t.
A lot of people will ask you for money for this type of sheet (usually sold on Etsy or Gumroad).
Don’t pay. It’s never worth it for two reasons.
- It’s a dumb goal-setting sheet, for crying out loud. Soon people will be selling air!
- You need to find your own system. People’s system, my system, may not be suitable for you. Maybe you just want to write your yearly and daily goals because it’s better for you. I don’t write yearly goals because I don’t like it, which is why there is also the version of the sheet without the goal period.
“Extraordinary results demand extraordinary action”.
So far the strategy I’ve laid out for you is very easy.
Yet, most people fail. Why?
They don’t do it.
Maybe they do half of the 10-5-1 strategy then go watch TV.
Then they don’t take any action to hit their target.
While I’d like to tell you it’s all a “mindset problem”, it’s not.
It’s an input problem.
What does that mean?
“Garbage in, garbage out”.
If you consume garbage, you will do garbage.
Unfortunately, society was designed for you to fail.
- Most food is processed and contains tons of sugar that make you depressed, apathetic, and driven to practice dopamine-triggering activities.
- Entertainment is designed to make you believe that success is about “events” (I became rich/lost weight/found a spouse overnight!) while it’s in fact about processes (building a company for years, training at the gym and changing your diet, going out repeatedly).
- You’re taught problems are solved by taking a pill canceling the symptoms instead of attacking the root of it (medicine VS diets).
- Your job is designed to be just comfortable enough so quitting it to start your own company won’t seem “worth it”.
- The mainstream narrative constantly makes you feel guilty for your desires (outrageously expensive houses, Lamborghinis, holidays in Dubai).
I’ll admit that choosing your mindset is hard, and that not everyone can do so.
Luckily, while your environment is currently engineered for failure, you can also design it so that it will help you succeed.
What does it mean?
You need to get the four pillars of health and happiness in order if you want to perform at maximum capacity.
- Sleep: go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier, use a sleeping mask, no screen one hour before bed (I never respected this rule so I wear the best blue-light blocking glasses).
- Food: cut sugar, vegetable oil, and processed food. You will be less moody, have stable energy, and a clear mind.
- Exercise: you need to exercise every day. I don’t mean spending 2h at the gym, but I mean walking for at least one hour + practice a sport at least 2x a week (I go to the gym 4x a week).
- Social relationships: cut everyone that annoys you or doesn’t support you and find other people to hang out with. That’s the toughest part, but it is possible.
Once you have made these changes, you’ll already feel better.
You can now remove from your environment everything that will prevent you from achieving your goal.
- Your Xbox, PS4, computer games, etc.
- Your TV screen
- Social media accounts
- Netflix subscriptions
- Your toxic girlfriend/boyfriend
Finally, you can put stuff into place that will ensure you won’t go adrift.
For me, it’s daily journaling.
Everyday, I write
- My life goals
- My 7-year goals
- My 6-month goals
- My monthly goals
- My weekly goals
- My daily goals
I now also write three things I am grateful for.
When I forget to write, I am not as productive as when I do write.
I also use visualization in bed before sleeping.
Once you fuel your body with positivity and energy, you will naturally adopt the right mindset.
Once you remove the roadblock to your goals, you will naturally reach them.
Design your kicka*s environment and…go kick some a*s!
It wasn’t a long article because it’s not complicated.
Any goal is achieved day after day. Patience is your strongest ally.
Needless to say that my goal-setting dashboard is open on my computer 24/7, and that I review it several times every single day!
Daily and regular work is the only way you can achieve your objectives.
For more articles, head to auresnotes.com.
Photo by Florian Steciuk on Unsplash
Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter and I'll send you a list of the articles I wrote during the two previous weeks + insights from the books I am reading + a short bullet list of savvy facts that will expand your mind. I keep the whole thing under three minutes.
Oh, and you'll also receive a hidden article for new subscribers only!
How does that sound?