[Setting goals, achieving goals, goalsetting worksheet, goal setting template]

Have you ever had one of those moments when your mind just explodes?

Not literally, obviously, or you’d be struggling to read this right now what with the gooey brain explosion gunk. No, I mean one of those times when you read or hear or think something so profound that it feels like a switch gets flicked off in your brain, releasing the locking mechanism of your mind-cage, and allowing your mind to expand big-bang style, changing the way you see the world.

Maybe you’re sitting on a beach, looking out over the ocean to the horizon, and you suddenly realise that you are connected to every other life form on the earth. You literally feel this truth, deep in your body, and it blows your mind.

Or maybe you’re reading through an old philosophy textbook (or, let’s be honest, inspirational quotes on Pinterest) and you come across a phrase that so perfectly captures your experience of the human condition that you feel a physical jolt.

Turn your can'ts into cans and your dreams into plans

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It happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was reading an article online – I can’t even remember what it was about – when something in there stopped me in my tracks. I read a quote by businessman (and evil billionaire) Peter Thiel that blew my mind.

First, some context.

You probably know that this whole blogging thing is new to me – Unwrite the Rules is less than 3 months old at the time of writing. So I’ve been conscientiously learning about how to grow a blog, how to attract readers, how to turn a blog into a business etc etc.

It’s all very exciting (#nerdalert) but also a bit frustrating for someone determined to succeed and get her message out to as many people as possible. The general advice is that bloggers should expect at least 3-6 months of having their posts read by nobody.

NOBODY.

Crickets.

Tumbleweeds.

And even after 6 months, it’s expected to take a couple of years before your work is popular enough for it to start earning you money (if that’s the path you choose to take with your blog). So all the advice on teh internetz is to pour your heart out and work your butt off, while accepting that nobody is ever going to see – much less appreciate – all this effort.

All a bit depressing, really.

So anyway, that’s what I was thinking about when I came across this quote that blew my mind. I’d been looking at my Google Analytics report, trying to work out what percentage of the people who read my last post were biologically related to me (spoilers: it was depressingly high) and calculating just how long I would have to keep blog-talking to a brick wall before I could start connecting with real people. I was reading whatever-article-it-was, then I read this sentence:

“Ask yourself: how you can achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?”

It stopped me in my tracks.

Literally – I had to stop reading, switch off my screen and stare into space as that quote flung itself around the inside of my head, bouncing around and knocking me off balance.

How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?

Could I REALLY do that? Was it even an option? Was there anything actually stopping me except my own expectations of how my path should unfold?

The idea is intoxicating. That it might actually be possible to condense 10 years of working towards your dream, and instead achieve it in 6 months.

It would be like having a time machine, saving nine and a half years of thankless toil and skipping straight to the great bits.

To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed that it took reading that quote to snap me out of my preset expectations for this new business venture. I mean, it’s exactly the type of thinking I’m advocating when I encourage you to “unwrite the rules.” I’m encouraging you to break through the mental barriers imposed by thinking that life has to follow a certain path set by others’ expectations, yet here I was inadvertently falling into the same trap.

So, what next?

For me, I’m loving the reminder that I don’t have to do things according to anyone else’s pre-defined timeline. We can bend reality to our own will. And I’m updating my goals, targets, and action plans to reflect a more ambitious result for myself and my business. I’m identifying the things I can do to achieve my 10 year plan in 6 months.

So what about you?

What can you do today that will help achieve your 10 year plan in just 6 months?

Now…obviously there are some things that absolutely can’t be condensed down into 6 months. If you’re a newlywed who dreams of having 2.5 children, then it’s going to be exceedingly difficult fighting against the biological laws of nature to condense that into 6 months.

Whether realistic or not, even asking the question – seeing the possibility of an alternative path, is incredibly beneficial. It opens the mind, and calls on us to do some serious reflection that many people only take time to do around the new year (if at all).

Do you have a 10 year plan? Do you even have a one-year plan?

Are you plotting the destination that your life-course takes? Or are you just living day to day with no real purpose or end game in sight? We only live once so if there are experiences or achievements or adventures that will make your heart sing with delight, they should be brought out of your imagination and into a solid plan on how/when/where you’ll achieve them.

Even if you know what you want to achieve in 10 years or even 5 years, the sad truth is that you’re very unlikely to do so without a concrete, actionable list of steps to take today (and tomorrow, and the next day) that will bring you towards those goals.

Goals are wonderful, but it’s planning that will ensure you reach them.

Sound too complicated? It isn’t, I promise! To make things easier, I’ve created The Ultimate Goalsetting Worksheet to take all the pain out of identifying and tracking your goals. This worksheet puts achieving your long-term goals on autopilot – you focus on the day-to-day actions, and the long term goals take care of themselves.

It’s all automated for you, taking the hard work out of keeping yourself on track.

If you’re a normal adult human being, then you’ve probably already spent too much of your life with little to no conscious input into the direction it’s taking. Don’t let another day go by, drifting aimlessly along with the tide.

We all have a limit on the number of days we get in this life, so if there’s something you want then now’s the time to start chasing it. Setting goals and developing a concrete plans to reach them means you get to live the life you choose, instead of the life that happens around you.

What’s your number one life goal? Have you started taking steps to achieve it, or is it still just a dream? Let me know in the comments below.

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