Want to achieve a goal that really means something to you?

Want to accomplish something that will make all the difference in your life or the lives of others?

How do you get started?Do you write out a single goal with a deadline and hope for the best?

This used to be my way of thinking (I’m sure many people have experienced the same thing):

“I can just set goals using this goal-setting strategy I found to get what I want.”

For years I struggled with setting goals that I never achieved. I’ve read more books about goal setting and tried more goal setting programs and methods than I care to count.

You might be asking, “Is Darren going to tell me he’s created a new goal setting method? Is he going to tell me his method is the one that solves the problems people have with setting and achieving goals?”

Nope.

I have not created anything new. I have not created a new goal setting method.

Instead, I’ve done some reverse engineering. I’ve flipped certain productivity systems on their heads. What I discovered, having tried so many goal setting processes over the years, is that something important was missing.

There are many great tools, systems, and apps that you can use to establish, manage, and achieve your goals.

What’s missing from most goal-setting systems, is a METHOD that precedes and SUPPORTS the system.

Photo by Neil Thomason Unsplash

If that sounds vague, remember I said above? That I always felt like something important was missing from goal setting systems?

Imagine you want to build a house. If you don’t design an build a solid, safe structure, don’t expect to dance around carefree on the main floor without it collapsing and crashing into the basement.

Like the collapsing floor, this is what happens to most people who set goals. Their system collapses and they fall through the structure, failing at their goals.

The reason is because they started at a point in a system that was missing its foundations.

They didn’t know that they first needed to assess the ground they were going to dig up to build their new home. They needed to determine what reinforcements they might need to solidify their plan.

They didn’t conduct an initial assessment of how they go to where they are now in life.

They were “ignorant” of their problems and struggles, which negatively affected creating a solid plan for what they want to achieve.

Without the initial assessment of what’s worked and not worked for you in the past, it can be difficult — if not a complete failure — to make successful progress on your goals and dreams.

This is the perfect explanation for why most New Year’s resolutions never amount to anything. They are empty goals because they have no foundations of support.

The structure isn’t where everything starts.

First you need to know why you want to do anything. Let’s call that you mission or calling in life — whatever word makes the most sense to you.

If you’re not sure what you were put on this earth to do, I suggest you take the time to get clarity about what would inspire you.

If you know your mission, but that hasn’t helped you get what you want, take a step back. Clearly something is missing from your plan, or something is blocking you.

Like a set of architectural drawings, the concept is the long-term vision created before the first shovel hits the ground to dig the foundation.

Photo by Sergey Zolkinon Unsplash

Often the big problems in our lives contain the lessons we most need to learn.

When you’re face down in the mud you can’t see anything else. You need distance to understand why you’re in the thick with your problems or struggles.

When you step back far enough to see how you got to this point, and why you might be stuck, you can identify what’s not working for you. Knowing that you might come up with solutions to solve your challenges to get to where you want to go.

How to get clear on what’s been holding you back.

There are many helpful steps to understand why certain events, people, emotions, etc. are holding you back. I have found that the following structure works best to clear the path to achieving your goals. With the path clear, you can spend more of your time and energy working on achieving your goals, and living our your dreams.

Here are the steps:
  1. You get clear about how you got to this point in your life by performing a unique Get Clarity Process.
  2. You identify what you’re struggling with and the biggest problems keeping you stuck.
  3. You assess the foundations of your life to find out if extra support in certain areas (like health, career, friendships, fun, etc.) will improve the quality of your life.
  4. You get clear on your mission in life, and what you most want to accomplish in the next 3 years, as well as WHY that’s so important to you.
  5. You turn your 3-year dream, connected with your mission, into an action plan, with a focus on taking tiny steps. A single step creates motion and thus momentum.
  6. Finally, you establish structured micro and macro schedules. This will help optimize wins in your day by way of increased flow states and happiness.

All the steps above lead to greater productivity and manifesting your goals with more efficiency.

The reason why so most productivity methods and systems don’t work.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhinaon Unsplash

Most productivity systems are too narrowly focused on a single aspect of productivity. They focus on one thing like, scheduling, morning routines, or time chunking. They are missing the most important element: YOU.

It’s NOT about finding the “right” program or tool.

The only thing you need is a growth mindset and a willingness to change what you’ve been doing in the past, to get the improvements you desire for your future.

When you operate from a unique “Life Design” plan — that connects your why with your values and your goals, along with a effective productivity strategies — you will have the excitement and motivation to achieve your goals, no matter what problems or obstacles show up.

This story was originally published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +384,399 people.

Cover Photo by Hans M on Unsplash

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