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How To Set Goals and Achieve Them

Updated: Nov 23, 2023


Well, we’re not even a fortnight into 2017, and all around me people are dropping their ‘New Years Resolutions’ like hot potatoes!

It seems as though the idea of quickly giving up on these New Years plans is as traditional as setting them on New Years Eve or New Years Day - almost a done deal! Put simply, people don’t seem to know how to set goals and achieve them.

However, I see the whole process as a good reflection on a lot of peoples mindset when setting and achieving goals. I’m not making any judgements here, it’s just a good time of year to hear the various excuses we collectively put forward for having given up way too easily on the goals that excited us only weeks before. In some cases they excited us just days ago, and we’ve already ‘fallen off the wagon’.

The setting and achieving of goals isn’t rocket science. But it requires a system, and some short term discipline to stick to that system.

A Simple System That Works

Personally, I have a very specific system that I’ve used over the years, to make it easier for me (and others who’ve tried it) to stick to the plan, and to work through the sub-goals that make up the larger goal.

I’d like to share that system with you today, so you too can have something in place to not only write down and visualise your goals, but also to create a concrete plan that will build new habits within you, and everything necessary to achieve your goals in life, however ambitious.

I’ve used the same system to get to instructor standard in martial arts, scuba diving, horse riding, skydiving, fencing and numerous other disciplines, I’ve used the same system to break into the TV and film world, to become a stuntman and direct action sequences, to break Guinness World Records, to write books - it works. It will however, require a little study, and the desire to stick to a new regime moving forwards.

There are seven key aspects to goal attainment that everyone successful uses. If you’ve ever succeeded in a worthy goal, chances are that you’ve incorporated the seven steps, even if you did so by chance. To achieve your goals every single time, you need to use these seven aspects every single time. Once you know how to set goals and achieve them, it does get easier, but we must be consistent.

The First Step

The first step is (quite simply) to Write It Down.

Obvious, right? Yet did you know that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal, simply by writing it down?

So many people have the goal in their head, but do not commit it to paper. They certainly don’t write it down or print it out and stick it on their wall near their desk.

I write ALL of my goals down. I use software now, which happens to incorporate all of these seven steps, but I’ve always written the goals down. If it’s a big goal, I sit down in a quiet place and break that down into smaller, bite-sized goals - and write those down too. Just the process of doing this puts the subconscious mind to work on finding ways to make this happen, while alerting you to possibilities you’d have otherwise missed.

I also write down my goals in a somewhat unusual manner (aside from the usual goal, sub goal, date to achieve this by etc.). I write down the goal as an affirmation, as a statement I can read aloud, in the present tense, as if it had already happened. To clarify, if my goal were to buy a hot-tub, I’d write out a statement like “I am so happy and relaxed in my new 6 seater silver hot tub with bluetooth stereo system”.

You may notice that the statement is specific - the hot-tub is silver, it has six-seats, it has bluetooth! The act of writing this in the present tense, of reading it aloud and internalising it is VERY powerful. It utilises a part of the brain that greatly helps us to turn our thoughts into reality, perhaps a topic for a future blog.

Writing your goals down very specifically, and also writing down the achieved goal as an affirmation to be read each day - leads to the next step. It leads us to visualising the goal.

We usually visualise the goal anyway, but mostly only fleetingly as we write it down. I'd recommend that you practise visualising the goal, particularly the affirmation, on a daily basis. make it part of your day - a few minutes in the morning, and a few minutes on an evening before bed.


So back to the hot-tub example, you not only picture on the screen of your mind the look of the hot tub in the brochure, but mentally fill it with hot water and jump in! Feel the bubbles thrashing around you, smell the chlorine, hear the bubbles and jets. Taste the champagne as you sit back under the canopy of glorious stars!

I use the hot-tub example because I’ve done this. To the letter. And for the last year I’ve enjoyed the wonderful relaxation of sipping champagne in a cosy hot-tub under the stars. This was only achieved because I wrote the goal down very precisely, set a date, and mentally sat in the hot-tub for many months before it arrived! I even had a photo of the hot-tub model on my cork board near my desk, as part of my screensaver slideshow, and on display in the goal setting software I use.

Once you have a system like this in place, you'll no longer drop your goals as easily as you drop your New Years Resolution. So choose worthy goals that excite you - because they WILL come to fruition, I promise you that.

Wishing You Great Success

Curtis Rivers

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