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The Most
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Recently, I talked about the #1 reason

why people dont accomplish their goals:
lack of genuine connection and
commitment to them.
But once youve gured out what you
really want to do, you still need a strategy
for accomplishing it. Your goals are not
going to get you anywhere if you dont
actually do something about them. And
not just anythingbut the right things.
So heres a very straightforward, fail-proof
goal setting template for achieving your
goals. I say its fail-proof not because
error isnt possible (no one can predict
the future or control all circumstances),
but because if you follow this plan, youll
accomplish more than you would under
any other plan youve been testing out.

1.) Focus on only 1-2 major

goals. Seriously.
Now that youve gured out how
youre spending time each week, lets
switch gears for a moment. Figure out

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what your one major goal is this year. I

have two major goalsone personal, one
career-drivenbut wouldnt advise
choosing more than 1-2.

This is the hardest part for most people

because choosing just one BIG goal to
pursue requires extreme focus and
connection to purpose.
But, its really important that you stick to
just 1-2 major goals. Goals to me are
dierent than habit changes, which I
wrote more about on my blog. Your 1-2
goals should be so big that it would take
an entire year to accomplish. If you were
to accomplish only these 1-2 things, youd
feel like you had a very successful year.

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Craft The
Startup is
Not First to
Market. But

Lose 40 pounds
Successfully launch a startup and drive
$100k in revenue
Get into a top graduate school
Learn how to code and land a job as a
front-end developer
Save for and take a month-long trip to
backpack through Southeast Asia
Based on what you really want to
accomplishwhere your deepest values,
passions, and skills intersectchoose 1-2
goals to focus on for the rest of the year.
Do not aim for reasonable. Be a bit
unreasonable. What do you really want
to accomplish in the next 365 days? Thats
what you should make your goal.

to Win the
'08 Obama

2.) Create monthly subgoals.


Once youve created your 1-2 major goals,

create monthly sub-goals for each one.
The idea is that your monthly sub-goals
would very clearly lead to you
accomplishing your 1-2 major goals for
the year. (Note: Id recommend planning
for 12 months, but you can certainly plan
for 6 months, 18 months or whatever
number you feel comfortable with.)

Do You
Hustle to
Build a

Big Goal: Learn how to code and land a
job as a front-end developer.

April Apply and get into the Starter

League Beginner HTML/CSS class
May Take Starter League (SL) class &
code my own personal blog for
June Continue taking SL class, nish
coding the blog, and work on a Demo
Day project
July Finish SL class & nd a company
to let me do front-end coding for free
to help them redesign a website
August Apply and get into
the Starter League Advanced
HTML/CSS class
September Continue taking SL class,
nish up coding for the company side

Coming to
The 9
Rules for
With Bad
Should a

October Finish SL class and take on

one more front-end freelance project
for another company
November Finish freelance project
#2 and apply to a minimum of 8 frontend developer jobs
December Interview with
companies, apply to 5 more jobs if
necessaryand land a full-time
developer job by 12/31!

Learn to

Topics We

When you break your major goal down

this way, you can see the natural
progression of your goal and exactly what
needs to be done each month in order
for you to get a job as a front-end
developer by December 31st. Breaking it
down this way makes the end goal seem
even more tangible. It will get you super
excited about the idea of taking on your
plan and tackling that one big, amazing
goal of yours.

Blog (203)

Is it possible that you could do all of this

perfectly and still not get a job as a frontend developer? Of course. But youre
signicantly more likely to get one if you
actually plan like this, versus not planning
at allor using one of the much more
tedious, less user-friendly goal setting
strategies out there.

Guides (32)

3.) Create weekly minigoals.

If you put my post from earlier this week
into action, youve gured out the 20% of

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your work thats driving 80% of your

results. Now, the question is: What
systems can you put in place to do less of
the 80% of activity that isnt generating
results, and more of the 20% activity that
80% of work that isnt driving a ton
of results:
1. Checking email for 4 hours a day
2. Using social media too often
throughout the day
3. Taking too many meetings during the
Strategies to eradicate the issues
1. Check email for only 2 hours a day
one hour between 11-12pm, and one
hour between 4-5pm. Use Inbox Zero
techniques to answer, archive, and
delete more emails in half the time.
2. Block social media websites between
the hours of 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm
using one of these distraction blocking
3. Only take meetings on Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 12-3pm. If it doesnt t
into the other persons schedule, the
meeting gets pushed to the following
week. Exceptions can be made, but
only if the meeting is of extremely high
importance and/or urgency.


Once you create a list of strategies, use

thosein addition to your set of monthly
sub-goalsas a guide, and create around
50 mini goals (about 4 mini goals per
monthone for each week). Each mini
goal should take no longer than a week to
accomplish. Essentially, the mini goals are
a way to further break down your
monthly goals into highly manageable
weekly chunks.

April sub-goal Apply and get into

the Starter League Beginner HTML/CSS
April weekly mini-goals
Week 1: Do research on Starter League
Week 2: Submit formal application for
Starter League
Week 3: Send hand-written notes to
the founders to let them know how
excited I am about taking the SL class
Week 4: Get accepted into SL and set
up coee meetings with 3 alums to get
advice on making the most of the class
When you break your monthly sub-goals
down like this, you basically create a
detailed road map for making stu
happen. It seems so obvious, but no one
plans like this. Thats why most people fail
(in addition to not creating strategies to
eradicate triggers that lead to wasting

4.) Do your weekly planning.

on the
you outlined for the current month youre
in, you need to set aside 30 minutes to
create a weekly plan of attack for
accomplishing your mini goal for the
week ahead. I created this template
worksheet of what your weekly planning
sheet could look like:

Its a good idea to add in your major goal,

monthly sub-goal, and weekly mini goal
at the top of your weekly worksheet to
remind you of what the whole point is
with all this planning business and hard
work. At the beginning of every week, you
should know exactly what youre looking
to accomplish every day to achieve your
weekly mini goalso that you can move
on to your next mini goal, in order to
move on to your next sub-goal, in order
to accomplish your one major goal.

Fun to look at goal setting this way, right?

Youll see that I listed additional projects
and tasks on the weekly goal
setting template I created above. Thats
because none of us have just one
responsibility. Were all juggling multiple
things at any given point in time. Ill
explain how to best t these additional
projects and tasks in later this week.
The point of this sheet is to help you
make the tasks that are directly related to
your major goal a priority over the other
stu you have to do. This is a huge part
of goal accomplishmentyou need to be
willing to get your goal-related tasks
done rst, even when youve got other
important things going on. If you dont
get into the habit of doing this, youll fail
because theres simply too much other
stu out there to distract you from your
longer-term goal.

5.) Do your daily planning.

Once youve done your weekly planning,
you need to set aside time to plan every
single day for the upcoming day. Ive
soaked up a ton of productivity advice
over the last several years, and this is
something I hear from pretty much every
productivity guru and successful person
out there:

You have to plan on your own


If you dont break it down to what youll

do every day, then theres no way youll
accomplish your weekly, monthly, or
annual goals. Basically, if you dont plan
daily, youre screwed. Either youre
going to own your day, or your day is
going to own you.
I see an enormous dierence in my own
productivity when I plan it out thoroughly
versus just wing it. Of course, your daily
plan needs to go hand-in-hand with the
strategies you implement to actively
avoid time-wasting triggers and activities.
Heres an example of what your daily
planning worksheet can look like:

As you can tell, I like using pretty colors

on my templates. You can tailor your
weekly and daily worksheets to look
however you want them to look, but
these sheets work really well for me.

Youll notice a few new sections on this

daily sheet. The rst is Today s Top
Tasksthese are the top three things
you must get done for the day. If you
accomplish these three things only, your
day will have been a success. At least one
task should be related to your weekly
mini goal.

This is really important: make sure you

get this task done before you do anything
else on your daily task list. Do your top 3
tasks in order before you do anything
else, and get them out of the way. Each
task should take no longer than 90
minutes (And yes, its possible to get
your taxes done in under 90 minutes,
depending on complexityIve timed it).
Youll also notice a Batch Tasks
section. This is a list of all the basic
operational stu you need to do your job,
like coee meetings to build new
relationships, checking and answering
email, getting organized, sending out
email newsletters, etc. Basically, they are
the tasks you need to do to keep things
going, but arent really going to equate
directly to success at the end of the
For example, I need to publish content
daily for, but if I just focus
on that, well have a lot of content, but
not that much growth. For me, a major
sub-goal would be focusing on growth
strategy. Therefore, while very important,
editing and publishing articles is

actually not a top task for meits a

batch task. You need to gure out how
you dierentiate between top tasks and
batch tasks, given your own work and
Ill talk more about batch tasks soon, but I
wanted to show them to you on the daily
sheet for now, because its important to
make note of and label them as such.
As a note, I learned a lot of the above
techniques from reading Ive done over
the years. My favorite thought leaders in
this space are Steven Covey, Leo Babauta,
and Brian Tracy. I would highly
recommend reading any of the books
these three guys have written,
particularly Leos Power of Less. That
being said, Ive learned about and tested
the psychology behind why we achieve
and dont achieve what we set out to do.
So, I tailored the plan above based on
what Ive seen actually work and not work
through my various productivity testing. I
believe the plan above is the absolute
best aggregated, tailored plan for making
your goals a reality.
So there you have it! An easy-as-theycome, fail-proof goal-setting (and
achieving) method. Five steps. A lot of
happiness and accomplished goals.
Read more articles by Melissa on
accomplishing your goals:
If Youre Not Succeeding at

Accomplishing Your Goals, This is

the #1 Reason Why.
Why To-Do Lists Dont Work (and
What to Do Instead)
Why Youre Not As Productive As You
Want to Be (and What to Do About It)

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