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How to Create a Life By Design

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If there was ever a time to get your business and life goals in order, it’s right now.  Right now being today, tomorrow, or at the latest end of this week is the perfect time to either set your new plans for 2016 or to go back over what you had planned for 2015 and address them with a unique mindset that I’ll layout for you below.

You might ask: “What makes your planning sessions any better than the ones I’ve been doing?”.


You see, I’ve been the guy who is easily swept-in with the new year hype of creating goals that will change ‘your life forever!’ The guy who sits down at a neat and tidy desk with a brand new pen and a sharp writing pad of paper carefully writing out a list of goals that I ‘think’ I’m going to achieve over the year ahead. I’ve been the guy who takes the time to hang them on my wall, on my Facebook page, in Evernote, on my phone and there was even one year I actually wrote them on my bathroom mirror with a whiteboard marker – true story.

I couldn’t escape my goals even if I tried. But something was missing, because even though I saw my goals staring at me almost every waking minute, I wasn’t achieving them. The other problem that arose was that over a short period of time those goals actually began to blend into the rest of my environment and before long I wasn’t even seeing them.

And so, during late 2014 I realised something – I was missing one of the most critical ingredients that successful people have in their goal planning – the WHY behind the goal.

Why is that goal important?

Why do you want to achieve that goal?

Why will you be happier and more fulfilled when you achieve that goal?

It was during this time that I decided to find out more about how the best of the best are planning their goals. While on the search I came across a unique and new way to approach goals, a way to look at getting in behind your goals and really digging deep in what it is you truly want, why it matters and then how you’re going to get it.

Further to this, I believe that not all goals are created equal. They don’t require the exact same attention as one another and you actually need to come at your goals based on a scale of importance.

Just like climbing a ladder to get to the top (aka –  your major goal) you need to tackle it rung by rung.

Today I’ll be giving you an insightful way to get the most out of your 2016 life planning session. To ensure you’re creating goals and intentions that matter, goals that will make a difference and intentions that you’ll stick to and dominate.

Now grab a notepad and pen, put aside about 1-2 hours (if that’s a ‘too hard’ then break this up into blocks of 30min sessions throughout a week) and find a nice quiet place to think and write. 1-2 hours to spend on planning your life shouldn’t be negotiable. It’s your life we’re talking about here!

Let’s dig in…

The first thing we need to do before we even tackle the world of goals and intentions (action) is mindset. We want to ensure we’re coming from heart, the place that truly matters. We’re not setting goals just to set goals, we’re putting in time to plan your life by design.

 Make a list of three areas in your life and business where you need clarity. Ask yourself this question: “Where do I need to get clear about what I want?”  This can often be the hardest task of the entire process, however it is critical. I personally believe most people fail at business and feel sad in life because they lack clarity. Clarity holds the key to success, it holds the key to fulfilment and when we have clarity we will do our life’s best work.

Make a list of ten things you are grateful for right now.
– I want you to be specific. Consider the various categories of your life and list them down. List WHY you’re grateful for them and how they make you feel.

In order to move forward we must understand what happened, learn from the experience and then adjust accordingly to allow us to progress. There are three elements to properly engage with the past:
– Acknowledge what happened.
– Learn from the experience.
– Adjust your behaviour accordingly.

This is the power of reflection. 

So here are 6 questions I want you to think about and journal on:

1. What two to three major themes kept recurring in your life last year?

2. What accomplishments are you most proud of achieving last year?

3. What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

4. What disappointments or regrets did you experience last year?

5. What was missing from your life last year if you look back?

6. What were the major life lessons that you learned last year? Try to break them down into small statements. For example:
 “There comes a point in every experience when I’m too far in to quit, but almost certain I can’t finish. If I keep moving forward, I’ll eventually get to the other side.”
“Don’t over think the outcome; just do the next right thing.”

Now you have reflected on both your motivations and lessons from the past, you need to plan how you are going to actually achieve your goals. Get yourself 5 – 10 sheets of blank paper and  

1. List 5-10 S.M.A.R.T.E.R* goals you want to achieve this year. Read this blog for more tips on setting S.M.A.R.T goals.

2. Next, think of five to seven motivations for each of your goals. What’s going to drive you to go after them?

3. Ask yourself, “Why is this goal important? What’s at stake both positively, and negatively?”

4. Identify which one of the motivators is most meaningful to you.

5. Enter your key motivation for each goal.

Now we know what we want we need to look at how we’re going to get them. In order to kick-off, here are 7 key steps to get you moving:

1. Get off your “but”: Don’t let your circumstances become an excuse.

2. Don’t overthink it: Extensive planning can often be a fancy way to procrastinate. Instead, get started and you’ll figure things out along the way.

3. Chunk down your goals: In order to reach your goals, you just need to take the next action, then the next. When you think about your goals, break them down into bite-size chunks until you have gone the whole distance.

4. Get it on your calendar: If you’re like most people, if it doesn’t get on your calendar, it doesn’t get done. You won’t accomplish your goals in the leftover time, because most of us don’t have any.

5. Honour your commitment: Take your goals seriously. Think of them as your solemn commitment to change, and honour them accordingly.

6. Maintain forward momentum: Each action you take builds momentum towards your goal. I recommend that you schedule time to work on your goals, possibly first thing in the morning when you have the smallest chance of getting derailed.

7. Celebrate your wins: If you don’t celebrate your wins along the way, you’ll lose the energy you need to reach the finish line. Make it a point to include those closest to you when you celebrate. This multiplies the meaning of the celebration.

Crafting a life by design goes much deeper than just throwing down a few goals because you heard that’s what you need to do.

It’s actually about having a plan, it’s a craft, it’s a practice. So take your time, really put your heart and soul into thinking about what you want and why you want it. A few hours to plan the rest of your life is a small sacrifice.

I would love to know in the comments below, what is one of your biggest goals for 2016?


Would you like to find out how we can help you achieve your goals this year? Click here to book in a FREE discovery session with our team to explore your business and talk about the journey we take hundreds of entrepreneurs on each year.

About Ben Salkeld

With over 15 years of business experience, entrepreneur Benjamin Salkeld has dedicated his career to leadership, business and coaching. Previously, he served as Founder & Director of BEASTBOX Pty Ltd, a nutrition sampling concept created to help sport enthusiasts find the right supplements to suit their needs. He is now a Business Advisor at The Entourage.

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