One of our Success Circle members recently asked for more specific guidelines on setting goals. The members each set a 60 Day WOW Goal – an achievement that they will feel really terrific about sharing with other members at the end of 60 days.

Here are my best secrets for setting great WOW goals and achieving them.

Secret #1: Create a vision for your ideal life first. Most people skip this step –don’t be one of them. Write it out in detail, including everything you’d love to be, do or have. Then create a vision board of two or three. You can have one for your business, one for your health goals and one for things you’d like to have. You can have one for things you’ve already achieved to remind you of how far you’ve come.

Vision boards are not a “whoo whoo” deal. Ready for some science? Your brain processes over four hundred billion bits of information every second –you are aware of only about two thousand. What determines what you pay attention to and what you skip over –the part of your brain called the reticular activating system (RAS).

It’s like a sentry at the doorway of your mind, sorting through all those bits of information bombarding you, deciding which best match patterns already established in your brain. It is the most intelligent and sophisticated alarm system we know of.

When you create that vision, with a clear, focused picture of what you want, this part of your brain kicks into high gear, and won’t stop till it finds what you’re looking for. All kinds of “miracles” and coincidences begin to occur to help you reach your ideal life.

Secret #2: Set your first goal as something that both makes you happy NOW and leads towards the rest of your dream. Chances are there is a big gap between your life now and your ideal life and that’s ok. Think about which elements of your ideal day you absolutely must have, those that are desirable and those that are icing on the cake. Then ask yourself “What is the most important thing that is missing from my life right now?” If you can come up with a single, solid answer –that’s your first WOW goal.

Secret #3: Brainstorm (ideally with 2 or more supportive people) and list EACH and EVERY step that needs to be done to reach your Wow Goal.

Be very specific in listing each and every step, even if you don’t know how to do it. Knowing how is NOT necessary to reach your goal. For now, stay focused on your “what,” not the “how.”

Next to each step, write the estimated completion date. When you have each step and date written down in detail, pull out your calendar and schedule each step. You may have to change your success dates, get extra help, or make a step simpler. Putting each step on your calendar is a great reality check that ensures you'll reach your Wow Goal.

There is no “right” way to do this scheduling. I start out in January with a one year plan of where I’d like to be in key areas of my life in December. I then break it down into monthly targets and then weekly. I end my Fridays at about noon by creating my schedule for the following week. I make adjustments –it’s not set in stone- I allow for the unexpected opportunities or challenges that pop up!

Secret #4: The Biggest Secret: creating time for your action steps. Do you procrastinate? You’re not alone. Or maybe you’re the opposite and find yourself always “doing” but it's mostly doing for others.

If you are serious about getting to your ideal life, you’ll have to take a frank look at how you are spending time now. For one week, record what you actually do with your time.

If you find a lot of time is “wasted” don’t beat yourself up. We all need time to unwind and to be self indulgent. The way to manage these “down” times, so they don’t derail your path to your ideal life, is to schedule them just like everything else.
It can be a block of time each day or a few times every week, but be consistent in the time/days you choose for yourself. And then take half of your designated “me” time to take actions towards your goals and use the remaining half for whatever you love doing…play solitaire, read a novel, stare into space, surf the net mindlessly. You’ve earned it!

A last tip: Each day take time to read, see, and feel your ideal life. And as you make decisions about how to spend your time…ask yourself “is this getting me closer to the life I was meant to live?”

Author's Bio: 

Ann Ronan, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, certified career coach and self employment expert, and vision generator.

Ann delivers smart, simple ways for people to acknowledge what they love to do and do more of it. Her articles, products, and books have motivated and inspired readers in numerous print and online publications. She regularly leads coaching programs, tele-seminars and live retreats, bringing the message to audiences internationally that living a passion-based life will bring prosperity and success.

She was recently selected from a nationwide search to be featured in Discover Your Inner Strength. The book features best-selling authors Stephen R. Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Brian Tracy (Million Dollar Habits), and Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager).