How I’ve Stuck to My Goals Every Year For the Last 17 Years

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I’ve been setting goals since I was 15. My Dad pulled me aside one day all those years ago and showed me how he’d been organizing and keeping track of his own aspirations for years. I tried the same method, and it worked.

I used his simple process to improve my grades, grow stronger, find a new group of friends, travel the world, run a marathon, get married and start a family, finish college, become a Professional Engineer, buy a house, succeed at side hustles, and much more.

Throughout the past 17 years, even amid failures and successes that could have derailed me from discouragement or complacency, I’ve stuck to my goals. 

The secret isn’t something attractive or elaborate. Most goal-setting systems that are like that end up being nothing more than proof of the saying “too good to be true.” 

I’ve simply always stuck to setting one major, high-impact goal in each area of life — spiritual, social, financial, and physical — just like my Dad taught me how to do.

Over the years I’ve added to this method to make it more effective. Setting quarterly goals instead of yearly ones, breaking down each goal into action steps and outcomes, and tracking and reviewing goals regularly have all helped. But at its core, my system works because it’s simple and gets to the heart of what’s most important in life.

Why 4 Goals is All You Need

Everything we do falls into one of these four components of life. From work to exercise to hanging out with friends and more, all activities in life stem from these four central pillars. When you break up your life and goals into these four categories, you shed light on only the things that really matter. You can then see what’s going well and what isn’t so you can more effectively support whichever areas you’re struggling in. 

When one area suffers, they all do. And when you grow in each area, the others improve as well. As you learn to balance and succeed in all four by setting just one high-impact goal in each, your whole life will start coming together as you’ve always wanted.

Think of how, when you start working out, your mental state improves. That makes it easier to date or care for a family, work hard, and take the time to advance your spiritual health. 

Each improvement to your relationships grows your happiness, which helps work go more smoothly, motivates you to take better care of your fitness, and is itself a way of taking care of your soul. 

Every time you increase your income, you also increase your ability to purchase resources that will make it easier to build your connections with others, physical health, and spirituality.

And most importantly, when your spirit is in the right place, through prayer or meditation or self-improvement, for instance, all the other areas fall into place as they should. 

This system works because every goal you set feeds and grows only the most important areas of your life and only in the most impactful ways. You create an upward trajectory of growth like never before. I know that’s how it works because I’ve seen it in my own life. 

How to Use My Method to Stick to Your Goals

Start small today by writing out what you want to accomplish in each area. It doesn’t matter how many goals you write down, just get all of your aspirations in each category on paper. Then narrow it down to just one goal in each area that will make the biggest difference. Look for goals that will make others unnecessary.

You’ll start seeing that it’s easier to stick to your goals because you don’t have so many to manage. You will improve in every area of life because you’ve done the work to find the best goals that will lead to the greatest improvement to your life as a whole. 

And if your experience is like mine, you’ll find a lot more joy in goal-setting because you’ll have the confidence that you’re working on the right things and finally start seeing success in sticking to your goals.