The fourth guiding principle of the Puzzle Box Paradigm is to know your goals. And while this is the final border of your personal puzzle box picture, it is just as important as the other sides. In fact, it shares corner puzzle pieces with the “Know Thy Lifestyle” and “Know Thy Finances” borders. So the thoughts and ideas that you generated in those sections should be fine-tuned and specified here, as should the “Know Thy Personality” results.
The Puzzle Box Paradigm:
You’re probably familiar with this quote which has been paraphrased from Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice In Wonderland …..
“If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”
I love the quote because it capsulizes the meaning of being without direction or goals so well.
Now, at the end of this section, I will ask you to create a list of goals for creating your personal puzzle box picture. But I want to prepare you for that exercise by covering a few facets of goal-setting. They include:
– Why Having Goals and Direction Is Important
– Goal-Setting Categories
– Characteristics of Goal-Setting
– Approach to Achieving Goals
Why Having Goals and Direction Are Important
Not having goals or direction means that you don’t really care about fulfilling any aspect of your life. If that’s the case, the road for you would in fact lead to nowhere. And the land of “there” as mentioned in the Alice In Wonderland quote is a place that doesn’t exist because you have no destination.
Imagine a life with no hopes, dreams, or aspirations. Sounds depressing and empty, doesn’t it? You certainly wouldn’t accumulate or attract any wealth this way.
Here’s something else for you to think about:
In 1979, the graduating class of the Harvard MBA program was asked if they had prepared any written goals for their life. At the time, 84% of the responses were “no”, 13% of the people knew their goals but had not written them down, and 3% of the graduates had specific written goals along with detail plans for achieving them.
Ten years later, in 1989, those same graduates were interviewed again. The results were unbelievable. The original 13% who only had their goals memorized were, on average, making twice as much money as the 84% who set no goals. And the 3% who had detailed goals were making nearly ten times as much.
(Source: Mark McCormack, author of the book “What They Don’t Teach You In The Harvard Business School”.)
So this edge of the puzzle is all about setting your financial and personal goals. The reason I’m including personal goals is because some of them will undoubtedly require money to achieve. You’ll also want to grab thoughts and ideas from the prior three sections.
Goal Setting Categories
There are 7 basic goal-setting categories that you should consider. They include the following:
Physical Fitness– This is all about your fitness and health. Do you want to lose weight? Great, what’s your goal…10 pounds? What steps will you implement to improve your physical health and well-being?
Financial – It’s time to get a clear vision of your finances. How much money do you want to make this year, in three years, in ten years? Do you want to save up to buy a car or home next year? What are your wealth goals? When it’s all said and done, how much do you want have saved up for your retirement years? Do you have a timeframe for eliminating credit card debt?
Career – Examine your objectives for job and work. Do you enjoy your job or would you prefer to seek another career? What position do you want to reach at your company and when? Do you have a desire to be an entrepreneur and start your own business?
Social – This pertains to having fun and interacting with friends and others. Do you have a goal of getting together with friends for dinner, movies, card games, etc., two or three times per month? Would you be fulfilled by volunteering and helping a needy organization once or twice per month? Do you have hobbies and interest that you want to participate in once a week?
Spiritual – Make inner peace a priority and feed your spirit. Do you plan on attending church every Sunday? Will meditating once a week satisfy your spiritual needs? Would daily prayer help? Could self-development courses hold the answers to a better “inner” you?
Family – Having a strong family life brings much joy and satisfaction to many people. If you’re currently single, do you have a desire to get married? When? If you’re married, do you want to set a goal of sitting down with your family every night for dinner? Would family vacations once a year bring everyone closer?
Characteristics of Effective Goals
There are 6 characteristics to making your goals as effective as possible. The goals should be:
Framework-Driven – The key to succeeding at your goals is to first make sure that they mesh with your personality, lifestyle, and finances. This is where a success framework like the Puzzle Box Paradigm can help.
Challenging – The best goals are those that require you to go beyond your comfort zone. But when you achieve them, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
Specific – Don’t be wishy washy when spelling out your goals. It’s better to say that you want to lose 20 pounds by December 15th rather than saying you want to fit into a certain pair of jeans by next year.
Attainable – Your goals need to be challenging, but realistic at the same time. You must believe that if you put forth the necessary effort “within your control” you can achieve the desired result. For example, you shouldn’t set a goal of biking across America over the next 60 days if you haven’t exercised much in the last ten years.
Time-Linked – The common denominator of nearly all goals is time. This means that at a minimum, you should assign a specific date, time, or deadline to them.
Measureable/Trackable – You should be able to breakdown each goal into smaller steps, chunks, and milestones. The steps and milestones should be documented upfront, and referred to and analyzed periodically as you make progress.
Approach to Achieving Goals
The best strategy that I’ve found for setting and achieving goals is to first write each of them down along with the desired end result. Then, establish steps and interim milestones so that you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged.
For example, let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds in 12 months. The first thing you would do is set milestones to lose 2 pounds every 1.2 months. (So that’s 20 pounds divided by 10, and 12 months divided by 10.)
Once you reach the halfway mark toward a goal, take your existing numbers at that time and again divide them by 10. So, let’s assume that after 183 days of dieting you’ve lost just 8 pounds, with 12 pounds and 182 days to go. If you divide what you have left to go by 10, your new milestones would be recalculated to lose 1.2 pounds every 18.2 days. (That’s 12 more pounds to lose divided by 10, and 182 days divided by 10.)
The reason for recalculating at the halfway point is to create a sense of urgency, and to make up any ground you may have lost. It’s akin to a long distance runner who speeds up as he or she gets closer to the finish line. They want to do everything possible to ensure their goal (to win) is achieved.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines if you need a reasonable strategy to follow. Of course, you can monitor your progress more frequently than I suggest, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it less often.
Now it’s time for you to apply this approach to all of the goal-setting categories you want to use in order to create the puzzle box picture for your life. Also, go back through the prior three sections of the Puzzle Box Paradigm and identify changes and areas that you want to translate into specific goals.
This is the time and opportunity to make sure that all four sides of the puzzle are properly connected and brought into alignment. It will also ensure that the middle of the puzzle can be filled in with minimal effort and much confidence. But keep in mind that setting goals that are not in synch with your personality, lifestyle, and finances is a wasted exercise.
|My Little Goal-Setting Secret: Under Estimate and Over Perform
I totally believe that goals should be challenging. But I will play a little mind trick on myself sometimes. Let’s say that I want to contribute money to my retirement fund over the next year. I will set the amount to be reasonable and achievable, but not overly challenging. Let’s say I set it at $5,000. Then, my little unwritten stealth goal is to exceed that amount by as big of a percentage as possible.This way, if I meet the established $5,000 goal, I’ll feel good. But if I save a lot more than I had formally planned, I will feel even better and more motivated to do it again. This works for me because it taps into my competitive nature. Try this approach if you have trouble meeting goals. Now you understand why knowing your personality can benefit you in multiple ways.
-Create a list of challenging financial and personal goals that include specific completion dates.
-Review the three other sections of the Puzzle Box Paradigm to capture any goals you want to achieve.
-Establish steps and milestones for monitoring and achieving each of your goals
The strength of the Puzzle Box Paradigm is that it provides a powerful and organized way for you to accomplish two things. First, it will help you to place a frame around your hopes, dreams, and aspirations so that you can see an image of exactly what you’re going after. Second, it provides a set of strategies, methodologies, and techniques for turning your dreams into a reality.
But like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, it can only get done piece by piece. Follow the four principles, make sure each is connected and aligned with the others, and you’ll achieve your goals faster and more efficiently. Ignore the principles and you run the risk of reaching old age relying on the government and kindness of strangers. However, that’s a long time from now, so let’s not dwell on the negative.
For now, keep a healthy focus on your personal finances and building wealth. We believe that by doing this you’ll establish a solid foundation on which to prosper in all areas of your life.
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