5 Steps to Designing Goals You Actually Want to Reach

 2010 December 18
by jessica mullen   15 Comments 

frame two!

Over a month ago I came across this post by SaraOoo about keeping your dreams close. Like, literally, in a picture frame on your desk. I was so inspired I went out the next day and thrifted a photo frame to cradle my own aspirations.

Since then, I’ve gone through 5 iterations of my goals. Each iteration taught me new things about how to create the best feelings (and thus results) from the exercise.

Iteration #1

1-dreams
My first list was vague, full more of concepts than specific goals. “New Age Playboy Mansion” was about manifesting a home full of mystical decadence and luxury. There would be a dungeon, a chef, swimming pools, and plenty of intoxicants.

A 10 minute mile and weight of 115 pounds were specific body goals that I felt capable of achieving. “Sex, drugs and dubstep” indicated my desire to party and explore Austin nightlife!

Iteration #2

2-declarations
I switched the title to “Declarations” and rephrased each item into a sentence I could repeat to myself over and over. I became more specific about how much money I wanted to manifest, and less specific about my goal weight. I’d rather feel like I have a perfect physical body than be a lower weight and feel imperfect.

I introduced “I spend 20 minutes a day visualizing what I want” to put more focus on making these declarations a physical reality. Each day when I would look at the list, I could answer yes or no whether I’d put in the time or not. How could I achieve my goals without spending time thinking about them?

Iteration #3

3
I wanted more. Why aim for $5000/month when I could have $10,000? Why have a 10 minute pace when it could be 9 minutes? Why vacation to Europe once when I could do it twice a year, every year?

Iteration #4

4-march
Since I was wrapping up the School of Life Design, I started thinking about how to move forward with this site. I created this iteration as a way to help myself start feeling good again, because in my then-nocturnal state I had been feeling lazy and unfocused. That’s why “I diligently produce blog posts and podcasts according to schedule” appears, because what I really wanted was to WANT to create.

I figured out a more specific body goal of fitting into my favorite jeans, because when I picture myself wearing them, I feel in control. It doesn’t matter whether the jeans ever actually fit or not, what matters is if I feel like I have my shit together.

The idea of including casual sex and drugs on my list of goals started to really gross me out! What the eff was I thinking? I just wanted to feel good, but realized that wasn’t the ticket!

I introduced the birthday deadline to put some pressure on myself. Without external deadlines, it’s easier to lose focus. Plus, best birthday present ever!

Iteration #5

march 12
I removed the line about visualizing 20 minutes a day because I achieved it! Visualization has become a delicious habit.

Last night, I found a way to decide whether a declaration should be on the list. If I get excited to think about it as I fall asleep, it’s a keeper. Then I determined that the only things on the list I get excited about are the creative projects. I don’t want to fantasize about having the body of my dreams or a million dollars in the bank or luxurious vacations, because they are manifestations that will result from feeling good. I feel good by looking for solutions, coming up with new ideas, finding ways to share my findings, pondering the next steps in my personal development and constantly, consciously creating.

How to come up with your own list

  1. Think about what you would do with your time if you didn’t have to work for money.
  2. Figure out the physical manifestations you want, like money or travel, then think about how you would feel if you had them.
  3. Revisit your list at least twice a day, when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed. Read through each item and focus on how you feel when you read it. If you skip over an item or don’t feel anything special when you read it, get rid of it!
  4. Be specific with numbers. Then you know for sure whether or not you’ve reached your goal.
  5. Impose a deadline. Your work will expand to fit the time you give yourself, so if you don’t include a deadline it might take the rest of your life to achieve your dreams!



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  1. December 18, 2010

    This post will so be so helpful to so many. I love how you included all your iterations; it gives the reader a real sense of the process of revision.

    I love that you are always revising these and not letting them get stale! If I were to add an item on the list it would be 6. Revise.

    Great post!! Welcome back to regular blogging :D

  2. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 18, 2010

    Thanks for the suggestion! Hopefully feeling the need to revise comes naturally… but maybe I could include that word in step 3, about getting rid of things that don’t feel good.

    And THANK YOU for the welcome, I can’t believe how excited I am about it!

  3. December 18, 2010

    thanks so much for writing this post! i’ve been getting more and more into the vortext these past few days, and inspiration and motivation has been rushing at me like crazy, and reading this just pushed me that much farther!

  4. December 18, 2010

    oh, and i was going to say that i love that these are iterations (i love that Kelly taught me the meaning of the word, hah!); nothing has to be set in stone. its so great to be able to just see what works and what you like and make changes accordingly (i’m usually one to feel guilty if i don’t accomplish exactly what i set out to do). yay!

  5. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 19, 2010

    Katja, HELL YEAH! Glad to hear it!!

    I know what you mean about iterations – I used to think I had to commit to a certain goal too, but revising them every day is so much more fun – then they don’t get stale. Thanks for the comment bb! xo

  6. December 19, 2010

    Love this!!! Looking forward to more of these types of articles!

    I am conflicted about goal setting. It’s really fun to me to keep revising them endlessly (sometimes I think that goal setting is more fun than goal achieving!), and really, what’s the point in working on a goal that you’re no longer excited about? But then, it’s kind of hard to hit a moving target. That, and I’m notorious for not finishing projects, and giving myself permission to drop goals whenever I’m not feeling it could lead to more of that.

    Maybe it’s better to look at goals as taking you in certain directions, even though you’re constantly adjusting your direction… but then, maybe after the first 10 rounds of iteration its less likely that you will want to change them because they have been vetted?

    Anyway, in response to your facebook comment (can’t reply there because facebook is blocked in china, ho ho ho), I’m in Shanghai to spend time with my boyfriend and his family for the holidays!

  7. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 19, 2010

    Hey Allison!

    I think it’s important to take the time to figure out what you really want, and that setting goals and then revising them is a way to get there. Eventually you will reach the things you REALLY want (the vetted things).

    Life causes us to have new desires constantly…
    Kel says it should be called a “list of things to ponder” because just by pondering them, you’re creating them. There’s no project undone when you’re in the vortex. The point of doing this is more to feel good than achieve manifestations.

  8. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 19, 2010

    also, even if a goal hasn’t manifested physically yet, but you’ve achieved it vibrationally/emotionally, then resting on the vibrationally achieved goal will be boring. if we constantly allow ourselves to come up with new desires (ideas), we’ll feel so good our old ones will have no choice but to manifest.

    also, have fun in china!

  9. December 20, 2010

    Ey, thanks for the link!
    And wow, you really did the most of that! Great!
    I’ve been rewriting my goals a couple of times too, it gets so much more obvious which of the goals you really want and which you just “put up there” when you see them each day.

  10. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 20, 2010

    Thank YOU for the idea Sara!

  11. Todd permalink
    December 25, 2010

    Re: Iteration 1, item 7

    ::::::TODD SEAL OF APPROVAL::::::

  12. jessica mullen permalink*
    December 26, 2010

    Todd next time you should come to dubstep night!

  13. shannon permalink
    February 21, 2011

    ahhhhh just read this poat again – I love it! totallly and completely what I needed.

  14. jessica mullen permalink*
    February 21, 2011

    yay so glad shannon :]

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