How to set goals and stay focused

How to set goals and stay focused

As with most startups, Cuvva HQ is certainly not lacking in entrepreneurial spirit. One thing we seem to have in common is a big passion for personal development and a desire to make the most out of everything. In fact, 14 members of the Cuvva team have run their own businesses before joining us. And no matter who you speak to, everyone seems to have some awesome thing they are working on or have been part of. 💡

I don’t normally call it personal development. I actually prefer how Jeff Bezos refers to it as the Regret Minimisation framework, where you think about things as if you’re 80 years old looking back at life, considering what you’d regret. It’s more about getting the most out of life and not being in a position on your deathbed thinking ‘I really regret not doing X’.

I’m not a personal development expert or life coach by any means, but people often ask me how I’ve managed to do so many different things in a short space of time. I’ve built an online personal fitness brand, a fruit and veg business, a cooked breakfast delivery company, and co-authored a travel book, to name but a few (all failed by the way…). So I thought I’d share an insight into what has been 10 years of trial and error, just trying to get the most out of life.

A quick warning before we get started: I get excited about things like this. I’ll try not to sound too cliché but I’ll warn you by putting it in italics. 😉I’ll go through the exact process I use, walking you through the actual goals I set this year and the thinking behind it. 💭

It all begins with a cheesy question

“When you’re 80 years old, what are all the things you’d have achieved to be left with no regrets?”

It might seem like a daunting question but it’s actually a great way to think about things. I’ve used the Wheel Of Life to come up with a balanced way to break things down, into the sections that make up what I think of as an enjoyable life. 

For me that’s travel, personal growth, family and friends, health and fitness, relationships, finances and my career. I’ll then write down all the things I can think of for each section. 

Now this is the fun bit. Don’t limit yourself. Be unrealistic. When you’re on your deathbed you’ll never be upset you aimed too high. It could be as simple as learning how to say quinoa properly, or as ambitious as playing table tennis in outer space (how cool would that be). 🏓

Of course, this can take a while, but if you stick with it, it’ll last you a lifetime. Keep adding to it. Treat it like a working piece of art. 🎨A good list normally has around 50-300 things on it. Once you’ve got over 50 things it’s probably time to break it down further.

Is there an order you need to do them in?

Some things you can do at any age. Some things you won’t be able to complete until NASA opens a table tennis club on Mars. 🚀And there are other things you’ll need to do before others. It might be a bit easier to go backpacking around Thailand before you have kids, but each to their own – who am I to judge! 

Putting the goals into 10-year chunks is an easy to way to plan them in order.

What do you want to do this year?

Next, for each 10-year chunk, write down what you want to achieve this year. Try and get a mixture of things from each of your sections, because if you’re not going to do at least one of them this year, you’ll likely never do it.

Here’s my list for 2019.

Now let’s break them down into quarters. There’s a few things to think about:

  • How long will they take?
  • Can you do them whenever, or does something need to be done in a specific month?
  • Will you have to start something in February because it will take 7 months to prepare for?

Some of the goals you want to achieve that quarter should be broken down into smaller steps to tackle on a monthly basis.

Staying accountable

Without accountability, everything else is pretty pointless. It will likely just become another list you forget about.

So you’ll need to get at least one accountability partner that wants to go through the same process. Like you, they’ll have set goals they want to achieve and deadlines to do it in. You’ll call each other out if you keep putting off a certain task, or if you always tend to do the easy stuff and leave the hard bits.

Who you pick as your accountability partner is super important. Be picky. Here’s a few things to think about:

  1. Pick someone who’s going to push you and be there to call you out if you don’t do something.
  2. Make sure they are reliable and are into this as much as you are.
  3. They need to be in it for the long-term. This is a life commitment, after all.

Then you’ll have regular calls to share what you’ve done and, you guessed it, keep each other accountable. As you’ve set this process up with someone you know will commit to this the best they can, you have to too. You can’t go on that call without doing the best job you can. Otherwise, you’ll have to listen to your friend talk about how great they did, while you sit there feeling disappointed and guilty.

Rinse and repeat

At the start of every year, take time to reflect on how the last year went. What worked? What didn’t? 

Then look back at your life list and start the process of planning the year ahead. You’ll most likely take some things off your life list that no longer excite you. That’s fine! You’ll likely have other, more exciting things to replace them with. 👍

So there we have it. It takes commitment, but for me, it’s been super beneficial!