How to reach the Big Goals in life

Recently, I did an exercise that I always considered to be a waste of time. My anti-traditions, anti-hierarchy and anti-status quo tendencies, always made me cringe whenever I heard someone talk about it.

What was this exercise about, you ask? I envisioned where I will be five years from now. That visualization-exercise was part of a course by Mark Manson.

At first, I didn't want to write about it, but because of this tweet, I got a few messages asking to explain what I did. So, let's do that!

I, however, still suggest you read the original course by Mark Manson. He did the research, and I'm only reporting on what I did, where I changed it a little, and what I will do next. Here are the steps (If you want to go straight to the Notion-board, click this):

  1. Write down every little thing you want to do or know in life. No limits. This is your bucket list. Write for 20 minutes. Go the whole way. You have to strain your brain a little.
  2. Set another 20 minutes timer and envision what you're perfect days five years from now in will look like. Write it as a story. No limits to your fantasy. This will probably overlap with the bucket list a lot.
  3. Think about where you will be in one year. Be way more precise and realistic with this. It should be a step towards reaching the life you described in the second point.
  4. Write down everything you do nowadays, in a given week. Write down what you do, how long it takes, and what value you get out of it, scored from 1-10. You should write down something bigger like holidays in days per year. If something is missing, write it down with 0h/week and predict a value-score.
  5. Analyze your list. What gives you a lot of value but you're not doing it enough? What gives you little value but steals a big chunk of your time?
  6. Look back at step 2 and 3. Find the overlapping subjects you recognize (e.g. mental health, physical health, relationships, financial freedom).
  7. Now create an action plan based on these. Pick one topic and write down: what will you be doing in the future, what will you be doing one year from now, what do you do every month to make this possible, what weekly, and what daily. Repeat for the other topics.
  8. Now discover the habit to reach these goals. A habit needs a cue that triggers a habit that you then reward. Figure out how to incorporate the daily steps into your day. Use the list from step 4 and 5 to adapt your day to a more optimal state. But only ever tackle one habit at a time. The problem with new year's plans is that people try to change too much and willpower is a finite resource you'll use up too quickly. And then you stop doing everything.

Repeat this exercise yearly. According to Manson, who created this thing after all, it helped him reach the Big Goals™ he set for himself.

This is the first year I've been doing it so I have no idea if I'll be successful or not. But at least, for the first time, I now have a clear roadmap that I'd like to follow in life.

A side-note on the original course, and my version: It is slightly adapted even though it's a copy-paste from what Mark Manson did. Without the research, without the explanations, without any of the stuff that makes the course worth it. And it's worth it, go do it.

So, if you like it, thank him, not me. I did something myself, though. I created a Notion-board to go along with this. Apparently, that's how successful bloggers do it. Enjoy!