Do you always find yourself dabbling in anything you do?
Can’t stick to anything for any length of time?
Getting bored soon after you started?
Stick to this article and this will be a distant memory. ?
If you are a dabbler you know you need to stick with something for quite a long time before it yields any meaningful results, yet you can’t make yourself do it.
Think of this goal-setting system as a way of tuning your internal GPS. It will allow you to keep your focus on the larger picture and not get distracted by every new shiny object that comes your way.
The reason I called this system “The Waterfall” is because you can think of your goals as a flow of water that cascades from top to bottom with each step being mandatory before you progress to the next one.
We’ve done some of the work in previous articles with your mindsets so all you need to do is to fill the structure of the waterfall with the content of those exercises.
Table of Contents
#1 – The Waterfall System
Here is a diagram that will help you understand what The Waterfall System is all about:
Now you all you have to do is plug all the stuff we came up with in previous articles into that system and voila!
We now have our internal compass set for success!
#2 – Values
As you may remember from the Source Code, values are simply the pillars that govern how you show up in the world. Here is a quick summary:
- Values help to anchor you to a consistent way of showing up in the world
- Staying true to your values allows you to experience fulfillment and falling off from them makes it more likely to escape to bad habits to uplift ourselves
- Values are a prerequisite to creating Your Vision – you need them to know what is important in your life and what you can safely ignore.
#3 – Vision
That’s the ideal situation you can imagine in each area of your life. This allows you to reverse engineer and narrow down your daily actions to a few things that bring you closer to Your Ultimate Vision.
1. Your Vision prevents you from getting lost in a sea of distractions and mindless entertainment.
2. Your Vision helps you to craft tangible goals towards the outcomes that matter to you the most
Three of the biggest blockers to the successful execution of your plans in life are:
- Lack of clarity – not knowing exactly where you want to end up going makes it very hard to be clear on what actions you should take on a daily basis. It makes your focus scattered and all the self- indulgent distractions much more tempting.
- Thinking too small – putting a cap on what’s possible based on your present and past situation
- Trying to achieve too much at once – this leads to either procrastination, discouragement or burnout.
Your Vision will help you achieve clarity, think long-term, while simultaneously enable you to chunk those big goals into manageable milestones.
#4 – Focus Areas
You can’t focus on everything all at once so you must choose your primary and secondary focus areas.
Understanding in what area of your life you want to pour all your energy into makes it very clear what is the right investment of your time and where does your time gets wasted.
You won’t be completely neglecting all other areas of your life, but you will be putting them in “a maintenance mode”.
If one of your areas is in maintenance mode, it means you simply have put minimal required effort to keep yourself at a current level.
Nothing more, nothing less.
How to choose a focus area?
Sometimes all you need to do is ask yourself – “what part of my life needs my attention the most?” and the answer will be abundantly clear.
If you’re going out all the time chasing girls, but your finances are in shambles – then the money is the area of life that needs your attention most.
Usually, people do well in one or two areas, but it comes at the expense of other areas.
If all your attention was on work and making money for a while, you may nd that it’s time to put work into maintenance mode and refocus on your health.
Some other times, you may need to ask two more clarifying questions:
1. How does success in this one area can contribute to success in all other areas?
2. How does success in this area make the success in other areas easier?
I’d personally suggest working between 1-2 areas as in my experience, any more than that will burn you out.
Another way is to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in order to determine where you should focus your attention. If something in the lower areas of your life is lacking, but you focus your attention on higher levels, you may need to reprioritize your goals accordingly.
#5 – Objectives
Yearly goals are specific things that you want to achieve within the span of this year.
The level of priority you give to your yearly goals should mirror the priority you give to your areas of focus.
For example, if you decided that this year you want to focus on your health more (focus area), a specific yearly goal would be
1. Lose 5kg of fat
2. Gain 5kg of muscle
Yearly goals allow you to think in longer stretches of time as they are reasonably high level.
Any goals you create for yourself should always follow the SMART framework which means that they are:
Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise, you won’t be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve them.
It’s important to have measurable goals so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goals.
Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. So, make sure that your plans drive your goals forward without sabotaging other goals.
Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
You can pick between 1-3 goals in each of your focus areas you decided to work on and make sure that they are synergistic.
#6 – Milestones
Milestones allow you to chunk those big audacious goals into smaller bite-size pieces you can tackle every week. I divided your milestones into quarterly goals, which you will further break down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Here is how milestones can help you:
- They refocus your attention on daily little rituals that you can track and see small incremental progress on a daily basis.
- They help you build belief that the bigger goal is within your reach
- Hitting smaller goals on a consecutive basis on the way to your bigger goal helps you stay motivated and fulfilled along the way to your big goal
- They build a momentum of action taking as you don’t have to be bogged down by the big goal that may take a long time to achieve
This will build your belief and give you fulfillment along the way. This will also allow you to enjoy the process of reaching your goals and save you from the illusion that you’ll be happy when you get there.
You can be happy every step along the way, the final destination is only just a final milestone you set for yourself.
BELIEF + FULFILLMENT = MOTIVATION
This approach allows you to unlock massive amounts of motivation because it makes those big long term goals actually doable.
The roadmap to getting to your big yearly goals fuels your belief that it’s actually within your reach.
#7 – Projects & KPIs
This is the smallest unit of The Waterfall System which allows you to identify what specific actions you must take in order to achieve your milestones, yearly goals, and ultimately your Vision.
Actions will usually take the form of habits that you will want to instill in your daily or weekly routines.
KPI stands for key performance indicators and allows you to be more objective about your execution. They allow you to track your progress based on the process instead of results. They allow you to know whether you are behind, on track or behind in achieving your longer-term goals.
#8 – The Waterfall System Example
If all of this sounds confusing at the moment, don’t worry.
I’m going to give you an example, that will make all those abstract ideas more tangible:
Let’s say you’ve determined that one of your core values is health & vitality.
Top Value: Health
You take stock of the current state of the body relative to your desired state (Your Ultimate Vision) and you’ve determined that you are around 5/10.
Now you look at your ideal 10/10 body that is part Your Ultimate Vision that you aspire to have and start to lay down strategic plans that would allow you to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
The next level is to decide what is your focus area. Since you want to build the body of your dreams, it’s pretty easy:
Primary Focus Area: Fitness & Nutrition
If you have decided that this is your primary focus for a year, you must give it priority over other competing areas such as your dating life, etc.
1. Get to 9% body-fat
2. Gain 5kg muscle
3. Have a visibly define core
1. Get to 15% body-fat
2. Gain 1kg muscle
3. 5 sets of planks for 30 sec
1. Get to 17% body-fat
2. Gain 500g muscle
3. 3 sets of planks for 30 sec
1. Get to 20% body-fat
2. Gain 100g muscle
3. 2 sets of planks for 30 sec
This is obviously an oversimplified version of a work-out, for the sake of explaining the core concepts behind this system.
Last but not least is a weekly review. One day a week where you raise above your day to day hustle, look at the big picture and strategize.
In order to keep your goals top of mind, you HAVE TO keep yourself accountable and see how well you are doing on a weekly basis.
Ideally, you can have an accountability buddy but if you don’t it’s still possible to keep your motivation and mindset sharp with a simple habit of sitting down and reviewing all your KPIs on a weekly basis.
I will tell you more about reviewing in the next section of this guide.
If all of this seems daunting, don’t worry. The actual application of this system will be actually pretty easy.
Once you put in the initial groundwork, the whole thing runs on autopilot and makes achieving your dreams a real possibility, instead of pure fantasy.
In the next article, I will share with you the best online tools that allow you to plug your system into your laptop and phone.
PS. Hey man, thanks for reading – I hope you found this information valuable.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, share it with a friend that may find that life-changing information to be of value.
Speak soon, man!