How many goal-setting frameworks, strategies, and techniques have you tried in the past?

Me? I had been using the SMART Goals method for years, but truthfully, I didn’t always see the success I wanted. Sure, my goals were specific, measurable, yadda yadda yadda, but I found that my success was still hit or miss. Why?

Personally, I think it’s because the SMART Goals method lacks an emotional connection to the goal you’re trying to achieve.

Don’t you want to set goals that are exciting? Wouldn’t it be nice if a goal was challenging, yet energizing? Wouldn’t it be great if you felt drawn to a goal, rather than obligated to stick with it?

That’s what I was missing: an emotional connection.

So I decided to create a new framework—a new criteria by which to evaluate our goals, one built around emotion, energy, and excitement.

Success in goal setting stems from identifying goals that give you a strong sense of passion and purpose, and if you follow this framework, that’s exactly what you’re going to find. Before we dive into specific goal-setting strategies, I want to outline this new framework, letter by letter.

The FOCUSED Framework

FOCUSED is an acronym that stands for Future Focused, Optimistic, Challenging, Unforgettable, Significant, Energizing, and Deadline Driven.

Each of the letters has a corresponding question that will help guide you towards setting goals that truly matter to you, goals that add value to your life, and that you get pumped up.

If you’re ready, let’s dive in!

Future Focused

I believe all good goals should contribute to a brighter future and give us something remarkable to look forward to. Maybe that’s a healthier life, financial independence, a fulfilling career, or something else entirely.

Whatever it is, try thinking about where you want to be in one, five, or even ten years from now. Can you imagine where you’ll be in ten years or what your life will look like? Don’t panic; I know this is difficult and maybe even a little scary, but nothing is concrete. For now, we’re just dreaming.

We touched on Blue-Sky Thinking a little bit already, and we’ll dive deeper into that topic in chapter six. For now, try to imagine your future and just know that your goals should be designed to help you see that future come true.

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Is this goal going to move me forward and contribute to the future that I envision for myself?”

If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track!

Here’s a Personal Example:

Someday, I want to be a professional speaker who travels the world and shares the Daily New Year’s message. In the next five to ten years, I would love to have the opportunity to speak on a stage to a crowd of about ten thousand people, similar to the Global Leadership Summit, if not that event specifically.

This goal is something that is set in the future, five to ten years from now, but not all of your goals have to be set that far in the future. They could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual goals. The idea is that your goals all lead to the dream life you want for yourself in the future. I want to be a professional speaker and this goal will help get me there.

  • My goal is future-focused.

Okay, once you come up with goals that are future-focused, it’s time to see how they fit into the rest of the framework.

Optimistic

Optimism is critical for goal setting. Who would want to work on goals that are hopelessly unattainable? Who would want to work towards a goal that’s not exciting?

Sure, goals should be challenging (we’re getting there), but they should also be fun! Goals shouldn’t always be a chore—they should bring joy to your life, ignite your passion, and help make your dreams come true.

Wouldn’t you agree?

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Is this goal an optimistic one that will make a positive impact on my life, and am I optimistic that I can achieve it?”

It’s important to note the two sides of this: you should be optimistic about the goal AND your ability to achieve it.

Back to my example:

Becoming a professional speaker and addressing an audience of ten thousand people would help me spread the Daily New Year’s message, open me up to a broader audience, and would bring me tremendous joy.

Additionally, I’ve been seeking more opportunities to speak in public, and I’m getting better each time. I’m optimistic that, with training, practice, and time, I could achieve this goal.

  • My goal is optimistic.

Now, didn’t I mention that goals should be optimistic, yet challenging?

Challenging

The “A” in SMART goals stands for attainable, but if goals are too easy to reach, then there tends to be less pride in reaching them.

I believe goals should stretch you. If every goal you set is easily attainable, then perhaps you’re not shooting high enough. On the flip side, goals that are too difficult to reach are discouraging. “Too easy” and “too difficult” will vary from person to person. For example, if you’re not a routine runner, aiming to win the Boston Marathon would probably be too difficult. However, aiming to complete a 5k may be too easy given most people can walk a 5k in forty-five minutes or so. Aiming to complete your first half-marathon in under three hours might a good goal.

Again, this will vary from person to person, but keep in mind that growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone, and that’s why I recommend that your goals be challenging. It may take some trial and error, but don’t get discouraged.

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Is this goal going to require me to stretch and grow? Will it be difficult to achieve? Am I going to have to push myself?”

Back to my example:

Landing a speaking gig at the Global Leadership Summit or an equivalent will be no easy task. Each year, top-tier speakers in the leadership development field are carefully selected to come and speak to the worldwide audience.

Over the next five to ten years, I’m going to have to practice, book countless engagements, and become an authority on goal setting, but I believe I have the discipline to see this goal through if I work hard enough.

  • My goal is Challenging.

Be sure not to set goals that are so difficult that you don’t have any hope in achieving them. The aim is to stretch yourself and grow beyond the person you are today, not to achieve perfection overnight.

Unforgettable

It’s always a great idea to write your goals down and refer to them regularly. After all, people who write their goals down are 42 percent more likely to achieve them.

However, I’ve found that unforgettable goals are the ones I enjoy chasing the most. Whether I write them down or not, unforgettable goals are the goals that I wake up every day ready to work towards.

This book, my blog, the podcast—these are all things that I feel excited to work on every day. They’re completely unforgettable!

When trying to pick goals that you’re going to succeed in crushing, make sure they’re the ones you can’t seem to forget. Is there something in your mind that you’ve wanted to do for years, but haven’t? That’s what I’m talking about. Unforgettable goals are the ones that seem to be embedded in your mind.

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Am I so passionate about achieving this goal that it’s all I can think about? Do I wake up each and every day excited to work towards it?”

Back to my example:

While I’m not ready to start taking on speaking engagements today, it is something that continues to make my list of goals. In a later chapter we’ll discuss how to prioritize your goals and to avoid goal competition. Today, this book, my blog, and the podcast are my top goals. Next, I want to layer in a YouTube channel. After that, maybe I’ll be ready to start speaking to live groups of aspiring Goal Getters.

Until then, though, my goal of speaking to a massive audience is not one that I forget about. It’s always there on my list of long-term goals. It’s always in the forefront of my mind.

  • My goal is Unforgettable.

Which goals do you keep thinking about over and over? Those goals are a good place to start when thinking about what you hope to achieve in the coming years.

Significant

Significance can have a few meanings. Goals that have a huge impact on your life are significant. Goals that are important to you right now are significant. Goals that are going to take your life to a new level are significant.

Why would we waste time chasing goals of little or no significance? It happens all the time: we set goals that mean very little to us on a personal level, and therefore, we have little motivation or desire to achieve them.

Are your goals significant to you?

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself: 

“Is this goal significant to me and my current place in life? Does it add significance to my life? Is this goal going to take me to a new level?”

Back to my example:

Speaking to an audience of ten thousand people about goal setting, Daily New Year’s, and the Better Every Day mindset would be extremely significant to me. It would give me a new platform for sharing my message, allow me to build credibility, and it would help me realize my dream of becoming a professional speaker.

  • My goal is Significant.

It’s important to note that goals that aren’t significant to you today may be significant later in life. Every season of life comes with new goals, priorities, and ambitions. If a goal is unforgettable, but it’s not significant to you right now, understand that it’s okay to shelve that goal and revisit it later in life.

The timing may not be right today, but when you revisit the goal later in life when the timing is right, the goal will give you an abundance of passion and energy.

Energizing

Do your goals get you excited? Do they give you energy? Those are questions that so many people forget to ask when they set goals for themselves. That’s why energy is an extremely important part of my framework.

Not all goals are going to give you energy. Between managing deadlines at work or getting all of your housework done this weekend, some goals are just necessary to keep life moving. We don’t pick these goals—they seem to pick us.

However, the goals that you set for yourself—those things that you really want to do—those goals should give you enormous amounts of energy. Those are the goals that seem to recharge you even as you’re working on them.

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Does this goal get me pumped up and energized? Am I excited to pursue it? Does this goal lift my spirit and attitude?”

Back to my example:

I find the idea of becoming a professional speaker extremely energizing. Sure, it will be hard work, and it will require me to overcome some fears, but the goal itself will provide its own energy and seeing ten thousand people in the audience will be thrilling, to say the least.

  • My goal is Energizing.

Goals that give us energy are the goals that we tend to achieve. Goals that drain our energy and willpower are the goals we tend to abandon. Always try to choose the former.

Deadline Driven

When we’re on the receiving end of deadlines, they can be a drag, especially if they’re tied to tasks we don’t want to do in the first place. But when we use deadlines to achieve our goals, they can provide a motivating sense of urgency.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec once said, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream,” and he’s 100 percent correct. Without a deadline, we’re just floating through life looking forward to someday.

Assuming our goals are already Future-Focused, Optimistic, Challenging, Unforgettable, Significant, and Energizing, why wouldn’t we want a deadline? Wouldn’t we want to see that goal realized sooner rather than later?

With each of your goals in mind, ask yourself:

“Does my goal have a finite deadline or a milestone that I can reach?”

Back to my example:

In the next five to ten years, I would love to have the opportunity to speak on a stage to a crowd of about ten thousand  people.

  • My goal is not Deadline Driven.

Yes, I have a loose timeline for my goal, but not a finite date. As of today, I’m not ready to start my speaking career. I know that I have so much more to learn before I’ll be able to put forth my best performance, so I haven’t set this goal for myself—yet.

However, I do have it recorded in my goal journal for a later date, and as soon as I’m ready to start taking on speaking engagements, I’m going to revisit this goal and set a finite deadline for myself.

So there it is—the FOCUSED Framework.

As I mentioned earlier in this chapter, I had been setting goals using the SMART Goals method for years, but my success was far too unpredictable and, for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why.

One day I realized that goal setting shouldn’t be a dull, meaningless method for getting more stuff done.

  • Goal setting should be about self-improvement.
  • Goal setting should be exciting.
  • Goal setting should help us live happy and fulfilling lives.

That’s why I came up with The FOCUSED Framework. I wanted to set more goals that would help me grow, excite me, and lead to a fulfilling life.

And that’s what I want for you, too.

If you’re ready to get started using The FOCUSED Framework to identify and set your goals, simply turn to the next page to get started on the exercises.

But before you do—Keep in mind that your goals don’t have to hit all seven items on The FOCUSED Framework checklist.

Obviously, the more items you can check off, the better chance you have in seeing success with your goals, but falling one item short does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t pursue the goal.

The FOCUSED Framework is not meant to be a black or white or a yes or no approach to identifying goals—it’s meant to help you identify which of your goals are strong and which goals may need deeper thought or reflection. Ultimately, which goals you pursue is entirely up to you.

In the next chapter, I’m going to highlight a few different types of goals that I believe everyone should be setting for themselves. With that in mind, feel free to go ahead and use the The FOCUSED Framework worksheets in the workbook pages to begin assessing the goals you have in mind.

However, if you would rather proceed to the next chapter to learn about the four different types of goals you can set, please do so. You can always revisit The FOCUSED Framework worksheets later.