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Just over a year ago, on March 11, 2002 I first wrote down my goals and created a mission statement. It was a one page document that I framed and read every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to bed.

Since, I have received much benefit from this mission statement. It has provided clear guidance and direction for my life and has given me renewed strength and motivation when I have felt overwhelmed or burned-out. This document has been continually refined to reflect new learning, new opportunities, and new desires, but still is able to express the overall definite purposes I plan for my life and goals I hope to accomplish.

Over this past year, I have developed a six-step system for effective planning and goal setting, of which the mission and goals statement is part one. I would encourage anyone who has goals they wish to reach to use this or a similar system. While using such a system cannot give immediate results, I do believe that over time great dividends and efficiency in life will be gained.

It does take some self-discipline to follow, but in all takes only about an hour and a half per week.

At the basic level, you simply must write down your goals and then review your performance and progress periodically. Secondly you must get your subconscious working for you by reciting these goals and hopes to yourself daily.

Here is a complete description of this planning, goal-setting, and motivational system I use today.

I. Create A Mission & Goals Statement – The driving forces and purposes behind everything that you are and do

  1. Write down each of your goals in the categories of six months, two years, five years, and long term. Below your listing of goals, write your mission statement, which should capture the most important goals you have and the type of person you wish to develop into.

  2. Also include what you are willing to give up to achieve these goals.

  3. Define explicitly what success means to you.

  4. Once you have come up with your mission and goals statement, sign and date a copy and frame it. Hang a copy in a prominent place in your home.

  5. Read your mission and goals statement to your spouse, family, or close friends and ask for feedback.

  6. Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed, read your mission and goals statement out loud to yourself. Let it sink into your subconscious and drive all that you do. Let it motivate you to use your time to its fullest and achieve, and execute to the best of your ability each and every day.

II. Create and Recite a Personal Prayer and Creed Twice Each Day

Each morning and evening, as the first or last thing you do before retiring, read your personal prayer and creed aloud. In it you should thank God (or your personal spiritual being) and all those who have helped you to where you are, ask for wisdom to proceed and reach your goals, pray for those who are sick, in need, or under duress, and ask for strength to live life to your fullest and to make maximum use of your time.

Napoleon Hill says in his book, Succeed and Grow Rich through Persuasion, "The brain of a human being may be compared to an electric battery in that it will become exhausted or run down, causing the owner to feel despondent, discouraged, and lacking in pep. Who is so fortunate as never to have had such a feeling? When the human brain is in this depleted condition, it must be recharged." (p. 172)

I find that saying this personal prayer recharges me. It calms my nerves before I go to bed and gets me going strong each day.

While this is optional, in addition to my personal prayer and creed I recite the Entrepreneurs’ Creed (published in section five of this newsletter) once per week and have a framed copy in my home.

III. Create a Qualities Statement and Give Yourself a Monthly Analysis

Write down the qualities and characteristics you would like to have and those you would not. List each and then define each explicitly in your own words. Review this document monthly and analyze your performance in exhibiting the desired traits and avoiding the undesirable traits.

IV. Write A Journal Entry Daily & Prepare for Upcoming Days – Take time for reflection, planning, and analysis of learning

1)       Each day, take ten minutes before you go to bed and write a summary of your day. Include what you’ve learned, who you’ve met with, any reflections, what you’ve done, what you’ve worked on, and what you must accomplish the following day.

2)       See what axioms of knowledge or wisdom you can write down each day. Keep a master list of all quotes or axioms of wisdom you have written and review this list at least monthly. Put a stay next to each bit of axiom of wisdom you write down. On the last day of each month, go back through your journal entries and type up all of your axioms and file them under ‘Learning for Month, Year.’

3)       Every night before you go to bed, review your schedule for the upcoming two days. Make any plans or preparations that you need to.

V. Organize Your Upcoming Week with a Weekly Planning Session Every Sunday Night

Every Sunday night, set aside thirty minutes to simply catch up with life, meditate for a few minutes, and plan your upcoming week. Have your calendar at hand and review your commitments. If at any point during the week ahead you have free time, you can schedule a meeting, set up a date, work ahead on a project, write thank you notes or cards, get something done you’ve been meaning to, or sit down with a book.

VI. Write Down Your Monthly Goals and Objectives & Review Your Progress

1)       On the first of each month, write a down your ‘Monthly Goals and Objectives.’ Include the things you want to get done, the projects you want to move ahead on, the people you will need to meet, and any goals you’d like to achieve.

2)       On the last day of each month, write down a ‘Monthly Review of Self-Progress.’ In the review, list the items/goals you have accomplished and those you have not, make note of any learning that has taken place, and write a candid and honest review of your progress towards your goals and your ability to be disciplined and follow-through.

3)       On the last day of every month, review your mission statement and consider revising it to reflect new learning, new opportunities, or new goals.

Example Success Calendar for April

* Before beginning, write down your mission and goals statement and personal prayer and frame them in a visible location. Also write down your qualities statement. Then proceed, keeping all forward movement within the framework you have constructed in these three documents.

Tuesday, April 1 – Monthly Goals and Objectives (1 hour)
Sunday, April 6 – Weekly Planning Session (30 mins)
Sunday, April 13 – Weekly Planning Session (30 mins)
Sunday, April 20 – Weekly Planning Session (30 mins)
Sunday, April 27 – Weekly Planning Session (30 mins)
Wednesday, April 30 – Review of Monthly Goals and Objectives, Typing up of Month’s Learning, Give self-analysis on Qualities Statement (2 hours)

*Every evening in April – Daily Journal Entry (15 minutes)

*Read Personal Prayer and Creed and Mission Statement Aloud Twice Per Day (5 minutes)

Since following this plan I have been better organized, better prepared, more motivated and intent on reaching my goals, and have learned about life at a much faster pace. While it does take some self-discipline to do, I encourage you to try this plan, or a similar one you develop yourself, for two months and analyze the results. First explicitly define your goals and mission. Then, get your subconscious working for you by constantly reviewing these goals, executing the steps needed to reach them each day, and tracking your progress and refining your mission as you develop as a person.

This Personal Development article was written by Ryan P Allis on 2/9/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.