If you’re trying to set goals without doing this first, you’re wasting your time.

Let’s go on a little journey back in time. You’re hanging out with your friends in high school. It’s a lazy day and someone asks, “So, what should we do?” Someone else responds, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” A few shrugs and awkward facial expressions later, still nobody knows what to do. No direction, no goals. So nobody does anything.

Fortunately, back then, the consequences were minor. But if you’re holding onto that mindset today, the consequences can be devastating. In fact, it’s a major reason entrepreneurs flounder. They don’t have clarity on who they are or where they’re going.

And then they learn about goal setting. After all, successful people set goals, right? So they set some goals for themselves. No foundation, no plan, no thinking about who they are and where they are going. Just execution mode.

That’s like heading to Home Depot for a stack of two-by-fours the moment after deciding to build a home.

We’ve all heard- if you want to achieve something new, you must first become someone who achieves that. Becoming is the first step and the backbone of success.

Your LifePlan is a foundational document that contains all your core answers and what’s most important to you. It is a living, breathing file you build, adjust and refine as you yourself go through your seasons of life. It contains the following elements:

Your strengths/weaknesses, your assets, your gifts/talents, your purpose, your mission, your vision, your values, your one main goal (OMG). It’s also the place where you break your OMG down into actionable steps. This is the hub you turn to when you do your personal planning meetings.

Your LifePlan document is also your own personal barometer when you’re faced with new opportunities in life you’re tempted to pursue. This document is your anchor; a reminder of what’s important to you at your core.

If you don’t have something like this yet, set aside a couple of hours during a period of time when your mind is at its best. For most of us, that means in the morning. Open up a new document—I like to use an Excel spreadsheet—and save it in a place that will be accessible and convenient for you to get in and out of on a regular basis. Remove all distractions and get comfortable. Make it so you can give it 100% of uninterrupted attention.

Then you start writing. Ask yourself deep questions and write. Don’t worry about right or wrong, just get it out of your head and staring back at you from a screen or piece of paper. There’s something powerful and clarifying when you look at something from a 3rd person perspective.

One note on the writing style: be yourself but don’t be too wordy. Simple and powerful is best. Choose every word carefully. Also, write in the first person, present tense. “I am” instead of “I will be.”

Once you have this written out, summarize it into a “LifePlan Statement” by reducing each of the following into one- or two-sentence power statements:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What is your purpose (why do you exist?)
  3. Describe your vision (who are you aspiring to become)
  4. List your values (what principles are most important to you)
  5. Write out your OMG (your biggest goal right now)
  6. What would it look like to achieve your OMG?
  7. What sacrifice you are willing to make to achieve it?
  8. A summary or wrap up statement about why this matters to you

When complete, this should take no longer than two minutes to read. Take this Statement and incorporate it into your morning routine. Use it during meditation and visualization in the early morning hours before your roommates or family members wake up. Read it out loud to yourself slowly and with as much meaning and emotion as your heart can muster. Develop your imagination muscles as you try to feel, smell, see and hear as much as you can as you say it.

If you’d like to see an example. Just post a request on our Facebook Group and I’ll be happy to share my LifePlan Statement with you.

Your brain may not be used to this type of focus so be patient with yourself. Likely, your mind will wander around and get distracted. Don’t get frustrated- understand that it’s normal and simply nudge yourself back on track and pick up where you left off. Like most things, focus is a learned skill that can be practiced and developed with a little persistence and desire.

I challenge you to try this for 30 days and see if it doesn’t change your life.