How to take a life goal from pipe dream to reality

When I was around 9 years old, my dad showed me a picture of New York City’s skyline. I couldn’t stop looking at it. The year after, when I was 10, I wrote a little book that I named “The Journey to New York”.

That day, I made the decision: One day, I would live there.

In reality, it’s hard to just move to another country like that. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know how you’re supposed to make a living. And how do you even get a permanent residence?

When I was around 20, I set the goal to be in NYC before I was 25 and run a successful business that helped people. (This was after I’d just read book “The monk who sold his Ferrari”.)

I put a reminder 5 years into the future, due on my 25’th birthday. The note read “Are you there yet?”.

Then, devastation struck. My business failed. I had burned myself out trying to sell something I didn’t really believe in.

On my 25’th birthday, as the reminder popped up in my calendar, I was broke and NYC and business success looked further away than ever.

I knew I had to change strategy

That’s when I started SocialPro. This time, I made my business 100% internet based to one day be able to bring it to NYC. More importantly, SocialPro is about helping others, not just making money. I never want to burn myself out doing something I don’t even believe in again.

I started SocialPro 5 years ago. Today, I’ve spent my first week in NYC as a permanent US resident.

Here are some pictures from this weekend.

nyc life goal

So on my journey, I’ve both had failures and successes. Here’s what I learned along the way:

Don’t let life happen to you

Back in school, the most popular guy in class was (naturally) together with the most popular girl in class. They often talked about how they would move to California when they grew older.

Years passed by, and they let life happen to them. They got stuck in some job they didn’t particularly like and moved to some place in Sweden they didn’t particularly like.

The latest I heard is that the girl has two children and lives alone in some rural part of Sweden.

So how do you avoid that life just happens?

Concretizing is key

If you want to achieve a certain goal, what SPECIFICALLY do you need to do NOW to reach your goal later?

When we concretize, we realize certain things about our near future.

Example: “To be able to reach my goal, I need to have $10 000 in my account in 5 years from now. That means I have to save $150 a month from now on. It’s doable, but it means that I actually can’t afford that TV I was about to buy + I need to work Saturdays instead of Mondays.”.

Or, “To reach my goal, I need to spend 3 hours every day practicing. I don’t have the energy to do that right now as I work full time, but if I start working 80% and rent a slightly smaller apartment, it’s doable”.

It’s great to set up goals, but to actually reach them, you need a daily system

My goal to be in the US before 25 made it more real: It wasn’t just something I would do “later”. But studies show that goals in themselves aren’t enough. We need a daily system.

Your daily system

I’ve been working on my business every day to reach my goal. Many days, I haven’t even had NYC in mind. For weeks and months in a row, I’ve just followed my system of waking up in the morning, taking my walk, making my coffee and putting the hours in to improve SocialPro.

The daily system needs to be very simple and something you can do on autopilot even when there seems to be no goal in sight. The system should be simple to follow, realistic to maintain for years and something you can do when your goal isn’t in sight.

“Practice X between 6 and 8 pm every day except Sunday”

“Work on X at least 6 hours every weekday”

When we feel demotivated and tired we don’t even want to think about our grand goals. At those moments, the savior is the daily system that you can just follow without thought.

A powerful exercise is to write down your goal and daily system. What is your goal? What would be your daily system needed to one day reach it? Write that down in the comments below! It will help you see your goal and know exactly what to do to reach it.

– David

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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