Natalie Dawson, dramatically lit and sitting in a chair holding her book, Teamwork, smiles at the camera while wearing an all-black outfit.

How To Set Your Goals Each Year

April 12, 2022

Life’s “big moments” can only be big with intention behind them

If you’ve paid any attention to the Natalie Dawson or Cardone Ventures worlds, then it should come as no surprise to you that goals mean a great deal to me. Without having goals, and without having any intention behind them, then I just don’t think you have a lot of direction in your life. 

As of this writing, it’s my birthday. I’m 29. It’s the last year of my twenties, and I really want to make the most of it before I enter into a new decade of my life, no matter how arbitrary that number might mean to some. 

For me, on a lot of my birthdays, anyway, I can be a bit of a birthday crier. These big events in life — birthdays, concerts, even weddings! — they just don’t always turn out like you assume they will. You have these grand notions about life and certain moments in your life that you assume will be monumental or life-changing, and they’re just…not. 

Now, I genuinely loved my wedding day. I’m so appreciative of how it all came together, but it just wasn’t one of those moments that you dream of when you’re growing up, where it’s just the most spectacular, magical day of your life. It was wonderful, but there are always things that happen that you don’t think of when you’re planning the day. 

On our wedding day, it was way windier than I thought it was going to be. But not only was it super windy, but it was also unbelievably hot. You guys, I was so fricking hot. I’m one of those people who doesn’t really sweat. Even when I’m working out really hard. Completely exerting myself. I’m just not a sweaty person. But on my wedding day? I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SWEATIER. It was 90 degrees that day!

Like I said, things aren’t always how you imagined them.

But there are other times where you’re suddenly experiencing something absolutely spectacular that you didn’t expect, that you never could have anticipated. That’s what it felt like when we wrapped up our most-recent Growth Con event. 

Everything is right there in front of you. There’s so much opportunity. So as I’m rolling into this new year of life, I’m reflecting on my birthday the way I have for several years now. 

My birthday isn’t about the day, it’s about the person I’m becoming. I use this moment as a tool to reset my goals instead of being upset about it or worried about my life. 

I look back at the year before to figure out, “Hey, did this work? Did this not work? What do I need to be?” This year, this birthday is a really great day, because of the work that I’ve put into myself and into the people around me so we could all be our best. 

So, how do you set yourself up so that, when your next big day rolls around, you can reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going with a sense of pride and accomplishment? Let’s get into it!

Imagine yourself one year from now

Visualize yourself a year from now. (I use my birthday as my marker. You can, too. Or you can use something else. Just don’t deviate from it!)

I start this process by imagining myself waking up on my birthday. I literally think about things like, “What bed am I waking up in? What part of the world am I in? Am I on a vacation? Am I at my house?” 

I want to really consider what the cadence of my life looks like. What sort of meetings am I having, what type of conversations am I a part of, what sort of events have I been attending, what projects am I working on, and, perhaps most importantly, how am I feeling about myself?

Why does all this matter so much?

Because if I’m able to imagine all of these things that will be happening a year from now, I will be able to understand the things I need to do today to make those things actually happen!

This very simple visualization turns imagination into intention and then intention into action.

Make distinct personal, professional, and financial goals

I’ve done this for years, and this is precisely how we help clients at Cardone Ventures set goals for themselves and for their teams. 

Really think about what your personal life looks like a year from now. What do your relationships look like? What does your self-care look like? What books have you read? How have you grown in body, mind, and spirit? 

After you’ve documented your personal goals, then move onto your professional goals. What are you going to be responsible for, professionally speaking, one year from now? What projects have you accomplished? What role are you in? How have you built on your prior year’s career trajectory?

Once you’ve completed your professional goals, then it’s time to move on to your financial goals. For me, these are the easiest. 

Financial goals are the most black and white between now and next year. Like, saying, “I want to make X number of dollars one year from now” is way more quantifiable than a personal goal like, “I’m going to get healthier.” Not that you can’t measure health, but there’s more room for interpretation. 

The thing you’ll learn as you go through this process of setting personal, professional, and financial goals is that, despite them being separate goals in terms of achievement, they all are intertwined on some level. 

Your professional goals will probably be influenced by your financial goals, and will in turn influence your personal goals. Definitely make them separately, but then look for their connections. This all brings me to the next step…

Forget the mechanics

Sometimes when we’re goal setting we can get in our own way, and even hinder our ability to achieve bigger goals than we realize are possible. 

Here’s what I mean: Say you’re making $80K this year. For many, the logical financial goal for one year from now is to be making $90K. That’s great, but in my opinion, you’re getting hung up on the mechanics. And I want you to think bigger. 

So, let’s say you’re making that $80K, and next year, your goal is to make $150K. Is that a big jump? Sure! It’s nearly 2X. However, if you’re willing to open yourself up to that being possible, suddenly you’re starting to think, “Well, what would I need to do in order to get to $150K next year?”  

Don’t let the fear of a big goal get in the way of you achieving it. In fact, let it scare you. Let it motivate the hell out of you. I can assure you that this mindset will get you so much closer to exactly where you want to be a year from now. 

But you don’t need to wait to be that person. Why not start being that person today?

Be the person that you want to be a year from now, starting today!

This is the fun part. If you want to have grown into a certain person a year from now, what do you need to do TODAY to already be that person? How do you show up as the person who makes that $150K? 

What time do they wake up? What are their daily habits? This is the fully realized, 10X360 version of “dressing for the job that you want.” This is living for the life that you want. No one else is going to do this for you. It’s up to you, and it only happens if you start right now. 

Add something to your calendar. (And remove something, too.)

This is about making time. And, trust me, if you want something badly enough, you’ll learn how to make the time to get it. You will. 

This was true for me last year. I had a goal of authoring a book. So what did I do? I put writing time on my calendar so that, every day, I was reminded of that goal, I remembered its importance, and I had time reserved in my day to focus on that goal. 

Listen, I know a lot of you are busy with all sorts of stuff, but I bet there’s something on your calendar that’s inessential. Delete it. Just do it. Now replace it with something that you really want. A year from now, you’ll be glad you did.

Remove the doubt

There’s an ugly truth that comes with setting big goals: Sometimes you’ll doubt yourself. Or you think someone else doubts your abilities. 

Whatever the case, what you need to do is, instead of listening to those voices, you have to let go of other people’s perceptions. You have to recondition yourself so that the voices in your head aren’t casting doubt on what’s possible, but instead they’re saying to you, “Why don’t you go 10 steps further?”

Is the person you’re going to be one year from now really the sort of person who lets negative thinking get in the way of their success? 

Remove the negative thinking from your mind. Remove the negativity of others from your life. Rise above it, and achieve beyond it. 

Ready? Let’s go!


Let me leave you with some words of wisdom from my new friend, Story Wellington. She was one of my very favorite speakers at Growth Con. I just love this so much:

“All that I wanted to become, I became. Therefore, I am.”

Read that one more time:

“All that I wanted to become, I became. Therefore, I am.”

Goal setting with true vision and intention and action will help you speed up the process of whatever it is you want to be — a great parent, a great manager, or a ten-million dollar business owner. 

No matter what it is, it’s in you. I can’t wait for you to meet them in the next year. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how I and the rest of the Cardone Ventures team are helping people achieve their goals, then you need to come to one of our events! Tickets go fast, so go to CardoneVentures.com/Events NOW so you can experience firsthand a truly life-changing experience. See you there!

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