"I finally needed to have a goal."
How I did it: I have literally gone my entire life with no long-term goals of any kind. I didn't want to be anything when I grew up, I just had vague ideas about what I thought I should be doing.
I realized that I want to do a LOT with the next few years of my life and that the only way it would happen was if I started to get organized. I also wanted something to aim for with all of my newfound drive and energy.
I sat down and hand wrote out my entire plan with a nice fountain pen and a special idea notebook to stress to myself how important the plan was. Started with 3 months from now, 6 months from now, then one year, then two years, three, four, and finally five years. I discovered that the groundwork for years three through five needed to be laid in the next 6 months, so initially those lists were rather large. By year four I was actually trying to come up with a goal. Year five I allowed myself to declare the eventual goals of everything in my life, even if it would take more than 5 years.
I also started in the morning and allowed myself to be in a place with few distractions and no noises (no TV, music or texting) in order to focus, and gave myself the goal of having the entire thing completed by the end of the day. That allowed my mind to organize and line everything up, and the deadline was so I wouldn't slack on it.
Lessons & tips: These are all just things that occurred to me as good ideas while I was writing these out. YMMV.
~be honest when you're setting this up. If your goal is to become a full-time golfer, don't try to work in going back to school for an accounting degree. You're setting a mental precedent by creating this, and you'll subconsciously direct your energy to complete this plan when you make it.
~Give yourself plenty of quiet time without distractions so you can link up the timeline in your head and get the necessary steps in the proper order.
~Allow yourself enough time! Don't plan on being famous or wealthy next year. There's a possibility it could happen, but you're setting yourself up for failure by not being thorough and taking time with your energy and organization.
~Be understanding of the fact that any of these things you plan out could come much sooner or far later than you anticipated. Be okay with it. That it's going to happen at all is kinda cool.
~Write your plan down somewhere that you have access to so you can reread it when you need to. The act of putting it down on paper does more of that tricksy subconscious work on your brain, helping bolster you along.
~Make sure you won't be disturbed as you work, and do not let your fears about what you can or can't accomplish seep in to it. If you hedge on your goal to do something like become an author, it will take longer and you will be setting yourself up for failure. Write it as if everything is possible right this second!
It took me 2 days.
It made me Excited