Design Your Goals in High Definition

Are you a dreamer or a doer?

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Howdy friends! Welcome back to the XD Podcast - as always, I’m your host Tony Daussat.

I gotta say...I love when you guys reach out to me on instagram (which of course is @xdpodcast) and shoot me DMs. Engaging with you and hearing from you is the lifeblood of this podcast. So thank you for that.

And to that--I’ve been getting a lot of questions from listeners that generally surround the question of--hey I’m going to be graduating this year and want to know how to get started in design. Or I’m working as a UX Designer at this company and I hate it what should I do?

And to me the answer is very simple. Rather, simple to say, hard to stick with and implement. And that is: you need to design your goals in high definition.

Design your goals in high definition. Hmm okay.

So what do I mean when I say that? It actually might sound a little--like life guru-y, or high falutin. So I want to be able to give you some actionable insights and tips that I have used in my life, that took me from a BFA in Acting, waiting tables in NYC, splitting rent with 5 people and still living on credit cards--to a career in design with a healthy income, owning my house, with two kids and wife in a matter of 4 years after I stopped dreaming, and started specifically designing my goals in HD.

See my whole life I have been considered a dreamer. Self diagnosed, yes, but also other people saw me as that as well. I had these big ideas, big dreams. When I was an actor the dream was to be on Broadway, to have a sitcom, etc. But they were all standard definition dreams. They were lazy dreams. And because of that, I only had minor successes in Acting. I wasn’t winning. I was dreaming. And crystal clear goals, is a dream that lives and dies by that dream. I want to be on Broadway, isn’t a goal. It’s a dream. I want to make 6 figures isn’t a goal, it’s a dream.

To sort of marry this with digital product design--dreams = wireframes. You have some ideas of what it might look like. But goals are the high fidelity renderings. You’ve already mentally gone through all of the steps and are hyper focused on that design. On that goal.

It might sound a little odd, but, currently I have no dreams. I only have goals. Tangible, crystal clear goals. So how do we take those lazy, standard definition dreams--and turn them into high definition goals?

High Definition Goals follow these 5 Rules:

1. Specific

2. Time Limit

3. Measurable

4. Written/Visible/Spoken

5. They are Yours and Yours Alone

Now. Let’s break down each one shall we?

1. Specific

Like the title of this podcast. Design your goals in high definition. Dreams are lazy, goals are hyper focused.

A dream would be I want to make 6 figures. A specifically designed, high definition goal would be, “I want to be a (fill in the blank) let’s use UX Designer as the example. I want to be a UX Designer, working for XYZ company, making 100,000 bucks -- by this time next year.

2. Time Limit

Like I just mentioned. Part of HD goals are putting a time limit or setting a date to the goals. In the example I just mentioned, it’s by this time next year I want to, so on and so forth.

3. Measurable

-You need to able to take tangible actions that have tangible measurements of success. Remember that job I mentioned that you wanted from XYZ company making 6 figures this time next year? What steps are you taking to get there? How many meetups, conferences, and workshops are you going to each quarter? How many people have you reached out to for mentorship? If you set a goal to attend 3 meetups, and only go to 1… well… I’d say that measured out pretty poorly against your goals.

4.Make it visual/write it out/speak it daily

Just thinking about what you want to do is called dreaming. We need to get those dreams out of your head and visualized on the wall. Write them out. Word for word. And every morning - say them outloud. Speak it. Listen, your spouse, roommates, parents, whoever you live with, your pets - they’re all going to think you’ve gone a little nutty… but you know what? Squirrels get the nuts!

In my line of work, we have what are called Stand Up meetings, or daily scrum meetings. Have a daily stand-up meeting with yourself. Ask yourself these questions and write them out:

-What did I do yesterday that helped move me toward my goal?

-What will I do today to help move me toward goal?

-Are there any roadblocks or impediments getting in the way of my goal?

5. Personalize your goals. Own them. They are your goals.

-When we design products, we are designing them for other people. But when you design your goals they need to be designed for you. Not a goal because of something feel your spouse, parents, or society wants you to do...But something you can own. Something you can live in day in and day out. And in doing so--The byproduct of that will have positive impact on those around you.

Finally and my last point here - You have to look into the future, and keep your eye on the prize. And in hyper detail ask yourself the kind of life you want to have by the time you are 25, 30, 45, 50 and your actions and outside influence need to directly contribute to that image you’ve precisely designed for yourself.

I always find it interesting when people say they’re trying to live in the moment. I think this whole living in the moment is detrimental to your goals. Now, yes, I’m not like some grinch---Living in the moment is great for a sense of spontaneity, and letting the little things roll off your back, sure, but living in the moment for your goals is death by a thousand moments. You need a clear purpose beyond the here and now. Because, “thinking of only today will inevitably only keep you in yesterday.”

I hope you’ve found some value in this episode today, and if you have be sure to subscribe, leave a review, or share it with your friends. Also… this is NOT a sponsor, though i wish they were, but - if you’re struggling to find your footing in designing your goals in HD… check out the link in the show notes and get yourself The Passion Planner. It has 100% changed my life living in that thing daily. I cannot recommend it high enough.

And with that - let’s call it a week shall we? I can’t wait to have you back next Tuesday, but until then friends - stay curious.