Designing Holistic Goals (The Best Framework to Avoid Burnout) – Smart Passive Income

We clinked glasses. The event was finally over, and it was a massive success. 

At least on the surface.

Hours earlier, I delivered the closing keynote at a business conference and now, with a drink in hand, I was sitting at a bar with the founder who finally had time to take a breath after months of hard work.

We talked about the future: plans for a bigger and better event next year, revenue goals for our businesses, and the hiring spree he was on to grow his team 3x within 4 months.

He was meticulously detailed and knew exactly what was going to happen and when. Business goals on point. 

After about an hour, I was curious and changed the topic:

“What about outside of business? Any big goals with the family this year?”, I asked.

After a quick sip from his 3rd old-fashioned, he said, “Oh, you know. Just making sure we’re all happy and healthy.”

I nodded my head and raised my glass.


We continued to chat about random things throughout the rest of the night, and close to midnight we said our goodbyes. He had a debrief with his team the next morning, and I had a flight to catch.

While getting ready for bed, I couldn’t help but think about his answer to my question from earlier and how ironic it actually was. 

Underneath the surface, I knew he wasn’t the healthiest of people. He slept poorly and ate worse. At home, things weren’t much better either. People close to his family knew that he and his wife were not doing well, and any relationship with his son was usually just what he could fit into his busy schedule. 

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story in the world of entrepreneurship. We’re so focused on our businesses and their goals, that other parts of our lives take the backseat. 

We can become so specific with our business goals, yet when we’re asked about our personal life, it’s just a generically broad answer that’s more akin to “I’ll eventually get around to it, someday.”

That’s not how it should be.

Since 2011, ever since I caught myself falling into the same trap, I made sure to never let the business become the center of everything in my life again. 

Rather, the business is one important part of a much larger whole. Each part is equally important, and each part deserving of time and attention to real, specific, and measurable goals. 

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The 6-Part Framework for Holistic Goal Setting

Inspired heavily by Michael Hyatt and his Best Year Ever program, I’ve created my own 6-step process that I run through every year to continue to up-level all aspects of my life, not just the business. 

I’ve taken Michael’s program every year since it launched in 2012. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available as an online course. However, I do recommend Michael’s The Full Focus Journal, which coincides with the teachings of Best Year Ever. It’s wonderful.

My framework is a light adaptation of his program, and he deserves full credit for it. 

Here’s the breakdown:

Part 1: What Do You Want?

Part 2: Why Do You Want it?

Part 3: Create Your Top 3 Goals for 2024

Part 4: Next Steps

Part 5: What’s the Trigger

Part 6: Who Will Support You?

To help you through this process, download our 2024 Goal Design Workshop Workbook. Feel free to download the worksheet, and please consider joining our All-Access Pass to get access to all of our courses, workshops, and a community to help support your work.

Part 1: What Do You Want?

The first step is to break down your life into more than just business, but other aspects of life that are important to you.

Emotional, intellectual, physical, relational, business, hobbies, and financial are a few categories you can add to the list, and you can add even more if you’d like.

From there, within each category, what might you hope to one day achieve within that category? 

It doesn’t have to be a goal that has to be achieved within the next year, and it doesn’t have to be specific either. You can write down more than one, too. 

This exercise simply gets you thinking about what you really want. Think deeply about these things, because they will influence the decisions you make later. 

What’s interesting is that each year I do this exercise, much of what I want has changed or morphed in some way. This is why doing this exercise is important every year because we change, circumstances change, and goals should change accordingly, too. 

Part 2: Why Do You Want It?

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

It’s important to know the WHY behind each of the aspirations you wrote for each category in Part 1. Without the WHY, there will be no drive.

Everything needs a purpose, or else why do anything?

This exercise helps you get to the root of what your actions will be, and can help motivate you when taking action is tough, or if you come across a hurdle. 

Part 3: Create Your Top 3 Goals for 2024

Let’s start with creating 3 specific SMART goals for the year that support 3 of the aspirations from above (from 3 different categories).

Why 3? 

We want to narrow our focus for now and move forward through the rest of the exercises sooner. After you finish with 3, go back and run through the rest of the exercises with more. 

For each one that you choose, convert each aspiration into a clearly defined SMART goal or habit to work toward this year. 

What is a SMART goal?

A SMART goal is:

S: Specific.

Get clear and as specific as you can. 

Bad example: I will go to the gym as much as I can.

Great example: I will go to the gym 3 days a week and exercise for at least 45 minutes each time. 

Bad example: Stop wasting time in my company. 

Great example: Reduce the number of meetings to just twice per week for my employees by the end of Q2, 2024. 

M: Measurable.

You cannot track and improve what cannot be measured. Tracking is an important part of goal setting so you can see how far you’ve come toward your goal and it enables you to adjust if needed. 

If you have a goal and you’re not quite sure how you’d be able to tell whether or not you’re on your way, then it should be reworked or re-worded.

A: Attainable.

Your goals need to be realistic and attainable. This may be the trickiest because you might lean toward making your goal a little easier so that you can ensure you can achieve it. 

Set your goals too low, however, and you aren’t going to achieve or grow much. 

Use common sense here.

I love basketball and use it as a sport to stay active, however, if I set a goal to join an NBA team this year, that’s realistically not attainable at this age, my height, and of course, my skill level. (The gentlemen I play with can definitely attest to that, lol.)

R: Risky

The ‘R’ in SMART goals usually stands for Relevant, which is an important one – you want to make sure these goals matter to you, obviously. And I think this is here so that we don’t just place random goals that don’t matter on our list, but in general, especially if you follow this framework, all goals you write down will be inherently relevant, so I decided to use one of Michael’s R’s here in its place: risky.

By risky, I don’t mean dangerous or super consequential. Risky is a word used to ensure you don’t include goals that are “too easy”. There is a risk that you might not achieve it. 

Adding a bit of risk makes your goal a little more interesting and potentially more rewarding, too.

T: Time-Based

Having a set day or time included with your goal is what ultimately makes this entire system work, and it can help you create a deadline that drives actions today. 

All goals must include a time, whether a month and date to achieve said goal, or a time frame to integrate a habit within. 

Part 4: Next Steps

This is simple but powerful.

For each of the goals or habits you’ve written down, write down what the next steps are. From where you’re at right now, what’s the one next thing you need to do to get on your way toward those goals?

For example, I have a hobby-related goal: to compete in four kayak bass fishing tournaments by the end of the year. My first step? Sign up for the SoCal Kayak Fishing Club so I can register my name and begin to add the tournament dates to my calendar. 

Once you do this, the momentum begins. 

Part 5: What’s the Trigger?

For each/goal or habit, write down a trigger that will activate that goal. This is a strategy exercise to give yourself the best chance to keep up with your goals throughout the year. 

For example, in James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, he says that if you want to get into the habit of running each morning, remove as much friction as possible to make that happen. Set your running clothes by your bedside the night before and make that a part of your bedtime routine. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll see the running shoes ready for you right there by your bedside. 

Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness talked about something similar on his way to learning the guitar. Instead of just putting his guitar in the corner of his living room, he put a guitar on a stand at the end of his hallway between his bedroom and kitchen so that every day, for multiples times a day, he would be within arms reach of his guitar and be reminded to practice more. 

Perhaps it’s a sticky note next to your computer or an alarm on your phone. We all know life gets busy, so create a trigger to stack things in your favor and actually make them happen.

Part 6: Who Will Support You?

This one seems to hit home for many because we often don’t realize there are people in our lives that will champion us — people who will be there to root us on and hold us accountable. 

Write down someone who comes to mind who you can call on for support with each of the goals you’ve written. They don’t need to coach you through the process (although they could if they’re qualified), you just need to realize there are other people you can rely on when you might need help.

A business colleague, a member of a community you’re a part of, a friend, a co-worker, a spouse, or even one of your kids. Share the goal with them and ask them to just know that this is something you’re working toward. Tell them that you believe just them rooting for you will help. You’ll be surprised how well this will work. 

Sometimes they can provide direct help, but even the fact that they’re there to hold you accountable can get you to do the thing, whatever the thing may be.

I hope this has helped you start thinking about your goals differently, in a way that goes beyond your business and revenue goals — this is about you as a whole person. There are so many more aspects of your life that are important, and they deserve your time and attention, too.

If you’d like to connect with other entrepreneurs who are available to support you through your business journey, and if you’d like to get access to our library of business courses and training workshops, please consider joining the SPI All-Access Pass. Community-powered courses are where it’s at, and we’re taking the lead in this industry — we know this is the best way to offer service and help others.

Click here to check out the All-Access pass and join hundreds of entrepreneurs who are in it just like you, and for all the right reasons, too. 

Cheers, and best of luck to you. Here’s to an amazing 2024!

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