Want to know the secret to how pro traders achieve their objectives with their trading? They plan for it!  They take the time to reflect on their performance of the year that just passed, set goals for the coming year and make a plan for achieving them. Uh oh … I think I just heard a group sigh … with possibly a few groans thrown in there too! I know to some the word …GOAL … might be considered a bad word … one you don’t want to have anything to do with … but stick with me because it really can be powerful. I’m talking about sitting down, looking forward and asking yourself … “On December 31, 2019 when I’m reflecting on the year that just passed … what do I want the pf my past year to look like?”  “What are the wins that I want to have play out in this year of my life?” Doing this now means you get to write the script … at least for the wins that you want to work on achieving this year.  I can promise you there’s probably going to be twists in the plot … and there may be some losses along the way that of course you can’t plan for … but what you can write into your script are the wins.  And those are the GOALS to write down. And I do mean WRITE THEM DOWN.  There is a powerful thing that happens when you take the time to write them out … it’s a process that embeds them into your subconscious and dramatically increases the probability of accomplishing them.   Having your overall objective then enables you choose the trading strategies that give you the best expectancy to achieve your goals. So step 1: write down your goals. Before you jump into writing them out… how about a little more on how to frame your goals to set you up for your best chance at achieving them? I have been setting goals and using them as a tool to achieve what I want for almost as long as I can remember.  I have studied a number of different processes, tools and approaches for goal setting.  And as you all know, there’s some acronyms floating around out there to guide us in structuring our goals …. probably the most recognizable one being SMART goals … but honestly it never quite resonated with me.  So I did what the engineer in me always does.  I gathered a bunch of information, did my research, studied the outcomes I wanted.  Took apart the other approaches until they were all just pieces and then put the building blocks back together the way that worked best for me.  And yes, as always when I take something apart and put it back together, there were pieces left over … I just threw those away :). And what came from that was my MAGICAL goal setting structure. First off, who doesn’t want a little magic in their life … the definition of magical in the dictionary means “beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life.”  How perfect is that! To have something – a goal – that guides your daily actions so that a day comes along when you look up and realize that what you set your sights on, has appeared in your life in such a delightful way that it happened almost seemingly removed from your everyday life.  That is the power of MAGICAL goals. Okay, okay .. so what are these “magical goals” I am talking about. To start, I make it a point to ensure that I have at least 1 goal set in each area of my life, and in many cases I will actually have multiple goals in some areas.  But there must be AT LEAST ONE in each area The areas I set goals in are: Family & Relationships, Career, Health, Financial (this is where most of my trading goals fall), Intellectual and Spiritual. Then for each goal I ensure that they have magical qualities.  That each goal is Measurable Actionable Growth-enabling Inspiring Challenging Aligned Limited Once I write out the goal and ensure that it has magical qualities, I answer one final question. “How will my life change when I achieve this goal?” So that’s the process … and here’s an example from my current year’s goal list: Category: Financial 2019 Goal: I will consistently use the option strategy of buying puts and calls, according to my trade plan, to achieve a minimum of 30% return on my capital in my trading account.  A 30% return is in line with the best of the best money managers in the world and will allow me to double my account roughly every 3 years. M: Is it measurable : Check A: Is it actionable: Check G: Does it require me to grow: Check I: Is it inspiring: Check C: Is it challenging: Check A: is it aligned with my values: Check L: does it have a deadline: Check How will my life change when I achieve this goal? 30% growth will be the largest gain in my account I have achieved so far.  Doing this consistently will allow me to grow my account to a level where I can begin to withdraw income to fund my lifestyle goals. So there you have it.  The process I use to set goals for my year to come that enables me to focus on creating my best year yet.  It doesn’t have to be a complicated process … in fact it’s better if it’s not.  But it does require taking some time to think about what matters to you … what do you want to create with the next 365 days of your life?  The time is going to pass anyway, so why not take control and create what you desire rather than drifting along and letting it happen to you? If you’ve already set your goals … GREAT WORK!  Are they magical? If you haven’t, then I challenge you right now to spend the next 30min dreaming about what you want and then writing out a few goals that will take you toward the life of your dreams.