Setting and updating personal goals has been a huge part of my success. I find it helpful to use white boards as well as apps on my phone to keep track of all my goals because It is important to be reminded of your goals visually as often as possible. I am also in the process of creating my dream/vision board. For those of you who don’t know what a vision board is, it’s a board that you put pictures of things you want to have or do as a means to help your dreams become a reality.

In my opinion your goals should be set up in three ways:

  1. Yearly Goals: For example, one of my goals for 2015 is to play a minimum of 1000 hours of poker which amounts to about an 35% increase of 25% from 2013 and 2014. I also plan on studying a minimum of 400 hours.
  2. Monthly Goals: Create a list of monthly goals what will help you reach your year-end goals.
  3. Daily Goals: Just how your monthly goals should build to support your yearly goal, your daily goals should build to realize your monthly goals.

I do not set goals that are related to money. The list of goals I set for myself can be viewed on my excel sheet on the site.  Goals I set for myself are all within my own control. Studying the game is just as important as playing the game. Improving away from the table in my opinion is more important than actually playing the game. If you are not taking the time to improve your game you will get left behind and your win rate will suffer. I believe 25% of the time you spend on poker should be focused on self-improvement. There are five key topics I focus on when it comes to improving my game: the mental game, technical and tactical aspects of the game, mathematics, and finally physical tells and betting patterns.  This goal setting process is not unique to poker. I use it for all areas of my personal life away from the table I aim to improve. To name a few, I hope to expand my knowledge in real estate investing and financial consulting. I would love to run a 10k or half marathon within the next year, and I want to read or listen to at least one book a month. Keep in mind that it is very important to share your goals with friend and loved ones. They can offer support and motivation in any endeavor you may choose to pursue. In order to be successful you must treat your poker game like a business. View my results and track my progress.

Themes are a commitment to live your life a certain way no matter whether you reach your goals or not. For example, a theme in my life is to be constantly learning and striving to make healthier choices.  Goals can be productive but also can be damaging.

I think setting up a theme for your life is even more important then setting up goals. I derived this concept from James Altucher, an entrepreneur whose podcast I listen to frequently. A few of his quotes are below:

“I don’t live by goals. I don’t have the goal: do this by X date. I have a “theme” that I want to have high quality of life until the day I die. Themes and not goals.”  James Altucher 

“To-do lists are very goal oriented. They are the exact opposite of achieving themes.”  James Altucher 

I now set up more themes for myself than goals. I never completely disregard the importance of goals and how beneficial they were to me just starting out, getting focused and finding my path to profitability.

Some themes you will find on my white board are to help others, be healthy, do things I love and be a lifetime learner. 

In the next entry I will discuss the pros of dating a poker pro.