Setting Date Specific Goals: The Must Haves, Whys, and Hows Analysis

Also, before I start discussing this technique, you need to realize that this is not a one-time exercise. We need to record our goals onto a document. Our thoughts and desires now become a living document. Every three months, I suggest reevaluating the document and do this exercise again. And ask these questions, “Did I meet my goals?”

“Do I have new desires?”

“Are the goals I thought to be once important, not in line with my ultimate goal now?” The technique I use to set my goals is the Must Haves, Whys, and Hows (MWH) Analysis. For the purpose of doing this exercise, download this worksheet:

When the worksheet is opened, there are two sections: MWH analysis and Setting Date-Specific Goals. Lets look at the MWH analysis page.

This page has the template that we will follow to gather our thoughts, hopes, and desires. You will notice that there are multiple occurrences of these lines:




This is where we will start the process of writing down our information. So let’s start with the Must Haves.

Must Haves: This is where you write down your desires and wants. Think about what is important. Think about those crazy items everyone dreams of owning (expensive cars, big houses, jewelry, etc). Maybe you only want to provide a better life for your family. Maybe spending more time with your family is important. Maybe you want to travel. From the Must Haves, you start to develop your goals.

Whys: Now look at each Must Have and decide why you need these Must Haves. Do you need the Must Have to make a change in your life? Are making the changes just because it is the right thing to do? Do you have a specific need for the Must Have? Is this a dream that has been put on the back burner because life got you? Deciding on the Whys will narrow your goals into categories.

Hows: Lastly, you need to decide the Hows of obtaining your Must Haves. Do you start a home-based business? Do you get a second job? Do you set aside time every day for the Must Have? Do you save our money or do you invest? Deciding on How to complete the process of this exercise. Example of my own MWH analysis:

Must Have: Money in the bank and in stocksWhy: To secure a great retirement and financial stability for my family and myself.

How: Use my gains from online ventures to supplement other ventures (real estate, stocks, etc)Must Have: TitheWhy: Because it is rightHow: Take 10% off of the topOnce the analysis is finished, separate MWHs into categories sorted by date’s ranges. Which MWHs are short term and which are long term? On the worksheet, the goals are broken into daily, 3-month, 6-month, 1 year, 5 years, and 10-year categories. When you write your goal in the appropriate category, it needs to be date-specific. If a goal does not have an end date, it is a desire. An end date give a goal a metric be to used to evaluate accomplishments and shortcomings? Repeat these steps until you have assigned our MWHs a category. Here are some examples of my own goals: