Creating your initial set of goals can start you down a path that will change your life for the better.
Many studies of successful people have shown one common difference between them and the rest of society is that they set and achieve goals.
We’ll assume here that you’ve already determined that the direction your heading is right for you, those you influence, and your well-examined belief system. For:
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” –Seneca
A question that must be answered during this process is:
“What should I become and what changes should occur in my environment?”
I like the idea of what “should” occur over what I “want” to occur, because this wording includes more that just satisfying the your whims. Our task is to create goals that meet our greater aspirations.
If you haven’t yet tried goal setting in your life, I would encourage you to give it a try and see if you don’t notice greater changes in your life when more thought and direction are behind your actions.
What are Goals?
A goal is a future achievement with deadlines you can take action to meet. More simply:
A goal is a choice.
Each goal in the list should meet the criteria of being exciting and moving to you. Otherwise, there would be little reason for you to complete them. Fortunately, it should follow that if these goals truly satisfy your belief system they should naturally have the characteristics of being exciting and moving.
These goals should not be expected to be “perfect”. If you are worried about them not being good enough remember that changing them as we move forward is an important aspect of goals.
I believe it is important to also set aside some time for this process, so you don’t feel rushed or harried.
At the beginning you want to be open to all ideas. We can pare down to the ones you feel are worthy to be committed to later. For now, we need your most inventive and creative self to come out and create some ideas.
If you do better with music some non-distracting music without lyrics might be helpful, but only if it’s motivating to you.
This is when we need to look at our life in the most realistic light. If you can’t see what you don’t like then you wouldn’t make goals for changing those aspects. Try to be as real with yourself as you can. After you have your goals you might want to go over what you are grateful for in this life or think about how these goals will make changes to shake yourself out of this mood.
Make some categories that you care about so you can brainstorm within them. This will keep you from focusing only on your relationships or only on your career. You are making goals for your life as a whole not just a part of it. Here are some ideas, but feel free to change them or add your own:
- Relationships (including family, friends, coworkers, etc.)
3. Brainstorm New Goals
Start thinking of ideas within the categories that you’ve chosen. You can evaluate each one later, just try to let your creative side give you as many goals as you can so you’ll have a lot to choose from. What you hope to do is give yourself some new thoughts so that you might realize there are some goals you haven’t even thought of yet that may actually be very important to you. These are YOUR goals and should reflect what you think about the world, don’t worry about judgments. You don’t have to let anyone see your goal if it would discourage you.
Give yourself about 10 minutes. You can do a few more if you are feeling inspired or a few less if the ideas aren’t flowing.
Here are some ideas for goals. It’s ok to use exciting words and hyperbole if it gets you more excited about the goal. It starts with the dream before reality has a chance. Give yourself permission to overshoot if it’s something you really want for your life, you just might find it’s achievable!:
- Master a new skill (Japanese, computer programming, karate, etc.)
- Start the successful company that will redefine your industry
- Date/Marry the person that matches your wish list
- Purge your body of toxins through vegetarianism
- Buy that thing you want this year while meeting your qualifications for security (Car, House, Boat, Plane, etc.)
- Make the trip that will match your dreams and provide for contingencies
- Gain mastery of meditation
- Become physically fit through exercise, better eating and proper rest
Order the goals in each category from the most important to the least. Feel free to discard any goals if you realize they don’t meet you rules about how your life should be.
5. Choose the Most Important Goals
From this list select now the most important goals. The ones that are the most important to your life right now. Take on what you think you can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.
6. Set Timelines
You need to know when you expect these goals to be met to seriously commit to their completion. Be realistic and consider that you may not have all the knowledge of what may be challenges as you progress in these goals. Be generous and you can give ranges to the completion time if you think it’s appropriate.
Now that you have a list is it one you can fully commit to? You should be able to tell your realistic critics about your list without fear if you have come to the point where you have decided on these choices. If you don’t feel committed you should review your goals again. If your tired from creating your list you can take a break and schedule a new time to review and edit your goals, but don’t go ahead with goals you aren’t committed to completing. That would sabotage your goals from the very beginning.
8. Create an Strategic Plan
List steps to get to your goal. This may require making new sub-goals if your goal turns out to be too large. Don’t hesitate to break up goals if it will help you focus on what you need to do. Think of these steps as guideposts on the way to the finish line. It’s also ok to acknowledge these steps as you are able to complete them. You should have positive feelings as you check off milestones.
9. Do Something in Each Category
To kick-start your list and get your entire life moving in a new direction. Do something to make a positive difference in each category. This could be anything from arranging a new meeting to working out for 30 minutes or calling someone just to let them know you love them. This start on each of your goals will mark the new beginning. Then, all that remains is to keep that ball rolling.
10. Keep going
Schedule your follow-up times to reevaluate your progress and your goals. If you don’t take the time to adjust to circumstances it’s just as bad as if you had started in the wrong direction at the beginning. Keep checking that you are heading where you want to go and you will surely get there! I wish you all the best in your new endeavors!