Using Goals for Getting the Life You Want
I think of life goals as essential roadmaps for reaching destinations that most matter to me. If you’ve read my book, The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership, you’ll recall that I dedicate a section at the start on defining life goals.
Why include information about personal goals in a book on business leadership?
I’m a big believer in the philosophy that work should give life, not take it. Having well-articulated personal goals makes it easier to align them with work and everything else in your life that matters. Most of us realize that fulfilling lives have purpose, valued relationships, and appreciation.
As we enter the holiday season, it seems like a good time to revisit the information about personal goals and the importance of gratitude no matter what’s happening in your life. I try to start every day with a few moments of gratitude before reviewing my long-and short-term goals.
My daily gratitude practice typically includes giving thanks for people who matter to me: my family and friends, colleagues and clients, as well as my health and relative good fortune. I take time to think of specific people who have made a difference in and help support my life.
When it comes to gratitude, I’ll sum it up with a quote from Tony Robbins, “To change your life, change your expectations for appreciation.”
Articulate your values and goals to focus your time
How do you define the things that most important to you? Nothing beats imagining people describing you at your funeral. What do you people to remember about you? That’s probably the single most effective way of coming to terms with what really matters most to you. Here are some questions to help you get started:
- What roles in my life would I want mentioned (e.g. father, son, husband, professional, volunteer, etc.)?
- Who do I want to be?
- What do I want my life to stand for?
- What do I want from my life?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Where do I want to go?
- What do I want to give?
- What do I want to create?
At its core, this exercise really comes down to defining your values and goals. Once you articulate what truly matters most to you, you’ll have a clear understanding of your personal values. Values bring meaning to our lives and goals. They also serve as guiding principles when executing the work plan of goals.
Creating a road map to reality
Goals transform vision to reality, but they must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. The should be set with the end in mind with a plan for achievement.
Here are a few practical tips I’ve learned about setting and achieving personal goals:
- Write your goals down and then allow a few weeks to pass to test your conviction.
- Once you’re sure your goals are in close alignment with your values and dreams, break them down into daily actions.
- Post your goals and daily action plans where you can easily see them every day.
- Always aim high and include dates. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
For more about goals, I recommend Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill and The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. Both of these books have inspired me and helped me to realize goals that once seemed far from reach.
This season, I hope you take time for gratitude and then begin the work of defining your goals for next year and beyond. There’s no better way to start a new year than by knowing where you’re heading!