If you’re like most people you go throughout life putting out one metaphorical fire after another.
Your car won’t start. Or you’re buried in work. Or your family is coming to visit. Maybe you’re obsessed with The Division 2 and you can’t tear yourself away.
Suddenly, after living your life, day after day, you wake up and all the things you wanted to achieve have been left in the dust. Life has a way of getting away from you.
Unless you set some goals.
Goals are your reminder to pay attention to all the big things that get lost when you’re putting out fires and doing the small things that consume daily life.
Setting goals can help you live your dreams.
Goals are a very private endeavor. My goals will be, and should be, radically different from your own. What I can tell you is that I try to look at several broad subjects and pick goals that are balanced across those channels.
That means that I look at things like relationships, health, money, creativity, and fun, and make sure that my goals align with what I want in those fields.
Money and creativity get a lot of attention from me, because I’m trying to build something important in those fields, but realize that relationships, health and fun, will affect whether you will achieve those goals.
For example, if I neglect my health, I won’t have the energy or ability to do my work. If I neglect fun activities I won’t be inspired to be creative.
Goals need to be SMART, or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Record Your Goals
The most important part of this process is taking some valuable alone-time and getting your goals down in a place that you can refer to them regularly. I can’t stress how important it is for you to get into a quiet space and spend time thinking about what you want.
I use a journal to write down goals, but you could easily use a notepad, or use a voice-recording on your phone, or use Evernote, or whatever. It doesn’t matter, as long as you get your goals down and you can refer to them regularly.
Now it’s time to dream. Get all of your thoughts out there about all of the different phases of your life you’d like to address. Be silly. Be bold. Dare to dream, and dream big. Get it all out there… short-term, bucket lists, pie-in-the-sky, and the super practical stuff.
Then start weeding through those goals. Pick a handful that really resonates with you, are SMART, and most importantly, will put you on the right path.
Organize Your Goals
Some goals will be the sort of thing you could accomplish tomorrow morning, those are great but they need to be added to a daily list. Others might take a couple of decades. What you’re really looking for are the big goals that will serve as a road map for your future.
Take those big goals and organize them by the due date. I have goals that are due in a few months, others that will take a year, and some will take much longer. Put those big goals down in one location and date them.
Review Your Goals
I do a list of big goals twice a year. You will accomplish some goals so you get the pleasure of removing them from your list (you won’t believe how good it feels).
Sometimes you’ll discover that you don’t really want to spend time doing a particular goal, so you’ll remove those. And, of course, you’ll miss some goals and need to write them down again. No big deal.
The real value comes in reviewing these goals regularly. Compare your goals to what you’re doing daily. If the goal is important enough to you then you’ll adjust your daily activities to make room for them.
You know how long it’s going to take to achieve a specific goal. You’re either moving in that direction or you’re not. If not, correct your course. This is where defining your goals will pay off in the long term.
While other people are flailing around and wasting time, you’ll be sailing in the right direction. You’ll be confident that your dreams are being serviced.
One final thought about setting goals. Remember that these goals are not cast in stone. You can modify, add or subtract to them at any time. Don’t feel trapped by your goals, they are there to set you free.
Please share with me your ideas about setting goals below. I’m always looking for new ideas.