I’m sure you know what you want to to today. You might even know your goals for this week. What about this year? This life?
Without set goals, it is too easy to live day-to-day, in a reactive state. If you are living in such a way, you can almost feel as if you are just treading water, trying to stay afloat. Then one day you look up and wonder where the years have gone.
I know what my goals are for this month, this year, and for my life. I am excited each week about the tasks I have to complete. Over the next few weeks I will show you my goals and how I plan to reach some of them while helping you set and reach your own. Today you get to create your own goals and Friday I will show you my list.
Good goals help improve your life in a number of ways:
- Help reduce the clutter.
If you know the end results that you are aiming for, then you can eliminate the actions that do not move you towards those ends. Whenever you face a decision, you have criteria to make your decision by. Does this help me reach my goals? If so, do it. If not, then don’t. You will find yourself being more productive because
you are focusing on what is truly important to you.
A simple example would be that I want to have a successful website, and I spend time playing Solitaire. Solitaire does nothing to help move me towards the website, so I have a good reason to stop doing this time-wasting activity. By using that time to work on the website, it will become successful faster.
- Provide energy.
I don’t know about you, but I am more motivated when I know what I’m working towards. It doesn’t matter if it is homework, running, or some other project; a clearly defined target gives me a finish line. The closer I get to that finish line, the more I want to reach it and the harder I will work.
This is even more true when working towards something important to me, personally. You will find that, as you reduce the clutter, everything that you are involved in will be more aligned with things that are truly important to you, which will give you even more motivation and energy to complete them.
- Let you know when to quit.
Have you ever worked on a project and didn’t know when you were finished? Where you unmotivated and not interested in working on it? A well-defined goal explains when you have reached it so you can rest and move on to the next one.
What makes a goal good:
A good goal is clearly defined, actionable and measurable.
Here is an example of a common goal, one that is not good: Get in better shape.
- Clearly Defined – What do you mean by “better shape”? Do you want to be stronger, have more endurance, or lose weight? Specify what you mean in your goal.
ex: I want to be stronger.
- Actionable – A vague goal does not provide a target to work towards. A good goal narrows your aim.
ex: I want to bench press more weight.
- Measurable – You have to know when you have reached your goal. Being measurable draws that line in the sand. If you leave our example alone, “bench press more weight” you could lift one more pound tomorrow and have completed it, or you could continue increasing the weight every week and never feel that you reached your goal. You need to have a specific target to reach.
ex: I want to bench-press my body-weight.
Now that you know the benefits of having defined goals, and what constitutes a good goal, it’s time to set your own goals. There are many names for the goal list that you are about to create, such as Life List and Bucket List. No matter what you call it, it is time to come up with a list of goals that you want to achieve during your life.
– Required materials are simple: a piece of paper, writing instrument, and some time.
– Instructions are also simple: Write down the things that you want to achieve during your life, keeping in mind that your goals need to be clearly defined, actionable and measurable.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while making your list:
- Dream big! Don’t think about where you are now, think about what you want to do. No matter what it is, you can do it.
- Don’t forget to think small. Just because others might not think that it is a spectacular goal doesn’t matter; if it is important to you, include it on your list.
- Categories: If it is helpful, here are some categories that are commonly included when creating a goal list: Family, Spiritual, Education, Financial, Professional, Travel, Recreation, Hobbies, Community, Charity.
- You can change your list. A common question is “what if I don’t like my list?” People change over time, including their goals. Fortunately, you can change your list as well. It is not set in stone, and you are the one that made it. Simply make a new list and work on that one instead.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you can’t get all of your goals defined perfectly, just write down what you have. You can narrow them down when it comes time to start working on them.
This is not a new concept, you have probably heard of it before. As have many other people. However, few people actually create the list. Fewer still actually try to complete their list; many tuck it into a drawer and forget all about it until they pull it out some years down the road.
Will you be one of those who either never makes a list or makes one only to tuck it into a drawer somewhere? Or will you take a blank piece of paper and use it to improve the rest of your life?