What do you want to accomplish in life?
The kind of action you must take, and when.
Because without knowing what you must do, and when, you cannot advance toward your vision.
Goals – What Do You Want To Accomplish?
If your vision was standing up there like a beacon in the sky lighting the way towards the future version of yourself that you so desire, your goals are those down-to-earth steps that will take you there. When you looked at your mission, you made a connection between yourself and your contribution to the world around you. Your goals live at the intersection of the two.
That’s because, to accomplish your mission, you need to move forward step by step and complete smaller missions along the way. At the same time, every step toward your mission brings you closer to your vision. Your goals define your action. They’re the tasks, the activities, the things that you have to do.
Your goals are no longer vague, and therefore they don’t seem impossible. They need to stretch your limits and challenge you, but you must also have full faith in your ability to conquer them. Your vision, purpose, and mission in life are the drivers and fuel. The goals are clear and precise. They are immediate and realizable.
Characteristics of Goals
Before you jump into defining your own goals, I will take a moment to go over what I believe are the principal characteristics of good goals.
The closer the deadline of a goal, the more specific it must be. The specificity is a critical aspect because fuzzy goals won’t motivate you. “Get healthier” is a good goal, but it’s neither exciting nor clear enough. “Lose 20 lb by July 30,” is super-specific. That is the kind of goal that you need to define, because it is as crystal clear as possible.
The goals you set must be not only possible but also believable. Remember, when you set out your vision, the instruction was to keep an open mind and go big—as big as possible. When you take a step back into the realm of goals, they must be clearly realizable in the context of your current life and area of life. They must also be believable in order to empower your mind. Things that appear unattainable are demoralizing.
If you can’t measure something, you can’t tell if you are making progress, and if you can’t gauge your progress, you won’t know if you’re onto a good trend or a bad trend. A lot of your goals might have a binary measurement such as yes or no, while others might have a scale. Some of them will be tough to measure: for example, setting a goal to improve your relationship with your wife is not as easy as assigning a number from 1 to 10. This kind of qualitative goal requires conversations and monitoring the quality of the relationship through your interactions.
This might be obvious, but it bears repeating so that it sticks deep into your subconscious: you need to make sure that the goals you set apply to your life’s path. When I say “your” life, I mean your life as a whole, including the people in your life, your environment, everything. If you’ve done the vision and mission exercises properly, you will be able to set relevant goals toward them.
Because life is anything but static, you must always keep in mind that your situation can change quickly. You need to develop the adaptability that will allow you to shift items when needed without losing sight of your path. You’ve just had a new child—great, now you have to change your exercise schedule. That is why, in the action chapter, we will deal a lot with review and revision. Making sure that your goals still align with your current state of affairs is a critical step.
Since you are the person who is designing this plan for your life, you must be in complete control of your goals. That means you need to work toward them, make decisions related to them, adapt them, change them, even cancel them as needed. Because this is your life, you must be in control. Any goals outside of your control will only derail your path.
Yes, goals must be realizable and believable, but they also need to be challenging. If you picture your life as one big circle with you in the middle, note that there is an inner circle called, “The comfort zone.” That’s the place where you, your brain, and your mind naturally want to stay. But to achieve your big vision you need to push the envelope; you need to accomplish bigger and bigger goals, and the only way to do so is by treading the line between comfort and discomfort. You will need to often step into the discomfort zone to train yourself, and practice.
All goals must have a deadline. The only exception is for the audacious goals you set in your vision, which might be lifetime goals. But within the nitty-gritty of goal achievement, you must have a deadline and stick to it as much as possible. You need to experiment with these deadlines until you understand how to set realistic ones, because you want to avoid constantly moving your targets.
This is another obvious one, but the goals you set must be morally ethical. Because we live in a society, your goals must respect the lives of others, must not break the law, nor infringe on others’ pursuit of happiness.
Last but not least, all your goals need to empower and uplift you. They should have a positive tone to them, and drive you to be better and improve yourself.
Goals By Time Frame
There are six types of goals you will look at in this part of your journey:
- Lifetime goals
- Long-term goals
- Short-term goals
- Big Tasks
- Small Tasks
1 Lifetime Goals
These are the same as the Audacious Goals you have set in your vision exercise. They are your biggest goals in life and the ones you will move toward for as long as you live. You may set up new audacious goals during your annual planning each year, because your life changes and you must adapt to it.
2 Long-Term Goals
These are goals that you should achieve in between one and ten years’ time. The long-term goals should cover all areas of your life, and they represent stepping stones toward your audacious goals.
3 Short-Term Goals
These are the goals you must achieve within one year, and they are critical because the current year is the most palpable period; it’s easy to picture the next twelve months. Your short-term goals represent bricks you add to your long-term and audacious goals.
4 Big Tasks
These are your monthly activities. Based on the divide-and-conquer system, your short-term goals will naturally split into monthly big tasks. With every big task completed, you are closing the gap on your short-term goals.
5 Small Tasks
Down at the weekly level, you have your small tasks. These are activities you perform on a weekly basis that support your upstream goals. They may be recurring or just one-offs.
Your habits are your daily routines and rituals, designed to help you work on your weekly tasks. As you develop better habits and remove bad habits, your ability to complete tasks and accomplish your goals will increase.
What Are Your Goals?
Now that you understand what goals are and how they are structured, download the Goal-Setting Worksheet. Have your Vision, Purpose, and Mission worksheets in front of you. As you start from your biggest goals down, keep asking these questions:
- Does this goal move me forward toward my vision?
- Is this goal helping me accomplish a part of my mission?
- Is this goal aligned with my purpose?
The next step is to split these big goals into smaller parts. As you step into the Action Voyage, you need to pay particular attention to the goals you set for the next twelve months (your short-term goals). These are the ones you will tackle first, so you need to ensure you have defined and vetted them according to the attributes above.
Note that during this section of your plan, you will design your big goals and your long-term goals. Next, you will move to your short-term goals. But for the remainder of this exercise, you will not touch your tasks and habits.
We will work on those during the Action phase. That’s because your long-term and short-term goals will naturally split into their smaller counterparts. Therefore, a part of the process is creation—as you define your monthly and weekly tasks—and a part of it will be action—completing those tasks.
What you want is to be more thoughtful and academic when it comes to your big goals, but very much biased to action and down-to-earth realization for your shorter-term goals. For the former, we think a lot; for the latter, we do a lot!
The Goal Setting Exercise
To complete this step, click on the link below to download the Goals worksheets, and follow the prompts to fill them in. Once you have finished, take a long, deep breath. That was a huge milestone! Pat yourself on the back and indulge in a nice reward. You deserve it. Creating your goal plan is a tremendous step, so feel free to splurge on your favorite dessert or binge-watch your favorite show. But don’t take too long; remember your path, and keep going. Jump to the next stop on your journey, Create Alignment.
Feedback, Comments, Suggestions, Testimonials
Do you have any feedback, suggestions, comments or ideas about the Self-Growth Journey Program? Or perhaps, you’d like to leave a testimonial for others to see? If so, please visit the feedback and testimonials page and let me know your thoughts. Thank you!