“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” George Harrison
Goals are dreams with a plan.
Goals matter if we want to create long term happiness.
If you google goal setting, over 14 million articles become available to you but nearly all of them speak of money, material goods, recognition and/or losing weight. People will spend endless hours reflecting on how they want to make more money, be thinner, own a better bigger house or find the perfect relationship. And nearly all of them will fail to obtain these goals. Why?
Because people don’t care enough about these things to make the choices to overcome the obstacles that will get in the way.
The key words here are:
CARE: We care about the things that are truly important to us in our lives. It could be peace, security, good health, the well-being of our loved ones, safety, happiness, joy, faith or other meaningful values and emotions. On the surface, we believe that being rich and skinny (or famous or muscular) will satisfy these needs but when it gets tough, and it will, they just don’t matter enough. We need to see the connection to how they will satisfy our deeper and more important needs. For example, being financially stable is important to creating security and peace and it allows us to care for the people we love.
“Money doesn’t matter until you don’t have any”
CHOICES: Every minute of every day we make choices in our lives. These thousands of choices define the life we live. Often, the easiest choices moves us away from our desired outcome and some of the toughest choices lead us to the life of our dreams. If we don’t have a clear vision of what we want and a realistic plan of how to get there, it is impossible to make the choices that matter. That is what both Lewis Carroll and George Harrison meant with their famous quotes.
OBSTACLES: There will always be short term obstacles that will try to keep us from our long term dreams. Some will be small and some will be big and some will be enormous. This is certain. Your dreams must be important enough and your plan good enough that as the obstacles arise, you are able to make the choice to move past them.
To set goals that you can obtain, move away from the money, the material goods and other surface desires and take the time to reflect on what is actually important to you. You’ll need to quiet your brain, stop your internal dialogue, step away from your phone, your computer and all the other noise in our frenetic world and allow yourself to reflect on what is actually important to you. (example – for me it’s freedom, adventure, experiencing the world and having a positive impact on other people.)
Once you know what you really want, you’ll need to translate those deeper needs into some action plan that is measurable (SMART Goals is worth a read). For me, I need a solid financial situation to satisfy my need for freedom and adventure. I need to be physically strong to satisfy my need for adventure and experiencing the world and I need to continue to learn and grow professionally to continue to have a positive impact on people. How financially solid? How strong? What do I need to learn? In these questions lies the SMART goals that I will set for myself in 2017 and because they are grounded in what is really important to me, I’ll be able to execute the plan, make the right choices, overcome the obstacles and create the life I really want.
I challenge you to take the time to do this. Sit, reflect, write, consider, establish your meaningful needs and translate them into SMART goals. Most of you will read this and let the ideas wash around in your head a bit and then they will slip away and a chance to really get some traction on what matters to you will be lost.