Better get some goals!
This should be the first question we ask ourselves every day. We should have intention in everything we do and our intention starts with our goals.
Everything must have a goal:
I have always been a goal driven person, but the definition of my goals have typically been focused on my occupation. This is typical in American education. High School guidance counselors ask us:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”… then they ask
“How do you think you need to get there?”… that leads them to
“Now what do your next 5 years look like?”
There it is… the foundation of modern goal setting framework: the 5 year plan for your career. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great start and it is better than aimless career planning and no goals at all. But this limits our goals setting ambitions to our occupation or career alone. One of the things I have recently become aware of that is literally changing my life is the application of this same goal setting ambition to every aspect of my life. This idea of taking your typical business practices home with you. To me this means applying goals to my life like:
Faith: what is my 5 year plan in my faith and with my church, community or small group?
Marriage: what is the relationship I want with my spouse? Do I have that today? How do you maintain your relationship or what do I need to do get your relationship where you want it to be?
Family: what is my 5 year plan for being a father? Who do I want my children to be in 5 years? What do I need to do as a parent to realize this?
Health: Do I consider myself healthy today? Are my goals to simply maintain current health or improve?
Hobbies: Am I satisfied with my skills? Do I have the tools and experience to continue advancing?
We should be setting goals in each of these areas like we set in our careers. In the past I have been very intentional about my career. Thinking through where I want to be and how it is best to get there. But up until recently I have not had the same level of definition of my non-career or personal goals. I have allowed my personal life to be somewhat fluid. Sure I have had some thought, planning and definition in each of these area to the level of: I want to be healthy, be proud of my children, love my wife and eventually one day go to heaven. The act of thinking through these areas of my life has given a much greater level of intention to each of these areas. Perhaps one day I will be confident enough to publish what my goals are and how they change but today is not that day. Today I am writing to motivate you with my story of setting personal goals and stewarding them and providing some thoughts on how to expand your goal setting aperture beyond career planning.
One option is to start big and work your way small:
Big: What are my goals out of life?
Medium: What are my goals for the next 5 years?
Small: What are my goals for today?
But this can sometimes seem like boiling the ocean and can drive people to analysis paralysis.
Another option is to start small and work your way big as you build goal setting experience, understanding and confidence:
Start with short term goals: What do you want to accomplish today or this month?
Grow to medium term goals: Where do you want your life to be in 5 or 10 years?
Then dream big with long term goals: What do you want people to say at your eulogy?
Confidence in goal setting has changed my life. Starting each day with a goal has driven intentionality in everything step of my day and all but eliminated wasted time. I am incredible more effective and efficient and find myself accomplishing much more in the workplace, with my family and in personal endeavors.
I am still a novice in goal setting using phrases like “I want to accomplish… ” and I am learning into the model of setting goals like they have already happened replacing the “I want” with “I have”.
Replace “I want” with “I have”
If you are happy with today, and you are satisfied then don’t worry about goals. If you are always looking for more out of life and to maximize each day then goal setting must be where you start. Not just in the workplace but in every place of your life