#1 — The goal must be meaningful to you.
Each person — including you! — has gifts, talents, and abilities that they can use to make the world a better place. You can set meaningful, rewarding goals aligned with your unique abilities and desires.
But an extremely common trap to fall into is setting goals because they matter to people around you, or sound good at the time. Your goal must be something that matters to YOU and will make you feel fulfilled as you pursue it.
If you choose a goal that isn’t meaningful to you, you will only grow to resent it. So we’ll start by helping you set goals that are relevant, meaningful, and energizing.
#2 — You must be committed to the goal.
Achieving new goals is rarely easy — if it were, you’d probably have accomplished the goal already!
So you’ll need fuel to keep you going through challenges. That means finding goals which are deeply felt, with a great sense of commitment and passion — the kind of goal that will motivate you to achieve a lasting change. Often these are goals that connect to your most important values, whether that’s family, relationships, feeling secure, making a positive contribution to the world, or whatever else is central to your life.
#3 — The goal must challenge you.
While it can be frustrating when your goals feel out of reach, the solution isn’t to set easier goals. Trivial goals won’t generate any sense of meaning or commitment. You could set a goal to earn an extra $1 per month, but would you care about that goal even 5 minutes after setting it?
There’s a famous concept in social psychology called ‘flow.’ You feel a sense of flow when you’re challenged, but not overwhelmed. Too easy a task and you feel bored. Too hard a task and you feel hopeless and demotivated. Flow is the sweet spot in between boredom and “I give up!”
#4 — The goal must make a positive impact on your life.
You’re unlikely to stick with goals just because they sound good, or fit with social expectations. For example, you might see friends or family with successful careers and high incomes, and feel pressure to be more financially successful yourself. But if you aren’t particularly motivated by money, and you don’t have other goals that require a certain income, setting a goal to make more money won’t have a positive impact on your life. It’s important that you identify goals that align with your values andyou can see yourself clearly benefiting from if you achieve them.
#5 — The goal must have a way for you to measure progress and track success.
This is a big pitfall to watch out for. It’s surprisingly easy to set vague goals that sound positive and aspirational, but can’t be tracked or measured. Think about goals such as “I want to be happier,” “I want to have a better marriage,” or “I want to eat healthier.”
While these are all areas of your life you may wish to improve, you won’t be able to apply the goal-setting process and tips unless you can track progress over time. One way to do that is to focus on behaviors you want to improve. For example, “I want to eat healthier” could lead to the behavioral goal of “Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and low-sugar fruits per day.” This behavioral goal is measurable, so you can track your progress and see if you’re engaging in the behavior that will lead to better health over time.
Platinum L.I.F.E. COACHING & University
Beth Wolfe, Chief Creator & Master Coach