Setting Goals: What is most important to you? (2nd post in a series of posts on goals)

our lives are a giftIn last week’s post, I discussed the importance of taking the time to write goals.

But do you know exactly how to go about writing goals?  If you are like most people, you are struggling to define meaningful, tangible goals for your life.  Luckily, I can share some easy-to-implement strategies and some tips and custom made resources to help you.

First, you need to determine what the most important life categories are in YOUR LIFE.  What makes you…want to get up every day?  Look toward the future with a smile?   Motivate you to do better?

In other words, WHAT MEANS THE MOST TO YOU?

Screenshot 2016-06-04 00.39.33I encourage you to go beyond simply thinking about what is important to you and writing down the categories that are important to you.  To help you start to think about this, I created a list of some of the more common areas of focus.   The list can be found here.

Feel free to print out the above link, and write all over your printout because the objective for the activity is meant to help you begin to reflect and prioritize.  Going through the act of writing down all the areas that are important to you, and referencing the list frequently, will help you to remember ALL of the important areas in you life instead of only focusing on the area that happens to be at the forefront of your attention at the moment.   (Let’s face it…Sometimes, we do temporarily forget some things that are truly important to us.)   This way, you will act in ways that will allow you to move closer to attaining what you want in these areas.

For instance, when I selected the most significant areas of focus in my own life I selected family, friends, career, finance, spirituality, self, and health/fitness.  They are all important to me, and I must remember to prioritize all of them, even when one category is trying to monopolize my time and energy.    In other words, when your are trying to get ahead in your career, you need not and SHOULD NOT, stop moving yourself forward spiritually or physically.   You need to find a balance!

Yet, although you need to find a balance, you do not have to balance everything equally.   You can prioritize what is most important without leaving other areas behind.    For example, in his book best selling book Living Forward, Michael Hyatt explains that, like your bank accounts, some of your life “accounts” may not have equal “balances.” Some accounts may have small balances and be a lower priority; you may only check in on their performance periodically.   On the other hand, others accounts are essential in your day-to-day life and have the “lion’s share” of your assets; they are a priority, you spend a lot of time focusing on them, and you check in on your progress in these areas frequently.

Personally, when establishing goals to help chart my course for the future, I do not place equal importance on the seven categories; some are undoubtedly more important than others.     For instance, while finance is important to me, it is not as important as my relationships with my family.   Similarly, my career does not carry the same level of importance as my health/fitness.

To help you visualize the values of your important life areas, I created a Google sheets spreadsheet with a built-in pie chart.   All you have to do is type in the category names and percentages, and you will get a visual representation of significance of each area.   (An example is shown below.)

Screenshot 2016-06-04 00.43.03

When you complete your spreadsheet, I encourage you to print out your completed weights along with the pie chart, just as you did when brainstorming the categories themselves.   Then, be sure to look at your printout at least once EVERY DAY this week, and see if your actions actually align with the categories.  For example, if you selected family as your most important category, are the actions that you take each day aligned with keeping your family as top priority?   (If not, this is a key indicator that you need to take conscious action to align your priorities with your goals and subsequent actions. After all, if your actions don’t reflect your most important categories, you are living out of alignment.)

The best way to live a life where your actions reflect your pie chart is to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART) goals that relate to each of your categories.  In the next post in this series of goals, I will discuss techniques to write SMART goals and provide you with resources to help you write your goals in this format.

 

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