Why set goals?
It’s important sometimes to reflect on our lives – where we came from, where we are at, and where we want to be. To make this a more active process, goal-setting may be a powerful tool to use. As a naturally reflective and analytical person, I’m reflecting all the time (which sometimes isn’t such a good thing).
How should we set goals?
The best way that I have found for goal-setting is through Tony Robbins’ 7-day course. This a set of CDs in which he talks through some concepts, asks you probing questions, and sets you tasks. One of these tasks is goal setting. I am going to describe the process that he guides his listeners through, and the most moving part for me was an insistence that we look past what we think is possible for us.
See beyond your limits
“Don’t think about how you’re going to achieve these goals,” he says, “Imagine that you have access to anything in the world, and go beyond your own limitations. You can achieve anything – now, what do you want? Who do you want to be?” (Ok, I’m paraphrasing a bit there).
Personal Development Goals
You have six minutes. Put on a timer, and write a paragraph that lists everything that you want to achieve at a personal level between this year, and twenty years from now. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? What would you like to learn? Who do you want to be? Do you want to go back to study? Build a new career? Learn an instrument? Improve your confidence? What do you want to do for yourself spiritually? How can you improve your relationships? Be a better friend? How do you see yourself in twenty years from now?
You have four minutes. Put on a timer, and write a paragraph that lists everything you want to have between this year and twenty years from now. Don’t worry about how, imagine you could afford anything. What kind of house do you want? What things would make your life more comfortable? What would make your home a nicer place? A more social place? Do you want privacy? Do you want a car? Where do you want to live? What kind of clothes would you like? Garden? Would you like a new TV or a dedicated games room? What about jewellery? Hobbies?
You have three minutes. Put on a timer and write down specific amounts for money-related goals you have. Do you have any debts you need to pay off? How much do you want to be earning this year? What about in five years? Ten years? Do you want to have emergency funds? Retirement savings? Charity money? How often do you want to go on holiday? How much will you need?
Where to next?
For each set of goals (Personal, Thing, Financial), write next to each goal a 1, 3, 5 or 20. This number represents when you want to achieve each goal – 1 for a year or less, 3 for three years or less, 5 for five years or less, and 20 for twenty years or less. Choose three ‘1’ goals from each category, and write a paragraph beginning with “I am committed to this goal because…” Now, write down everything it means to you. Why do you have this goal? How will it improve your life? How will it give you pleasure? How will it help you avoid pain, hurt, or hardship? What will it make you gain? How will it make you feel? Will it help others? Does it contribute to other goals? What does it mean to you? What needs will it meet?
Optional: The Notebook
When I did this task last week, I decided that I would write my top six goals (out of every category and time-span) out in a little notebook that I keep in my handbag. Every morning – or later in the day if I don’t have time – I read these goals to myself, and remind myself what I am committed to doing and why. I’ve found that it helps reinforce a feeling of ‘purpose’, especially at times when I am feeling lonely or down.
How do you reflect on your life? What are your experiences with goal-setting?
If you’ve tried this – how did you find it beneficial? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
If you liked this, read my other post on goal-setting here.