Powerful Questions Podcast: What are your goals?
My father has always told me: "If you don’t know what your goals are, you will never know if you’ve achieved them". If you don’t know what you want in life, you will be steered by others who will know it better for you. If you don’t set your own goals, others will happily do it for you – your employer, your family, companies who advertise products and services you just have to have.
Some of you might have some kind of yearly goal setting in your job. So you might be asking yourself – do I really have to also set goals privately? Well, you don’t have to. But work is not 100% of your life. How do you know what YOU want from your life? What kind of professional success do you aspire to? What kind of family would you like to have? What is your plan for your life financially?
So where do you start? Well, it depends.
If you are not used to setting goals, you might want to try with a not too long-term goals first – for example, one year. For most of us it is a perspective that is relatively easy to comprehend.
But at some point you should definitely consider your whole life as a perspective. And even beyond: what do you want to leave in this world after you are gone? This is necessary because it helps you realize what are the most important things for you in life. For example, if you realize that you want to have a big family and this is the most valuable thing for you, you might reconsider your obsessive career focus right now.
A good technique to start thinking long-term is visualization. Take a comfortable position and start imagining what your life should look like in 10, 20 or 30 years. What does a day in your life look like? Where are you? Who is with you? How do you spend your day, what do you do? How do you contribute to society?
At this point, just let yourself get carried away completely by your imagination. Do not let yourself be stopped by doubts, fears and limiting beliefs you have about what is possible and what is not. Just let yourself see very clearly what your perfect life looks like. Try to remember this picture as vividly as possible.
After this exercise, start thinking about realistic goals that would help you get there.
What is your profession or career in your visualization? Are you on a way there or not yet? What would be the logical first step to start getting there?
Who are you with? Are you right now building the foundation to have these people in your life and have a relationship you want with them?
What is your financial situation? Are you moving towards it or are you living without planning for the future financially?
Consider how to convert your visualization into actual goals. What kind of professional success do you achieve? How much do you work? What is your financial situation?
And then, start breaking down those big goals into smaller, shorter term goals. What do you want to achieve in 5 years that will help you get where you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to achieve in 1 year that will help you get where you want to be in 5 years?
Notice that I use the word “want” – not need, not must, not have to. This is on purpose. Nothing about your goals should be forced – this is the life you want for yourself. If you want it – go get it. But nobody is forcing you, this is you who wants these things for yourself. And yes, it might be hard and difficult, you might get off track by something that is happening or by yourself feeling overwhelmed. You are not a machine.
But remember what you want. Remember the life that you have visualized for yourself. Is it worth the work? Then work for it!
You can review your long-term vision once in a while. It is not set in stone – some things might change for you. It is all fine and normal, these are your goals and you can change them. Continue listening to yourself, to what your real inner desires are. Live for yourself.