Goal Setting: Go Out and Look for Your Life - Path & Compass
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Goal Setting: Go Out and Look for Your Life

Go Out and Look for Your Life

I sort of have a love-hate relationship with goals. I think our society romances progress – it’s very American to set a goal, work towards it and achieve it. When I worked at my last ‘real’ job, I had lots of specific, excel sheet goals set by a far-away corporate office. Everything was measured and tracked. But the thing was when I achieved my sales goals, a new one was always waiting for me. I was never able to escape the hamster wheel – my goals felt like a trap.

So after I left the corporate world I tried the opposite, living without goals. Instead, I embrace my natural (lazy?) inclination to wander and let things organically grow in a direction dictated by something bigger than me. Let Jesus take the wheel, so to speak. And this was okay and at times necessary to rewire my type-a, overachieving brain. It also left me feeling like I was just spinning my wheels – did my work even matter?

Moral of the story, neither extremes were the path to Shangri-La. It’s the middle path, one where you find a balance between the two that I have found the most impactful on my happiness (after all, goals should make us happier). Here’s how I approach setting goals now:

  1. You need to have both specific, measurable goals (numbers goals) and wide sweeping, subjective goals (why goals). Goals that inspire you and feed your soul by serving your ‘why’ as well as goals that hold you accountable and keep a roof over your head.
  2. Attack goals by quarter. Year-long goals get away from us… breaking these into shorter deadlines makes your goals more manageable (and attainable). This way you can also check in, evaluate and adjust so come the end of the year, we’re not kicking ourselves for being distracted and procrastinating. To this point, I really like the Chalkboard Method from Being Boss.
  3. Leave room for magic to happen. Opportunities arise throughout a year. Circumstances and intentions change. And most importantly, your perspective will shift with each step along the path. Leave room to change your mind, pivot direction or let things just happen.
  4. Celebrate your goals. I still struggle with this one – I get busy and this feels like an extra thing I got to do. But celebrations are important to our happiness and keep us type-a’s off of the hamster wheel.

Simply put, setting, evaluating and adjusting goals means you’re living a more intentional life. And that just might be the greatest path of all.