Setting goals is an essential component of personal and professional growth. However, not all goals are created equal. The art of goal setting involves creating meaningful goals that align with your purpose and values. Doing so increases your chances of achieving your objectives and living a fulfilling life.
Do You Know Your Purpose?
To start, it’s crucial to define your purpose. Your purpose is your reason for being and the foundation for building your goals. To identify your purpose, ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish in life? What kind of legacy do I aspire to leave? What activities or experiences bring me deep joy and fulfillment? Is there something that truly breaks my heart?
These are the profound questions that, once answered, have the power to sustain your efforts while pursuing your goal. I would bet that if you have a nagging goal that always seems to elude you, it’s very likely that the goal conflicts with your purpose or your values.
Once you have a clear purpose, you can begin setting goals that align with it. Meaningful goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, rather than setting a vague goal to “get in shape,” set a SMART goal to “lose 10 pounds in 3 months by exercising for 30 minutes, five days a week, and following a healthy diet plan.”
Some of those criteria (like Specific and Measurable) are perfectly fine. But, as this Forbes article describes, other parts (like Achievable and Realistic) make SMART goals pretty dumb. Why? Because too often, they act as impediments to, not enablers of, bold action and actually encourage mediocre and poor performance.
Make Perceptible Progress
It’s also essential to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This approach allows you to make progress toward your objectives while avoiding overwhelm. For instance, if your goal is to start a successful business, break it down into smaller steps, such as creating a business plan, researching your target market, and networking with potential partners.
Another critical component of goal setting is accountability. Share your goals with someone you trust, such as a friend or mentor, and regularly update them on your progress. This approach not only helps keep you on track but also provides motivation and support when you need it.
In addition, it’s essential to stay flexible and adjust your goals as needed. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change, requiring you to pivot or revise your objectives. Remember that setbacks and failures are a natural part of the process and can provide valuable lessons and growth opportunities.
In my Goal Setting Video, I describe how to nearly bulletproof your goals by planning for risks and taking advantage of opportunities that may arise along the way.
Rinse and Repeat
Setting and achieving goals is like any other skill that improves with time and practice. Show yourself grace and patience and accept that you must learn as you go. Finally, the art of goal setting involves creating meaningful goals that align with your purpose, breaking them down into smaller steps, and holding yourself accountable. Following these principles increases your chances of achieving your objectives and living a fulfilling life.