Goals are powerful, especially if you choose only a few. A laundry list is almost impossible to stay focused on. But if you choose two or three realistic, specific goals, and write them down, you are likely to achieve them.
But first, make sure you set goals for what matters most. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you might set goals that will not be satisfying once accomplished.
Chris told me one of his goals for the coming year was to buy a Porsche. For years he had dreamed of owning one, and he was finally in a position to afford one.
When I asked why he wanted a Porsche, he explained, “We didn’t have much money when I was growing up. My dad left when I was really young, and my grandparents helped raise us kids. We didn’t have a lot of things, but there was a lot of love, and they really wanted the best for us kids. My whole life I heard how important getting an education was so I would be able to get a good job. My grandparents scrimped to save money to help us with college. If I can afford a Porsche, it will be proof I’m doing well and that everything they did was worth the effort.”
Upon further reflection, it occurred to Chris, “You know, I don’t really care that much about cars. My grandfather is a mechanic. He’s the one who cares about cars. It really doesn’t matter to me what kind of car I drive.”
Once Chris realized that owning a Porsche was not what mattered most to him, he set a different goal that really did matter. He decided to set up a savings plan for the benefit of his grandparents, using the money that would have gone toward the Porsche.
Set goals that line up with a larger purpose
To set goals for what matters most, connect them to a larger purpose. When you see a clear line of sight between your goals and your personal vision, you see why they are important, it’s easier to stay motivated, and you are able to easily answer the question “What’s next” once you’ve achieved them.
If you choose a goal because you think it’s something you should do, it will be difficult to stay committed. This is why so many diets fail. It is easier to stay committed to a diet if you see exactly how it will help you live the life you really want.
When you are clear about where you’re going, your goals become the means to get there.