Ever struggle to attain a goal? Do you experience resistance or a lack of fulfillment during the journey? Chances are, you’re focused on the wrong goal, which will inevitably lead to failure and disappointment. Instead of focusing on what you think you want or should do, here’s how to create value-based goals that align with who you are and the lifestyle you want, so you can achieve what matters most – and enjoy the process.
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With the timely pressure we place upon ourselves when charting our goals, most people either struggle to cross the finish line or never cross it at all.
Sure, there are many reasons why don’t attain our goals. But before we point our finger at execution, people, resources, strategies, follow-up, accountability, the marketplace/economy, competition, lack of skills or effective time management, we need to first look at the source of the problem; that is, the goal itself.
Are you sure you’re setting the right goals?
Four Reasons Why Goals Fail
Here are the four main reasons why people fail to reach their goals. Goals are supposed to be a vivid reflection of what you want to bring into in your life and career based on your personal vision. Yet, most of the time, people don’t even have goals, and they certainly don’t have a personal vision, which makes the art of goal attainment that much more challenging. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, then how do you know when you get there?
You didn’t set yourself up to fail, your goals did that for you.
Even if you’ve set some goals, most people set goals around:
- What they think they want.
- What they think they need.
- What they’re told they have to do or achieve. (Family, friends, community, society, work-related goals that fall outside of what you’re accountable for. Example: You’re hitting your business objectives and quota, yet still hear, “Don’t you want to be the top performer? Don’t you want to make more money?”
- What they think they should do.
Goal setting can quickly become your main bone of contention or a powerful, inspiring way to create your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting the right goals helps you choose where you want to go in life, not someone else.
These mental roadblocks prevent you from setting and achieving the goals that will create the life you want.
Vision, Priorities and Goals – What’s the Difference?
Follow these four caustic goal setting principles, and you’re guaranteed to painfully struggle through the process because they’re not aligned with who you are – your personal vision, values, and priorities.
So, what’s the difference between a personal vision, priority and goal?
1. Personal Vision: A snapshot or visual representation, either expressed through pictures, thoughts or words, of your ideal life and every component that encompasses your life. (Priorities, values, finances, family, health, joy, travel, home, career, faith, hobbies, leisure, relationships, where you live, etc.) While a vision is a point in time in the future, some of the things in your vision may exist today, such as a healthy relationship with your family and children or that you’re taking good care of yourself in mind, body and spirit.
Your vision is your beacon, your guiding light to a fulfilling, meaningful life that uncovers your priorities and core values, forms your goals and becomes the foundation upon which every decision is made.
2. Priorities: What and who are most important and meaningful in your life today (activities, beliefs, faith, self-care, people, lifestyle, principles, personal values, standards, hobbies, career, integrity, etc.) that you are not willing to compromise or sacrifice in pursuit of something else, such as a goal. These are as non-negotiable as your values.
3. Goals: A future-based expectation, mindset, attitude, measurable end-result, or experience you are working towards creating, achieving or bringing to fruition at a certain point in time that has not yet been realized in the present. The right goals are founded upon your priorities and values.
Priorities and values are present-focused; who you are, how you show up and how you experience and respond to what is happening today; in each moment. Goals are what will be achieved over the next 12 months. A personal vision is both present and future-focused and what can or will happen today – or tomorrow.
When you align your goals with your priorities and personal vision, you’ll achieve the level of success you’ve always dreamed of in an easier, natural and enjoyable way because your goals are now an expression of who you are, not what you do.
How do I Determine if It’s the Right Goal For Me?
Now that we’ve make the connection between your vision, priorities and goals, there are two types of goal people create that either sets them up for failure or success.
- Value-Based Goals
- Should-Based Goals
1. Value-Based Goals:
These are the ones that are aligned with your core, personal values, priorities and who I am. You know it’s a Value-Based Goal if you’re inspired by it and it’s aligned with the life you want and who you are when you are being the fully-expressed and authentic you. These are goals you’re willingly and naturally attracted towards achieving, while enjoying the process!
The best game to play is the one where you make up your own rules.
For me, some of my core values are integrity, adventure, contributing, connection, transparency, authenticity, creativity, love, family, friends, (people in general), individuality, mindfulness, philanthropy, culture, music, art, integrity, honesty, self-expression, joy, presence, self-care, innovation, personal growth, and making an impact.
Those core values have shaped my priorities, goals and subsequently, my life, while driving every decision I make. My top three values that get me out of bed every day are: My children, my wife, and making an impact, which I hope I’m doing for you now, as this is my life’s purpose and passion.
Another goal that would be oriented around and reflect my values would be writing. My only intention is to make a difference, which makes it all worthwhile. This honors many of my core values, creativity, connection, love, authenticity, contributing, helping others, self-expression and making an impact.
Even when it comes to career goals and business objectives, you will reduce resistance and friction to achieving what’s expected of you by aligning your key performance indicators and quotas with your values, strengths and what truly inspires you.
So, take some time to articulate your values before setting goals. Write them down. Put them in your calendar as a recurring appointment, acting as a constant reminder of how you want to show up in the world, who you are, and who you want to be, especially when you’re challenged or in the face of adversity.
In part 2 of this 2-part series, we’re going to spend time working through the best practices when designing your goals, and discuss the traps to avoid when goal-setting. Make a mental note. When it comes to creating your personal vision, most people don’t even have, one let alone know what it is. So, don’t be alarmed if you don’t have one because chances are, you don’t. That’s an entirely separate article to follow and a full chapter in Own Your Day.
2. Should Based Goals:
These goals conflict with who you are; don’t support your core values and priorities and don’t align with your personal vision. A Should-Based Goal is based on what you feel your goal should be or was told to be by others.
Do you assume what your goal should be based on what you believe your significant other, spouse, family, friends, or boss would want? You know it’s a Should-Based Goal if it’s something you’re not inspired or motivated to attain, and consequently, experience, stress, friction and a lack of fulfillment during the process.
For example, “If you want to make more money, then you should work 7 days a week.” However, if you value personal and family time, then this goal will create more inner conflict. That’s when something in your heart and internal compass tell you that something’s wrong. You’ll feel off or out of sorts, because you’re not honoring your personal integrity in pursuit of these misaligned goals.
If you are encountering resistance while attempting to reach certain goals or performing certain tasks, chances are it’s either something you really don’t want or you’re operating from someone else’s agenda.
The only exception are the business objectives, responsibilities and goals you are held accountable for at work. While this is the corporate agenda, it’s still what you were hired to do and what you signed up for.
If you’re unsure whether the goal, activity or task classifies as a should, take a look at your lifestyle, values and priorities and see if they are all in alignment.
Otherwise, it’s a should. So, don’t should on yourself. If you do, you’ll feel confined or powerless to make changes, allowing situations, circumstances or other people to influence or control you.
Now you have a foundation to ensure you’re setting the perfect goals that are aligned with who you are; your vision, values and priorities. In Part 2 of this series, you’ll learn that paradoxically, you’ve already achieved many of your goals, along with the six traps to avoid and the guiding principles to set your perfect goal.