We all have goals, both personal and professional. Many of us even have similar goals such as finding a partner, starting a family, purchasing a house or making a shift in our careers. But it’s all too easy to find yourself working towards goals that don’t align with what you really want out of life. Often, it’s because you’re thinking not about what you want but about what your partners, parents or peers expect or what you think they would approve of. Other times, you end up working towards a goal that isn’t right for you, such as a career path that doesn’t suit you, and you may not even realize it until you find yourself in an untenable situation.
So, how can you make sure that your goals actually line up with what you want out of life? You’ll need to spend some time getting to know yourself, if you haven’t already, and employ some careful thinking about what excites and challenges you and where you want to be in one, three, five or 10 years. Each goal you set should move you toward that place, whether it be personally or professionally.
One reason many people find it difficult to set goals that align with what they want out of life is that they don’t know themselves as well as they think they do. Put some thought into who you are – crystallize your values, beliefs, temperament, interests, strengths and weaknesses and even your daily biorhythms. The better you know yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to set goals that can bring you more of the happiness and fulfillment you crave.
A big part of this is thinking about what excites and challenges you. For example, let’s say you’re interested in revamping your career and want to set some professional goals for yourself. You need to know what kind of work really interests you because that’s the work you’re going to be motivated to pursue and able to enjoy over the long term. If you enjoy traveling to exotic locales, spending time outdoors, and digging deep into history, perhaps you’d be happy as an archeologist – but probably not so happy as an accountant.
Once you know what kind of work makes you excited to wake up and get started in the morning, you’ll be able to take steps toward making that career happen. Perhaps you’ve had some experience in the business world and feel inspired to become a better leader, so you decide to enroll in an online MBA program. This goal aligns well with what you want out of life: to grow as a leader.
Envision the Future
When you think about who and where you want to be in few years, what comes to mind? If you don’t know where you’re going, you could end up anywhere, so sitting down and visualizing the future you want for yourself is crucial to setting goals that will contribute to your happiness.
Think about what you want to achieve over the next decade of your life. Who do you want to be in 10 years’ time? Where do you want to be professionally in a decade? Once you’re able to visualize that, write down 50 goals that you have for yourself for that period of time. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to try to accomplish all of them; you’re a human being, not a goal-achieving machine. What you should instead do is split that list up into four types of goals: those to achieve within the next year, those to achieve within the next three years, those to achieve within the next five years and those to achieve within the next 10 years.
Now that you have divided the list, prioritize the goals in each category. Think about the four most important goals for the next year, the next three years and so on. At the end of this process, you should have 16 important goals for the next 10 years, and you will be able to start thinking about how you’ll approach each goal. Break each goal into shorter tasks and give yourself deadlines for accomplishing them. Hold yourself accountable to your goals to find success.
Setting goals that align with what you want out of life is one of the best ways to find real, lasting happiness. Know who you are, what excites you and where you want to go in your personal and professional life, and figuring out how to get there will be the easy part.
Tiffany is a leader in content, she prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.