I'm a planner. To some that is a very annoying habit, but it works for me. I get stuff done. Not surprisingly I also write lists of jobs and cross them off when they are completed.... I confess that I have also added completed, but unlisted, jobs to my list so I could cross them off. I'm aware this is ridiculous!
But goal setting is my ultimate planning euphoria - I love setting long range goals (10 and 15 years) and then breaking them down into shorter range goals...1 and 5 year goals. Why? Because by writing them down, and even before that, thinking about what I want to do and experience in my one precious life, I am on my path to achieving them.
I spent time working out my values and from there goal setting became easy. It took time for me to accept that just because something is important to me doesn't mean it will be important to someone else, even those very close to me. My brothers and sister have very different hopes and dreams to my own. No one is more right, but it is fascinating to see how different we are!
So my 8 myth busting tips for goal setting:
1. Write them down. No excuses. The process of writing them down means you are making a conscious choice about your life. Yes, take your time to really think about what you want, but write them down.
2. It's your life. It doesn't matter what others think about your goals. You are not living to please them. Commit to goals that have meaning for you and give you fulfilment and joy, even if the process of achieving them doesn't. For years I had "finish my bloody Master’s degree" on my list of short term goals - one subject at a time while working full time as a single mother to three small boys. I'm also now good at giving myself a reward for achievement. For my Masters, it was visiting Paris for the first time!
3. You won't miss other opportunities by goal setting and goal setting doesn't mean you can't assess and make the most of unexpected opportunities! Goals are not set in stone, never to be adjusted, but having goals helps you decide whether the opportunity is worth pursuing or distraction. You get to decide.
4. What if I fail to reach my goal? Setting a goal does not give you immunity from failure. Failing to reach your goal doesn't mean you are a failure. If you don’t achieve your goal, figure out how you can do better next time, if it is important to you. But don’t fall into setting goals that are gimme’s. Set goals which excite you, inspire you and which you need to put in real effort to achieve.
5. You can’t live in the present and set goals. Goal setting doesn't mean I am so focused on the future I forget about the moment. I recently sat next to a lovely man at a fundraising dinner. Within minutes we were both laughing about our experiences as parents of teenagers and I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I enjoyed the moment we shared. It doesn't mean I need to give up a goal about walking the Camino de Santiago.
6. There isn’t any point setting goals as life is unpredictable. I get it. Life throws you curve balls, some amazing, others diabolically challenging. You can still aim for what you want and deal with what is thrown at you.
7. Career goals are one aspect of your life, not your whole life. Setting life goals can help you achieve the balance that is right for you. Sometimes it means your focus and 3 goals for the year are all in one element – this could be your career. Sometimes they are across 3 different elements. You make the rules about what you focus on.
8. I'm too old to set new goals. Really? You are breathing; you are not too old, but setting goals requires bravery. Be brave and in the time you have left to breathe on this planet choose how you wish to spend your time.
Life is all about change and choice. Set yourself goals and live the life you are dreaming of!
If you would like support to set yourself some new goals, contact me at http://www.skycoaching.org/