Now we are going to zoom in and begin creating or refining our goals. Every study concerning goals has had two identical conclusions: 1. People with goals achieve more than people without goals; 2. People with written goals achieve more than those with unwritten goals. So the first challenge is to write your goals if you have not done so already. If you have written goals, its time to determine whether or not they are in their proper position. These actions alone place you in the top six to ten percent of the people in the world!
The reason I use five categories for my goals is that it is a manageable number. I have seen some systems that use seven categories. I felt like seven was too many. Others use an approach that puts all goals into three categories and that seemed too few for me. So I have been using my five categories for years and it works for me. The important point is to have written goals that can all fit on one side of one piece of paper in enough categories to describe an entire life for a defined period of time.
If this is all new to you, it will take some time to develop. But congratulations for getting started.
I always begin with personal goals since these goals are the ones that will determine if I have what it takes to reach and sustain the others. Of course it is true that all of our goals are personal. But what I have learned is that some goals are more personal than others.
Certainly the desire for a new job, the need for more money, an interest in new information and a commitment to more prayer are all personal goals. In fact the very process that I am describing assumes that each of us sets goals for ourselves that are separate and distinct from other people, groups or organizations. In order to maintain our self-esteem, our sense of purpose and our pursuit of accomplishments we must have our own personal goals. It is very difficult if not impossible to have healthy relationships with others without having goals for ourselves. But it bears repeating that some goals are more personal than others.
Within the goal setting process I distinguish between personal goals and other goals because without such a distinction we can lose sight of some very basic realities. Everyone that I know has a type of personal goal – to lose weight, to stop smoking, to work out, to break a bad habit or something. These types of goals address our character, our personality, our development as a person, our humanity. Personal goals in this context are those goals that are for you about you and pursued because of the type of person you want to be. Without a specific written commitment with a timetable attached these types of personal goals are often pushed to the sidelines or the back burner and they are virtually ignored while we pursue the big-ticket items.
This is why we see people who seem to be successful in very impressive ventures finding themselves stumped by some personal flaw that they cannot get under control. What is often so tragic is that many people close to such folks can see the threats of their personal flaws and they often refuse to confront or assist the person.
It is when we place our personal goals, our very personal habits, our attitudes and our relationships along side our financial and other goals that we begin the process of giving them equal status and equal attention. These goals are probably so personal that no one even knows they exist except you. But when you accomplish them, you know that you have become a better you.
Action item: Identify two or three goals that are so personal that you may not be able share them even with people close to you. And write them down.