Did you know that most people never set goals in life? Yep.
That’s like taking the most important trip of your life, without a destination and a way to get there.
Consider your own schooling. If you’re like most of us, not only do we not learn about setting goals in life, it’s rare to be taught about setting goals at all.
This is not about casting blame or criticizing. Rather, this is about awakening to the need to take responsibility to do this for ourselves now…. and to teach it to our children and grandchildren.
Goal oriented, purpose driven people generally achieve their dreams.
You can too.
Audio Article: Setting Goals in Life
Table of Contents
- The Harvard Goals Study Myth
- Do You Know Your Goals in Life?
- How to Identify Your Goals in Life
- What Will You Want to Be Able to Say?
Don’t Be Most People
Most people spend more time each day planning and dreaming about what they want to eat or do or chatting on social media than they do planning out their day, let alone their life.
Don’t be most people. Don’t leave your life to chance. Don’t be adrift in the stream of life without a paddle.
Setting goals and working them daily steers you to success.
Setting goals in life and working them daily, is the only way to live the life you want to live.
~LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
The Harvard Goals Study Myth
There’s an unproven urban legend citing a 1979 Harvard MBA study on goal setting that says that 83% of graduate students do not do goal setting.
This oft-cited study is as yet apparently unfound and mimics an identical one supposedly published by Yale in 1953, also as yet undiscovered in the online world. It seems this might be a made-up story by a motivational guru.1)https://www.wanderlustworker.com/the-harvard-mba-business-school-study-on-goal-setting/
However, suffice it to say that setting goals is effective. Most people who achieve remarkable success, set goals in life and pursue them with intense mental focus and strenuous physical effort.
“Clear goals increase persistence and self efficacy, making individuals less susceptible to the undermining effects of anxiety, disappointment, and frustration.”
~D.H. Schunk, 1990, Educational Psychologist.2)http://hilt.harvard.edu/files/hilt/files/settinggoals.pdf
Do You Know Your Goals in Life?
If you don’t yet know your goals in life, no worries! Most people don’t, so don’t let it trouble you. Instead, let it motivate you to embark on the journey of discovery.
The good news is that the process of setting goals is literally only a pen and paper away. Or only a screen away if you prefer to set and track your goals digitally.
Once you commit to the journey of setting and achieving your goals, you will pick up speed and power. Your daily doing will accelerate your discoveries which will increase your clarity, which will accelerate your growth.
You don’t have to be clear on your goals in life to set goals for the quarter. The day is the way to achieve your dreams, one day at a time.
~LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
Begin at the End
There’s a concept of starting at the end and working your way backward. Imagine the goal you’re aiming for, see it and feel it achieved. Then, make a list of all the steps to make it happen.
Don’t worry about ordering or organizing them yet. This first step is to brain dump all the things that come to mind that need to be done to reach your goal. Once in the journey you will discover additional steps to add and some to remove as less relevant.
Setting your goals in life is like life itself… you live it daily. A 1,000-foot journey begins with a single step, and then another.
To embark on a journey means that you need to know where you want to go. If you’re not yet clear on where you want to end up, you can start with the next place you want to go and head in that direction.
One of the best ways to achieve your goals in life is to achieve your goals in the day.
Writing down your dreams is the first step in the journey to making them real.
~LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
How to Identify Your Goals in Life
When it comes to identifying life goals, some people find it helpful to consider their deathbed scenario. I think of mine like this:
In mine, I’m around 108 years old, (maybe more with advances in medicine and prevention) in my dream home of many years, surrounded by family and closest friends. We’re laughing and reminiscing over cherished memories. Family and friends each share what I’ve meant to their life one more time, and I share the same for them.
I’m not afraid to die as I reflect on all the goals accomplished, the people loved, contributions made, and the many joys and experiences over a rich and full life. I’m looking forward to the next great adventure beyond this life, and feel an immense sense of gratitude for family and friends and life’s many blessings.
Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~Sydney J. Harris, American author, journalist, 1917-1986
How to Set Goals in Life
The process for setting goals in life is similar, whether it’s life goals or this year’s goals. It’s just a matter of changing the wording to reflect the timing and the destination.
Here are some orienting questions to help you focus on your life goals.
Goals in Life
When you’re at the end of this life, what will you want to be able to say about your life?
At the End of…
- … 10 years, what will you want to be able to say about your decade?
- … 5 years, what will you be doing, where and with whom?
- … this year, what will you want to have accomplished?
- … the quarter, what will you want to have accomplished?
- … this month, what will you want to have accomplished?
- … the week, what will you want to have accomplished?
- … today, what will you want to have accomplished?
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, always bring it back to the day. The day is the way to get where you want to go.
You are in it… in the life of your future. Today. Now. Engage!
Each life is comprised of each day. The day is the way to achieve your goals in life.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
For setting, tracking and achieving goals we use the iCreateDaily 90 Day Goals Journals. Before that I just used a Google doc.
A simple, non-templated blank document or blank journal works well if you’re already disciplined and clear on what you need to do and you’re diligent about tracking and doing it. For many, a bit more structure is helpful. You can get a free 30-Day PDF journal download here, or read more about how to set goals in this article and videos here.
Hello! I’m LeAura, a philosopher, generalist, autodidactic former homeschooling mom, personal development advocate, entrepreneur, writer, editor, author, ideator, media publisher, and podcaster, passionate about helping others achieve their best possible life! We’re a media publishing company run by our small family of entrepreneurs, writers, and creators on around topics we enjoy, such as gardening, health and fitness, creativity and pets, with more to come.
While my greatest teacher is Life… my formal training includes certifications in mediation, fitness trainer, and strategic intervention coaching, including marriage and family. My favorite thing ever is helping people discover and grow their incredible potential.
Today, the synergy of creating websites, articles and podcasts, brings together all my favorite things: family, learning, growth, creating, connecting and contributing. To share these with you is a privilege, that serves my lifelong aspiration to help others.
My personal areas of creativity are in writing, masterminding, ideation, synthesis and bringing ideas to life through business and entrepreneurship.
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