We’ve finally made it to the fourth key component of Life Design: Life Goals.
I think we’re all excited about this topic because we all set goals in different areas of our lives, and we all know that it’s easier to set goals than achieve them.
People run into obstacles like inconsistency, a lack of motivation, or an inability to make their goals actionable in the first place.
Let’s dive deep into what Life Goals are, why it is important to set them the right way, and how achieving Life Goals can help promote your wellbeing.
WHAT ARE LIFE GOALS AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
We’ve covered the first three core components of Life Design, and now it’s time to talk about Life Goals.
What are Life Goals?
A goal is an aim or desired result, destination of a journey.
Why is it important to set and achieve Life Goals?
- Setting the right goals helps define core values more clearly.
- Working on value-aligned goals creates energy, meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment.
- Achieving goals promotes self confidence and the belief that you CAN do it.
- It lies in the foundation of the Principle of Ripple Effect.
There are various ways how we can look at goals and goal setting. Today, we’re going to talk about two kinds of goals — short-term vs. long-term goals.
Short-term goals are the ones that are shorter in term or closer in proximity. Maybe you’ll achieve it this week or within the next couple of weeks.
For example, you might decide to:
- Go for a walk every day
- This week, you’re going to go for three walks a day
- Go for a one-mile run this week
- Book your next family vacation this week
You should be able to achieve short-term goals within a few days or weeks.
The advantages of short-term goal setting are:
- The ability to take action on them.
Short-term goals are often referred to as tasks. They’re very actionable, so it’s easy to take action on them.
- You can get positive reinforcement quickly.
Because you can act quickly on a short-term goal, it’s easy to start feeling good about yourself.
On the other hand, you can also get negative reinforcement quickly if you don’t achieve these goals.
For example, if you decide to go for a one-mile run on Monday and then on Tuesday you realize you didn’t do it, you might feel discouraged.
- Short-term goals make it easy to monitor progress.
If you decide to go for three 30-minute walks this week, it’s easy to track what progress you’re making.
- It’s easy to connect short-term goals to your personal strengths.
As we discovered in our previous article on personal strengths, we usually identify our strengths in the specific scenarios or actions we take.
Once you know how to engage your strengths in a particular activity, bringing them forward is easy to help you achieve this goal.
There is one drawback of setting short-term goals.
Sometimes, they aren’t very motivating because they are viewed as a task.
Short-term goals are usually simple, so they don’t feel big or important.
That’s why it can be difficult to get started when setting short-term goals.
Long-term goals are more distant goals — maybe months or years from now.
The biggest obstacle of long-term goals is that they’re so much more distant, vague, and abstract.
It can be a challenge to make long-term goals specific, and because of that, it is difficult to make them actionable.
So if you have a dream or a goal to live in a foreign country five years from now, to be a millionaire, to run your own business, or any other high-level dream, you might continue living your life with this dream in the back of your mind forever.
You won’t be able to take that first step because you don’t know what that first step even looks like.
The advantage of long-term goals is that they’re super motivating!
Long-term goals can act as a North Star.
If you can connect your long-term goals with your Core Values, true magic happens.
When you align with your Core Values, you’ll do whatever it takes to get closer to that North Star.
Those long-term North Star goals promote commitment much more than short-term goals once you know how to start acting on them.
Here’s the tricky thing…
If you only set short-term goals for yourself, you might be taking action but lacking the motivation.
You might be feeling a lack of motivation if you’re telling yourself:
- “I don’t feel motivated enough.”
- “I don’t feel like it’s worth doing.”
If you’re only setting long-term goals for yourself, you will have those dreams and visions but may not be able to make those goals actionable.
So, what is the solution to this problem?
The solution is obvious — to have a combination of both short-term and long-term goals.
I’ve taken the best out of both types of goals amd have created the 3-level Goal Setting Method to help you know how to set and achieve life goals.
HOW TO SET AND ACHIEVE LIFE GOALS: 3-LEVEL GOAL SETTING METHOD
This is how it works.
Let’s imagine there are three levels for each of our goals.
I like to break them down per Life Domain because it’s tough to create a Life Goal without some context.
Here are the three levels.
- The aspirational level — this is the most distant level, maybe 5-10 years from now. This is your North Star, and its purpose is to drive you to do whatever it takes to get there.
You want to deeply connect this level with your Core Values.
The North Star is so far from now, so how do you start approaching it?
- The directional level — This goal is 6-12 months from now. It’s something that seems achievable. Yes, it should be a bit of a stretch, but you should feel confident you can get there within the year.
You want to connect the directional level with your Personal Strengths.
For example, if one of your strengths is creativity and your goal is to become a world-famous artist one day, knowing how to get your painting into the most famous galleries might feel impossible.
The directional level comes in to make this thing more achievable. It might be making your first collection of paintings, and since your strength is creativity, you’ll be excited to do it.
The directional level gives you energy and desire to pursue something you can touch.
You have to be more specific than the aspirational level here. Tell yourself exactly what it is that you want to have or achieve.
Now, we move on to the 3rd level.
- The actionable level — This is something that will help you take that first step.
If you’re becoming a world-famous artist ten years from now, where do you begin?
So, now we’re onto actionable short-term goals. This should be achievable within two to four to eight weeks from today.
This is something you can map out and create specific action items and steps to start moving in that direction right now.
The main purpose of this level is to create a realistic first milestone for you.
You’ll also want to connect this level of goals with your personal strengths to help you take action.
Figure out what can go wrong and come up with strengths you can bring forward in those situations.
There are three levels of goals, and they all play a very important role in helping us not just set goals but actually achieve them.
Follow these steps to start moving towards your goals, being consistent, and sticking with them.
When you formulate your goals on every level, try to do it in the present tense instead of the future.
For example, on the aspirational level, instead of telling yourself that you want to be a world-famous artist in 10 years…
Imagine yourself already as a world-famous artist.
How does it feel? Does it feel good?
Sometimes, we set goals for ourselves that we think are the right goals for us, but they really aren’t.
This exercise helps you identify whether the goal is truly right for you.
If it doesn’t feel great, it might not be the right goal.
If it feels nice, it’s another reassurance that you’re on the right track.
So, on every level, always formulate your goals in the present tense — something you already have and who you already are.
HOW TO SET LIFE GOALS: AN EXAMPLE
As I did this exercise for my business, Breverie, the first iteration of my aspiration level goal was to have a mission-driven team of ten people.
I said I wanted to be making a million dollars in profit and to love spending time with my team creating the best product for women.
That first iteration was very standard.
My whole team is already very mission-driven, but it doesn’t really say anything about the mission itself.
As I tried to connect it with my personal strengths and core values, I had a hard time doing that.
I tested out my values of autonomy, authenticity, and impact, but again, it still didn’t feel connected.
I kept telling myself that if I really wanted this to be my North Star, it had to light me up from within.
I wanted to feel that spark right away, and I didn’t.
I spent a few hours on this exercise before putting it away for a few days.
About a week later, I came back to it from a different direction.
I decided not to write down the answer to the question but to imagine I was talking to a friend.
I sometimes find when I’m trying to find the “right answer,” I’m not being true to myself.
So, I closed my eyes and imagined talking to a friend I’d known for years.
I don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything.
“Hey, Olena, why do you really do it? What is your goal? What is your purpose? Why did you start your business? What do you want to achieve?” my imaginary friend asked me.
And a miracle happened.
The answer came so naturally, completely different from what I had written down a few days earlier.
It had nothing to do with how many people worked for me or how much money I made.
Instead, I said I wanted women and girls from all over the world to be living their best lives, to know how much power they have within themselves already to create the life they want.
I want Life Design taught in schools — to become a subject in colleges, high schools, and middle schools.
By example, I want every woman on Earth to be living her life by design and not by accident.
This is what my answer was to myself.
I immediately noticed how much more it was connected to my core value of empowerment.
This became my North Star.
Once I wrote it down, creating directional and actionable level goals became much easier.
Try it out for yourself and see how it goes!
Pretend you’re talking to a friend and forget about all the pressure of needing to get it right.
It’s not about setting goals and putting them aside or writing them down somewhere and forgetting…
Learning how to set and achieve Life Goals is about taking action and revisiting your goals regularly.
As always, I’m here to support you on your journey. Feel free to reach out to me by email or DM me with any questions or comments. Or join me inside Breverie 10X and master Life Design and goal setting.
Until next week,