Can I ask you a serious question?
What do you really want out of life? Like…I got questions, sis. And I need more than a generic answer.
I need DETAILS. Give me metaphors, similes, and colorful adjectives! Paint me a vivid picture.
Convince me that we’re not all walking around here without the answers to the most basic questions surrounding how we want to live our best lives.
I have this funny feeling that most of us don’t have a clue. And that’s why I want to discuss this on a deeper level.
Let me ask you this:
Have you ever set a goal you manifested only to later find out you really didn’t want that goal in the first place?
If we’re being honest, from a very young age, a lot of our goals are externally impressed upon us and we just go with it, with little resistance, especially because some people have an uncanny ability to make us feel like their agenda is our own.
I’ve been guilty of falling prey to this quite a few times. I set out in pursuit of a goal only to realize later one of three things:
- In the beginning, I set the goal thinking it was for me, but really I just allowed myself to be influenced by outside forces.
- I genuinely thought I wanted the goal at the time, but I failed to ask the right questions pertaining to that goal’s alignment with my values and vision for my life.
- Without giving it much thought, I set the goal because the road to it wasn’t that challenging and so it felt like an “easy” win.
Those reasons simply don’t pass the relevancy test. As in,
“Is this goal, and the pursuit of it, relevant to who I am, the season I am in, and how I want to show up for myself and others?”
So how do you use self-awareness to set more intentional goals?
You may find it more helpful to work backwards.
What does that mean, exactly?
Start with a goal you already had in mind, and then begin asking yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to achieve this goal right now?
- How will my life change if I achieve this goal? (Think: Environment, people, finances, etc.)
- How will my mood, attitude, and feelings change after achieving this goal?
- Who am I doing this for, and why?
- If I didn’t manifest this goal, what would happen?
- Is this goal relevant to what I want out of life right now or in the near future?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is this goal to the overall vision and quality of my life?
I honestly believe that if you are able to answer these questions, you’ll be able to determine if a goal is really worth pursuing. I’d also argue that depending on your answers, you may realize that you’re not as “attached” to the goal as you thought.
Why is this important to know?
Because your level of dedication to the goal will determine whether you’ll remain persistent in your pursuit of it, even when times get hard (and they inevitably will).
Let’s get a little more tactical, shall we?
The first part of this article assumes that you already know how to properly construct a goal, but let’s pretend for a second that you don’t.
How should you structure your goal?
Well, I say start with the SMARTER Goal-Setting framework by my main man Michael Hyatt.
SMARTER Goals (by Michael Hyatt) stand for:
So, when thinking about your goals you ask yourself:
- Is this goal specific? If someone else were to read it, would they understand my end game?
- Can I track my progress in some kind of quantifiable way? How will I know if I’m progressing?
- Are the actions required to get started towards this goal clear and realistic given the current resources available to me?
- Is the goal big enough, challenging enough to keep me engaged and a little uncomfortable?
- Does this goal have a deadline and/or a frequency that will force me to move with a sense of urgency?
- Can I get excited about this goal and the benefits it will bring?
- Does this goal matter right here, right now? Why does it matter?
If you’ve answered all these questions about your goal and it ticks all the SMARTER Goal boxes, then you’re really onto something.
But is it enough to stop there?
I say no. You can take it one step further. Stay tuned for next week’s article that will discuss how to assess your SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opposition, and triggers. Trust me you won’t want to miss this.