Set goals that matter

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Achieving Goals | 18 comments

Setting the right goals is an important first step in personal and professional success. Often when you set goals for yourself, you focus on a goal that doesn’t address your core values and your intentions.

When your goals are not aligned with your true objective, you are more likely to become discouraged and frustrated when achieving those goals doesn’t get you the results you actually want.

Perhaps you’re focused on getting a raise or a higher paying job, but what does this really mean to you? When you get that raise, how will your life be different or better?

Consider instead setting a goal to pay your current household bills, pay off debt, increase your savings, and afford a fun vacation once a year. While it might seem that having more money will give you all those things, it’s far more likely reaching your goal is the result of both earning a good salary and living an enjoyable life within your means.

I experienced this for myself. I’ve earned more money than I truly needed to achieve my goals, and I’ve earned less money than I truly needed to achieve my goals. When I earned more than I truly needed, the comforts and habits of my lifestyle became more expensive as my salary increased, yet I didn’t experience the happy life I truly wanted. I also found the more money I had, the more I decided I wanted and needed. My true goal was to live a financially stable and sustainable life.

To be successful in achieving your goals, you have to set goals that focus on what you seek to accomplish instead of only considering what you want or, perhaps, what you think you need.

get results from your goals

Here are some ideas for setting results-oriented goals:

Ask yourself, “what’s missing?” Why do you want to make a change? What is and isn’t working in your current situation? What is the problem you’re looking to solve?

You can’t discover a solution without acknowledging, without judgment, where you are today. Look beyond the surface, and answer these questions with your heart, not your head.

Ask yourself, “why does it matter?” Understanding what’s behind your goal is important to aligning your goal to your values and intentions. What does your goal mean to you?

Ask yourself, “what do I seek to accomplish?” What does personal and professional success look like to you?

Think about living a life that sustains you instead of only having or doing. What does that life look like to you? How do you feel in that life? Set goals for an outcome that actually meets your needs.

A raise, or a new job are unlikely to bring you personal and professional satisfaction if the result you really want is financial security, or professional engagement. You have to look deeper and set goals that matter to you, and what you want to accomplish in your life.

Whatever your goal, setting your goal based on results instead of your current wants and needs is important to living a life that engages and enriches you!

I love your comments! How do you determine your goals? Do you give priority to a life that fulfills you?

Image courtesy of creepyed

18 Comments

  1. There is such a great focus on goal setting these days and while becoming clear about what you want is important, choosing goals that you know are yours and not someone else’s is more important.

    A post on this topic is a really great idea Chrysta and you’ve done a sterling job outlining a process for making this easier.

    I think becoming clear about you want is a process however. As you think you’re setting a goal that’s yours and then discovering it isn’t really, so the contrast helps one eventually to get to what one really wants.

    A simple question that I use to clarify what I want is: “What’s important to me in….”

    So I may ask, “What’s important to me in life?” Then I would list everything that’s important to me and rank these from most important to least important.

    So I know for example that given the choice I would choose my time over money any day. It’s not that money is not important, just not as important as money so it would never be a goal of mine to spend more time working to get more money.

    ~Marcus

    • Thank you for your excellent comment, Marcus! I love the distinction you’ve made about setting goals that are your own. Trying to achieve someone else’s goals for you will lead to lack of purpose and frustration.

      Another great point is recognizing that discovering what is important is a process. Life itself is a process! It is easy to become so focused on outcomes and results that we temporarily forget the importance of the process, and that’s where all the good stuff in life happens! The joys of life are in the journey, not in the destination.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  2. Hey there, Chrysta,

    My first time visiting your blog. I saw you on Adrienne Smith’s bog and noticed your link in her CommentLuv section. 😉 Gotta love how this cool little plugin makes this big ol’ world a lil easier to get one’s arms around, eh?

    I like the subject you present here. It reminds me of something I have been doing for awhile now in order to set intention that is aligned with my inner needs/desires/willingness to reciprocate. One of the elements to attracting that which we choose to bring into our lives is called the law of reciprocity. I don’t always see people talk about this one too much, all though I do see a lot about law of attraction.

    I’m of the mindset that internally we are calibrated in ways that either assist us in our creation efforts or in ways that create a discord and less results. I use a simple NLP anchoring technique to help calibrate myself in the most authentic representation of my “self” that I can reach: love & gratitude. I find that when I work from this starting point that I am most effective in setting any goals or aspirations for myself because it originates from a point of inner clarity. This clarity begets consistent and impressive results. :)

    Love your article, thanks for touching on this subject! I know it’s a hot topic for many who are considering what their focal points may be for the next year to come!

    Best regards,
    Cat Alexandra

    • Thank you so much for stopping by from Adrienne’s blog. Yes, CommLuv is one of my favorite plug-ins and it’s one of the major reasons I went to self-hosted WP.org!

      I love the idea of the law of reciprocity, expanding on the idea of the law of attraction. You make a very interesting point about not only what we want to attract in our lives, and also what we are willing to reciprocate. Living a great life is about more than getting what we want, it is also giving and living what we want.

      Love & gratitude are topics near and dear to my heart, too. I have discovered that approaching people, places and things from a place of love helps me align my motivations with my inner truth, and a regular practice of gratitude provides me with a positive perspective from which I relate to my world. Living my life from love & gratitude has certainly improved my experience, as well as increased my health, happiness and success.

      I am very grateful for the insights and experience you have shared. I hope to connect with you again soon!

      Chrysta

  3. Very good points, Chrysta! Actually, sitting down and writing down my goals and alternatives such as my possibilities had HELPED me taking a huge decision once, that I was unable to do anything about for several years, just because I was not wise enough to sit back and define it.

    • Thanks for your comment, Emilia!

      I recently attended a training on Human Performance Improvement and one of the main concepts of HPI is focusing on results versus wants. It’s easy to be want-driven in our society, and in my experience want-driven goals don’t make us happy when we get what we want because we’re missing the point!

      I find it much more useful to consider what I’m trying to achieve, and to be able to describe what that experience looks and feels like. In this way I can set and accomplish goals that truly enrich and guide my life.

      I appreciate your comment and sharing. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  4. Hi Chrysta,

    I love it that you focus goal setting on what you really need and why you really need to achieve goals. We are all too guilty of focusing in what’s material about our goals. Money and things only buy the positive emotions we want to experience in the end. If we could get those without having the material success, why not?

    This shift is important in making goal setting more effective for everyone.

    • I appreciate your comment, Jimmy!

      Any time I’ve set a material-based goal, reaching that goal has not improved my quality of life. I prefer to set goals based on what I truly want to accomplish, and what that accomplishment looks and feels like to me. I might ask myself, “how will I feel?”, and “how will my life be improved?” Asking these simple questions helps me set a goal that is truly important to me.

      Thank you for sharing your insight and experience. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  5. I totally agree that we must set goals that are possible to be realized. Otherwise we risk to discourage ourselves and our productivity will rapidly go down. Very nice tips here:)

    • Thanks for your comment, Anna! I hope you stop by again.

      Chrysta

  6. Hi Chrysta,
    It’s so true that the more money we have the bigger our lifestyle expenses get. It would be ideal to be disciplined enough to earn an abundant amount of money without letting it get to our heads or our wallets.

    As far as goal setting – I choose goals that are for practical purposes like finishing my kitchen or buying a riding lawn mower instead of push mowing my lawn to save me time and energy.

    When I was younger I chose goals mainly for ego reasons, now not so much if at all.

    • I appreciate your comment, Justin!

      I love your practical goals and they are great goals to make because they are simple and easily accomplished. Practical goals help me build confidence, time management skills and coordination skills.

      You bring up an interesting point about letting your ego guide past goals. Anytime I let my ego determine my actions it rarely ends well.

      Thanks again for reading & commenting! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. Often people tell me ..”Boss is not giving me the raise”. I ask them how many times you have got raise? They reply-> quite a few times but as always expense catch up.
    While it is true that inflation might catch up with the wage but it is also true that tendency to overspend also increases with increased salary. People confuse wealth with richness. A CEO of company may be rich and earns millions but then once she is is out of job, she may find it difficult to live the same lifestyle.
    I totally agree with you that setting the right goals matter and more salary is not the best answer to our troubles :) .
    Thanks for really useful post. I am sharing it on FB :)

    • Thanks for your great comment, Ashvini!

      In my past I have focused on goals that don’t really address my values and intentions and those kinds of superficial goals have not done much to get me where I want to be. Instead I find that following my truth and my values has created more success, happiness and health in my life than anything else!

      I would say most people have a goal of making more money, but this an example of a superficial goal. Even with more money, our problems are not solved and our lives made easy. The true answer lies deeper.

      I am happy you enjoyed this post! It is a good reminder to me to be mindful in not only my actions, but my pursuits, too.

      And thanks for sharing! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. Your line: “Understanding what’s behind your goal is important to aligning your goal to your values and intentions. What does your goal mean to you?” is so true.

    it’s no sense setting goals if you have no idea of how it’s going to affect you in the future.

    Thinking it through is all part of the process isn’t it.

    ~Bruce

    • Thanks for your comment, Bruce! I appreciate your feedback.

      It’s common to look for the answer without really asking any questions about our situation and what we really want to accomplish. In this case we decide to pursue a more obvious and simple goal, only to be disappointed when we don’t get what we really want. Thinking it through is so important!

      Thanks again for stopping by! Please come back again!

      Chrysta

  9. Hey Chrysta,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about this Chrysta.

    Although a lot of us want that raise, we want more money, what we really want is that that money can do for us. So instead of concentrating on wanting more money, concentrate on what you really want which is what that money will be able to do for you.

    By working on yourself first, you can educate yourself about some of the areas of your life that may need improving. Maybe you haven’t received that raise because of your lack of energy on the job. By improving that area, the raise can eventually come which will bring you around to what you truly want.

    It all starts with looking just a little deeper first.

    ~Adrienne

    • Lovely to see you, as always, Adrienne!

      I absolutely love the insight you’ve shared. I agree that looking a little deeper can help direct my energy and efforts into living a life that sustains and enriches my experience.

      Sometimes setting a goal to get a raise or a higher paying job is a necessary and appropriate goal, but as you mentioned there may be growth required on my part is necessary to achieve that goal. In my experience when I grow, success follows naturally. By setting a goal to grow professionally I am likely to get a raise or higher paying opportunity.

      I am so grateful for your wisdom and friendship! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

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