Generalized, daydream-esque goal setting has always been a challenge for me. It's not that I would have trouble completing the goals, but more so that I would forget the goals I just made. I should just pin my list to the fridge, I know.
Back in September of 2013, I made a list of overall lifetime goals, however, my priorities have changed (as they naturally do when you live life and find out more about yourself) and I don't feel as though these best reflect my current vision of my future.
When setting goals for my future, I ask myself some key "what" questions:
1. What do I see myself doing in 3-5, 10, 20 years? Once I determine this, I am able to lay out the small-step goals that need to be completed in order to achieve my ideal vision. And believe me: there's a lot of them!
2. What are some of my personal setbacks? Admitting shortcomings and working hard to improve weaknesses is important. As my first internship supervisor always said to me: "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." I never would've dreamt that one day I would be a capable and knowledgable intern, but jumping at the opportunity is what helped me achieve many of goals.
3. What do I do really well? You always want to pat yourself on the back for achieving what you've already worked so hard at, however, you also want to center your goals around issues that challenge you, not celebrate what you're already good at. Personally, I believe that most of your goals are meant to push you out of your comfort zone.
4a. What am I passionate about? For the goals that don't push you outside of your comfort zone, but merely help grow your career or hobby occupations, focus on the places, people and things that you're passionate about. Do you really want to go sky diving? Publish a book? Go towards what drives you.
4b. What do I need to do to work the ladder and achieve this? A follow-up question: do some research on your passion and what it took for others in your field to reach the successful place they are at today. Sketch out an action plan that is realistic for you.
6. What would make me truly unhappy? If you had to pick one career or one entertaining hobby selection that would really irritate or displease you, which would it be? It's important never to compromise yourself for others or an experience someone else is proclaiming that you must have. Just because a goal is important for someone else doesn't mean it's equally important to you. I never partied in high school (or college), nor did I have a prom, and I have absolutely no regrets.
7. What would make me happy on my deathbed? Could you die happy without completing a few of your goals? Which ones? Which goals would you always resent never giving a fair shot? I very much interpret goals as if they are on my "Bucket List," and I prioritize them based on the importance in my life satisfaction levels. Would I die truly knowing I gave it my all?
As you can probably tell: I'm a very organized, deep thinker. Perhaps I think about goals more than the next person, but for the first time in my life, I'm happy with that trait. I chalk up all of my success in life to my ability to set goals and evaluate them to improve personal growth.
What are some of the questions you ask yourself when setting goals of personal growth?