Make a list of your three most important life goals in any area, including but not limited to relationships, career, health, or spirituality.
Great job on compiling your list!
Many of the items on that list are not goals, but rather strategies. As an example, a lot of people claim their goal is to make more money when in actuality, the goal is the sensation of security and comfort that comes with having more money. Therefore, earning more money- whether through promotion, side hustle, or a different industry- is the strategy to use rather than just making that your goal.
Perhaps you listed a more personal goal, like being in a committed relationship and/or getting married eventually. But even this is a strategy. While the end-game might be a connection so deep it’s almost palpable, being mutual inspirations for one another, and feeling emotionally secure; having a long-term relationship is often the best strategy to get closer to those goals.
What is the difference between a goal and a strategy?
- What is the goal you want to achieve? What feeling do you hope to experience when this happens? Keep these in mind as your new goals.
- Having a strategy is key to any goal you want to achieve. Your strategies are the steps you need to take in order to reach that final destination. These could be action steps, milestones, or events that have to occur along the way.
When you have a clear understanding of the distinction between your goals and strategies, you will be able to see the bigger picture more easily. So many people never stop to understand why they’re not content or happy once they achieve their goals. Feeling lost and unsure of your goals is common, but by reframing your goals to how you want to feel, you can prevent this from happening.
With your list in front of you, think about each goal and what it means according to this definition. Write down your goals so that they inspire an emotional response, not just something you hope will happen or need to do.
The great thing about this activity is that once you identify your real goals- in other words, how you want to ultimately feel- you’ll see that the strategies you listed aren’t the only ways to achieve that goal. All that matters is if the activity makes you feel how you want to about your goal. Consider what in your life is currently helping you achieve objectives and go from there; you might have multiple tactics for each one, which is ultimately the most reliable way to approach things.
I’ve had great success using this exercise with coaching clients to help them identify and articulate their goals and desired feelings. When you adopt this shift in perspective, you’ll feel pressure-free from happiness and fulfillment deriving from one event (such as getting married or landing your dream job). Rather than waiting for something special to happen in order to feel great, begin finding ways to experience your desired emotions every day.
Leave a comment with your rewritten list of goals below if you’re feeling motivated.
What goals do you hope to accomplish this fall?