I think it’s great to have goals. Lots of people keep lists of what they want to do in life, whether it’s weight loss, travel, fitness, income, or relationships. Sometimes we call them goals. Once a year we call them New Year’s Resolutions. Other times they’re referred to them as bucket lists.
Websites, such as 43things, are devoted to goals. It has lists of what people want to do, like lose weight, play the guitar, or learn a foreign language.
Goals are good but . . .
But what bothers me is sometimes people have goals just for the sake of having goals. We hear that successful people have goals or happy people have goals so we should too. But if you have goals just because you think you’re supposed to then it’s likely your goals will leave you feeling empty.
And if you don’t feel inspired by your own goals, don’t throw them out. Instead take a look at the reasons why you want to reach a particular set of goals. Or as my friend Joel at Impossible HQ says when he talks about the term “bucket list.”
A bucket list is focused on doing things. The impossible list is focused on doing things with meaning.
Doing things with meaning is a good way of approaching goals. Obviously the meaning behind each goal can be different for each individual. But having a purpose, a meaning, or reason why behind your goals makes our list of goals much more satisfying than just having a list because everyone else seems to have one.
Before you make a list of goals
How do we put purpose or meaning behind our goals? The best way is first take the time to think about our own values and beliefs. Once we understand those, it’s easier to create a more fulfilling set of goals. Goals will be much more valuable and inspiring when they’re consistent with our most important values.
Values and beliefs behind our goals? How do we know what those are? That’s the purpose of a life plan.
A better option
What does a life plan do? It simply provides a framework or foundation to help you make decisions about to spend your time and resources. A life plan answers the question of “why?” Why do you want to lose weight, why do you want to earn more money, why do you want to travel or have better relationships. Why do you want to do anything?
A life plan also answers the question of priorities. Since there’s not enough time to do everything, what do I do first? What do I do now and what do I put off till later? Or what do I not do at all?
If your goal is to be a millionaire then why do you want to do it? That’s what a life plan is about. It’s about figuring out why. And in figuring out the reasons why maybe you’ll realize you don’t really want to be a millionaire after all. Or who knows, maybe you want to be a billionaire instead?
An excellent free planning tool
So the next time you hear about how important goals are, don’t just sit down and make up a list. Instead take the extra time to first look at your own life and values.
You can find a huge amount of life-planning information from books, to personal coaching, to weekend retreats. A great way to start is free and it’s from Michael Hyatt, who has lots of helpful tools on his website. If you sign up in the sidebar to receive his email updates he will give you a free ebook called Creating Your Personal Life Plan.
And remember it’s your life plan. You can create it, review it from time to time, and update it as needed. You can even throw it all out and start over if you feel like it. But it will definitely put meaning behind your goals.
photo credit: shtfplan.com