Goal Setting For People Who Don't Have An Exact Goal In Mind
Goal Setting isn't just for business owners. We tend to associate goal setting with numbers - ie. I want to lose X amount of kilos or my business must make X amount of dollars. Don't get me wrong, quantifiable goals are definitely important for goal setting - however, there a good things in life that are not tangible or easy to measure.
What do we do if our goal is to be happy?
I do want to start by saying that happiness exists in every day life. Happiness is inside of us and a lot of the time we need to change our perspective and learn to view our world through a different lens - this is optimism and gratefulness.
At the same time, humans needs to be moving and accomplishing.
In the caveman days, survival was our daily goal - these days, we need a little more. Realising that happiness exists in everyday doesn't mean we can be satisfied sitting in a room for the rest of eternity thinking "I am happy". This is where goal setting comes in.
The problem I have had with goal setting in the past, and the reason I have never actually done it, is because I didn't really know what I wanted. I want to be fit, but I don't have a certain number of kilos to lose or gain. I want to have a healthy savings account, but I didn't have a figure or date in which I needed to save by. I want to be successful, but I didn't have a position I needed to be in or annual salary I was aiming for.
Life isn't always black and white. I'd even go as far as saying it is mostly grey, and there is a lot hiding in that grey area that we miss when we only focus on what is black and white.
I had been feeling a little lost and unclear of my path lately, and everyone who offered advice said something along the lines of "well you just need to have a really good think about what you want."
"UM, OKAY... but thinking about everything I want in life and what I want to spend my eternity doing is kinda really hard and is actually the reason behind my existential crisis. But thanks for the advice."
I knew goal setting is something I needed to do, but I struggled to find a template that I could relate to without actually having an exact goal in mind. So I decided to create my own.
I figured out a simple goal setting task that ANYONE can do, and I want to share this with you. I can honestly say that completing this little goal setting session (literally 15-20 minutes) helped me to pave out a path for myself, define what is important to me and helped to cut out a lot of the noise that has been distracting me from what matters most.
Our goals should be focused around what makes us happy, or what will bring value to our lives. They should incorporate the skills we have, the things we are good at or interested in. Weaving these things into life everyday help us to remain grateful & therefore make it EASIER to find the happiness in every single day.
So here it is - Goal Setting for people who don't have an exact goal in mind, aka...
GOAL SETTING FOR HAPPINESS
Time: 15-30 Minutes
What you will need: A notebook or notepad, a pen or pencil (essential).
I actually created a little shmooood so I could focus on the activity. I lit a scented candle and I put on some nice meditation music (I seriously did... and I do recommend). Go on Soundcloud and type in "meditation music", listen to a couple and find one you vibe with.
Time to set some goals!
EXERCISE ONE. What is important to me?
Figuring out what we want to do with our lives begin with understanding a little about ourselves, hence the reason behind exercise one. Write as many options as you like, but aim for AT LEAST five.
Part One. What makes me happy? What am I passionate about?
Write this down as a heading on your page and begin to list things that make you happy, leaving two lines empty under each one.
It can be difficult to clear your mind and think broadly about life, but take your time and be thorough. What do you really enjoy doing? Think Skill-Based (painting, dancing, playing basketball, writing etc) and Experience-Based (fine-dining with friends, playing with grandchildren, watching the sunrise, exploring a new city, laying on the beach). What lights that little fire in your soul? You know that feeling you get when you are doing something and you just feel a little more alive? When you hit a new PB at the gym, when you take a killer photo, when you genuinely help someone who needed it.
Part Two. What makes me sad? What don't I like?
Write this down as a heading on your page and begin to list things that bother you or take away your happiness, again leaving two lines empty under each one.
This can be in a general world-sense or a personal day-to-day sense. There is a reason why this is important, don't worry it will make sense :)
What frustrates you or brings sadness/anger into your days? Perhaps there are things you are doing each day that you really don't enjoy (whether it is at home or at work), maybe your bus doesn't run on time ever and you are constantly late for work, maybe you are frustrated by your lack of energy and the things you miss out on because of this.
Also think about bigger picture, are there things that truly make your blood boil in the world?
Part Three. Goal Association.
This is where we start to allocate meaning.
Start with what you wrote down for Part One.
Write specific actions in the two lines under each point you wrote down under Part One.
This is where you really need to think about ways you can incorporate the things that make you happy into your life. Write down all the things you can think of, ranging from small things you could do each day, to big things you could do once a month/year. You don't actually have to DO these things. It is just a way to take ideas in your head and put them onto paper.
For example, maybe writing is something I enjoy doing. I could look at starting a blog and writing one weekly, taking a writing course or even writing my own book and becoming an author! Turn your passions into actions.
What do you do with the negative points from Part Two?
Write specific actions in the two lines under each point you wrote down under Part Two. This time you'll need to think of solutions or how you can turn a negative into a positive.
For example, if you REALLY hate your job, perhaps it is time to consider a new challenge (NOTHING is worth dreading what you do each day - you spend over half your awake-hours there!) The bus example I used above, perhaps leaving 15 minutes early each morning and grabbing a coffee will help eliminate that issue, or perhaps you need to set a goal to save up for a car. Solutions come in all forms - write them all down and choose one that is most viable. What can we do for world issues? Get involved with a charity that directly tackles that issue! Either be hands-on and volunteer, or donate to help the people who are on the front line. Look for charities who can send messages letting you know how your money is being spent, and their accomplishments. Do something about it instead of just vocalising how much it bothers you!
That is exercise one. That wasn't so bad was it?
EXERCISE TWO. What do I want?
This one is all about manifesting. Write down what you want - that's it. Start a new page and fill the entire thing with dot points, leaving no stone-unturned - no matter how outlandish or impossible the goals seem. Keep the points and actions you wrote down during exercise one in mind too - these are the important things. These need to specific and detailed. Try to focus on things that directly relate to you (instead of, I want to make this person love me, try I want to find someone I can spend the rest of my life with etc.) If you are having trouble try these: - Material (I would like a new car, a new phone, a camera, an apartment - you can be happy without these things, you are simply manifesting) - Experience-based (I want to travel to these SPECIFIC locations - don't say the world, visiting specific places, restaurants, events etc)
- Accomplishment-Based (I want to write a book, I want to play tennis at Wimbledon, I want to graduate with distinctions) - Passion-Driven (I want to help homeless people, I want to help animals in shelters, I want to motivate people)
- Relationship-Focused (I want to spend more quality time with my partner, I want to make a new friend, I want to visit my family more)
- Self/Fitness Goals (again, be specific - I want to gain muscle, I want to tone up) - Financial targets (think about WHY these are important, what you need specific figures for)
- Skill-Focused (I want to get further education, I want to play netball once a week). - Lifestyle-goals (I want to move into a bigger space, I want to have a little-more 'me' time)
EXERCISE THREE. Set some goals!
Ok, this is where it all really comes together. Start a new page but keep that page of things you want close by.
Part One. Identify. Look at your list of dot points and find the ones that are quanitfiable, the things that can be physically accomplished (ie. Joining a Netball Team, writing a book, paying off a debt).
Next, find the things that popped up a couple of times and brainstorm ways to quantify them (ie. If you are passionate about health and want to help people with their fitness, you could tailor your social media to do that, you could get fitness qualifications or you could consider getting a job in a gym/as a personal trainer)
Part Two. Write. Which ideas mattered MOST to you? Write them down first, leaving two lines in between each point again. You want to cover the areas that are important, but you don't want to write too much. Think about what will increase your life quality by the largest amounts, or bring you the most happiness.
Part Three. Quantify. This can be tricky, but the most important thing is to be realistic! Don't commit yourself to more than you know you are capable of. You want to push yourself to achieve, but you don't want to overwhelm or discourage yourself.
Aim to set aside an hour each week to get better at that skill, aim to set aside $100 a week to pay off debt quicker, aim to set aside one night a week to trying something new with friends/your partner etc. Try and set time limits, but use these sparingly. Actually do the math and see when you could realistically achieve something by. (Ie. If you write one chapter a month you can finish my book by November next year, choose the charity you will volunteer with or donate to and set a start date). Again, focus on what is most important. You can always revisit the list and set new goals if you are crushing those ones.
Remember not to get in your own way. Create often, do and BE more.
You are DONE!
Keep these three pages in a safe place for easy reference. When you need a refresher or are feeling a bit lost, refer to them. Read over the notes and really think about what you have written. Your priorities will change over time and that is OK! You can add new notes or even complete the exercise again every year.
The importance of this is to keep you on track. We often leave little time for ourselves, or complain about not having time to do things - when really our time is just being taken up by things that aren't important.
Goal setting helps you cut out the noise, it helps you prioritise and it helps you to say NO to the things that are not inline with your priorities. We can all be doing a lot more and goal-setting is a good way to ensure we are!
Let me know if you give this exercise a go. I'd love to hear how you went <3
As always - Love & Strength,