Set goals. Gain direction.

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Having goals to work towards sounds like a good idea in theory – goals can keep you organised, help you to keep moving forward in your chosen direction, and give you a way to measure your progress.   But setting the right goals for you can be trickier than it seems. Did you know that over half the people who set goals for themselves as New Years resolutions fail to achieve them[1]?

If you really want to achieve your goals, it makes sense to think them through. Before even thinking about what your goals should be, think back to the topic of our post on finding your direction – your passions or values.  These are the things that drive you. The things that you want your life to stand for.

What’s the difference between a value and a goal?

A value is something that makes life important and meaningful to you. Something that you hold your whole life. A goal is a finite objective, that you can achieve, and then tick off the list. Some examples include:

VALUE  Loving your kids      GOAL Taking them to the zoo

VALUE  Being a healthy person      GOAL Going jogging twice a week

VALUE  Being spontaneous and fun      GOAL Going skydiving

Get the picture? Put simply, the goals you have the best chance of achieving are going to be the goals that fit with your values and direction in life. So think hard. What do you REALLY value? Sometimes we set “ideal” goals, rather than goals that fit our lives as they really are. Or we set the goals we think we should have, then wonder why we’re having so much trouble following through.

Maybe you chose to study accounting because you had the marks for it and the employment prospects seemed good, but what you really love is music? Maybe you started a strict diet because you know it’s good for you, but eating and drinking with friends is what really makes your heart sing? If you have lost direction in life, have another look at our last post to help you re-evaluate, reset, and realign your direction which will then help with setting goals, making progress, and achieving results. 

In this post we’ve focused on what goals are and how to make sure that you set the right goals for you. Stay tuned for our next post, when we will talk about HOW to set those goals and get started!


[1] Norcross, J.C., Mrykalo, M.S., & Blagys, M.D. (2002). Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and non-resolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 397-405.