‘’The man who moves a mountain does so first by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius
This week we are going to talk about goal setting. As stated in the quote above, we can’t move mountains unless we start by ‘carrying away small stones.’ So, we’re going to talk about specific ways in which we can set and follow through on the goals we set for ourselves, and how the biggest, most intangible dream can be much less out of reach than we allow ourselves to believe.
Goals, Dreams, and Purpose
The entire concept of setting goals and of having dreams and things we desire to accomplish derive from a profound human need to establish a sense of purpose. Wise words from Viktor Frankl articulate this reality while also emphasizing how our purpose ought to be deeply interconnected with our need to be surrounded by other people, and to give something to the world around us. Within his principles of Logotherapy, Frankl describes that the ultimate goal establishes a purpose such that ‘if you didn’t, ‘someone else would suffer.’ The whole idea here suggests that without seeking to multiply our gifts for the good of others, whatever we may strive to achieve is not only less likely to become reality but is also therefore a disservice to our community and those we love. We furthermore encourage, that when you’re making the effort to set goals, to do so in a way that incorporates ways in which your particular gifts are capable of impacting the world around you for the good of others as well as yourself.
Several goal setting frameworks can also be utilized to facilitate the success of the goal we set coming to fruition. One of these frameworks is the SMART technique. SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, we’ll use the classic new year’s resolution to ‘exercise more in order to lose weight.’ Specific – I would like to lose weight so I can live a healthier lifestyle and keep up with my kids. Measurable –I would like to lose 15 pounds by this time next year. Attainable – I am going to exercise for 30 minutes a day 3 times per week. Realistic – 15 pounds rather than 50 pounds. Timely – within the next twelve months. Again, this example lays out ways to not only say that you want to accomplish something, but actually maps out ways in which this goal can be accomplished. Additionally, tying this back, the ultimate rationale for this goal is to be able to ‘keep up with my kids.’ Ultimately, the benefits of achieving this goal will expand beyond yourself to those you love, providing further incentive to follow through for the good of others.
In the office, we talk about a goal-setting tool that we refer to as a vision board. A vision board includes goals for three specific areas of life – professional, personal, and spiritual. Again, the idea when putting together goals like this is to compartmentalize the areas of growth that can occur in each of these specific areas of life. However, within this structure, these goals can be much less limited by what our own minds or the world we’re surrounded by may deem to be possible. For example, if you could envision where you would like to be three years from now in an ideal scenario where would you be? Forget logistics – big picture, what is your dream life? Then write it down. A quote from Tony Robbins suggests that “people often overestimate what they can achieve in a year – and underestimate what they can do in 5-10 years.” Therefore, it’s okay to write down the ideal scenario and have that be something to be working towards, because you never know what you’ll accomplish when you have that big goal in front of you. The vision board exercise allows a space where we are able to think like a visionary – something that very rarely is a priority in our day to day reality.
Furthermore, with any goal, a sense of accountability plays a huge role in enabling a goal to come to fruition. For example, once you’ve written down your goal, resonate with it, ponder it, and then share what you’ve written with someone you love. Someone you trust, someone who can mentor you and hold you accountable. When doing so, this person can not only encourage you to follow through on what they now know you are working towards, but they can also challenge you. They can push you to live into the potential that they see in you which again emphasizes the need to be working in a way that will benefit other people when looking to accomplish anything meaningful.
In conclusion, we hope these tips and tricks for goal setting either motivate you to be more intentional with your goal setting habits. We further hope that this insight inspires you to set goals that establish a sense of purpose that is derived from not only accomplishing your goals, but also from using your gifts for the betterment of yourself and of others.