If you think of goal setting as a computer game it would have different levels. The entry levels are not necessarily easier but you start learning about the game, the environment and the opponents. In the following levels you find your path to complete each level and eventually the whole game.
Where are you now?
No Goal and Want No Goal
You think you have no goal in life and you think you don’t need one? It is hard, it is almost impossible to have no goal. You might want to lead a relaxed life. That’s a goal. Even if your goal is to have no goal, that’s a goal. You might want to learn more (and maybe change your mind) in our article about whether it is OK to have no life goals.
Have No Goal but Want a Goal
You are still not sure what your big goals and life goals are? Don’t worry, finding your life goals is a quest. Sometimes it is a life-long quest and this quest can sometimes be more important than an actual goal.
A Vague Goal
Having a vague goal is a level between no goal and no plan. The good news is that you already have a vague idea. You can build on that one, fine-tune and adapt. Also, ask Why to make sure you have a strong connection with your goal.
Clear Goal but No Plan
You know your goal. You know why you would like to achieve it. That’s great. Now it is time for the planning phase. A big goal can be scary. Cut it down in more attainable and less scary chunks and then plan for these sub-goals. And remember, do not overplan. Taking action is important, too.
A Plan but No Resources
You have a big goal but no resources? Are you sure? Think about people in history that have achieved similar goals and maybe with even less resources. If they could do it, so can you. You can plan your existing resources (e.g. time, energy, money, etc.) wisely. You might also reach out to your supporters. Maybe they have good ideas, too.
Clear Path but Obstacles
You are on your way but now you face obstacles or you lose your motivation. Maye you experienced this before with your New Year’s Resolutions. It is important to recognize that obstacles and dips in motivation will occur. There are several options to prepare for obstacles upfront and to handle them effectively when they occur. Step back and reward yourself for small achievements from time to time. And, it is especially important to reconnect to your Why. Why did you want to achieve your goal in the first place?
You Cannot Achieve Your Goal
It might happen that you cannot achieve your goal. Maybe it is not important for you anymore. Or, maybe the cost is just too high compared to the potential benefits. Sometimes it is important to just let go and to proceed with the next goal. Not too early and not too often and regular reviews can help you to make a wiser decision.
Reached Goal but No Satisfaction
You have achieved your goal. Congratulations. But, it does not feel as good as you thought it would. In most cases our ultimate goal is some kind of a feeling. For example we think we will feel happy when we just buy this new car. Read more about purposeful goals that can help you to feel more fulfillment. Sometimes our joyful anticipations and the process itself are more fulfilling than the actual result. In this case look forward to your next goal.
Reached Goal With Happiness and Fulfillment
You have achieved your goal, you are happy and fulfilled. Congratulations. This is the goal of goal setting. The result might look a bit different than you had imagined in the beginning. It might not be perfect. Or, it might even be better. In any case, now it is time to reward yourself, to review what went well and what can be improved and to proceed with your next big endeavor.
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