Don’t be disappointed if your goals change over time.
When your goals no longer fit you and the life you are living, it can be disorienting. Sometimes, you have to shift the goal posts.
If your life, your circumstances, and your values change, but you have not adjusted your goals, you may become frustrated with your inability to achieve these goals.
Don’t feel like you’re having an identity crisis if the goals you once had don’t resonate with you anymore! When your goals change, it means that you’re growing and may well becoming the person that you had intended to be.
When we are younger, our goals tend to be more self-centred, and necessarily so, to get ourselves going. As our lives change and families grow, many of our goals are likely to centre around other people in our lives, as our loved ones are taken into consideration. This has definitely been the case for me.
Back in 2007 I was introduced to the world of personal development thanks to a wonderful, inspiring client. The exercise of goal setting is one of the most powerful tools, and it helped me take my life in the right direction.
One of the most vital exercises I took out of these goal-setting techniques was writing down my top 10 goals everyday. At the time I was in a relationship with my girlfriend, working for a boss when I really wanted to be the owner, and leading a lifestyle that is not ideal for me now.
Back then in 2007 my goals looked very different to what they are now.
One of my goals was to become engaged to my now wife. Every morning I’d wake up and write down my top 10 goals, and that was my number 1. I also had other goals – financial goals, lifestyle goals and health related goals. I wanted to run a fitness business that inspired people to change their lives.
This exercise is so powerful. I was really committed to the process of goal-setting and, I have to say, most of those things I wanted for myself came true in some shape or form.
Now I have a wife and two kids, and a job that I love, so my goals have shifted along with my values. I have a lot more responsibilities than I did eight years ago, so it makes sense that those goals that I had back then don’t really resonate with me anymore.
You can’t be disappointed with this. Don’t feel like you’re losing your identity because your goals have shifted.
However, if you don’t reset your goals, you risk being dragged along by the momentum of your life and allowing external factors to determine its direction. There is nothing more empowering that knowing that you have decided on a course of action, defined by current goals and values, and that the decisions you make are guided by those goals and values.
So how do you reset your goals if your previous goals no longer make sense to you?
- Create desire. Ask yourself: if you could wave a magic wand, in five years time how would your life look? Consider what you want for your life in an ideal world across a range of factors, including family life, education, health and spirituality. Really try to visualise the life of your dreams five years from now, in full colour. Imagine what it feels like.
- Write down your goals, in present tense. For example, “I am in a more senior role”, “I spend one day of the weekend doing a fun new activity with my kids”, “I wear a size 12”. This is so powerful, as phrasing your goals as if they are already a reality programs your subconscious to drive your behaviour as if you are already that person that you want to be. You’re probably getting the drift by now that the power of visualisation is central to successful goal setting.
- Create an action plan. Every time you write down your goals (ideally daily), also note down an action for each of those goals that will bring you closer to achieving them. Even a small task that will take you less than an hour to complete will make your goals feel more tangible, and give you the satisfaction of working towards your goals.
- Set sub-goals. Let’s say one of your goals is “I have lost 20 kilograms”. That goal, on its own, is pretty daunting. But what if you were to start with the end in mind and work backwards? It might look like this:
· In June 2015, I weight 80 kilos.
· At Christmas 2014, I weight 94 kilos.
· In November 2014, I weigh 98 kilos
These sub-goals feel far more achievable and, as you knock them off, you will be motivated and propelled towards making your bigger goals a reality.
- Have a strategy for overcoming obstacles. Even though by now you’ve performed the exercise of imagining your ideal life five years from now, life is far from ideal. You have so many responsibilities that managing those alone can feel overwhelming, and these everyday obligations can derail you from achieving your goals. That’s why taking five minutes every day to write your goals down is so valuable. It’s a simple exercise that you can do over breakfast that keeps those goals front of mind.
Times change, responsibilities change, values change. Your goals have to shift as well if they are to motivate you and make sense to you.