A respected mentor of mine shocked me by asking: “What are you planning to do with your last 1000 weeks?” He was gracious by giving me more of a lifespan than the actuaries would allow, but the question was thought-provoking. Setting goals in life is important no matter your age but becomes more urgent when you realize how little time you likely have left.
Achieving Goals in Life and Business
We all have an idea of the things we’d like to accomplish before we die. Setting goals in life is one thing, but achieving them is another. The key is to set the right goals from the beginning to set yourself up for success. This goes for long-term life goals as well as business goals.
Your goals provide a navigational beacon to help you steer your ship. However, a goal that’s too general is more like a lofty ambition. SMART goals, on the other hand, provide you with a road map that puts you on the right path.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. If you think about these criteria every time you set a goal for yourself, you’ll automatically eliminate many of the roadblocks that keep most people from achieving their goals.
For example, if your goal is to climb a mountain, you’re not going to get there without a plan. The goal is measurable: you’ll know when you’ve achieved it. But what specific mountain will you climb? You can say you want to climb Mt. Everest, but the truth is that unless you’re a very experienced mountain climber or will become one, that goal is probably not achievable.
So start smaller. Choose a specific mountain that’s achievable for you to climb based on a projection of your ability. Then, decide when you’ll make it happen. By setting a time-based deadline, you will be spurred to taking the kinds of actions you’ll need to prepare yourself.
Relevance is easy. You should choose goals that you actually want to achieve. Don’t say you want to climb a mountain just to sound impressive. Your goals need to be things that align with who you are.
If you’re not sure where to start with setting goals in life or what types of goals to focus on, I’m happy to share a generalized version of my own list. When I broke down my life expectancy into future weeks, I felt a fantastic surge of urgency to:
- Deepen my relationships with my friends
- Spend more time with my extended family
- Travel outside of the US for a month every two years
- Seek forgiveness from all that I have wronged
- Work on more important things instead of urgent deadlines
- Make a more significant difference in the world
- Pay my successes forward by donating more of my time to worthy causes
- Prepare and develop the next generation of leaders through my coaching business
- Write a helpful book for entrepreneurs & leaders
- Teach my grandchildren useful life skills
- Reduce my golf index to single-digit
- Enjoy the journey more than all of the details
- Learn to play the guitar
- Camp and fish throughout the US mountain states
Most of these goals can be easily broken down into SMART steps that will help me make them a reality. The specifics of each goal will vary depending on the person, but the result is the same: whether your focus is on family, friends, health, charity, education, or business, setting goals in life that are actionable is key to achieving them.
When it comes to setting goals in life and business, an outside perspective such as a business coach can help you gain clarity. Fill out my contact form and we’ll schedule a free call to establish your priorities and set SMART long-term life goals for yourself and your business.
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