Identify Goals

At this point, you should have some sense of the starting place for your plan. The next step is to determine your destination—identify your goals. Creating good ones is harder than might be imagined. “Achieve success” might seem like a reasonable goal except that it is so vague as to provide little sense of what defines success or how it might be achieved. On the other hand, “Eat dinner on Friday” is so specific and limited that it seems, well, easy and insignificant.

Among the keys to creating effective goals is a good sense of scale—selecting goals that are neither too large nor too small, but are just right for you. The lesson from Goldilocks applies here: The bears all loved their own chairs, porridge, and beds, no matter what their unexpected visitor thought of them. Create goals that are sized and shaped for your life, not for anyone else’s.

So, how to write goals? Conventional wisdom dictates that good ones are SMART:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear and unambiguous, indicating what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable: It should be apparent if you are making progress toward your goals, and when you have succeeded in achieving them
  • Attainable: Your goals should be realistic, capable of being achieved
  • Relevant: Your goals should align with your values and purpose in life
  • Timely: Your goals should matter at present, given your current situation and needs

Have at it: Create your goals for the coming year by consulting the focus areas for inspiration. Write two or three major goals for each of the three areas—and don’t worry about limiting yourself, as you will add specific objectives, or process steps, underneath each goal.

Goals for Self Goals for Community Goals for Vocation