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3 Tips for Goal Setting to Help You Live Your Best Life

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What’s goal setting? Dangerous, that’s what.

School curriculums teach goal setting as a life skill required to get a “good career”, as though this is the pinnacle of success. The result is millions of people creating and pursuing goals that they think will make them happy. Only to end up bored, stuck in jobs they don’t like, in a life that just “happened” to them.

Goal setting is dangerous. At least, when it’s not done right. So today I’m sharing 3 tips for goal setting that will help you avoid this danger and live your BEST life.

3 Tips for Goal Setting to Help You Live Your Best Life | Pin Image

3 Tips for Goal Setting to Help You Live Your Best Life

1) Understand Means Goals vs End Goals

Are you setting the right type of goals?

The majority of goals people set today are actually means goals. These goals define the steps you need to take to reach your end goals. On the other hand, end goals are goals you’ve set for your future that you’re unwilling to compromise on.

Confusing the two has led to many setting goals around the things we’re told “should” make us happy. Things like graduating from university, getting a good job, making a certain amount of money, having kids etc.

They are all a “means to an end”. But what is your end?

Is your goal to “lose weight”, or is it to be healthy and strong so you live a long life? Is it to get a law degree, or is it to use legal practice to further climate change?

When means goals are your focus, as they often are, it’s easy to get lost in the pursuit of goals that are not actually going to bring you joy and fulfillment. Once you have that law degree, you’ll just be looking to the next thing wondering why you’re not “happy”.

End goals are foundational life goals that describe the life you want to lead and provide a sense of direction. They don’t tend to change much. On the other hand, means goals aren’t really “goals”, they are the PLANS set in place to help achieve end goals. They are specific, but flexible and change based on circumstances.

Understanding the difference between means goals and end goals is key to effective goal setting.

2) Create Holistic Life Goals

Now that you know the difference between means goals vs end goals, another one of my best tips for goal setting is to create holistic foundational life goals. Too often people have work goals or financial goals but forget about all the other areas of life, only to wonder why they do not feel fulfilled.

To ensure you maintain work+life balance, try to set goals around all the different categories of your life or life paths, as I like to call them. The 11 Life Paths that my clients focus on are (1) Health & Longevity, (2) Intellectual & Creative Life, (3) Emotional Life, (4) Your Identity, (5) Spiritual Life, (6) Love Life, (7) Social Life, (8) Community, Mentorship, & Parenting, (9) Financial Life, (10) Career Life, and (11) Quality of Life.

The 11 Life Paths are equally important. You cannot be fulfilled and happy unless all areas are given the attention they need.

3) Live a Value-Driven Life

We are taught to believe that achieving our goals is what leads to fulfillment and joy. However, living in the constant pursuit of goals only leads to discontentment as you look towards the next means goal to accomplish (often without even taking the time to celebrate accomplishing the first).

There is an alternative. Shifting from a goals-focused life to a values-focused life allows you to enjoy the process, or the journey, rather than focusing on the destination.

I love the below video by Dr. Russ Harris of The Happiness Trap. In it, he “explains the important distinction between living a goals-focused vs a values-focused life and why living in accordance with your innermost values can lead to a more rich, full, and meaningful life.”

In Conclusion

Goal setting can be dangerous when it’s not done right.

When you avoid the common goal-setting mistake of confusing end goals with means goals, create holistic life goals, and live a value-driven rather than goal-driven life, you will be well on your way to living your BEST life.

If you found these tips for goal setting helpful, please share this post with a friend!

~ SMae

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