With a new year and new decade, many people set goals that generally address health or wealth. However, both health and wealth goals foster a sense of “I am not where I wanted to be.” These goals are rooted in a perceived deficiency that is either benchmarked to an ideal sense of self or others. In either case, the beginning orientation is often “I am lacking something.”
If I fell into this trap and fast forward to the end of 2020, assuming I achieved my goal of getting healthier or eliminating debt, how has that contributed to my happiness? It likely doesn’t, or if it does, it is possibly because I’ve attached my self-worth, and my value, to those metrics (be it pounds or dollars). Could I stand to lose weight? Sure! Could I set a goal to save more or spend less? Absolutely! But does either goal make my life fulfilling? Not likely, unless those objectives resonate deeply with my true spirit and the aspirations I have for my life. This is the reason why so many of us fall short of our annual goals: the goal we are chasing does not resonate deeply with our true self.
A more productive – and healthier – way to approach goal setting is to target three areas that affirmatively connect with my true self: (1) objectives I need to DO to progress my current situation, (2) steps that make measurable progress toward a DREAM, and (3) a radical DARE to challenge myself to grow.
DO: There are certain things in one’s professional or personal life that simply must be accomplished to make progress down the current path. Professional goals could be hitting certain performance objectives, acquiring new skills, achieving promotions, or even making career changes. Personal goals could be with relationships, personal development, or even self-care. Goals in the DO category re-affirm commitment to the decisions leading up to this point. It maintains focus on a day-to-day basis without struggle or distraction (typically caused by “health and wealth” goals) because these objectives are aligned with the current flow of daily life. Furthermore, DO goals provide the foundation for success and confidence that will transfer into DREAM and DARE goals.
DREAM: If dreams and life-long aspirations are simply placed “at the end” or treated like wishes that might magically occur at some point, then life can feel unfulfilling and disconnected from where the heart and spirit wants to be. Setting goals to make measurable progress – in the here and now – toward those dreams and aspirations connects life today with the aspirations for the future. Goals in the DREAM category validate these ambitions by taking intentional steps each day or week to materialize parts of those aspirations, and makes achieving that dream a certainty much sooner than simply waiting or wishing. More importantly, DREAM goals resonate deeply and carry powerful purpose, encouraging commitment and discipline more effectively than goals intended to address deficiencies or create a temporary sense of self-worth, because dreams are what we genuinely want from our one and only lifetime.
DARE: We either grow or die, and growth only happens when something is forced to expand. In order to achieve dreams and attain the life we envision, we need to do things we’ve never done before. The type of challenge necessary to foster such growth requires getting outside the comfort zone, and to do that, requires doing something daring. DARE goals are those that disrupt the current comfort and status quo by setting an objective just beyond the visible horizon of current perception and capability. It’s not simply “doing” more; it is “doing” different. By pursuing a radical DARE, it expands the scope of experiences and expands potential; growth makes more things possible. Goals in the DREAM category are the proof of concept – the evidence – that we can accomplish the impossible and arrive at places beyond what we can see. DARE goals are the gateway to making DREAM goals a more likely reality.
For 2020, here are my objectives:
- DO: I will develop and offer an original on-line course sharing the Path2 techniques for success.
- DREAM: I will share my skills and knowledge to help and support parents of struggling and troubled teens.
- DARE: I will plan and actively train for a cross-country bicycle adventure.
Set goals that will change your life, not simply your momentary satisfaction with your life.
- What will you DO this year?
- How will you make progress toward a DREAM this year?
- What DARE will you achieve to expand your horizons?