Habit 11: living a balanced but goal directed lifestyle
You know goals are important for achievement. But how do you set goals so you can achieve them with confidence in the midst of your busy life at work and home?
There are three mental states around goals.
- We have a goal. A burning desire to achieve something meaningful. It’s in our heart, mind, and thoughts and it won’t go away. But sometimes it seems huge and complicated so we assume it’s too hard to start.
- Our goal is pushed down inside because time, busyness, stress, fear, or whatever else have suppressed our dream as we go about our daily tasks.
- We have both of these tumbling around in our minds but we’re so busy (and successful too in life and work) it’s hard to get clear on where we want to be or how to get there in easy daily ways.
If you relate to this, You’re human. You’re busy. You have responsibilities.
This article provides a framework for dreaming, planning and doing but having time to rest and enjoy your life and family.
In other words, I’m not aiming to coach you on how to overwork and exhaust yourself. My aim is to encourage you to dream and plan with balance and purpose.
In this article my aim is to encourage you do four things:
- Allow yourself to dream and believe in your goals again
- Understand the benefits of setting goals that are challenging, inspiring, and doable. This includes understanding the benefits of a life that is goal directed but balanced and fun.
- Know yourself. This is your strengths, vulnerabilities, responsibilities and values so you can accurately define your preferred and balanced life
- How to set goals in line with your personality, responsibilities, and the life you prefer and desire.
Understanding the joy of purposeful life
Having a sense of life purpose and daily purpose helps us to recover from negative events and builds resilience for better life satisfaction .
This is a life of meaning and achievement rather than just reacting to the events around us and being busy for the sake of being distracted and occupied.
Making the choice to define your preferred life and goals linked to this definition of your desired outcome
We have two choices
- Live busy and overworked but without a sense of achievement. This often comes from many responsibilities and no clear definition of our values and goals.
- Become clear on our values, preferred future, strengths and goals. When we do this, we plan our time better. We can actually do less in our week but achieve the things that matter to us.
The benefits of living a goal focused life
Before we set goals it’s helpful to know why it’s beneficial to do so  and .
- Life is more meaningful because we are striving for something that stems from our values and beliefs.
- Goals help clarify the next actions to take
- We see our progress because we relate our actions back to a desired outcome
- We are happier and more engaged in life versus our actions feeling routine and mundane
- We have the opportunity to use our strengths and then gain confidence as we use our skills
- Our motivation in day to day activities increases and this helps us feel engaged and successful
So let’s dive in to setting your desired goals. It’s tempting to write a list of things you want to accomplish, but this is the last step in the process of living a purposeful and goal directed lifestyle.
A quick goal setting guide: How to set goals for success
- Write a list of your values. These are things you believe in such as career growth, healthy living, family, kindness, generosity, forgiveness etc. next to each write why they are important to you.
- List your strengths. These are things you enjoy and are good at. How do these relate to your personality?
- Write a half page vision statement of your preferred life. To get this going, try answering this question: imagine you wake up tomorrow and your work and home life is exactly as you want it to be. What has changed to allow this new reality? What are you doing that’s different?
- Now here’s the list stage. You now have in your mind your values, abilities and desired life. Choose a few areas in your life such as family, health, work, hobbies etc and write 2 goals for each. I suggest a new page for each area of life. Make them clear, specific, motivating and doable. Not too easy and not too crazy.
- For each goal, write the next 3 steps you can take. This weeds out unnecessary tasks and makes the steps clear. For more detail see reference  below.
- Each week, use a system for planning and blocking time for tasks. This is your ‘preferred week’ outline.
- Look at goals weekly. This implants your vision into your mind so you can remove unnecessary tasks and distractions.
In an upcoming series of articles I look at these seven steps in detail. Look out for the series “preferred life and goal setting to achieve your best in life and work”. This will cover; values, strengths, preferred life and week, and goal setting.
 Dich N, Lund R, Hansen ÅM, Rod NH (2019) Mental and physical health effects of meaningful work and rewarding family responsibilities. PLOS ONE 14(4): e0214916. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214916
 Schaefer SM, Morozink Boylan J, van Reekum CM, Lapate RC, Norris CJ, et al. (2013) Purpose in Life Predicts Better Emotional Recovery from Negative Stimuli. PLOS ONE 8(11): e80329. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080329