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Goal Setting and Life Enhancement Wishes

February 9, 2011

Goal Setting and Life Enhancement Wishes

Goals are usually thought of as specific and measurable targets. They frequently have both quantitative and qualitative components. The well-known acronym S.M.A.R.T. is often used to describe well-crafted goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant or realistic, and time-bound. These are action and achievement-oriented aims that answer the questions:

  • What’s to be achieved?
  • How much?
  • How well?
  • By when?

These are important for guiding endeavors in life and work, and specifying one’s objectives. However, when it comes to creating a fulfilling life, they may be insufficient. Martha Beck, in a recent article in The Oprah Magazine, makes the point that people may accomplish their achievement-focused goals but still not create the lives they desire. Career, business, financial, project and other goals may be accomplished but you may feel burnt out, stressed, anxious, and frenzied. Quality of life goals may be sacrificed or greatly compromised – with family, friends, and the personal experiences and feelings one truly desires.

Martha Beck advises to combine personal goals with the future situation you desire and the feelings you want to have in your life. She suggests identifying three or four adjectives to capture these. They might include excited, confident, valued, invigorated, exhilarated, tranquil, happy, good, wonderful, comfortable, and satisfied. Think of adjectives that best fit what you are seeking for your life. Then describe more fully what you desire your life to be and the feelings you would like to experience.

Combining the action-achievement goals with the adjective-quality of life goals helps paint a picture of what one is truly striving for. Quality of life goals may temper or balance the achievement goals. Sometimes the achievement is not worth the cost in life enjoyment and fulfillment. When you develop your approach and strategy, keep both goals in mind and see how you can fulfill your desires and objectives in a life-enhancing way. Consider:

  • What’s to be achieved . . . for both your task-related goals and personal fulfillment or joy?
  • How much . . . before one part compromises the other?
  • How well . . . to ensure pride in your accomplishments? Is it better to do less very well than take on too much and do some of it less well? What’s the impact on your quality of life goals?
  • By when . . . for both sides of the equation?

Keep your action-achievement goals and life enhancement goals in mind as you assess where you are and the endeavors you pursue. Re-assess them if you see one part cancelling the other or if they are in conflict. Then decide your highest priority and how to restore balance when you have leaned too far to one side or the other.

What do you truly wish for your life? What are your quality of life or life-enhancement adjectives?

Steve Weitzenkorn

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