Do your Goals Connect to your Dreams?
Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 1, no. 5
This weekend I completed an unfinished home decorating project. Finally…. The task wasn’t difficult. I just needed to make the time to do it. So why the delay in getting around to finishing?
One reason was that I had lost sight of the bigger picture. I was viewing the task as a separate thing to do some time in the future. When it was done, my daughter said, “Now you can invite …. for dinner.” Her comment immediately reminded of what the project was connected to. It wasn’t just a painting job. The reason for doing it was that I wanted to create a pleasant space to share meals. Out of context, the unfinished project was a daily reminder of something I hadn’t done. Something to be put off for another day.
Is having S.M.A.R.T. goals enough?
You have probably heard the advice that your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, relevant, attainable, and time-bound). But is having S.M.A.R.T. goals enough? My simple painting task seems to meet the criteria for a S.M.A.R.T goal. But for weeks I just didn’t get around to it. To be sustainable, goals need to be connected to what is important in the bigger picture of our lives.
Are Your Tools Serving You?
Clients often say they don’t like to-do lists because they are a constant reminder of things that they haven’t done. A long list can add to feelings of overwhelm. Goal-setting and task lists are tools. But are these tools serving your purpose, or do you feel that they are disconnected from what is important to you? Are you spending time on what you value most?
A Someday List
Have you taken the time to identify the things that you value the most? If not, or even if you would like a reminder, here is a tool to get started. Create a Someday List , as described by Rory Cohen and her coauthors in their book Take 10. Write down your intentions for the different areas of your life such as work, health, relationships, and so on. What are the new experiences and changes that you dream about?
We make hundreds of choices each day, including how we spend out time. Use your someday list as a starting point to guide what you choose. When you review your daily and weekly list, does it include spending time on the things that are most important to you?
Below are a few questions to help you evaluate different activities you might do.
- Will completing this activity contribute to something that is important to me?
- If I choose to spend time doing this activity what will I lose?
- What will happen if I don’t complete this task?
It’s easy to become tangled in a long list of things to do, and lose sight of the real purpose of what we are doing. But by bringing more awareness to the choices you are making you can direct your energy to what you value the most.
Do you have a someday list? How do you maintain your awareness of what is most important as you go through each day? Share your tips, questions, and comments in the box below.