What drives you to pursue your dreams
Finding goals: With reflexive questions to the perfect personal goal
Setting goals is a powerful technique for taking your life into your own hands, optimizing your productivity and increasing your satisfaction. The focus of the process is the definition of goals worth striving for, which will enable you to reach your full potential. Finding the right goals takes some thought. This article will help you through the process with insightful questions. Ask yourself these questions to understand yourself better and to find your personal goals.
The questions are divided into two groups. The first set of questions will help you create a comprehensive list of ideas for possible personal goals. A second series of questions then ensures the prioritization in order to decide which of the target ideas should really be pursued.
Find ideas for goals
Start the process by brainstorming. Try to be uncritical about your ideas and just write down what comes to mind. Let your ideas inspire you to further ideas and create an extensive list. You want to cover as wide a spectrum as possible in order to create a good idea base for the following prioritization. The following questions will help you to go inside yourself and develop the best ideas for goals from them.
What are my core values?
To know what you want to achieve, you first have to understand yourself. Defining your core values lets you see what is important to you. As you think about your values, you will also automatically find new ideas for goals.
What parts of my life conflict with my values?
Now that you know your values, you can look out for conflict. Your life is probably not perfectly aligned with your values. Which parts of your life would you have to change to better correspond to your values?
What do you dislike about yourself?
Nobody is perfect. Think about what you would like to change or improve about yourself.
How do I want to be remembered?
Use this question to reflect on your legacy. What should people think of when they remember you? These can be achievements or memorable character traits, for example.
What do I like to do most? What drives me
Contrary to what is often thought, it is not the achievement of goals that makes you happy. Rather, it is the act of pursuing meaningful goals that makes one fulfilling and happy. If you know what you like to do, you can also find the right goals.
What is my superpower?
What do you shine in? Ask yourself which goals go well with these skills. And don't forget: Great strength leads to great responsibility. ;)
What do i want to learn?
"Sharpening the saw" is one of the "7 ways to be effective" as described in Stephen Covey's famous book. This means that you should continuously invest in your own further development. Learning goals are among the most rewarding goals. Use this question to discover which skills you want to acquire and thus to find the corresponding goals.
Which habits do I want to establish / stop / change?
A large part of our behavior is controlled by habits. Designing them consciously can have a massive impact on life. So which habits would you like to take up - or get rid of?
What do I admire about other people?
Think of your role models. What do you admire about them? Is it something you would like to take on? Remember, it's about individual traits, not the entire character. Do not try to be someone else, but rather which positive aspects you would like to integrate into your own personality.
Where do I want to be in 5/10/20 years?
One of the main advantages of goal setting is that you give your life a direction. If you don't know where you want to go, you end up somewhere else. So think about where you want to be in the future and what goals can take you there.
What's the one thing I should change about my life?
There are always various things that we are not satisfied with. But what is the one thing that stands out? Which one change would have a disproportionate impact on your life?
What would I do if I knew I couldn't fail?
Sometimes we subconsciously discard goals because they seem too difficult. This question aims to break free from this mental limitation. Think about ambitious goals and don't worry about implementation at first. Later, when it comes to prioritizing your goals, you may discover that the goal is actually achievable.
What would I do if I could spend a million euros?
Similar to the previous question, this one aims to break free from mental limitations. Find out what you would like to achieve if money wasn't an issue. If it matters enough to you, you may find a way to avoid winning the lottery first.
What would I do if I only had 3 years to live?
Another way to free yourself from mental restrictions is a little more melancholy: If you imagine your own impermanence, you will more easily become aware of what is really important to you. You change your perspective, everyday duties lose their importance and you can find the goals that really matter.
What is my ideal job description?
Nobody has the perfect job. Define for yourself which position would be perfect for you. Then you can think about what goals would bring you closer to this ideal.
Prioritize target ideas
Now that you've got a nice long list of goal ideas, it's time to choose. Good goals are ambitious, so you can't pursue everything at the same time. Concentrate on what is most important.
In a first run you can find out which ideas you can cross off the list directly. Next, you can use a series of questions to help you come up with the most worthwhile ideas. In a final step, you can then better define the goals you have chosen.
Go through the ideas on your list one by one and ask yourself the following questions.
Why is this goal important?
Goals must have a purpose. Think of the "why". You should have a few important reasons why you want to pursue this goal. If not, you can cross it off the list.
Would I set myself this goal if no one ever found out about it?
This question aims at whether you really want to pursue this goal of your own accord, or whether it is extrinsically motivated. Your personal goals really have to be your own. Otherwise you will get motivation problems sooner or later and you will not really enjoy the trip.
Of course there are exceptions. Of course, if you want to become a movie star, you can only do that with the attention of other people. However, be careful that you really enjoy the path. Fame alone doesn't make you happy.
Do you WANT to achieve this goal or SHOULD you?
This question is another way of finding out if the goal is really your own. Sometimes we feel obliged to do something instead of really wanting to. This also leads to problems in the long term, so be careful.
Does this goal match your goals in life?
If you already have a vision for the bigger goals in your life: Does this goal fit in with it? Don't set goals that run counter to your plan for life.
Is it worth it?
Every ambitious goal has a price. Even if you can do what it takes - is it really worth it? Or are there other worthy goals in which your resources are better invested?
Now your list should only contain ideas that are really worthwhile. The next step is to choose from the remaining target ideas. Use the following questions to better understand the goals and identify the most promising ones.
What will my life be like after I achieve this goal?
Imagine your life after you have achieved the goal. What would you do? How would you feel? What would be different? How big would the impact be?
What will my life be like if I DON'T manage to achieve this goal?
This question deals with the mirror image, negative scenario. Does it have a significant disadvantage for your life if you do not achieve the goal? That can drive you. And if it doesn't make a big difference whether you achieve your goal or not, then you should think about whether it's really a worthwhile goal.
How much would I regret not pursuing this goal?
When Jeff Bezos considered starting Amazon, his decision was based on his regret minimization framework. When he's 80 years old, he wants to look back on his life and regret as little as possible. In his case, he decided that whatever the outcome, he would definitely regret not starting his own business. So how much would you regret not pursuing your goal?
What assumptions have I made and how risky are they?
Every project contains implicit assumptions. When it comes to business, one expects certain market conditions or customer behavior. For personal goals, it can be how much time you can actually invest in your goal. Make these assumptions explicit. Think about how risky these assumptions are. Test the most risky. A few clever tests can take a lot of risk out of your plans with little effort.
Who can help me to achieve my goal?
For many goals you will need the help of others. Be it to make your idea known, to find solutions or just to stay motivated. This question makes you think about your network and whether you know people whose support you can count on.
What price do I have to pay?
This prioritization question mirrors the similar question from the elimination round (“is it worth it?”), Just not so absolutely. You will have to invest in your goal, be it in the form of time, money or something else. How much do I have to invest? Do other ideas offer better value for money?
After finding and prioritizing goals, it's time to shape your chosen ideas. The better you understand your goal and your plan, the better your chances of success are. The following questions will help you develop a thorough understanding of your goals.
How do I know if I have achieved my goal?
Sometimes goals are formulated in such a way that it is difficult to see whether the goal has definitely been achieved. Make sure there are clear criteria that define your success. Instead of setting yourself the goal of becoming a better runner, what is "better"? - you can plan to run a half marathon in less than two hours.
Is my goal SMART?
A proven method for setting goals is called SMART. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Make sure your goal meets these criteria.
What are the biggest milestones?
Break your goal down into bigger steps. This will give you a better idea of how to achieve it. You don't have to plan every small step - reality will regularly force you to adjust your plans anyway - but you should have a rough idea of the path to success.
A simple and efficient way to do this is through deep planning. Instead of thinking in countless sequential steps, one thinks in time layers. What do I want to achieve this year that will bring me closer to my goal? This month? This week? Today? With Focality you can easily create and implement such plans.
What is the next step?
Always make sure you have an answer to this question. If you know what to do next, you can start right away. Conversely, it often leads to procrastination if it is not clear what the next step is.
Who are my role models?
Who has done something similar in the past? Who inspires you? You can get motivation and orientation for your goals from role models. For example, "What would Steve Jobs do?"
What can I use as a guiding principle?
A good quote can be a wonderful source of motivation. See if you can find an inspiring saying about goals, or a more specific quote that can serve as a mantra for you.
Which picture is my goal visualizing?
Choose an image that can serve as a motivational symbol for your goal. People are visual beings - an inspiring picture will help you stay motivated.
Achieve Your Dreams
Now that you have found your goals, start achieving them. With Focality you can plan your time proactively. Just make deep plans, reflect regularly, and learn from data-driven insights. Focus on the essentials. Improve yourself, become more successful and more balanced.
Achieve Your Dreams
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