How to Get What You Want Out of Life

4 11 2008

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Image by Light Knight on Flickr via Creative Commons

Image by Light Knight on Flickr via Creative Commons

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” Lawrence J. Peter

How clearly defined are your goals? In order to be as effective as possible in getting what you want out of life, you really need to make sure your goals are clearly defined. This is not as easy as it may sound. Often people have many little goals they want to achieve, but are not sure which objectives to concentrate on in order to achieve their ultimate goals. If you are not clear on the objectives you have for yourself you will not be able to define the required actions you need to turn your dreams in to reality.

How to clearly define your goals

1. Make a list of all the things you want to achieve.
Think long and hard about this. Start by brain-storming ideas then leave the list for a day or two before revisiting it to finish off. Initially, list everything big and small.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • What do you want to do, be, or have?
  • What Lifestyle do you want to lead? How you see yourself in a few years time? (or how you want to see yourself?).

2. Think big.
At this point don’t think about what you could or couldn’t achieve, just think about what you want. If you could have, be or do anything what would that be?

3. Review the list.
Hopefully you now have a list of goals, projects and items you want to achieve. These will probably vary in size from big lifetime goals, to small things or projects that you want to do. Review the list and check that it captures everything important to you.

4. Eliminate.
Here is where it starts to get difficult, but there is a method to follow here. Think ten years ahead  in the future, these are the big goals. Tidying your loft or redoing the patio is probably not on the critical path to the place you want to be in ten years time. Sure they are important to you now in the short term, but you really want to be taking actions that will have the most effect towards achieving your future goals. You’ll probably find  some points you have written down are not that important. Other targets may seem important, but ask yourself “If I didn’t do this, would it mean I couldn’t reach where I want to be?”

5. Simplify
You can’t work effectively on ten goals at a time, probably not even half that amount. If your goals are important to you and you really want to achieve them, they should be something you care about more than anything. Again, this is not easy, but if you find your passion you will understand what is most important to you.Look at your edited goals list. What is the most important goal to you now? I would suggest you pick three large goals, maximum maybe five, and focus on these as your only priorities.

How your goals tie in with your Lifestyle Project
Your Lifestyle Project is the sum of the actions you take to achieve those goals. By definition, a project encompasses all the required activities to achieve defined objectives. The skill to managing your project is maximising the resources available to you to achieve the objectives. Therefore the key is to clearly define for yourself what your goals are. Be in a position where you are able to state what your goals are in life at the moment and to easily say 3-5 sentences stating your objectives.

Stop putting off the important
Some of the items on your list will probably be action points. This means they are probably things that you need to achieve or do in order to take the steps to reach your ultimate goals. DO NOT keep procrastinating activities on this list. Don’t hold up pursuing your dreams by ‘achieving’ mediocre or unimportant tasks or waiting for the right time before starting on the path towards your desired goals. There is never a right time. I very much doubt anyone finds a point in their lives where all conditions are perfect to start a new venture or pursue a new project.

Clarifying your goals for yourself is the first thing to do in your Lifestyle project. I suspect some people will find this very easy, whilst others will find this very difficult to do. However, the main thing to realise that once you understand yourself and what you want to achieve, you will be able to, or at least attempt to, control your own actions so that you are always working towards getting where you want to be.


Reading around the blogosphere this week:


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Thanks for reading.

I hope you enjoyed my post. I’d love to hear your comments below or get a Digg or Stumble!

Also be sure to check out my other blog Lists for Life.




One response

30 11 2008

Defining your goals for life is one of the most important things for a fulfilled life. Many people already fail not knowing what they want in life.

This list is very well thought through and represent an excellent manual for defining one’s goal. On the Time Management Master blog I created a list of hints for private and professional goals which might help some people to get started.

I think that this can be a good extension to your article.


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