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Michelle LaBrosse


Are Your Goals Right for You?

Plan to be your best self in 2016

Published: Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 15:43

For many people, January is the time of the year to set and pursue new goals. As the years go on, this yearly goal-setting becomes routine. Even though you have new goals you’re passionate about pursuing each year, your faith in your ability to accomplish them or your awareness about why you’re setting goals in the first place may diminish. For example, you might set for yourself the goal of eating healthier each year, even though after the first year you didn’t give much thought to what is driving you to pursue this goal and whether or not it’s worth it for you.

This January, we here at Cheetah Learning encourage you to take a new approach to goal-setting. Before you jot down a list of New Year’s resolutions, take some time to reflect on what goals are really worth pursuing based on how you want to see yourself and what will help you increase your happiness. What goals make you feel enthusiastically engaged and present in your pursuit of them? What projects bring you deep happiness, contentment, or even bliss?

The chart below illustrates different types of goals you may be pursuing that don’t quite align with your true purpose. Ideally, you should strive to set goals that fit in the top right corner: Transcendent Goals. These are the goals to which you devote the highest quality of attention and which give you the most happiness. If the pursuit of your goals does not fall into this category, you may have goals that are too challenging, not challenging enough, or mismatched with your purpose.

Click here for larger image.

Mismatched goals. In the bottom left corner of the chart are the goals that are a poor match for both your talents and your interests. These are goals that are challenging for you to achieve—but not in a good way. Rather than making you feel inspired and engaged, these goals require you to perform tasks that you dread and which do not feel particularly rewarding. Often, the tasks required to achieve this goal will be things you have never done before and of which we are not knowledgeable. If you’ve never set a goal before, it makes sense to research what it would take to pursue that goal to see if you really have the “oomph” to go for it and if there is a payoff for you to do so.

Distractions. In the chart, as in your life, these are secondary goals that are all over the place, and that distract you from achieving the goals that really matter. These are goals that you may feel really excited about doing in theory, but when you sit down to do them, your enthusiasm quickly fades. These could also be goals that you feel pressured to accomplish, but which cause you a lot of frustration and discouragement because you don’t currently have the skills and/or knowledge to achieve them. For example, you may find yourself caught up in other people’s drama and set goals that are more aligned with their interests rather than your own. You may also have the opposite problem, pursuing a goal that brings you happiness, but which is so familiar and easy for you that you no longer need to be fully engaged in its pursuit. All of these types of goals need to be recognized for what they are: distractions from your pursuit of the transcendent goals that will bring you lasting fulfillment aligned with your purpose.

“Station of Life” goals. In the middle of the chart you’ll see what we call “station of life” goals. These are the goals based on what you think you need to be doing based on “norms” for where you are in your life. As you transition from your 20s to your 30s, for example, you may feel the need to set goals for buying a home, getting married, and starting a family. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with these goals, too often the reason we set these goals is based more on what we think society expects of us than the kind of life we truly want to live.

Transcendent goals. Rather than settling for “station of life” goals, push yourself to identify goals that align with how you want to see yourself and with your true purpose. These are goals that both align well with your interests and talents, AND push you to expand your current abilities at times. Some of the tasks required to accomplish these goals will be easy for you, while others will be challenging—the key is to have a balance between these types of tasks. We like to call these HARD goals: High Altitude, Rewarding, and Driven (as in, you’ll feel intrinsically driven to achieve these goals). They may or may not align with what others expect of you—and it’s just fine if they don’t. What matters is that these are goals that bring your existence into alignment with who YOU want to be and with your highest good.


About The Author

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

Michelle LaBrosse

Michelle LaBrosse is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring project management to the masses. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program and holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. More than 50,000 people have used Cheetah Learning’s project management and accelerated learning techniques.