Setting Personal Goals: Write Down What You Want

Setting Personal Goals:  Write Down What You Want
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Writing down what you want may seem like an obvious step in goal setting.  However, it’s only a first step – and it’s often the one and only step for many goal setters.  There are several keys to doing it effectively – in a way that will help bring you closer to realizing your goals.  One is to get you to dream a little bit…to clarify what it is that you want out of life. Another is that, in writing it down, you are forced into a clearer thinking session about what you want…as you are truly forced to put it into words – instead of keeping it in somewhat dreamy thoughts.  This article identifies some other key paybacks in this first – not the last or only – step in setting your goals.

This is the first of a series of four articles on “Setting Personal Goals”, where we explore some of the nuances that will put you on the path to achieving greater levels of personal success.  This article, Part 1 in the series, “Write Down What You Want”, looks at your desires as the first step – not the last – toward achieving your goals. Part 2, “Reconcile With the Past,” looks at ways of dealing with your past…to overcome the cynicism that may have crept into your thinking.  Part 3, “Lay Out a Path to Your Future,” provides a fresh prescription for setting your goals once you have clarity and have dealt with the past. Finally, Part 4, “Be Grateful Every Day”, encourages you to take on an attitude of gratitude in order to maintain positive thinking in the face of obstacles to achieving your goals.  

The key in getting clarity about what you want is to think more broadly than most people do.  In other words, it’s good to think about career goals – but not JUST about career goals. It’s good to think about relationship goals – but not JUST relationship goals.

One way to do this is to think about what you want in the whole range of life domains.  Here is a list of five (5) primary life domains that could be useful to you:

  1. Mental – This includes anything ‘cerebral’ or beyond…such as in your spiritual life, intellectual ambitions, and emotional challenges.  For example, you may want to increase your knowledge and understanding in a particular area. You also may want to achieve a greater sense of calm to help you control your emotions.
  2. Physical Health – This may include managing some physical condition, getting into better shape, or controlling your weight.  For example, you may want to get in the habit of exercising regularly, or even doing additional exercises at a certain level.  Or you may want to reduce your weight by a certain amount.
  3. Relationships – This may include your marriage relationship, relationships with your children, or social/community relationships.  For example, you may want to spend more time listening, set aside regular time for a date night, or participate in a certain activity with your children that you consider to be ‘quality time’.
  4. Occupational – This may include both gainful employment, as well as hobbies or other avocational activities.  Some examples might be to take on a new area of responsibility, to change jobs, or to earn a promotion. They could also be to join the basketball league…or to join the local flying club.  Note that there are things that you have direct control over…and other things that you don’t.
  5. Fiscal – Last, but certainly not least, is what you want in the financial area of your life.  Some examples would relate to cutting expenses, improving investments, and earning money on side gigs.

When you are writing down what you want, think about how there are overlaps among the areas.  And note areas where you have the most doubt or consternation about getting what you want.

Have you thought about what you want across all major domains in your life?

This Post is Part of the Series: Setting Personal Goals

These articles explore some of the nuances that will put you on the path to achieving greater levels of personal success. 

  1. Write Down What You Want
  2. Reconcile With the Past
  3. Lay Out a Path to Your Future
  4. Be Grateful Every Day