When it comes to life goals, for many of us, the person we hope to become starts at an early age. The little girl who loves playing doctor grows up to be a doctor. The little boy, with a keen interest in building blocks, grows up to be an architect. Without a doubt, our childhood shapes our adulthood. Whether good or bad, it is the building block of who we are as adults.
If we were lucky enough to have had a nurturing childhood, then chances are as adults, our intentions are crystal clear and we are moving toward what we desire. With most adults, childhood experiences are not figuratively black or white. Many have good and bad experiences that shape who they are today. Some people use the good as a catalyst for getting what they want from life. Others use the bad as an incentive to achieve better or more. However, most often than not, the bad becomes an albatross that prevents accomplishing our intentions.
Going back to the psyche of a child and that child being amazed by simple things such as building blocks. A five-year-old does not know what he or she will be at that age. But, if children are nurtured and allowed to grow into what they love, as they age, they will arrive at a pivotal moment. In that moment, they will say, “I want to be…”
That is the moment Long-Term Objectives begin
However, as an individual goes through life, experiencing different levels of schooling, social and personal norms, that person will either stay with what he or she aspire to be at an early age, or their aspiration will evolve into something different. What’s clear for every human is that from inception, personal intentions are not just important, but serves as a catalyst or motivator for what we want to become. It is also the one thing that will have a lasting impact on life.
Life goals and short-term objectives are not the same
They are not like the goals we set every day. While in fact, we should use daily goals to achieve our life goals, it is important to identify the clear distinction between what we want to accomplish in life and our daily goals or objectives.
We’ve already mentioned its origins. The adult reflecting on what a life goal means to him or her should understand the construct of a life goal.
- They are tied to our values
- Can make us accountable
- Gives us a sense of purpose
- Help us achieve our best selves
Life goals are personally intrinsic and relevant to every individual who wants to live with intention. Not only do they help us focus on the bigger picture of life, they also help us gain perspective and lessen uncertainty.
Components of short-term objectives or goals
Like life goals, we also set short-term goals or objectives. Consider what happens when we wake up each day. Or when we go to work. In both scenarios, we have plans or goals to accomplish. When we wake up, it’s personal hygiene, nourishment, getting the kids to school, arriving to work on time. At work, it’s what must get done before the end of the workday. Our short-term objectives have a component for achieving them immediately or within a short period. Taken to another level, they are also the building block of our life goals. Let’s use becoming a doctor as an example. He or she doesn’t just say I’m becoming a doctor, and it’s done. There are steps to the achievement.
- Undergraduate achievement
- MCAT examination
- Med school
Mindtools.com website wrote setting goals gives us long-term vision and short-term motivation. This is an excellent way to see the goals we set. To reframe this meaning with life goals in mind, we can say life goals are accessing our long-term vision using short-term objectives as a tool and motivation for achieving them.
Setting goals is important. The most obvious reason to set them relates to achieving the things we want from life. Read our post on how the goals we set, helps us achieve success. When we pursue life’s goals, we are broadcasting a certain message to our subconscious. We are telling ourselves that we have a benchmark and this is where I want to be. This is what I want to accomplish. This is what I will overcome to make it happen.
Throughout this post, we’ve used the idealism of being a child and the objectives of becoming a doctor as examples of life goals and long-short-term objectives. Here is another example. This example portrays why there are roadblocks standing in the way of achieving our intentions. A grocery store worker will be the subject of this example.
He or she never didn’t finish college. As circumstances would have it, this person had to go to work immediately after high school. But, he/she always wanted to go to college. Grades weren’t the best, but the aspirations were there to get that degree. Besides the issues leading to not having the choice to attend college immediately after high school, there is a confidence issue, a not believing he/she is smart enough issue. It’s not surprising that there are excuses, such as, too much time have pass, not smart enough.
The roadblocks we create stops us from getting what we want from life.
This example is simplistic, but can be intricate for each person not getting what they want from life. It not only varies from individual to individual, but some acknowledge their roadblocks, while others are unaware of them.
But circumstances and roadblocks are not the only impediments, there are also weaknesses. Following the example above, you could say the true issue preventing the grocery store worker from following through with going back to college is self-doubt, fear, possibly a lack of commitment. These are three of the four weaknesses below. Let delve further into them and other mindset preventing us from getting what we desire from life.
Self doubt is any thought, feelings, or emotions that creeps into our minds, preventing us from achieving the results we want. We doubt ourselves because we lack confidence in areas of our lives that we consider relevant. That could be looks, skills, experiences, comparing ourselves and a myriad of other factors. The key to offsetting self-doubt is understanding it and realizing it is a state of mind.
A part of understanding it is realizing we all experience it. Self-doubt results in certain facets of life that are unavoidable. A meeting that didn’t go as planned, a relationship gone awry. It’s easy to doubt ourselves during times of uncertainty. Compound uncertainty on top of lacking self-confidence and other issues relevant for achieving our goals, and this shortcoming can undermine what we want to accomplish.
Embrace it – Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology says, what we resist persists. We resist that doubt exists internally. Take away its power by acknowledging it and facing it.
Fear is an emotion that squashes our intelligence and plays havoc with our lives. At its core, it’s a powerful blockade preventing us from achieving the life we want.
Whether we realize it, fear influences many parts of our lives. Because of fear, we make excuses why we haven’t achieved our goals.
Like all emotions, we can manage fear. It starts with understanding it. Fear is a protective emotion that us humans intrinsically deploy to protect ourselves from danger, or outside influences we are unfamiliar with. When we encounter these moments, our bodies go into a fight-or-flight state, or survival mode. It’s important to know that it’s normal to experience fear. What’s not normal is when we allow it to control our lives. Acknowledging its hold is the first step towards overcoming it.
Here is a two-step approach to overcoming fear.
Step 1 – Recognize it – It’s through recognition that we can take the next step, which is to embrace it.
Step 2 – Embrace it – Fear is actually not your enemy, but a tool. When we can take a breath, feel fear, yet move forward, that strengthens us.
The act of delaying and postponing is what procrastination is about. It comprises three building blocks. Fear, which is already mentioned above. Overwhelm, when we have doubts regarding what we can and can’t do and negative attributes such as improper time management skills, lack of structure, or simply a lack of motivation.
To overcome procrastination, the first step is often the hardest. It’s never easy admitting a self-defined flaw. But, it is a necessary step that leads to identifying the true cause for delaying and creating the structure necessary to overcome it.
4. Lack of Commitment
One of the most crucial factor for achieving what we want is commitment. It helps us stick with our objectives during the good times and the bad. It’s also an indicator for those who are successful and those that are not. If we can’t commit to our intentions, then we can’t give it our all. We give up on our objectives quickly because we lack the determination. Commitment is one of the main reasons many of us don’t achieve our goals.
We should never start a goal without understanding why we wanted to achieve that goal. Why we do what we do is a not just a motivator, but a magnet that steers us towards our aim. There are other factors to keep in mind, such as being accountable. Accountability helps us make consistent and continual progress. Setting smart goals is another factor. When we set achievable goals that comprise smaller goals, we set ourselves up for success. If we can celebrate small progresses, then we are likely to stay committed, procrastinate less, and not lose sight of our objectives.
There are qualities shared by those who fulfill their life goals. They believe in themselves, regardless of occasional doubt. Will act despite fear because they know without action there is no achievement. They also deal with procrastination by employing tactics that can prevent or lessen its intrusion. A perfect example is breaking down long-term goals into manageable goals using SMART goals. You can learn more about smart goals by reading our series on goal setting.