Every so often, every successful person sits down to evaluate the direction his/her life is taking and decide where they want their life to go next.
We all know how important it is to have goals. We hear from every expert on self-improvement and success that those with clearly defined goals achieve at least 7 times more than those without goals.
If you're like me, you've followed along with one of these success speakers to outline a series of goals that will motivate you to work hard and become greater than you've ever been in your life.
But have those goals truly motivated you? Did you reach the pinnacle of success? Did you make that million dollars, get that fancy sports car, or marry the fashion model of your dreams? Or if you were more realistic, did you get that raise, improve your current relationship, or attain a measure of self-confidence?
There's certainly nothing wrong with setting goals. In fact I agree with the motivational speakers in that goals are imperative if you are truly committed to creating the kind of life you want.
But that's the real secret. What kind of life do YOU want?
We've been programmed since birth that everyone wants money, good health, and the ultimate relationship. Guys are programmed to want the fancy sports cars and the beautiful women. Women are programmed to want a happy household and a successful career at the same time.
What I'd like to do now is to give you some questions to ask yourself to find out what you really want out of life so you can set your own goals, not someone elses.
The first set of questions to ask yourself are: What in your life irritates you? What makes you feel less than satisfied? What would you like to get rid of if you could?
Although most of us have been programmed to believe that certain things will make us happy, few of us have been programmed to believe that other things will make us unhappy. If you know what makes you unhappy, you have a good idea of what will really make you happy.
Now, ask yourself these questions: How would you like to spend your free time? If you were given a full month to do anything you'd like to do, where would you go? If you were told that you would die in six months, what would you do with the time you had left to live?
That last question especially gets to the heart of the matter. Most people would very quickly dismiss all of the programming society has fed them if they thought they were going to die in six months.
Now, using that concept for just another moment, is there anything you'd like to accomplish to leave your mark on the world before you go?
This question starts to activate a part of your brain that normally stays quiet, thinking that there will always be time enough to do the important things in life. We all like to think so, but no-one really knows for sure.
Is there something that you could do to make this world a better place? Are there people that you could help in some way? Is there something you could do that would be remembered a hundred years from now?
Don't worry if the answer to that last question is 'no'. Not everyone is destined for greatness, and maybe you just aren't cut out to be a legend. There's no shame in just being a cog in the machine.
But if you think that there may be something you could do that would impact the world greatly, don't let modesty stand in your way either!
Somewhere in this line of questioning, most people tend to find their life's purpose. That thing that they were meant to do while on this Earth. Their mission in life. The one goal beyond all other goals that will drive them onward through thick and thin, through rain and snow and sleet, over mountains and oceans, until they overcome their greatest fears and succeed where all others have failed.
Rarely does anyone ask themselves these questions and come up with a goal of making a million dollars or marrying the newest supermodel.
But maybe you've found a goal to become the most successful salesperson in your company, a record that will stand for years before anyone else equals your achievements.
Maybe you've found a goal to teach kids to read.
Maybe you've found a goal to become a stellar example of how to demonstrate love in everyday situations.
Maybe you've found a goal to write a book that will teach the world an important lesson that no-one seems to have learned except you.
And maybe you've found a goal to help someone else achieve the success that you know they are capable of.
Whatever central goal you've found for yourself, here are some questions that will help you define what to do next.
Although you may need to research this question, what steps do you need to follow to reach your primary goal?
No-one really knows all the steps required to reach a particular goal, especially if it's one that no-one has reached before, but try to gather whatever information is readily available. Don't spend all your time looking for information, though. You have work to do, so get to it as soon as you have a good idea of where to get started.
Now that you know where you eventually want to end up in life, you may want to take some time to evaluate how the other projects in your life fit into the overall scheme of things.
Here's an example. I recently reviewed my own goals, mostly because I've found myself going in too many directions at once. One of my project, working with the website for my church, stood out as being inconsistent with my primary goal, which is to refine the Keys To Power system and make it available to as many people as possible.
I also noticed that what I thought was a goal of mine (to build a net worth of $1 million within the next year), wasn't so important to me. Actually, I'd be quite content with only $100,000.
And the importance of my photography business also found itself going out the window. It's fun, and I won't avoid it completely, but I really want to spend my time promoting the Keys To Power system to the world.
You may also find that some of your minor goals don't fit anymore with your primary goal.
But just as no man is an island, no goal is truly sufficient unto itself. Your primary goal needs partners to flourish.
What besides this primary goal do you need to be happy? Bring back that list of things that currently make you unhappy. What can you do to change them? Is there a way you can change them and make progress towards your primary goal at the same time?
Also bring back that list of things you'd like to spend your time doing. What can you fit into your schedule as you work towards your primary goal? Schools have periodic recess periods for a reason. No-one can work well without short breaks to have fun. Make sure to allow yourself to have some fun along the way!
There's a lot more that can be said about setting goals and balancing them with playtime. But I've said enough for one article. Go ahead, take a break and have some fun.
Then get to work, you have something important to accomplish!