Exercise: Goal Setting
The first exercise that you should undertake is Goal Setting. In this exercise you simply write down your objectives. Try to develop 3-5 objectives for yourself.
As you develop your objectives, be realistic and be specific, but also think big. Your objectives should be about the kind of life you want to be living. They can be practical and tactical like “Earn $XX per year” or more idealistic like “Give back to my community.” Whatever your goals are, they must be fairly specific. And unless you are independently wealthy, or someone else supports you financially, make sure one of your objectives is about earning enough money to pay your bills. (You’d be surprised how many people forget to include a financial objective!)
You can read more about objectives and setting goals here.
By way of example, here are my personal Objectives:
1) Cover basic expenses at a rate of $XXk/month
I gave myself a financial objective that might be a stretch to earn working for myself, but is still less than half of what I earned at a full-time job. And I purposely did not set my objective to be “Earn as much money as I possibly can.” While earning more money is a good thing, I sometimes have to remember that I have other goals as well and the fact is, I can comfortably support my family’s needs on this much money. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to complain if suddenly I find myself earning a lot more than that, but I know at this level, I can meet my expenses, including modest savings. Anything I am able to earn above that goes to my long-term goals of paying for college, retirement, or a fantasy vacation.
2) Tend to my health and my family’s health
When I have worked at full-time jobs in the past, the first thing to go has been any kind of self-care. I get less sleep, I eat more junk food and I have less time to exercise than I do when I work for myself. I know from personal experience how badly a health crisis — your own or one of your family members’– can throw you off your career or financial plans. While we can’t protect ourselves from every potential health problem, living a healthy lifestyle and reducing stress for ourselves, our children and our partners, can make a big difference.
3) Savor time with family
I have never been the kind of person who wants to spend every waking hour with the people I love. I relish time alone and can happily find myself caught up in work or other commitments. I also feel that the simple maintenance and management of my family and household (SOL) takes a lot of time in and of itself. That said, after the sudden and unexpected death of my stepson, I really took stock, and vowed that I would appreciate the time I had with my family and make an effort to plan and engage in fun things with them that I previously felt I “didn’t have time for.”
4) Build a business that is not dependent on being constantly onsite with clients or constantly hustling up new business.
My consulting business is sometimes just like a regular job. I have to commute, I have to be onsite for 8-12 hours per day, and sometimes I work on projects that run 3-5 days per week for months on end. While I enjoy that work and am grateful that I have had so many wonderful opportunities, my real goal is to build a business that gives me greater control of my schedule and whose value proposition to clients is distinctive in and of itself.
Those are my four objectives. I suggest you explore — on your own or with a friend — your personal truths and values. Based on that, come up with 3-5 objectives that really speak to the truth of who you are and what you are trying to achieve in your life.
Here are some examples of Objectives other people have written:
- Emotionally-centered family
- Have plenty of vacation time
- Have opportunities to practice foreign languages
- Spend time outdoors every day
- Have a loving marriage
- Create wealth
- Write a novel
- Retire at age 55
- Travel 6 weeks per year
- Live abroad
- Build my expertise in my field
Please help others by sharing some of your objectives in the comments below.