Life Goals

Where are you now? Where would you like to be?

Motivation is described as the process that propels, directs, and maintains goal oriented actions. It is the driving force that causes us to act. Most of our pursuits in life- everything from continuing our education so we can get a better job, to joining the gym to improve our health, are the result of a complex set of emotional, social and intellectual forces that guide our behaviour and professional achievement.


 Motivation can be extrinsic, that is derived from externally anticipated rewards such as a bonus, social recognition, and professional degree or it can be intrinsic, resulting from internal drivers such as the satisfaction from acting ethically, or the sense of accomplishment resulting from solving a complex problem.

Setting specific goals in a clear and compelling way — and working together with others to achieve them—is the best way to get results. While this stuff may not be new, the setting of mutually agreed goals seems to work.

Imagine what you could actually achieve……

1.       If life is worth living, it’s worth planning.

Start with that one, non-negotiable principle. It’s very important to have your life in balance and to be looking forward, so you don’t end up having regrets. We’re busy being busy, and it’s not easy to fit all of the important things into your life, so if you want to do that, you need to plan. When you do plan you are more likely to achieve your goals and it gives you a long term view, which helps to keep things in perspective and stops you getting caught up in up in the minutiae of the day to day.

2.       Put it in writing.

Writing down your goals is of immense importance. To some it might sound like overkill- what’s wrong with keeping them in your head and simply reviewing them mentally? – And perhaps that’s why only five percent of us ever put our goals in writing. But there is one overpowering reason to put pen to paper or set to at the Laptop: just three percent of people who don’t write down their goals ever achieve them. Writing them down and reading them back makes you register them mentally, creates a sense of urgency and possibility, and helps you see- even subconsciously- how to create balance in your life. If you’re serious about achieving what you want, writing your goals down is more than a helpful thing to do, it’s essential.( Feel free to use the On the Table™ Goal setting Template)Goal setting On the Table 2013 Template

3.       Be Positive.

It’s crucial, because of the power of the subconscious, to write each goal as a positive statement, as if it has already been achieved. This is because your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you wish you had and what you already have. If you think of it as already achieved, and by a certain date, your subconscious will make it happen.

4.        Get into the details

Using the On the Table™ Goal setting Template Goal setting On the Table 2013 Template with timeframes along one side- three-six months, one year, and two, five, 10 and 15 and 20 years reviewing each different area of your life across the top:

  •   Health
  •  Marriage/   Partner
  •  Work/ Career/Money
  •   Family
  •  Friends
  •  Community
  •    Hobbies
  •  Spirituality
  •  Self-Development

Most people have little trouble in quickly filling in the bottom left  short term columns- across to five years and down to family and friends, and then get stuck on the rest. It’s important that your goals are realistic and achievable, and that they are your own aims and not ambitions for you by others, like spouses, friends or society.

Why is the 20 year goal box dominantly placed at the top? Recent research shows that taking an aspirational view of what you dream about being provides a clearer sense of direction, focus and achievement. Take some time now to sit back and dream of where you would like to be…..

e.g. achieve the career experience and funding  etc. to run my own company designing computer gaming software by 2034.

5.       Redraft.

Fill in the table in its entirety without limits. Now is not the time to self-censor. Don’t be content with the first draft, either. Write and rewrite- it creates the maximum impact. Once you’ve written down your goals, put the table away for a few days, then get it out and make changes. Rephrase and compact your writing, add detail and descriptions, make it pithy and succinct. A week later you may want to adjust again. Keep on fine tuning the table until you’re completely happy with what you’ve written down.

6.       Highlight the non-negotiables.

Look at all of your life. Highlight the areas in which there is no room for compromise- health, your marriage or partnership, your children- and address those before anything else. Giving each goal a priority helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and keeps you focused on the most important ones and the order in which you want to achieve them. You need to know what is important to you so you don’t get caught up in the trivia. To be successful, you need balance in your life and to know what you’re going to do. Life is not a rehearsal- if it’s too late, you’ve blown it.

7.       Review your goals regularly.

Your goals will change as time goes on, and as your knowledge and experience increases. Review your goals every three to six months and do it all again.


 Common goal setting slips

  • Backing away from tough expectations: You spend more time negotiating the goal downward than in figuring out how to achieve it.
  • Engaging in charades: You and your people know from the start that the goal is just an exercise to convey the appearance of progress, but there’s no hope of achieving it. What is the point?
  • Accepting seesaw trades: When you take on one goal, you are released from another one.
  • Setting vague or distant goals: The time frame is not clearly defined or set too far into the future, so no one takes it seriously.
  • Not establishing consequences: There is no differentiation between those who achieve the goals and those who do not.
  • Setting too many goals: By assigning too many goals, people pick and choose those that they want to do or the find easiest to do—not necessarily the most important ones.
  • Allowing deflection to preparations, studies, and research: People to spend time planning instead of committing to and achieving a real goal.

Think about setting SMART goals.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the 5 steps of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results.

Specific: Great goals are well-defined and focused. “Obtain 24 new million dollar corporate clients in the Auckland property market” is more meaningful to mobilise your team than “Get more business.”

Measurable: A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. Numbers are an essential part of business. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track. A goal white board posted in your office can help as a daily reminder to keep yourself and your employee focused on the targeted results you want to attain.

Attainable: Far too often, small businesses can set goals beyond reach. No one has ever built a billion dollar business overnight. Venture capitalists and angel investors discard countless business plans of companies with outlandish goals. Dream big and aim for the stars but keep one foot firmly based in reality. Check with your industry association to get a handle on realistic growth in your industry to set smart goals.

Relevant: Achievable business goals are based on the current conditions and realities of the business climate. You may desire to have your best year in business or increase revenue by 50%, but if a recession is looming and 3 new competitors opened in your market, then your goals aren’t relevant to the realities of the market.

Time-Based: Business goals and objectives just don’t get done when there’s no time frame tied to the goal-setting process. Whether your business goal is to increase revenue by 20% or find 5 new clients, choose a time-frame to accomplish your goal.



Need assistance or feedback? Don’t hesitate to make contact with me.

About the Author

Kylie Head is a mediation services specialist with twenty years of experience in senior management roles.

In addition to mediating disputes, Kylie acts as a facilitator resolving in-house conflict within business, along with working one-on-one to coach individuals through conflict, life transitions and problem solving. Kylie is experienced in providing mediation services with On the Table to parties where the issues are complex and intractable.

On the Table helps people & teams have conversations.

On the Table encourages people and organisations’ to connect and to have dialogue in a way that is meaningful and constructive.

At On the Table we believe in:

  • peaceful conflict resolution and mediation
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