Some people have clear life goals. They know what they want and they pursue it. They can tell you what it is they are aiming for.
Most of us may not be that organised in our thinking, but nevertheless our lives have direction and values.
But how do we choose our goals? And how do we know if they are achievable or sensible?
All the advice you need, and then some
Search the web for advice on life goals and you can literally find a billion sources of information. Although I haven’t looked at each one (yeah, I know, inadequate research! 🙂 ), I have looked at enough to distill down what many of them say to a few pieces of advice.
- Decide to do it. We’ll achieve more if we do.
- Take time to think about what’s important to us, what we’d like to achieve in life. What are our dreams? (“A goal is a dream with a deadline” but also “intentions which guide our behavior”.) What future can we imagine?
- Psychologists say we’ll be happiest if our goals help us:
- have positive emotions;
- be absorbed and engaged with life and people;
- build good relationships;
- give meaning or a larger purpose to life; and
- give a sense of accomplishment.
That all sounds very strategic and logical. But is it always like that? Must it always be like that?
Bob Dylan wrote about being “Bent out of shape by society’s pliers”. Are we free to set good goals, and do life circumstances make it difficult to achieve them anyway?
This short film provides an imaginative response to some of these questions.
a production from Jacob Jonas The Company for Psyche films.
Interested in any responses.
I looked at quite a few references to life goals. These six seemed to cover much of what I found.
- How to Choose Goals That Make You Come Alive. Caroline Benner, Greater Good Magazine, 2017
- Set your goals and make them happen. Action for Happiness.
- 10 tips to set goals and achieve them. Dr Erin Eatough, Betterup, 2022.
- A Simple Guide to Setting and Achieving Your Life Goals. Zen Habits.
- How to Set and Achieve Life Goals The Right Way. Catherine Moore, Positive Psychology, 2019
- How to Set, and Achieve, Your Life Goals. Dr Tchiki Davis, Psychology Today, 2021.