Raise your hand if you have ever advised a student who was in a major because their parents told them it would lead to a good living, but their heart was actually somewhere else? Or, have you stayed in a job that you were miserable in because the salary and benefits were good?
Sometimes our ambitions don’t serve us well because they aren’t aligned with our values and/or may be based on the expectations of others. How do you know if you are working towards the right goals? You can ask yourself these questions to begin reflecting on whether your goals are working well for you.
- Are your goals aligned with your values? Our values guide our decisions about how we invest our time and energy, according to Blackwood & Mauser who wrote Understanding and Clarifying Your Values. Identifying and clarifying your values can help you envision a future that feels right for you. Here’s a values exercise for you to work through if you are interested in digging in this area further.
- Are your goals meaningful and/or interesting? If you have an eye on a new job, is it because the work is meaningful to you? Is the work interesting? Or, is it the next step on the ladder and you are “supposed” to want that job? Dorie Clark tells us in her new book, The Long Game, to forget what others think and go for goals that bring meaning to our lives. The research tells us, too, that money is often less important to employees than doing meaningful work. When you think of a goal, are you telling yourself you should do it or that you want to do it?
- Do your goals bring you more distress than excitement? Healthy trepidation is normal. Distress in the form of loss of sleep, dread, anxiety, or depression may indicate your Honor Roll Hangover is pushing you to do something that may not be right for you. Melody Wilding points out that this distress could be from comparing yourself to others or a fear of missing out on opportunities.
Setting goals that are aligned with our values, are meaningful and interesting, and cause us to be excited just feel right. They might be scary and intimidating, and at the same time, they are an investment in our future selves.
Setting goals that are right for you is also a great topic to work on with a coach. If you would like to learn more about coaching, set up a 30-minute exploration session with me.
Have a great week!
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