Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Personal Goals - Ultimate, Tangible, and Intangible

My Goals:


1)  No regrets
2)  Maximize time with family and ensure happiness
3)  Financial Freedom by 1/1/2020
4)  Relocate family and purchase home in Chicago area.  Accomplished 3/31/2015
5)  Purchase/Open Business
6)  Travel as much as possible

*Doing all of this with integrity in a way that would make God proud and with the end result of leaving this world a better place than when I entered it.

As you can see, some of these are more tangible than others.  No regrets?  Maximize time with family?  It is difficult to quantify whether or not these are accomplished.  I'll tell you that I KNOW when I'm NOT spending enough time with family, but how do you really know if you have maximized it? 

Others, like financial freedom by 1/1/2020, are easily assessed.  If I'm still showing up at my corporate desk every day on 1/2/2020, I will know that I have failed to achieve this goal - even if temporarily. 

My disclaimer below my goals is a reminder to do things the right way; to not risk compromising my future and reputation by cheating, cutting corners, or dishonesty.

Intangible goals can be thought of as checkpoints or guiding lights - subordinate to your ultimate goal in regards to physical time and effort initially invested, but equal in importance.  "Am I spending enough time with my family?  Am I traveling as much as I can?"  Intangibles keep you on the path to becoming the person you ultimately want to become.  The tangible goals are what take time. 

Identify an ultimate goal.  I realized my ultimate goal is freedom.  Financial freedom will allow me to live the lifestyle I want; this is where I need to devote my time and effort.  (Just to be sure, this isn't greed - the goal isn't to be filthy rich - it is to be financially self sustaining without having to answer to or rely on others.)  If I reach that goal, all the others should fall into place - either along the way or after the ultimate goal has been attained.  Try to only establish one ultimate goal - your ultimate focus.  Otherwise, you'll dilute your progress by splitting time between competing goals.

The idea is to set attainable goals, but ones that are just out of your comfort zone.  Your goals need to be a stretch, but not unreachable.  I'm not setting a goal to replace Jay Cutler as the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears . . . (although, I wish SOMEONE would!).  But I'm also not setting a goal of, say, "run 1 mile after work today."  In my mind, that is a stepping stone - a part of the journey - but not the endgame.  If your goal is to be a marathoner or competitively participate in the Crossfit games, then running a mile after work today is a good start. 

Goals are long term objectives that guide you to become the person you want to become.  Not the person you want to become tomorrow, but the person you want to become years from now . . . the person you want to be remembered for.  Put some serious thought into what makes you the happiest.  Me?  My family, business success, physical fitness, and travel.  To enable my life to revolve around these items, what do I need to accomplish?  For me:  Financial Freedom.  Answer those questions for yourself, and you are on your way to establishing legitimate long term goals!

In "Think and Grow Rich", Napoleon Hill discusses writing down your goals.  Put them on a piece of paper and look at it constantly.  Try to place a realistic timeframe next to your tangible goals.  This should give you a constant sense of urgency; otherwise, you will allow yourself to procrastinate.  This makes it real - not just a wishy-washy abstract thought in your head that you sometimes think about.  By constantly reviewing your goals and your progress, your subconscious begins to guide your mind and your body towards reaching your goals, even when you are not consciously training, practicing, or learning. 

I visualize my future life every morning.  This doesn't have to be a 30 minute exercise . . . a few minutes each morning will do fine.  I imagine who I want to be and think about what I can do today to progress towards becoming that person.  I prefer my visualization time in the morning after working out to set the day off on the right foot, when my mind is clear and not yet buried by the myriad distractions each day promises.

So, to summarize:  Think about what makes you happiest and visualize the life you want to live.  Write this down.  These are your intangible goals.  Then, think about what you need to do to reach these goals and try to focus on one underlying ultimate tangible goal.  Write this down, underline it, and establish a realistic timeframe.  This tangible goal is the door to your happiness.  Review this piece of paper at least daily.  Spend some time visualizing yourself accomplishing your goal and becoming the person you want to become.  Then, align your daily activities to ensure you are progressing.  Review your day each night while laying in bed and try to come up ways to improve tomorrow.  Repeat.

Got it?  Good.

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