Setting Goals: A Full Life Check-In

Goal-setting is a standard part of workplace life – many of us are asked to be included in strategic planning sessions, or are called on to set targets for a month, quarter or year.  We also set goals in our personal life – like getting 8 hours of sleep a certain number of nights per week, or losing a certain number of pounds before a holiday.

Occasionally, it is good to reflect on how our goals are distributed across a broader set of categories.  First, take a moment to write down 15-20 goals that you would like to achieve. Just brainstorm a list!

Next, consider that list against the following life categories (from Pryor’s “Taking Control of Your Workday” and “Effective Goal-Setting and Planning Skills” seminars).

  • Personal Development/ Education
  • Career/Business
  • Family/Relationships
  • Health/Physical/Self-Care
  • Fun/Recreation
  • Spiritual/Religious
  • Financial/Money

Now, reflect on your goals. How do they fit into these categories? Are your goals spread across many areas, or are they concentrated in just a few?  Notice where your goals fall, and which categories are under-emphasized.

As you review your list, and categories that are under- or over-emphasized, consider defining or refining goals that may touch multiple areas.  For example, “Take a 30-minute walk 3 times a week” may fall into Health/Physical/Self-Care, and it may also fall into “Fun/Recreation.”  Combine a walk with listening to a book on tape, and it may also fulfill a “Personal Development/Education” goal.  Instead, take that walk with someone special, and it may also fulfill a “Family/Relationships” goal.

Having specific, measurable and attainable goals – and knowing why they are important to you – will help make them real.  For example, knowing WHY you are talking that walk – for self-care or relationship-building, for example – can help you stick to it over time.  These “full life” goal-setting categories can help in this process.