When it comes to living a richer, happier and more fulfilling life, it’s vital that you are setting goals for yourself.
That is the number one purpose of goal setting. You always want to be working towards something that is going to give you a better life and, as we have already discussed in previous blogs, goals give you that focus.
However, do we always set goals that are good for us? How can we ensure that every goal we set and achieve is contributing to our overall happiness?
This is where understanding your core values and aligning them with your long-term goals come into play.
What are values?
Values are essentially a set of rules or core beliefs that are programmed into you, and become intrinsic to you, from an early age. They are usually quite stable, although it is possible for them to change over time.
Things like fairness, honesty, humility, etc. are some simple examples of values, but they can be much more complex than this.
It’s always a good idea to run your life in accordance with your values as this is what is going to make you happy in the long run. If you have ever been in a job you hate, or gone along with someone else’s plan that you don’t agree with, you will know how it feels to live outside of your values.
It’s not very pleasant.
Don’t live life outside of your values
I had an old sales manager who had this rather disturbing saying of, “Take your bite out of the customer, before they take their bite out of you!”, which was totally against my values.
I valued building up long-term relationships with my customers, which he didn’t really care about. For him, it was all about hitting targets regardless of who he crushed. Whether that old-school system worked or not was irrelevant to me because I didn’t want to work like that.
If I had continued to work like him when I started my business, hitting the goals I set myself wouldn’t have been that fulfilling because I would have had to go against my values to do it.
Your goals should align with your values
That’s the thing about goals, they will always be more valuable, more achievable and more rewarding if they are in alignment with your values, otherwise you are just going to be in conflict with yourself the entire time, which makes everything so much harder.
On the other hand, if your values are in alignment, you don’t really have to think about working towards them that much. Everything is in this state of flow and you’re going to be able to overcome obstacles much more easily, or at least be more motivated to tackle the really tricky barriers.
Defining your goals
The main reason why people might be working towards something that is out of sync with their true values is because they haven’t actually sat down and done the work to define what their goals really are.
When I set goals, I write them down every single day and I know what I am chasing, but a lot of people never really think about it all that much.
When you truly define your goals, then you aren’t going to be happy doing something that goes against them, or isn’t in line with what you really want. This is part of the reason why some people end up in jobs they hate or in relationships that aren’t any good for them – they haven’t ever set a true, value-driven goal before.
This means they aren’t alerted to things in their life that are going against their values and long-term happiness. People like this often drift around, unhappy with their lot but with no real direction, which is a shame.
Staying on course to your long-term vision
Fundamentally, your long-term goals and values should be intertwined with one another at a very deep level and need to be the thing driving you forwards.
However, that doesn’t mean if you do something you don’t really like you are failing. It’s fine to be in a job you don’t really like, if it’s going to help you achieve something more long term or is a stepping stone to a better job. Each little goal you set doesn’t always have to be totally value driven, but it should always contribute to achieving a bigger, more ambitious goal that is driven by your values.
The thing is, life isn’t always going to be a linear path that is 100% aligned with your values. It drifts and sways, so it’s ok for you to drift a little too – but always keep your end goal in mind.
This is critical not only to your success, but to your overall mental wellbeing too. Humans need purpose, and they need to know that they are working towards something meaningful.
Otherwise, what’s the point to all of this?
If you’re keen to learn more about goal setting, seizing on opportunities or just getting the most out of life, I’d love to hear from you.