When I was building my first company, I became obsessed with goal setting. I studied and researched all of the different methodologies for setting goals. I finally came to what I believed was the best method and implemented it into my business AND my personal life. If it worked for business, it will work in my personal life too, right? It wasn’t until I found myself being miserable when I missed goals AND when I hit goals that I realized that the way you set goals for business should not be the way you set goals in your personal life.
Your happiness, fulfillment, and ultimately success depends on you using different approaches.
There are many ways to set goals, for businesses and for your personal life. Some businesses (Google) use OKR’s, which was explained in detail by John Doerr in his best seller, “Measure What Matters.”
Verne Harnish, author of “Scaling Up: How a few companies make it and why the rest don’t,” Uses a mixture of goals, critical numbers, and what he calls “rocks” to get teams on the same page about their goals.
Some, like Dilbert creator Scott Adams, even say goals are unnecessary to succeed and are actually counterproductive.
After trying all of these out in my personal life, I was stuck. None of these methods were working for me and, even as my business was scaling, I was stressed and unhappy.
It wasn’t until I read Vishen Lakhiani’s “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” that a lightbulb went off.
Since implementing this change in my life, I have become more fulfilled, empowered, and happier than I have ever been. I am also achieving more productivity and financial success than ever as well.
The biggest problem we all make with personal life goal setting is that we set “means goals” and not “end goals.”
A means goal is a goal you set as a means to an end.
For example, let’s say you set a goal to make million dollars. This goal drives you to work countless hours, ruin relationships with close ones, and be miserable in the process. Then, after years of burn out, you hit the million dollars, and guess what? You are unhappy and unfulfilled.
If you just hit your number 1 goal, why are you so unhappy? Because you set a mean goal.
This goal of one million dollars wasn’t actually what you wanted. It was a means to an end.
The better way to set goals is to figure out what that end is. Also known as an end goal.
Maybe you wanted to make a million dollars so that you could feel free and travel the world with your spouse. You don’t need a million dollars to do that. You can actually do that with less than $50,000. If your goal from the beginning was to travel the world with your spouse, then you can be more creative in how you achieve that goal.
People who go to college, grad school, or law school fall under this same category a lot of time. They are going to school as a means to an end, only to find that they are miserable afterwards (and in debt).
So how do you know if you are setting means goals?
An easy way to know if you are setting means goals is to consistently ask yourself, “why?” Keep peeling back your goals until you get to that final why. A good indicator that you have set a means goal is if you can add the phrase, “so that I can . . .” to the end of it.
For example: I want to make a million dollars so that I can be free to travel the world with my spouse.
The best way to get straight to an end goal is to ask yourself the following questions:
“How do I want to feel at the end of the day?”
“What sets my soul on fire?”
“What would I pursue/ do if I knew I would fail anyway?”
“How do I want to contribute to the world?”
Most end goals invoke strong feelings and include them in the goal.
Here are 3 ways to know you have hit an end goal:
- It is a feeling.
- It sets your soul on fire. When you say it, you feel that feeling and can instantly visualize the state you are in when you reach the end goal.
- It is perfectly aligned with your core values. It is in fact, your truest expression of your core values.
No, these do not have to be “SMART” goals. They are not achievements or awards. For most, you may be the only one who knows that you have reached them (because they are qualitative). And that is perfectly okay.
A great video to get started with setting end goals is Vishen Lakhiani’s youtube video on goal setting.
The point of life is not to simply achieve or check a result off the list. It is to set your soul on fire and live your best life. End goals empower you to do that.
Want to start setting your end goals now?
Here’s my google sheet template for setting end goals, download it here! I love empowering people to live their best life so I will send you it for free.