10 Life Hacks for Using the Five Kinds of Goals in Life

We’re just a few days into the New Year. With the odometer of life turning one more calendar-year digit, many people will think, hope, dream and plan about what’s next in life.

What’s been on your mind? What are you hoping to do next in life? What goal or New Year’s resolution have you been pondering?

Perhaps a better question is, “Do you have a plan to make a plan?” If you were to go about setting a few goals this next year, how would you spend your time? This is a pertinent question right now, because the time between early in the New Year lends itself to refection.

That’s why this post jumps ahead to the fifth essential life design skill in the current series, God’s Plan for Your Life Plan. (This is the second post in the series that includes a free e-book giveaway for those that follow along.) The name of Life Design Skill #5 is “Imagine Your Better Future.” It’s all about thinking further ahead to where God is leading you and defining your life’s biggest wins. Again, now is a fantastic time to start practicing this skill.

As you know, the intentional living product market is saturated with books, events, and online courses. It can be a bit intimidating to navigate a wide variety of different approaches and even philosophies. The purpose of this post is to introduce you to some of the basics that have been integrated in the complete life planning system called Life Younique.

To start, I want to explain the basic barriers that all people experience when they set goals. There are five common common obstacles.

5 Common Obstacles to Setting Goals

  1. People plan to do too much. Another way to say it is that people over-plan. They simply set too many goals or make too big of a to-do list.
  2. People don’t take enough time to plan. This second barrier is related to why people plan too much. It’s faster to make a list of 10 things to do than it is to make a list of the three most important things to do first.
  3. People hope for vague aspirations or outcomes. All human beings long for a better future. We all dream to some degree. But most folks don’t get vivid, precise or specific about what they want to do. This also requires time. It’s important to know that allowing yourself to be guided by only a “general sense” of the future is your greatest barrier to setting life goals or creating a life plan. Fuzzy is your enemy.
  4. People never write things down. There is something magic about writing down your life goals. It’s forces you to get specific and it enables ongoing attention and attentiveness. If fuzzy is your enemy, than focus is your friend. And writing is a key step in engaging your ability to focus.
  5. People don’t use a system. Ultimately when you succeed at setting and reaching a goal, you want to do it again. Goal setting done well is a repeatable process. And a good process brings a myriad of benefits based on the input and experience of others. And others, I might add, who have accomplished more than you.

Given these barriers we can now assert the single most important step for setting life goals: Set aside enough time to plan well.

How much time is enough? That is different for everyone, but I recommend that you spend an entire day. This can be a special day during a holiday or weekend that you set aside to enjoy. Or, you might make a retreat experience where you spend two half-days planning while doing other activities that you love. For example, I like to travel for a weekend away while giving myself two, 4-hour time slots to plan and set new goals for the year. During the other times I will ride my mountain bike, kite board, snowboard, go fishing or just read.

The most important aspect of designing this time is to make it life-giving. What place energizes you? What activities motivate you? Do you like curling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate on the sofa, or would you rather sit a picnic table in the woods? Do you write your goals in a leather-bound journal or with an apple pencil?

Once you block the time on your calendar, you need to know how to spend it. To get started with that, you need to understand different kinds of goals. This topic is where the different approaches come in and can become confusing. So I want to give you an extremely practical and powerful way of understanding different types of goals.

I am not talking about different life domains when I refer to different types of goals. A goal may be set in your work life (make 10% more this year) or in your social life (go on one date per week) or with a personal hobby (run a half marathon). I am referring to the time-frame and complexity related to different kinds of goals. Losing five pounds and learning to play the piano, for example, take different amounts of time, preparation and steps in order to complete. In fact, its the failure to understand different types of goals and the different time horizons that relate to them that make most goal setting processes a waste of time.

When you survey all of the kinds of human accomplishment there are really five types of goals.

The 5 Types of Goals

  1. Ultimate or Lifetime Aspiration Goals. These goals are those classic bucket-list kind of dreams. Many of these take a long time to prepare for or are things that you hope to do in different life stages. Generally speaking the will happen more than 3 years away. Included in this type of goal is the classic epitaph refection. What are you hoping that people will say about you at your funeral? What do you sense will be the ultimate contribution of your life? While this may sound “heavy,” I am a firm believer in the meaningful, imaginative work and planning on this level. It’s the ultimate horizon of “before you die” thinking. I wrote a blog post series years ago on how to develop your bucket list with lots of examples. I have also shared some insights from Steve Job’s life on how he used reflection on death to accomplish great things.
  2. Next Chapter or Life Prototype Goals. These are goals you set for roughly the next 3 years. They require reflection that is not common or immediate (hence the full day needed to plan). They relate to all of your life domains, so you will be thinking as much about your job as you are your family. This kind of goal setting engages your thinking about life stages, personal values, and deeper aspirations. These goals are crucial because so many people get stuck in ruts with their life, like the job that doesn’t challenge or that degree you didn’t finish.
  3. One Year or New Year Resolution Goals. These are the goals that define what you want different about your life as you take another lap around the sun. The most important aspect of this kind of goal setting is that you want to be able to accomplish the goal within a 12-month window. Examples include developing a financial plan this year, taking 4 camping trips with the family or finishing a job training certificate in the next 12 months.
  4. 90-Day or Sustained-Sprint Goals. This type of goal is very significant in the planning model that I have developed at Younique. A 90-day goal is just long enough to enable you get something really big accomplished. Yet it is short enough for an season of intense focus. That’s why I think of it as a “sustained-sprint” goal. Examples include, reading 5 books or saving 1,000 dollars or loosing 15 pounds in the next 90 days.
  5. Daily To-do or Weekly Task List Goals. This type of goal is the smallest and most bite-sized. Some people couldn’t go through life without creating lists every day while others resist this kind of short-term or daily planning. (After all God has wired human beings with an incredible variety of creative and productive capability.) I realize that in a post on setting life goals you are probably not thinking about this kind of goal. Yet, it is important to distinguish the mini-goals that make up our days and weeks and relate these to our bigger life goals. Examples include making calls to your top ten clients or purchasing everything you need for a work project at Home Depot.

Once you have a good handle on the kinds of goals you have to work with, it’s now time to put the life planning puzzle together. The secret to creating a simple yet powerful life plan is to have the right kind of goals at the right amount of time in the future. I have personally spent a great deal of time learning, practicing and training others to optimize the recipe for human functioning. You will note how this recipe helps you navigate the five common obstacles to setting goals.

The best way to work with the five types of goals is to employ these 10 guidelines.

10 Life Hacks For Creating a Life Plan (Once You Know About the 5 Types of Goals)

  1. Create a “future context” by working on goals furthest away first.
  2. Develop one to three sentences that describe your ultimate contribution or what we call at Younique your “Tombstone tweet:” The 140-280 character tweet you would want to describe why your life ultimately mattered. This is the first part of your “Ultimate Goals”
  3. Create a bucket list of 20-100 things you want to do before your life has expired. Every time you do a day of planning, try to add 5-10 things the list until you have a completed list of 100. Mark things off the list you have completed. This is the second part of your “Ultimate Goals”
  4. Select a picture to describe your life 3-years from now. This the first part of your “Next Chapter Goals.”
  5. Develop a list of vivid description bullets for your life three years from now (Next Chapter Goals). Think of this as your next chapter “prototype.” A prototype is something fun that you get to tweak and design. Every time you do a day of planning revisit the prototype of what you hope your life looks like 3-years from now. I recommend having at least nine bullets that vividly describe your life. (In a future post in this series I will share my current list.) This is the second part of your “Next Chapter Goals”.
  6. Decide on no more than 4, one-year objectives (New Year’s Resolutions) you would like to accomplish in the next year. More goals than that is futile for 98% of the population. You want to win so don’t overcomplicate my recipe. If you do all four things this year, then you can consider adding more next year.
  7. All goals longer than 90-days away may be qualitative only and don’t necessarily need to be quantitative. But if goals you set in your bucket list or in your 3-year prototype or with your one-year objectives are quantitative that is okay. Just don’t obsess about a number that is too far away.
  8. Clarify one 90-day goal at a time. Get very specific about it. Don’t have more than one. All goals 90-days MUST be developed as “smart goals.” S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-oriented and Time bound. You got this!
  9. Focus every day on your one 90-day goal.
  10. Set weekly and daily task list goals only after you have reviewed your other goals. While I recommend that you use a a list for weekly and daily tasks, I know many successful people who do not. But to the degree that you do set short-term goals, make sure you always review and activate steps toward your one 90-day goal before you do anything else.

It’s now up to you to create a simple life plan and start dreaming about your future. Remember you need to block a good chunk of time. Why not get your calendar out right now and make it happen! If you don’t create the margin you won’t activate your imagination.

Here are a few things to keep you going. First, be on the look out for a free e-book that I am about to release to help guide your life planning this year. Second, I am going on a bucket list adventure of a lifetime in the first quarter of 2019. Are you interested in learning more about life design from me? If so get ready to follow along as I will give an unprecedented amount of free content and training live from a destination soon to be announced. It’s a #LifeDesignWithMe initiative and you are invited.

> Read more from Will.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Introducing the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design

God wants you to design your life.

That’s a bold statement. But is it too bold? Heretical even?

Let’s try out the opposite claim: God wants you to make major life decisions without thinking them through.

We know that can’t be right. The Bible shouts against the folly of thoughtless decision-making. There’s even a whole book about it (Proverbs).

So let’s take one more crack at it. Maybe the problem is that we’re assuming that we should be making decisions at all. Maybe that’s our pride talking. Surely the most gospel-centered statement is something like this: God doesn’t want you to make decisions about your life. He wants you to receive the life he designed for you.

Sounds orthodox, doesn’t it? Pious, even. We could close the service and take up the offering right there.

But how does it actually work? What does it practically mean to leave everything up to God?

Think of it this way: is there any hint in Scripture that the more gospel-centered your life is, the fewer decisions you make? If that were true, then the godlier you become, the more you resemble a jellyfish or a houseplant or a lamp-post or something else that doesn’t make decisions. It’s hard even to picture what life like that would be. Worse, it doesn’t match up with the model of the godliest people in the Bible, including Jesus himself.

So what is God’s plan for this thing called a life plan? How do you follow Jesus and fashion your life in a proactive way?

Becoming gospel-centered doesn’t mean becoming less human, but more human. It doesn’t mean making fewer decisions about your life. It means making more decisions the right way.

God wants to do more than command you as a servant. He wants to raise you as his child. Our Father in heaven is training you and me to make the decisions that he would make if he were in our shoes.

That is gospel-centered life design.

So I’m going to reassert the claim I began with: God wants you to design your life. But I want to add a tag: God wants you to design your life after his dream for you. God’s plan for your life plan is simple: it’s all about finding your personal calling and aligning it with your daily life, especially your job.

See, God has been dreaming about your life since before he created the world. In fact, he created the world with his dream of you in mind. He has a special assignment for you to do. He intended that the world he made and everything that has ever happened in it would shape the person who is reading this sentence at this very moment. Yes—you read that right.

God’s dream of you is utterly unique. The proof is that you are utterly unique. God’s heart’s desire for you is that you would fully live out all that he made you to be as a one-of-a-kind reflection of his glory. He is so committed to that destiny for you that he sent his Son to die for your sins to put you back on track to get there.

In the end, gospel-centered life design is about learning to be you and do you, with Christ and for Christ.

But gospel-centered life design doesn’t come naturally. It is learned behavior, thoughtfully practiced over time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce you to the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design (The Life Design 7). These seven skills guide the work we do at Younique, a training company for the church that Dave Rhodes and I recently started. Our aim to help Christ followers gain break-thru clarity in their personal calling and vocational planning. The mission of Younique is to deliver gospel-centered life design to every believer.

I can’t wait till the next post to get started, so I’m going to show you all seven life design skills right now:

Skill #1 – Engage Your Vocational Vision. Embrace four lifelong practices to maximize your work potential and find your dream job.

Skill #2 –Discover Your One Thing. Sum up a wealth of self-assessments with a clear and concise understanding of your special calling from God.

Skill #3 – Own Your Personal Calling. Live every day from a deep sense of what you were born to do and what drives everything you do.

Skill #4 – Improve Your Whole Life. Take a few simple steps right now toward vitality in all dimensions of life.

Skill #5 –Imagine Your Better Future. Think further ahead to where God is leading you and define your life’s biggest wins.

Skill #6 – Achieve Your Next Goal. Bring laser focus to the most important next step in your life, over and over again.

Skill #7 – Integrate Your Continual Break-Thru. Repeatedly reflect on your progress and reset your priorities using three universal rhythms.

As the New Year kicks off, I’d encourage you to follow this series closely as I shed light on these seven essential skills one at a time. And watch for an upcoming release of a free resource on Skill #1: A free ebook named “Clarity Spiral.”

Cory Hartman contributed to this article.

> Read more from Will.


 

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.