One of the biggest mistakes people make when embarking upon a goal setting exercise is to disregard their personal value systems. If your goals are not consistent with your values, they work against each other. Your subconscious barometer will make sure you don't achieve goals that are not consistent with your values. You won't know why you aren't reaching your goals, you'll get frustrated, and you'll quit.
One of the most important considerations in setting goals and creating your goals road map is your value system. Probably one of the reasons so few people practice the art of goal setting is that so few people make it work for them. It's bad enough that only 3% of the total population ever embarks on a goal setting mission with any deliberation but it's worse when less than half of that 3% reap the rewards of goal setting when they do try it. The main reason they don't succeed is that they've created goals with little or no consideration of their value system.
It's important to point out that a value system is not right or wrong. It's your value system, it's what you "value". And, it will change as you age. For instance, you may place a high value on physical looks and vanity at a young age. As you grow older, these things become less valuable to you and, thus, your value system changes. As Reckless Kelly sings, "my first love was a wicked twisted road". Your first love will be formed from a vastly different value system than your later in life "loves".
Let's say you set a goal to make a million dollars in the next ten years. If you don't value money and being wealthy, you'll never reach your goal. If you set a goal to lose twenty pounds but you don't value health and physical appearance, you'll never hit that goal. If you set a goal to meet the love of your life and raise a family of four but you place a high importance on being independent and flexible, you'll never attain that goal. Nor should you.
Again, don't let anyone tell you that your value system is wrong. That's not possible. What's valuable to you is important. Just understand it will change and try to anticipate those changes when setting your goals, especially your long term goals. Your value system won't change much in the next six months so your short term goals are probably fine. But, you should consider how your value system might change in the next ten years before you sell yourself on a long term goal that isn't consistent with that value system. If you've read our articles on long term and short term goals or goal road maps, you'll know that you always start a goal plan with the long term goals. So, your anticipated value system changes are very important considerations when creating your goal plan.
Take an hour and write down all the things you value today, e.g. money, health, family, power, recognition, anonymity, friends. Make this list as long as you can. Then think about how these values might change in the next ten years and create another list. When you start building your goal plan, keep these lists in front of you and consider them when you decide to put a goal into your plan.
As Reckless Kelly sings, "my first love was a Wicked Twisted Road", your first love will be different that the loves of your later years. Be sure to consider how your value system will change over time. In the last episode of the popular '80s sitcom, Cheers, the characters discuss the meaning of life. Between the humor, you'll find some good advice, especially at the end where Norm makes Sam see what he truly values in life, his one true love. If you're serious about goal setting, you're going to need tools to aid in designing, refining, and following your plan. We've developed a tool we call the GoalTender but there are many others available on the web and we encourage you to research several articles and tools before investing your money. What works for one person may not work for you.
Life's up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.