Goal Setting and Creating Life Priorities

Life priorities is one of the most important things you can do in order to lay out your path to reach your dreams. This might strike you as strange. Why do you need to figure out your priorities if you know your dream is to become a creative writing teacher or a EMT professional?

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The answer is that we tend to thrive when all of our needs are met. And as much as you might adore the idea of teaching students how to creatively write, you won’t get far if you are gnawing with hunger at the end of the day or frazzled with stress so your eyes cross. The better you can create a healthy, balanced environment for yourself, the better your chances are of plowing ahead full steam and reaching those dreams.

It all starts with life priorities.

What is Life Priorities?


Life priorities are the concepts which guide your overall way of living. They aren’t tasks like “wash the dishes every night”. They are things like “be healthy” or “be serene”.  And they are long-term thoughts. These life priorities become the compass which helps to guide everything else you do. It creates a safe cocoon from which you build strength and gather fortitude to tackle whatever it is the world might send your way.

So sit down with a way to take notes and then breathe in a long, deep breath. Think about what makes you happy. Think about things which nurture you. Again, don’t be specific with ideas like “chocolate chip cookies”. Raise that up to a larger level. Is it “eating food which soothes me”? That is quite fine. Maybe you’ll have an item like “organize my world”. You don’t have to be specific right now. You want to think in bold, broad strokes.

Look at your list


Take a first run at this list. Aim to put perhaps eight to ten items on the list. It’s fine if you have more or fewer. Let it sit for a day or two. Revisit it. See if there’s anything else you want to add. Think if there’s a way to make one of your items a bit more all-encompassing. Remember, you don’t want to be too specific with this list. It’s about overall life direction.

When you’re happy with your list, I suggest you post it somewhere in a personal space. Maybe carry it on your phone or in your wallet. Every six months or so, take a look at it. See if it still resonates with you.

Creating your life priorities is a key first step in helping you reach your dreams and prosper!

Goal Setting – Creating Long Term Goals

Often we have an urge to set goals for RIGHT NOW. We have a dream in our head and we want to dash straight for it. To achieve success and prosperity, it generally works much better to plan out the progress in stages. You first would give thought to your life’s priorities. Once you have those in place, it’s time to think about your long term goals.

Long term goals work best in a range of about four to five years. This gives you the space to create some broad strokes of ideas. You’ll then work on the smaller details within that space. As you start on your long term goals, sit down with your list of life’s priorities and look at each one.

An example of a Goal Settings And Life Priorities list


Let’s say that one of your life’s priorities is to ‘be healthy’. Maybe, for you, this means in five years you’d like to be able to walk a 5K. Maybe, for you, it means you’d like to reach a certain weight. We all have different ways in which we think about our health. Find what is meaningful to you. Make sure your goal is realistic.

If one of your life’s priorities is to ‘be serene’, what might that look like for you? Would it involve meditation? Yoga? Something else?

Aim to be fairly specific with these long-term goals. Don’t just say “learn more stuff”. Is your goal “graduate from a four-year college”? Write that down. Is a goal “travel to another country”? Add that to the list. These are things you dream about doing within the next four to five years.

Focus on what, not how to find your life priorities


Don’t worry right now about how you will get to those goals. That process will come later. Your main focus right now is to think about what dreams will make you feel joyful and help you prosper in life.

As you list each goal, think about its realism. It can be a challenge to get to a goal – that is fine. But if you are a sedentary ninety year old and your goal is to run an ultra-marathon in five years, that’s probably not going to happen. Balance your dreams with a sense that they would be physically possible to do.

Also, when you work on each long-term goal, check back with your list of life priorities. Make sure each long-term goal you write down is related to at least one of your life priorities.

Rethink and readjust

If you end up with a whole bunch of long term goals that have nothing to do with any of your life priorities, it’s time to rethink your priorities or your goals. One or the other should be adjusted. If you’re going to put in all this work to reach a goal, you want to make sure it’s in service of something that is important to your overall life’s aims.

Once you have your long term goals set, it’s a good idea to hang them somewhere you can see, or to keep them visible on your phone or other device. The more you remind yourself regularly of your long-term goals, the better you can keep on track to make progress!

Goal Setting – Creating One Year Goals

We all have dreams about how we’d like our world to be. We strive toward prosperity and happiness. The best way to make progress toward these goals is to map out a plan and to regularly work on it. Once you’ve laid out your life’s priorities, and looked forward to your five year / long term goals, it’s time to start building concrete steps to move toward.

This is where your one year goals come in.

Why one year goals of life priorities?


For many people, one year goals are the perfect sweet spot. They are close enough in that we can feel, tangibly, what it would be like to have gotten those things achieved. We have a strong sense of what is possible. At the same time, they aren’t SO close that we get stressed about the particulars. We don’t have to worry about what we will do tomorrow or over the weekend.

We have ample space to dream – and we also get the pleasure of knowing this is well within reach.

Lay out your life’s priorities and your five year goals. Those two lists are your compass to help you head in the right direction. Start with the first item on your five year goal plan.

What would need to happen, in the next twelve months, to move you toward that goal?

You want to be specific here, in terms of what you would need to have happen in the next twelve months, for progress to be made. At the same time, you aren’t being tiny-step-by-tiny-step here. You are just listing a milestone. An achievement.

An example of one year goals


So, for example, if in five years you want to have published five books, perhaps in one year you’ll want to have published one book. It’s a step in that direction. You don’t have to worry just now about HOW you’ll write the book or WHERE you will publish it. Just list that milestone.

If in five years you want to play a specific difficult Mozart song on the piano, and you currently can’t play the piano at all, maybe a goal for one year is to have learned how to play any song on the piano. That gives you the time to work on that project. Don’t worry right now how you’ll learn. Just set down the goal.

For each five year goal you created, think of a one year goal which will move you toward that aim. It’s also fine to think up one year goals which don’t connect to any five year goal. Maybe some tasks will be done within the year and that is fine. Always make sure all your one year goals connect with one of your life priorities, though. If a goal seems wholly disconnected from your overall path in life, maybe it’s time to add something to your life priority list.

How to use it


This one year goal list is going to be absolutely key in mapping out all of your daily and weekly lists. It’s going to be the compass that keeps your energies and focus on task. It’s so easy in life to get pulled away from what’s important and to lose countless hours in meandering activities. The more you can remind yourself what you care about, and what will bring your prosperity, the more like you are to make progress in that direction. So hang your list by your desk, keep it on your phone, and update it every few months. Remind yourself, as you plan out your week, to always keep those goals in mind.

Every day is an opportunity to move you toward prosperity!

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