Written by Dylan Robertson (Co-founder)
For the better half of my life I have been setting goals. Early on, I would make big proclamations, to anyone that would listen, that some achievement would be accomplished in the coming weeks, months, or year. Then, through sheer will and determination I would attempt to make it happen.
Of course, there have been instances in which my will and determination didn’t always pull through. My dream of playing hockey in the NHL fell short at a young age because I thought skill, and a dream would allow me the opportunity that so many practiced and trained for tirelessly. However, like many things, with time I became more clear on what it was I wanted to achieve and became more efficient with how to do so.
When University rolled around, I was given one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, a journal. This gift turned into a path I still walk - a path of refining the vision I have for my life and the world around me. This allowed me to harness the power of my mind into written goals. It allowed me to think them through, visualize them, and become clear on how I could achieve what I was headed after.
That said, this blog is about more than just writing your goals down. That's only the surface. This article is to explore how we can better understand the process of setting goals and empower ourselves to reach them.
Why Setting Goals Is Important?
Everyone talks about how important it is to set goals, so much so that it has almost become cliché. Statements such as: "If you can believe, you will achieve'' flood our feeds and inspire us to take action. But, without the understanding of why it's important, our goals often become stagnant and fizzle out over time. Understanding the “why” behind the action of goal-setting is the first key to setting intentional goals. To help break it down, I’ve listed three reasons I believe goals are important:
- A sense of direction - Have you ever wandered through life, not sure of what action or opportunity to invest time into next? This is very common and it is nothing to be ashamed of. However, writing down your goals will provide you with direction for wherever you’re at in life.
- A sense of purpose - In times of chaos, a sense of purpose is necessary to ground us and give us faith in our journeys. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this sense of purpose helped our team at Respira continue to drive forward even when times were uncertain.
- A sense of fulfillment - There is nothing more fulfilling than manifesting a vision that you've set out and making it a reality. By setting goals, you are setting intentions and when the intention is met and achieved, there is nothing more fulfilling.
The 3 Keys to Achieving your Goals
Now that we’re clear on why it's important, it’s time for the next step. Many of you may already have a goal setting technique that works for you, so please feel free to skip ahead. For those that are interested, I believe there are a few key elements to ensure the goals you set are achieved.
It begins with Reflection.
At the end of every year the first part of my plan for the following year is to reflect on the previous one. What did I learn? Who am I and what is it that I value? What are all the things I’d like to achieve this coming year? Does my mindset match my dreams? Which people in my life bring me up and which people bring me down? What habits should I keep, which should I release, and what new habits do I want to form?
By understanding how your previous year went, you can then take the necessary steps to improve in the areas you seek to improve.
Write your goals down with intention.
Everyone knows they should write their goals down. But go one step further, really understand why you’re writing it down. Understand where it comes from and whether it's meaningful enough for you to stick with it through all the challenges and distraction that 2021 may throw at you.
This process will look different for everyone based on how they view their purpose and what a successful year looks like. For me, it’s about balance and in order to achieve that balance I create goals in eight different areas:
- Spiritual Health - How connected are you to whatever spiritual or religious beliefs you hold? How can you deepen that connection to better understand the higher purpose of your life?
- Mental Health - How is your mental health? Are there areas in which you mentally want to improve or perhaps are there areas of your mentality that you feel could be refined? What can you do to improve your mental health
- Relationships - How healthy are the relationships you keep with others as well as yourself? Do you love yourself and present a loving energy to those around you? Explore your circle and aim to improve the relationships you have around you.
- Financial Health - Are you financially stable and can you improve the way you view money? Can you do more with your money, what habits do you have surrounding money and the value of it? Is there a certain amount or investment you’d like to make?
- Emotional Health - Are you in control of and in tune with your emotions? How can you open up and allow yourself to experience all emotions? Is there work that needs to be done in having better control over your emotions?
- Growth & Development - What new skills or experiences would you like to participate in?
- Physical Health - Physically how do you feel, look and perform? Do you want to have a more active lifestyle? How will you be active in 2021?
- Wants - This last one isn't so much about health but I personally desire certain things in life. It could be a trip, a pet, a new tennis kit. Choose to select one or two “things” and set a course to acquire them. At the same time, assess your relationship and desire for material things and ask whether it’s really worth it.
By setting out pillars like this, I find I am able to assess the goals in each area and begin working towards them in balance so that ultimately I can achieve my purpose of living a balanced life.
Check in with your goals regularly
Consistency is key with goals. Time flies by and if you’re not taking the time to review what you’ve written, the year will be gone and no changes will be made. By checking in regularly with your goals, you can remain aligned with small actions daily, weekly, and monthly. A reminder of the importance of regularly checking in with goals is this:
Thoughts → Actions → Habits → Character → Destiny
The more you read about them, the more you’ll think about them. What you think about, you will begin to act towards. Consistent action forms new habits. The habits you do daily will form who you are as a person. Who you are as a person tells the story of your life. It is for this reason that I set regular goal intervals such as this...
Yearly goals > 6 Month goals > Quarterly goals > Monthly goals > Weekly goals > Daily goals.
With these regular intervals I can ensure each high level goal is being worked towards daily. All those daily actions will eventually lead into the final end goal.
I’m young, and aware that I am not an expert in goal setting, but I am the result of compounded thoughts and actions that led to certain experiences over 25 years. I’ve learned what works for me and I believe this structure can be applied to anyone's goal setting routine to help enhance what they already know and do.
With the year that was 2020, I am craving balance. The year flew by for us at Respira, and I have shared this same teaching with everyone on our team. In 2021, I hope you achieve what you’re setting out to accomplish, that you do so in good health, and with a focus on a sustainable lifestyle.