A purpose in action is merely the consistency of everyday choices that reflects a movement towards your goals. Goals are the markers that exist as steppingstones towards achieving what you wish to. It is important to provide goals for yourself that are attainable, measurable, and consistent in terms that relate to your purpose.

So, how can we make good goals? How can we be sure to define our goals correctly? I’m glad you asked! A well-thought-out goal will incorporate these following aspects. These are in no particular order of importance.

Good goals can make your targets clear, and present the path to fulfillment!
Good goals can make your targets clear, and present the path to fulfillment!

Important Goal-Setting Aspects

Measurable: Your goal must be quantifiable. Don’t get this confused with the points I make in “bigger”-picture thinking. Your goals must be reached, but your purpose can transform! Simply put, the goals you set must be measurable to determine where you stand on achieving them and/or how much effort is required to complete it.

Motivating: The goals you set must motivate you. They must light a fire under you to inspire you to take action! Non-motivating goals will do little to sweep you off your feet. This ties in with the next attribute of goal-setting which is…

Relevant: Your goals must be the communicators between your everyday actions and your purpose (conscious direction). Without these communicators to guide you, you are driving blind, with only the hope of getting where you want to go. Your goals must be set in relation to your purpose, and if they are, then they are likely to motivate you as well.

Specific: You need to lay out exactly what must occur to achieve this goal. You need to consider the actions you will take, the mindset you need to employ, and the conditions surrounding the actions that make the goal more attainable. Doing this erases all ambiguity behind how to behave in accordance with your purpose.

Time-Sensitive: Your goals must be given a timeframe. If the goal-planning itself is an effect of conscious direction, and the actions you laid out were the energy, then obviously the timeframe is the time aspect of self-actualization! Your goals must be given specific times for their estimated achievement. Do all you can to achieve your goals within these timeframes, but remember that these timeframes are only estimates, and can be more or less realistic depending on the conditions you place on achieving the goal.

Written: Your goals MUST be written down along with all the other aspects. Doing so gives you a concrete log of what you thought when you set the goal, how you planned to go about achieving it, and the time in which it must be achieved. Long-term goals don’t survive unless they are written because they can be easily forgotten. I use a dedicated journal in which to write my goals because it constantly reminds me of my purpose and provides the inspiration for me to achieve them. If you can’t (or don’t) have your goal in writing, it isn’t specific enough.

Consistent evaluations are necessary for determining if you are on the right track in making a difference in your life.

If your goals are misaligned, the same outcome occurs as if your passions are misaligned, you end up using your resources to pursue a dead-end, one which does not provide you with fulfillment.

Goals are set merely as a means of helping you quantify your efforts.

Be wary of considering your goals as personal laws. This kind of attitude can create negative associations of them, should you fail to achieve one within an allotted time frame. Your goals aren’t laws, just mile-markers on the road to success. Don’t merely chase the achievement, live in the present moment and be thankful for the “now” but use your goals to direct you to a beneficial future.

To consider your goal as a law can negatively affect your ability to achieve it. If we feel upset as a result of failing to meet a timeframe, we can become discouraged from trying again in the future!
To consider your goal as a law can negatively affect your ability to achieve it. If we feel upset as a result of failing to meet a timeframe, we can become discouraged from trying again in the future!

The purpose of conscious direction is exactly that, a means for you to set meaningful goals. It all starts by asking the right questions to determine where you want to go, and how to get there. All you have to do is change parts of your questioning behaviors. Remember, you are the star of your own show. To determine the correct answers for your life we must start by asking the right questions. We discussed this already, but here is the recap.

Questioning

You can cultivate awareness of your goals by learning to question your present life. Answer these questions on a sheet of paper as honestly as you can to determine a sense of direction.

  1. Am I truly happy as I am right now, why not?
  • If I could change something about my current environment, what would it be?
  • If I could change something about myself right now, what would I change?
  • What does a day in my life look like? How do I feel throughout the day?
  • What kind of habits do I perform automatically throughout my day?
  • What do I spend my time thinking about?
  • What should I spend my time thinking about?
  • What are my top 10 values?
  • What are some expectations I have for myself, either immediately or long-term?
  1. What do I do every day that I enjoy?
Questions are the quickest way to get to the root of a problem. Asking the wrong questions can be as limiting to your happiness as failing to realize a problem even exists!
Questions are the quickest way to get to the root of a problem. Asking the wrong questions can be as limiting to your happiness as failing to realize a problem even exists!

These questions are going to accomplish a few things. They are going to teach you more about yourself and who you are than you may already be aware of. These questions will give you the perspective to ask whether or not your values are being considered in your actions. They will present the immediately unsatisfying things about your current environment, which allows you to begin your work on changing them. They also give you the ability to determine where you can alter your focus throughout the day!

This will give you a jump on your own self-awareness and hopefully stop the cycle of reactionary decisions you make. But for right now, these questions will give you the information and practice to begin truly thinking in your own best interests. The practice of asking why a thing exists, why we do something, and why we think what we think is astoundingly powerful. These kinds of questions cut through the noise of collectivity that is called “groupthink”. 

Groupthink can present multiple issues, and usually is a result of following the crowd through thick and thin, without asking "why?"
Groupthink can present multiple issues, and usually is a result of following the crowd through thick and thin, without asking “why?”

For more on groupthink read my post Society Suppresses Your “Why”.

-Austin Denison