How to set lifetime goals

Setting goals is a great way to achieve success and meaning throughout your life. A ten-year study of Harvard MBA graduates found that the 3% of new graduates who set clear, written goals for their future earned ten times as much on average as the 97% of their classmates who didn’t have clearly written goals. (Sid Savara)

Goals give us a defined roadmap for actualizing our future potential.

Setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T.

For goals to be effective though, they need to be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. (For a great explanation of S.M.A.R.T. goals, check out MIT’s resource on Performance Development.) The more detailed and intentional your goals, the better your chance to accomplish them over time.

How to set lifetime goals - writetojoncook

I’ve set goals my entire adult life: goals in my career, exercise, hobbies, sports, monthly goals, weekly goals, all types of goals. It was only in the past two years where I started considering legacy or lifetime goals. Legacy sounds a bit morbid to me (just me personally, not saying the word legacy is morbid, but that’s just my opinion), so I choose to call them lifetime goals.

My faith is the most important thing to me, so my primary lifetime goal is to bring glory to Jesus Christ, my Savior. As that ultimate goal sets my paradigm, there are other S.M.A.R.T. goals that I’ve set as lifetime goals.

Three of my lifetime goals

There are several lifetime goals I’ve set, but here are three of them…

  • Live faithfully, joyfully, prayerfully, and generously in how I approach my everyday life and relationships around me.
  • Create a dynamically positive legacy that lasts well past occasional memories and chance reminders.
  • Be financially successful to the point where my family and others may be empowered to do incredible things, but not so much that they don’t have to do anything. (I stole part of this idea from Warren Buffett. If you have to borrow, borrow from the best!)

Now, none of these three are as specific as a weekly or monthly goal, but they are specific in their intentionality. They’re measurable in the emotions and responses that can be measured from people who will last beyond me. They are attainable through the power of God working in my life. They are realistic in that every day is a choice opportunity to either add or detract from their possibility. And finally, they are timely in that they are lifetime goals.

Set and share your lifetime goals

Have you taken the time to set lifetime goals? What do you want to accomplish and contribute in your lifetime? Why would you want to set lifetime goals?

If you haven’t set lifetime goals, I’d encourage you to take some time today or later this week to sit down and write out at least 2-3 S.M.A.R.T. lifetime goals you want to achieve in your life.

Take as much time as you need to craft, rehash, scrap, and refine them, but then share them! Share them with your spouse, best friend, co-worker, family member, business partner, whoever you want.

Share your lifetime goals with me on social media!

If you want to share them with me on social media, I’d be honored to hear from you. Tag @writetojoncook and #LifetimeGoals on either Instagram or Twitter so I can celebrate your lifetime goals with you. If you have questions, let’s start a conversation.

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