I’ve read many books that stress the importance of understanding your personal goals, getting clear about what’s most important to you in life. My goal is to explain the process of living with integrity to your goals, so you learn how to consciously use your goals to make decisions and take action.


Why Do Goals Matter?

Many people have goals in life but

do not know how to go about achieving them. This is because they are not clear

where to lay their focus. The main benefit of choosing your goals consciously

is that you will gain tremendous clarity and focus, but ultimately you must use

that newfound clarity to make consistent decisions and take committed action.

So the whole point of discovering your goals is to improve the results you get

in those areas that are truly most important to you.

Goals are priorities that tell you

how to spend your time, right here, right now. There are two reasons that

priorities are important for our lives.

The first reason is that time is our

most limited resource; time does not renew itself. Once we spend a day, it’s

gone forever. If we waste that day by investing our time in actions that don’t

produce the results we want, that loss is permanent. We can earn more money,

improve our physical bodies, and repair broken relationships, but we cannot

redo yesterday. Here on earth, we appear to be mortal with limited life spans,

and if we value our mortal lives, then it’s logical to invest them as best we

can. You’re free to decide what “best” means to you. The very idea

that some areas of your life appeal to you more than others means that having

goals will be of great benefit to you.

The second reason priorities matter

is that we human beings tend to be fairly inconsistent in how we invest our

time and energy. Most of us are easily distracted. It’s easy for us to fall

into the trap of living by different priorities every day. One day you

exercise; the next day you slack off. One day you work productively; the next

day you’re stricken with laziness. If we don’t consciously use our priorities

to stick to a clear and consistent course, we’ll naturally drift off course and

shift all over the place. And this kind of living will not only yields poor

results but it will also lead us to start blaming everyone for our failures

instead of taking responsibility of our own lives.

So for these two reasons – limited

time and a typically low index of distraction – consciously knowing and living

by our goals become extremely important. Goals act as our compass to put us

back on course every single day, so that day after day, we’re moving in the

direction that takes us closer and closer to our definition of the

“best” life we could possibly live. The “best” is your own

ideal, but generally as you get closer to this ideal, you’ll enjoy increasingly

positive shades of “better” even if you never reach “best.”

Because you can’t do everything at

once, you have to prioritize which ones are most precious to you. You may not

be able to achieve all the things you wish to achieve within the span of your

lifetime because you probably don’t know how long your lifetime will be; nor

can you be certain how long it will take to achieve each goal. But realize that

the closer you get to achieve each goal, the better that area of your life will


Your Goals

To create your own personal goals

hierarchy, the question to ask yourself is this: What is truly important to me

in life?

Brainstorm a list of your goals as

your answers to this question. Try to reduce your responses to a single word or

two. For example, one of your answers may be, “successful career” Don’t

worry about the order of your list yet or how long it is. Just get everything

down in writing.

So you might end up with a list that

looks something like this:

  • good grades
  • having a job
  • good Health
  • having Fun
  • Happiness
  • Successful career
  • Learning
  • inner Peace



Your Goals

The next step is to prioritize your

list. This is usually the most time consuming and difficult step because it

requires some intense thinking

So you may begin by asking yourself

these questions: Which of these goals is truly the most important to me in life?

If I could only satisfy one of these goals, which one would it be? The answer

to this question is your number one goal. Then move down the list and ask which

remaining goal is the next most important to you, and so on, until you’ve

sorted the whole list in priority order.

Sometimes the highest priority goal

will be obvious to you. Other times you’ll have it narrowed down to a few

choices but will have a hard time figuring out which one is really the most

important among those.

By prioritizing your goals

consciously, you’ll be able to rely on them when you need to make important

decisions in the future. If you know that what is truly most important to you

in life is to experience inner peace for example, then it will be easier for

you to say no to those things that take you away from peace.

So again, write out your goals.

Decide which ones are truly most important to you. Prioritize them. And in this

case it’s fine if you have more than 10-15. More than 100 is even OK; it will

just take longer to prioritize.

These goals represent the

experiences that you feel are part of the “best” life you could live.

I don’t mean a good life or even a great life – I mean the best life. If a life

where going to Europe wouldn’t be the absolute best for you, then you’d better

not include that goal on your list.

Now that you have your goals

hierarchy, pick the top one or two goals, and consciously devise a values list

that will lead you to achieve them. Let’s say your goals list is prioritized as

above, so your #1 goal is good grades. Studying daily can be your #1 value.

Then you might make self-discipline your #2 value, so you’ll stick to your

study program. You must design these values based on your own personal

circumstances. It makes no sense for some one without an accounting certificate

to go out looking for a job as an accountant.  Like any skill this takes practice, but over time

you’ll become better and better at designing your values to adapt to your


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