Setting powerful goals

In the last lesson we saw that being hopeful or optimistic involved having clear goals. In this lesson we will look at how we can formulate powerful goals that are inspiring and that continue moving us upwards and onwards.

  1. The importance of having goals: Having some goals, that one looks forward to achieving, are by themselves good for well-being. If you have goals, you have something to look forward to, some clarity on what you need to do and some idea of what success looks like.  Having clear and coherent goals ups the ante on well being further. By coherent and self concordant goals we mean that the various sub-goals you mave have should be coherent and not contradict each other and also be in concordance with an overarching life/ work goal.
  2. Finding overarching work/ life goal: Daniel Pink advises people to write a one sentence mission sentence defining who they are and what they are passionate about. Another way to think about it is to think as if you died and imagine what would be your epitaph or what eulogies people will say about you. These define your core essence and will help define your overarching work/ life goal.
  3. SMART and WISE Goals: It’s good to have one overarching life / work goal but achieving that and addressing it in its entirety can be paralyzing. That is why we are advised to chalk out sub-goals that are more short term and both SMART as well as WISE. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Agreed-on, Realistic and Time-bound. These dimensions ensure that the goal is concrete and manageable. WISE goals on the other hand are Worthy, Inspiring, Stretching and Energising If we are to continue growing and remain invested in our goals, they better be WISE too.
  4. Materialistic vs Organismic goals: Some life goals are materialistic like owning a ferrari. Others are more intrinsically motivated and organismic in nature like becoming a  good physician and saving many lives.  Organismic goals have been shown to be better for well-being than materialistic goals. Having materialistic goals is associated with worse mental health outcomes like depression, anxiety etc.

In this lesson we learned the importance of goals, how to define and choose goals and also which types of goals are better for well-being. The emphasis on organismic goals gels nicely with our earlier emphasis on intrinsic motivation and viewing work as a calling. In the next lesson we will take a look to how to discover and deploy strengths at work.

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