By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Not all goals will work out, here are ways to test your life goal.
You’re told that people who accomplish things pick goals and stick to them. We also hear plenty of stories about those who pursue life goals that take them nowhere and could never have been possible. How can you tell if the goals you are considering are worthwhile goals and the right goals for you?
Goals set the direction for your life. How viable are those goals? To measure anything you need a good ruler. Here is a set of measurement standards to help you decide if the goal you are considering is the right goal for you.
Is this goal consistent with my values?
You can pick a goal because it is popular or because you are told that is the thing you should be wanting, but you need to consider if when you reach this goal will you still like yourself. Will you be the person you would like to be?
It is easy to get caught up in the quest for someone else’s goal. Society talks about goals like popularity and financial wealth. If those goals work for you then go for it. But you need to take a good look at what really makes you happy and what you are all about. It is not success if what you value most is family, but you spend your life making money and mailing it home so your family can live without you.
If I do this will my family or friends be proud of me?
There are lots of goals that you could accomplish. Ask yourself if this goal is something you would want your children sharing at school. Would you be proud that you accomplished this thing or is this a goal that needs to remain in the secret darkness?
Is it worth doing?
There are lots of things you might devote your life to. You could set all kinds of world records. But which records will make you feel like you have accomplished something and which are simply records for having done something a minute longer than someone else.
Can it be done? Not what they say but your belief.
Do you really believe in your heart that this is a possible goal? It is possible to trick yourself into believing that if you do this or that then you will be happy. If you are not happy in the process of getting there then you are unlikely to be happy when you reach that goal. Don’t be the little kid in you spending your life digging a tunnel to China. Do find better ways to open up connections to far off places.
Can you do it?
Are you the right person to accomplish this goal? To reach goals you need to believe in yourself. Are you that person now or will you need to change yourself to get there? You may need more schooling or have to develop an underdeveloped strength.
Is it possible for you? Pursuing a sports goal when you are physically ill-suited for the sport may set yourself up for failure. You can hate music and practice but be pursuing a goal of fame by being the rock star on stage. Consider other ways you might achieve that goal of fame that are better suited to who you truly are.
If you find that you are not the right person for pursuing this goal then it is also likely that giving your life in pursuit of this goal is not the right thing for you.
What will get in your way – obstacles?
In selecting goals for yourself one often overlooked factor is the obstacles that will get in your way. How much money will this take? How much time will be needed? Do you have those resources or how will you raise the required money? Are you starting on a goal that will take several lifetimes to finish? What part of your plan will need to be modified or given up in order to overcome this obstacle?
When you develop this plan to overcome the obstacle will you find the effort in overcoming that barrier will have reduced the value of reaching that goal to the point you no longer want to pursue it?
Can I get past the obstacles?
Some obstacles can be overcome and some can’t. Flying to the moon would have been an impossible achievement for someone living in colonial America. This goal required the invention of the airplane, missiles, and lots of other technology before it became possible. It required a large team effort.
Some obstacles can be overcome by you alone, others require help from contemporaries and some goals are just outside the possibilities of things as they are now.
Will the goal be worth the cost?
Reaching any goal requires expenditures and sacrifices. Always consider how much time, how much money and how much pain and effort will be required to reach your objective. Just make sure that once you are there that reaching this goal will have been worth the sacrifices.
If you fail (Don’t make it) can you still be happy?
You want to be a great author and you write your whole life. No one may read that epic in your lifetime. Will it still be worth it? What if you wanted to play in the majors and you spend years trying. Will the journey be its own reward or will your life be ruined because you never made it to that goal?
If the pursuit of your objective is worth the effort by itself this is a great goal. If only the achieving will be worthwhile consider carefully what you will have given up or have lost in the pursuit of an unattained goal.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.
Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.