How to not lose sight of your values when making goals

I come at this both behaviorally and philosophically. I am a Humanist and provide philosophic counselling on goal setting.

What I tell people to do is you need to spend some time setting both primary goals, secondary goals & tertiary goals. Most of what you are talking about is people focused on tertiary goals, which is why they lose sight of their primary goals.

Primary Goals

For instance, my primary goal is to live life fully, love other people and leave the world a better place. If I do that, I’ve succeeded, even if financially I am not in any given moment a financial success. Life is full of ups and downs.

Secondary Goals

My secondary goals are related to the “leave the world a better place” part of my primary goals. I want to help people to stop bullying and learn how to live life without fear of other people. How to make better decisions using critical thinking so that they can actually create strategies that will actually work and help them reach their goals. Having my secondary or business goal grounded in my primary goal of leaving the world a better place helps me not give up even when I want to. My work is too important to not do.

Tertiary Goals

My tertiary goals is – what exactly I’m going to do to accomplish my 2ndary goals.  So in my case, that is – create a learning company that teaches these things. It is only when I get to a tertiary goal that I can really start to develop a strategy to accomplish it. But by making sure my tertiary goal is based in my primary goal, when I create that strategy I do so in a way that honors and incorporates my primary goal – which is to live life fully.

To not get lost in the weeds of the day to day work of trying to make my tertiary goal a reality – I re-evaluate every 6 months. Is what I am doing helping me to my primary goals or secondary goals or tertiary goals? Do I need to rethink one of my tertiary goals?  Do I need to re-allocate my time and priorities? The answer is ALWAYS yes. Yes I do need to re-prioritize based on what is working and what isn’t and whether or not I am enjoying the work or not.  I know there are things I should be doing for my business, but if I don’t like doing them, I’m not going to do them. Every six months I take stock. What am I doing well, what am I avoiding? If I am avoiding something, which I always am, is there another way for me to accomplish that task without doing it in a way I don’t like?  If I get creative, the answer is yes.  Let me give you an example, I was doing public speaking and I realized I don’t like travelling. So I retooled the business to be an online learning program. If people want me – they can take an online class and skype me in if they want a live Q&A. I’m much happier and I’m not neglecting my family and it takes WAY less time than the other business model I was pursuing.

By making my primary life goals explicit, I am able to consider those goals as I make strategies for my business goals (which are actually tertiary and in service to my primary and secondary goals. I don’t see  how anyone can balance their priorities if they don’t make their values and priorities explicit. If writing those values down helps, do that. For me – my primary goal is my motto. Live life, love other people, leave the world a better place. When it doubt, I go to my motto. It has yet to steer me wrong and I’m very satisfied with the arc of my life so far and where I am going to now.

PS  - I do teach this philosophic approach and the critical thinking skills that go with this in an online program  or as a streaming video (through Amazon Prime) or as a DVD.

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