My 3-Point Checklist For Purposeful Goals

These three criteria don't always show up on traditional goal-setting lists, but they are significant in meaningful achievement.
Christi Hegstad March 6th, 2024

If you struggle at all with goals, you are definitely not alone.

Maybe you set them but they feel arbitrary.

Maybe they seem like the ‘right’ goals but you feel unmotivated by them.

Or maybe you set them and forget them.

As we approach the start of a new quarter, I thought I’d do my part to bring an element of purpose into your goal-setting process. I’m sharing three criteria that I encourage you to keep at the forefront when setting your goals.

These criteria may not show up on many of the traditional goal-setting lists, but when it comes to meaningful achievement, I find them incredibly important.

First, is your goal MEANINGFUL?

Why does this goal matter to you? Why is it important? What will be different as a result of achieving the goal?

Answers to questions like these will help ensure your goal is truly meaningful for you, not just an expectation or a ‘should.’ And getting clear on the purpose behind your goal is, in my opinion, the number one motivational tool in your tool kit!

Running your goal through the lens of your core values can also help solidify its meaningfulness.

Second, is your goal POSITIVELY IMPACTFUL?

When you look at the immediate effects of your goal, as well as the longer-term ripple effects, what kind of difference might it make? And is that difference a positive, purposeful one?

You may think your goal to run a marathon is all for you, for example, but what about the people you inspire along the way? The people who watch you from a distance and think, ‘Maybe I could do that, too’? The people who benefit from coaching you, partnering with you, training with you, running alongside you, and/or cheering you on?

Think in layers when you consider this element: You, your family, friends, coworkers, community, and the world at large, for starters. Never underestimate the power of a positively impactful goal!

Third, are you EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED to your goal in some way?

I used to encourage clients and workshop participants to make sure their goal excited them in some way. Over the years, however, I have come to learn that many of our goals – some of my own included – are designed to bring a sense of calm, peacefulness, balance, or contentment. The ‘excitement factor’ may not always fit.

I do believe, however, that some form of emotional connection will help you get started as well as sustain your motivation along the way.

I often discern it this way: How will I feel once I’ve achieved this goal?

And as an immediate followup question: How can I start feeling that today?

It may sound a little woo-woo, but the emotion behind your goal can serve as a powerful, practical function when you encounter obstacles along the way.

Your goal can still include other criteria, of course, such as being specific and measurable. I encourage you to consider incorporating the above three factors as well. The combination can lead to practical, purposeful achievement – the kind that can truly make a difference!

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