Eighteen months ago, if anyone would have asked me, “What are your goals in life?”, this is how I would have responded:
“Well, my 15-year plan is to become Associate Dean of Medical Education, either here (my workplace at that time) or somewhere else. I want to get a research grant to be able to hire a statistician and web developer for my Online Clinical Reasoning Skills Curriculum. And I want to become a nationally-recognized expert in Family Centered Care and Quality Improvement. I wonder if I should get a masters in Systems Engineering to help with that? And I need to publish more academic papers and present more workshops. I also want to be a writer. I would love to be able to make a living as a writer. I would like to lose a couple of pounds too, not a lot, but just a little more to be ready for bikini season. And I want to run another marathon and do it sub-4 this time. Sometimes I think I would love to open a running injury clinic, that way I can combine my love for running with my medical background. I could even get a personal training certificate. I think that would also give me a better lifestyle than being a hospitalist. And I want to be a better mom. And I want to travel. And I really need to simplify my life. Things are just so hectic right now, you know?”
Yes, I was that crazy! My goals were deprioritized, unfocused, and inordinate. I have now learned to simplify my goals by following these 3 rules:
Focus on the goals that are most in line with your overarching values.
Your goals, like your time, should be in line with your value system. If your most important value is spending time with your family, then eliminate the goals that are in conflict with that value, such as aiming for that corner office. If your most important value is to provide a suburban, upper-class lifestyle for your spouse and children, then focus on the goals that will allow you to do that, such as getting promoted at work. By no means is one set of values or goals better than another. These are very personal and only you can decide which are most important to you so you can…..
Prioritize your goals.
It is OK to make a long-list of all the goals you want to accomplish. Then rank your goals in order of importance and select the 3 goals at the top of the list. The point of prioritizing is to…..
Shorten the list.
Work on achieving those goals at the top of your list of priorities. These are goals that will be most in line with your value system. Once you have accomplished those goals, select another set. Crossing goals out of our lives is not easy, especially because many of our lives’ ambitions have become sources of comfort and self-identity. But remember that multi-tasking will not lead to increased productivity. By keeping your list of goals short, focused, and prioritize, you will be more likely to accomplish them and enjoy accomplishing them.
These are the focused, prioritized, and short-listed goals I have set for myself this year:
1) Bond with my children and husband
2) Start-up a location-independent writing and coaching venture
3) Remain physically, emotionally, and intellectually fit while living in Costa Rica
I have eliminated tasks, events, and activities that are in conflict with my goals. We will see if I can accomplish them by the end of my two year stay in Costa Rica. I sure hope so!
What’s on your short, focused, prioritized list of goals? Let me know in the comments below.