With your point of departure identified from your completion of the LifeWheels and the introspection of where you want to go from the Dream Inventory, your next waypoint on your voyage is to determine the actions required to get there. This is a three step process to first identify and write down what would be the indication that you’ve accomplished that dream. This is tough as it can be overwhelming to try to specify every way in which we want to improve. If you do as I did, you’ll categorize your goals to align with the areas of your LifeWheels for which you seek more development. For instance, I’d like to always improve my physical slice of the personal life wheel. “Getting healthy” or “Losing weight” are not goals however. You’ll find out why at the next waypoint. Both do make good categories of more specific goals however so perhaps you’ll set those as your goal categories. Some people establish categories of goals based upon where they will do them (at work, at the summer house, or in their writer’s nook). Others use categories to separate the goals for which they’ll delegate some of the action steps required to attain the goal. Others may set them up by time, this year’s goals, next five years, etc.
You see the point? There’s little to no limitation in how you set up the groups of goals you’ll then pursue. Whatever you choose as a goal category the next step is to determine two things:
- What dream or dreams of yours will the accomplishing all the goals in that category realize?
- What are the characteristics of a goal that will make it part of that category?
Goal categories are useful for helping you establish that much desired “life balance” so often bandied about by performance development professionals. For instance, in my case, I have a very concrete way of applying my goal categories to my life. I’ve learned that I’m (and apparently, I’m not alone) more creative in the morning. I must exercise before that to get that way. I must deal with lazier mind after lunch, better suited to rote work, and I enjoy and get energized by learning new things right before dinner. That’s my circadian rhythm and I therefore have scheduled the action steps of goals I’m pursuing to improve my mental and physical improvement of my life wheel slices in the early morning (physical) and late afternoon (mental or the various skills building development). Evenings and weekends are, as much as I can, only scheduled with action steps for goals in the categories that are most important to my family as they and I are together at those times.
Some people are very different and work full speed ahead on one category of goals until it is finished. In my youth program I often see clients establish “Get a top score on the college entrance exams” as a category, clearly based on a time frame and able to be singularly pursued until completed and then another goal category becomes the focus.
Here’s a Goal Categories form for you to download and complete.