This year, I've learned a simple, yet a very powerful question that can be applied to any context or situation in life. That simple question changed my life in a positively drastic manner, especially when things get difficult. Life is a long journey and there are many goals we want to achieve. 'What do you want?' The question reminds us about our life's purpose and direction so as to create a meaningful journey every step of the way.
We tend to immensely underestimate the importance of the question. After all, it is a 'passing phrase' that we tend to ask each other in a restaurant before the waiter writes down the order. Some of us take the question for granted and live life on an automatic, day-to-day basis. We wake up, go to work, go home and sleep. The next morning, the same monotonous routine happens again. But the main point of that question is to serve us daily reminders to get what we ultimately want out of life. Majority of the population may find this an incredibly difficult task as they have been living their life on automatic. While others, take control of their live; gear it towards the goal that they have set. So the next time, we find ourselves unsettled at some point in our life, ask ourselves this, 'What do you want?' It helps you put your needs and wants into perspective that is in accordance to your heart, mind, body and soul.
Most of the goals in life can be placed in 8 different categories. They are financial, career, personal development & spiritual, family and relationships, community and health and fitness goals. Ideally, achieving the goals in the 8 different categories will help us in becoming more holistic and all-rounded person in different aspects of life.
1. Financial Goals
We all want to be rich, but with different intentions. Some want to have loads of cahs to retire comfortably at a beautiful location and buy a big bungalow that have always dreamed of. Others want to save their money for their children's education at a reputable university so that they achieve a good standard of living in future too.
The adventurous types of people want to travel around the world, immersing themselves in the different cultures and languages. Whether it is planning for a gratifying retirement, getting the dream BMW or saving up for your children’s university education, managing your finances to the last single dollar and cent is crucial. Mapping out the exact amount that you want to achieve for the type of the financial goals along with the time frame helps you gain clarity in setting aside the monthly savings that you need to attain these goals.
2. Career Goals
We spend about an average of 90,000 hours, which is equivalent to 10 full years of our lifetime, working. Almost half the time in a day, we are at work, sending emails, chasing deadlines and attending. Everyone has different roles and responsibilities at work, but wouldn’t you want to make the most meaningful and productive working life, ever? It could be a promotion to be a manager, leading a team of talented individuals, or jumping ship to a job that you finally, love doing. It could also be upgrading your hard and soft skills required for your work progression such as advanced computer skills or even negotiation skills. Time is precious and planning what we want in our career yearly, in 3 years time, 5 years time and 10 years time will give us more satisfaction and meaning to the job that we do.
3. Education Goals
The world is a competitive place. In a world that keeps on changing, the only way to ride these big waves is to continue learning. Learning as it is a life-long journey, no matter at what age we are at. Do you want to pursue the Bachelors’ Degree in the field you have always desired? Or do you want to learn how to cook up at storm in the kitchen? Learning a new skill in a vocational training centre will have a structured curriculum to follow. Nevertheless, with the ubiquitous availability of Internet connection all over the world, the information and skills required to ‘Understanding Cognitive Psychology’ for assignment needed for the Bachelors’ Degree programme and ‘How to use Adobe Photoshop’ for the ad-hoc design poster needed at work and all that with just one-click. Armed with these information and skills, we will be ahead of others and create more value for the organisation and ourselves.
4. Personal Development and Spiritual Goals
Just like a seed that needs water, air, sunshine to grow, we also need a set of values to live by and grow. Changes in life, whether it is positive or negative, are inevitable. However, growth within us is optional. If there is one area in our life that is not working, the only thing that we can control is our reaction. Our reaction to a certain event depends on the values that we live by and also focusing on the goals that we want. An example of a personal development goal is becoming more confident and conveying messages effectively when talking to the top management at work. This enable us to achieve the highest potential in all areas of life and enhancing and cultivating the strengths to make a difference to the world. There is usually a strong relationship between personal development and spirituality. We seek to improve our quality and standard of our lives by looking internally within us. This will lead to closer connection to understanding our Creator and being grateful even for the simplest things in life. Even though some of us may not have a religion, but to be able to make a connection and list down things that we are truly grateful for, will make a difference in your life.
5. Family Goals
‘Blood is thicker than water’. Family is the first thing we see when we entered this world, and hopefully the last, when we are at our deathbeds. Relationships with family members can get messy, sometimes, but what does everyone want in any relationship? Everyone wants to be loved and everyone wants to give love! It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, due to other nitty-gritty fights, the beautiful love is compromised. Value the relationship and value the love. Misunderstandings and miscommunications tend to happen and it is especially sour and bitter when it comes to close family members. But, can you imagine if everyone let go of the past, embrace the future and strive to love one another? The world will be a completely different place.
6. Relationship/Social Goals
People come and go in our lives, while others stay. Did you choose to let them go? Or did you choose to have them in your life? It’s funny how a person can have 5000 friends on Facebook but is clueless about their personal lives. Knowing your friends that matter in a greater depth will help you understand them better, rather than having 10 new friends added on Facebook everyday. You will appreciate their presence in their lives as it paints a more colourful picture, fulfilling life and vice versa.
7. Community Goals
‘No man’s an island’ and wherever we go, we owe it to the community. What can we do for the community for the stability, security and beauty it has given us? How can we reach out? Everyone is interconnected one way or another. We can be vigilant andlook for suspicious character in the neighbourhood and call on the police, we can lend a helping hand by buying the family a whole month supply of bread or also participate in community activities such as Family Day. What we want in a community is also based on what we give to the community. Lend a helping hand and get touched by an angel by the services that you render.
8. Health and Fitness Goals
With the pervasive amount of food and advertisement of food, everywhere, it is easy to be sucked in by the temptations. This will have an adverse effect on our health if we do not control our food intake. Even if we do, what kind of weight or ideal shape do you plan to achieve? The eating habits, health, weight issues and exercise regimes are a few considerations that we must consider. A person who is thin does not necessarily mean the person is healthy and a person who is obese does not necessarily mean the person is unhealthy. Keep track of the food that you eat and your exercise regime to achieve a healthier you.
The goals that we want in life are usually interconnected with one another. Upgrading our skills in the education goals is related to the career and financial goal, as employers seek for workers who are more competent and productive. As we improve ourselves through increasing our confidence in personal development and spiritual goals, we add value to our lives. Others will also feel the impact as your enthusiasm level rubs on people in a positive way and this will create a change in the relationship, family and community. So at any point in time, if you feel imbalanced or unsettled in your life, seriously ask yourself, ‘What do you want?’. Take a hard look at the 8 categories of goals and take massive positive action now!