The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a goal as the object of a person’s ambition, an aim or desired result, or, my favorite, the destination of a journey.
We should create a personal mission statement because it allows us to determine how we want to live our lives and what matters the most to us.
Well, a goal is how we get to the metaphorical location of our personal mission statement. A goal forms a solid foundation to live out our mission statements on a daily basis. It’s the change we want to see in ourselves. It’s the tactic to the strategy.
During one of my final classes at the University of Minnesota, a teacher posed these questions to 20 strategic communications seniors who were opening the door to their lives after college:
You’re walking into your new life. You’ve got the skills and the peer groups to move you forward. But life is a really long walk–Where are you going and what is your purpose?
You’re the only person who can determine what your purpose in life is.
People rarely tell you how to manage your own life. It’s assumed that you should know how. After all, you did graduate from college.
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Set three-month goals for yourself. It’s a tool to manage your purpose in life. It allows you to assess what is and is not working with your mission statement.
Here are my three goals:
- Build my resume and get more relevant public relations experience: I love my degree (public relations). I couldn’t have felt more at home than in my classes. So I plan to find a few more internships that will allow me to build my resume and allow me to stand out.
- Save more money: I’m at the age where spending money on frivolous items isn’t “cool.” Time to put the big girl pants on and take responsibility for my finances. Student loan payments are right around the corner.
- Read one book every week and a half: For years, I’ve always wanted to read more. I’d buy books with the intention of reading them but never got around to them. I have a fond appreciation for the structure of a story, getting wrapped up in characters and how a story unfolds. Half the fun is the journey.
Three months from today, April 19, I will assess the success of my goals and whether or not there’s room for improvement. If there isn’t, then I will find a new goal.
And one final piece of advice, don’t set too many goals for yourself–three is enough. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. The purpose here is to continuously improve yourself.
So go ahead and ask yourself, “What is my purpose in life?”