Setting Your Goals in Context

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals this week.

Being the middle of the year it’s a great time to be reviewing the few I did set  (I was quite easy on myself for the first half of this year) and looking forward to what I want to achieve in the second half of the year and beyond.

As I’ve been converting more general aspirations into firm goals (seeing which ones float to the top and then setting a deadline on these few) I’ve also been mindful of that popular adage:

Don’t compare your behind the scenes with other people’s highlight reel

The thing with goals I’ve realised is that even if you follow the usual goal setting rules such as making them S.M.A.R.T. and actually bothering to write them down, you also need to set them based on what ‘season’ of life you are in.

Just because other people might be seemingly pedal to the metal with their job in order that they can achieve that promotion, or lots of your Facebook friends are – say – at the gym every ten minutes and even if these are things that you *really* want to do too, there’s no point beating yourself up that you can’t set these things as your must-achieve goals if they don’t actually fit with your life right now.

A single parent of younger kids is going to find it impossible to get out for a run before breakfast even if most of Twitter appears to be doing just that. Someone just snaring an entry level graduate position at a local design agency is unlikely to do well publishing a book on expert workflow in the next few years. Indeed, myself with 3 school age kids won’t be ticking off many bucket-list exotic travelling adventures for a while due to the obvious barriers to doing so.

So, for goals that might otherwise be generally achievable they also have to fit into your life and there’s no point using other people’s lives as a benchmark for your goals if those people are in a different place to you.

That is to say your own goals are not inferior because of you have to work within constraints such as – say – poor health, loads of kids, lack of cash (or all of the above!).

If you take a look around I’ll bet that there are still plenty of things you can be working towards at whatever pace you feel comfortable with.

Whatever you choose, good luck with them.


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