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Authentic Goal Setting: Your Path, Your Rules

It’s that time of the year when we’re talking a lot about goal setting. We hear a lot of the same types of goals from our friends and clients, usually related to self improvement, fitness, relationships, and career advancement. But have you stopped to think about where your specific goals are coming from?

It’s easy to be influenced by societal expectations. Whether it’s homeownership, a prestigious title, a corner office, a specific salary figure, or marriage and children, sometimes we decide we want something simply because those around us seem to want it. But are these goals are own or are they a reflection of societal or family expectations?

I think it’s worth digging into this a little to ensure that we’re setting truly authentic goals. Here are some tips to make sure you’re aligned.

The Power of Introspection

Set aside some time to devote to introspection. This means time when you can truly be alone with your thoughts. Journal a little on the following prompts:

  • If you had a day with no obligations, how would you choose to spend it?
  • Reflect on the positive contributions you’ve made in your personal or professional life. What made these contributions fulfilling?
  • How do I personally define success? What does a successful life look like to me?
  • Identify three strengths or skills that you value most in yourself.
  • How do you want to contribute to the well-being of your relationships?
  • What aspects of your true self do you sometimes feel hesitant to express?

Core Values

Revisit your core values – or, if you haven’t written them down yet, do it now! Narrow it down to 3-5 values that are the most important to you. Think about these questions:

  • Reflect on a moment when you felt truly aligned with your values. What were you doing?
  • What kind of goals would you be setting if your core values were the only things that mattered?

Let Your Goals Evolve

Once you’ve got goals that feel authentic to you and your values, you’ll want to remember that goals can and do evolve as we grow and change. Schedule regular moments of reflection, whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, to review your goals. Most importantly, know that the journey toward your goals is as important as the destination. Celebrate the growth, resilience, and learning that occur along the way.

As you embark on the journey of self-discovery and goal-setting, remember: your path, your rules. Success is not a destination, but a journey—one that we have the power to shape according to our unique aspirations and values. So, whether you’re starting fresh or recalibrating your goals, take this opportunity to align with what truly matters to you. The path to authentic living is yours to chart. 

Hungry for more? Listen to our related podcast episode on this topic: Charting Your Own Course in Life and Work with Dr. Katie and Jenna.

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