emerge performance - A Whole-Life Approach to Setting Goals for the Year Ahead

A Whole-Life Approach to Setting Goals for the Year Ahead



05-Jan-2019

Sitting proudly at the head of a new calendar year, January can feel like the doorway to world of fresh opportunity. No surprise then that many people choose this as the time of year to set new goals for themselves.

However, for working adults it can be easy to fall into the trap of setting goals with a narrow focus. We often focus too much on the promotions or pay rises we hope to get in the months ahead, forgetting that our jobs are only one component of our lives.

As you plan ahead for 2019, it’s worthwhile to adopt a whole-life approach to the goals you set. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for professional advancement, but you’ll likely reach the end of the year happier and more fulfilled when you set your goals with more than career milestones in mind.

Identify the puzzle pieces

Your life is made up of many parts, which together form a unique entity: you.

For many adults, work is an important and sometimes defining part of our lives, yet there’s so much more. Family relationships, friendships, personal development, spirituality, financial well-being, community – these are just some of the many puzzle pieces that can fit together to form a well-rounded life.

As you start to draw up a set of goals for 2019, try to identify the different aspects of your life that are meaningful to you. Then consider the growth or transformation that you would like to see in each of these areas, using this as inspiration to set goals that extend beyond your career.

Adopt a holistic mindset

Our lives tend to be messy, made up of overlapping pieces rather than neatly arranged silos. This is something to embrace rather than fight.

While it’s good if you can put work aside when you leave the office so that you’re free to focus your full attention on matters at home, it’s also important to maintain a big-picture perspective.

With an overarching view of the various components of your life and how they fit together, you will be better able to make informed decisions that will result in the best possible outcomes for all aspects of your life. Such a holistic mindset will help you choose what’s best for you as a whole, not just work-you.

Consider this example: imagine you’re offered a promotion, but it will mean spending most of your time away from your family. From a career perspective, this promotion might seem attractive. But after considering the impact it will have on your family, health and social life, you may decide that it’s simply not worth it.


Seek out synergies

So what can you do when faced with a choice that would benefit one area of your life but harm others? Such conflicts are not always avoidable, but you can try steering clear of them by seeking out synergies instead.

If one of your goals for 2019 is to spend more meaningful time with your family and another goal is to have a positive impact on your community, you can look for opportunities where these two goals intersect.

What if you and your family members could find an opportunity to volunteer together once a week? Spending time together working at a community garden or preparing food for the needy would help you achieve both goals, resulting in a win–win situation.

Think big and small

Setting bold, ambitious goals for yourself is worthwhile – it can remind you of the big picture and help you set a course forward for the long-term. However, big goals also tend to be more difficult to achieve and take longer to reach. If you only set big goals, you may be deprived of the satisfaction of small wins along the way.

You can address this problem by pairing big goals with smaller goals that will help you reach the major achievement. Recipes don’t leap directly from a list of ingredients to the end product – instead, they include the individual steps required to allow you to bake your cake.

By applying the same thinking to goal-setting, you can build a roadmap for reaching your most ambitious goals while incorporating opportunities for small victories as part of the journey.

With a brand-new year stretched out before you, now is a good time to consider what you would like to achieve in 2019. By approaching this task with a holistic mindset, you can set goals that will move your whole life forward – not just your career – in a direction leading to happiness and fulfilment.


Header photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Body photo by Avery Morrow on Unsplash