Achieving meaningful goals can be some of the most exhilarating, exciting, and empowering moments in your life. A key component of goal setting is having a vision of where you are heading. Your vision is your “true north” and, like a star in the sky, it is always within view. To have the ability to manifest all the things you want to create in life, you have to focus on two types of goals—aim and end.
Creating Aim and End Goals
An aim goal is big picture. It is like the North Star that guides you on your path. Think of it as your ultimate desired outcome. It’s what inspires and motivates you each and every day to wake up and keep moving diligently toward your goals.
An end goal is something that is measurable and tangible. Once you have achieved it, you’re done with it and it’s time to then set your next goal.
For example, an aim could be, “I want to live a healthy life.” That is your ultimate desired outcome and it’s never going to end. It will be your aim for as long as you live, whereas an end goal could be your desire to weigh a certain amount or meditate twice each day for 20 minutes. Once you hit that goal, you would then set your next one. All the while, you’re inching closer to your aim of living a healthy life.
Why is having an aim so important in comparison to having just an end goal? It’s quite simple. An aim is what guides your end goals. Your aim is your vision—it’s big picture, more ambiguous, and it shows up more like a statement of being. It’s about who you want to be and the things you want to be doing in your life as a result of arriving there.
An end goal is more about doing the work to get there and having the power of achievement as your driving force. Your end goals are what keep the energy and momentum going so you can spring forward into living the life that you are, as of now, only dreaming of.
Aiming for the Goals
Without having an aim, a vision of where you are going and your “why” for wanting it, your goals will fizzle out once you’ve achieved them—if you achieve them at all. The reason is because there was no real purpose behind having set the goal to begin with. There’s no aim. It’s like throwing darts or shooting an arrow without a target for where you’re shooting. Why bother? If you do achieve your goal, it will fall flat without having an aim to direct it.
Let’s say you have a desire to get out from beneath a dead-end job and begin living your life in a way that feels more meaningful to you. Your aim is to change your career in a way that enables you to have financial abundance, more freedom in how—and where—you spend your time, and contribute to the greater good of humanity. This is your aim. It’s important to you because it’s derived from your intentions, desires, your beliefs, and your values. It’s who you are at the deepest level.
An aim goal needs to include your definition of what it means to you and why it’s important, as outlined in the example above. It defines that particular area of life. Your aim is like an umbrella and your end goals all fall underneath it. An end goal should essentially flow from your aim. Many people set goals that seem like a good idea at the time and that aren’t all that meaningful once achieved. That is because their end goals aren’t flowing from their true north—their vision of how they want to be living from a big picture perspective. Every goal that is set should act as a stepping stone on your path—be it in career, health, relationship, family, or spirituality.
10 Steps to Develop Your Goals
When starting from scratch—meaning you don’t have a specific area of life in mind to work on—you can begin with the following steps.
- Find a comfortable place to sit where you will be undisturbed for at least 30 minutes.
- Close your eyes and begin to connect with your breath, breathing in and out slowly, and using your breath to connect with your heart.
- Bring your awareness to your desire to live a life—in all areas of your life—with love, purpose, and passion.
- Have the intention that you want to have an aim for living the highest and best version of your life a year, five years, or ten years from now.
- Notice if there are any limiting beliefs that begin to arise as you envision your aim and acknowledge that you are the author of your own life—that you have the power to create anything you desire.
- For each of the areas of your life (career, health, relationship, family, personal development, and spirituality), ask yourself, “How do I ultimately want to be living in this area of life? What does it feel like to be living this area of my life with purpose and with passion? What do I look like? What do I hear around me? Who else is there? How am I spending my time?”
- As you go through each of the areas of life presented, see if you can identify the qualities or characteristics you will need to cultivate for you to fully step into this vision—your aim. Would you need to adopt the quality of compassion, of confidence, of strength? Take a few moments to fully consider the qualities and characteristics needed to get you there.
- Next, identify one goal you want to achieve in the next three to six months that will enable you to move closer to your aim. Write your goal in narrative form and remember that it should flow from your aim. Your goal should include things that directly relate to your aim and are moving you powerfully toward it. Your goal should also be written in SMART goal format.
- Now it’s time to identify at least one to three action steps you will take in the next calendar week to move you in the direction of achieving the goal you have set. Your weekly action steps are crucial if you are to make progress and to maintain your momentum. This is where you must adopt tenacity and stay focused on where you are going.
- As you begin to wrap up your visualization, allow yourself to see what is possible for you and your life when you achieve your goals and begin living in a state of being that is your aim goal. Notice all the positive feels and emotions and take inventory of the extraordinary choices you’ve made in your life leading up to this. See how your life has transformed as a result of having an aim and achieving the goals that led you to where you will be.
After completing steps one through 10, acknowledge that you have all the resources already inside you to open your eyes, create your future, and step powerfully into it.
Get the resources you need to achieve your goals, both big and small, with The Quest: Spiritual Solutions for Creating a Life You Love, our online course led by Deepak Chopra and Martha Beck. Learn More.