Why Setting Personal Goals Is Different In Midlife

You’ve heard the saying, “If I knew then what I know now, I’d do things differently.”

I feel that way about goal setting for next year.  Here’s why:

1 – I now know better than to set “New Year’s resolutions.”   That doesn’t sound permanent or life-changing.  It just sounds temporary.

2 – The things I care about are different than they’ve ever been.  I’m less interested in material things, job titles and people who aren’t genuine.  I want to be authentic and surrounded by kind, caring people.

3 – I’ve been setting goals for a long time, so I know saying I want to eat better isn’t good enough.

4 – Life is a journey and series of experiences.  I want to have a really great time living it. I want to set goals that lead me in the direction of the life I want to live.

So, how do we begin the process of choosing our personal goals when our perspectives have changed?  Here are some suggestions.

Start with the big picture

Consider the life you wish to lead in the long-term.  Are there smaller, more bite-sized things you can do now that will help get you there?  For example, save a little more money each paycheck, work on your self confidence or take a painting class?

Choose something you can get excited about

Acknowledge your priorities have changed and think about what would truly bring you joy, happiness or whatever is important to you.  You want a fresh start, for example?  Think about a goal that helps you overcome the obstacles or fears that got you to this point.

Consider your motivation for the goal

In midlife, most of us have learned we’re responsible for ourselves.  No elf is going to appear and get important things done for you.  That’s just the way it is.  If you set a goal because it’s important to someone else, it’s not a personal goal.  It’s someone else’s goal.

Don’t boil the ocean

As you consider your possible goals, keep in mind the goal should be broken down into doable pieces.  Set achievable goals with deadlines that will ultimately lead you to your final objective.

I challenge you to approach setting your personal goals differently this year.  Remember you are wiser than you were last year and the year before that.  Lean on your experience and wisdom gained from years of learning curves.  Let’s make this coming year the best ever!

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