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Goal Setting for 2022: Prioritizing Goals

There are lots of ways to prioritize goals, but if you are operating by yourself (and not part of an organization or family that does goal-setting together), this is a simple way to identify what needs to happen first.

I use three categories to think about and rank goals:

Priority 1: Must Do

These goals must be achieved if you are to consider yourself successful. These are your highest priority goals. Not every goal can be a Priority 1, and sometimes only certain Milestone goals will be Priority 1.

Priority 2: Should Do

These goals should be achieved (but it is not essential) to consider yourself successful. This is where a lot of goals fall, especially those that don't quite rise to the level of Priority 1.

Priority 3: Nice to Do

These are usually the ones that are easiest or least challenging, or that have the least payoff. I encourage clients to really analyze their Priority 3 goals -- do they need to be on the list at all? Or are they in this level for some other reason?

Key reasons the wrong goals end up as Priority 3: fear, too many goals, unclear payoff for achieving the goal in the first place, the goal is important to somebody else but not to you.

The next step is to identify which goals are important to you to do (we call these "High Need") and which ones are exciting ("High Want"). Some goals you'll need to do, but won't be too enthusiastic about doing, and others you won't exactly need to do, but you'll have a hard time holding back because they’re so exciting.

In the diagram below (or on a piece of paper), write your goals in the boxes that correspond with how you feel about them. For example, “I am logging on to work on time” may be a High Need/Low Want goal, depending on your work situation. “I am saving more money” could be a High Want/Low Need if there’s an exciting new purchase in your future.

Once you've added your goals, there are two next steps:

1) Eliminate anything that's in the Low Need/Low Want box. That's just a distraction and a waste of your time.

2) Take a good look at the High Need/Low Want box. Those are the goals that are going to take more of your time, energy, and effort, because they won't come so easily or with so much of their own motivation behind them. This is where you'll want to spend a little extra time figuring out how you'll stay motivated and what the obstacles are that will crop up in your path.

Check out previous posts about goal setting here, and as always, reach out for support if you need it!

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