Goal Pillars: Choose the Foundation of the Life You Want

We love the outside reinforcement that comes with a new year and the opportunity it presents to start fresh.  We are gifted a clean slate with 52 untouched weeks, 12 blank months and 365 (or 366) days to start over.  We get another chance at realizing the goals that weren’t prioritized before. In the spirit of being hopeful and positive, we shake off what was and look forward to what will be when we do things better this time around.

Common goals include getting fit, eating healthy, losing weight, saving money, or spending more time with family and friends. Each year, these goals have a 12/31 target date, but they usually go unachieved by the time 12/31 rolls around.  Why is that? Why is it that these “important” goals don’t motivate us enough to achieve them? Why do we have these goals in the first place? Maybe the why isn’t very clear and doesn’t give these goals a higher purpose and greater meaning.

I created a framework using goal pillars to address this.  Each pillar is something you prioritize in order to have a fulfilled life and together they provide balance. Goal pillars facilitate the creation of the best version of yourself and support the overall lifestyle you want.  You can use this framework to simplify the goal-oriented changes needed in your life so your vision of your future becomes a reality.

Goal pillars facilitate the creation of the best version of yourself and support the overall lifestyle you want.

Here is what this looks like:

Here are some pillars you can include in your framework with goals for each:

PHYSICAL

Maintaining soundness of the body, freedom from disease or abnormality and optimal well-being where the body functions as designed.

  • Run 15 miles weekly
  • Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks
  • Get a good night’s rest

MENTAL

Cultivating a healthy psychological, emotional and social well-being which affects how you think, feel and act as you cope with life.

  • Practice meditation to reduce stress
  • Develop a network of positive friends
  • Keep a daily journal to document your feelings

EMOTIONAL

Being happy, self-aware, self-confident and resilient to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks.

  • Build more authentic relationships
  • Develop hobbies to reduce boredom and increase pride in your work product
  • Take a class to learn deep breathing techniques

SPIRITUAL

Religious faith, values, principles, beliefs, and morals.

  • Attend church regularly and pray daily
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Set aside quiet time each day with limited distractions

SOCIAL

How you get along with people, how people react to you and how you interact with society.

  • Visit friends and family more often
  • Talk to strangers and understand their story
  • Start a random act of kindness project

INTELLECTUAL

Ability to think critically, questions one’s surroundings, pay attention to current events, develop creative ways to adapt to unexpected challenges and grow from experiences.

  • Take a course on a new subject
  • Subscribe to a journal or magazine
  • Read at least 10 books

PROFESSIONAL

Improving a career or occupation in which you were trained by learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such a academic degrees, conferences and or other opportunities in order to advance.

  • Attend one industry conference
  • Enroll in training course
  • Secure speaking engagements at local organizations

FINANCIAL

How you manage your money and assets and plan for the future along with the related decisions and activities

  • Develop a personal budget
  • Build and maintain an emergency fund
  • Develop an investment strategy for retirement

PERSONAL

The sum of personal choices that contribute to one’s personal identity

  • Pursue interest in interior design by taking on projects to help friends and family
  • Deepen relationship with extended family members
  • Take more trips and create a travel blog to document the journey

FAMILY

Routine interactions and activities that a family have together including spending time and doing things together

  • Develop family traditions for key holidays
  • Set aside one night per week as family night with board games or movies
  • Create a stronger relationship with my partner

INTERESTS

Activities enjoyed outside of work that are an extension of one’s personality or desired lifestyle

  • Join a volleyball league
  • Buy and rent out an investment property
  • Take an online course on data and analytics

COMMUNITY

Provide resources such as time, items, skills, money, assistance etc. to those in need

  • Volunteer at a local senior home and do art projects with the elderly
  • Donate household items to Salvation Army or Goodwill
  • Tutor students in an after school program

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Identify a customer need and develop a solution that is profitable and scalable

  • Define, invest in, build and run a business
  • Build a team and create systems and processes to run the business remotely
  • Advise startups and mentor founders

The great thing about goal pillars it that the framework is flexible and fluid! As new pillars become a priority in your life, you can add them and remove those you’ve achieved or that are less important.  Instead of moving through life aimlessly, this gives you a tool to design and live a rich, intentional life with purpose!

Here is one more example before it is your turn!

Which pillars would you include in your goal pillars?  I’d love to hear how you use this approach in your own life. Feel free to share in the comments below!  And pass along to anyone who could benefit from this approach!

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