Can you say that you are completely satisfied with the way you are working towards your goals? Hopefully, continuing to strive for the goals that you’ve set is bringing you joy and filling you with purpose.

But, maybe it’s not. Maybe you feel a bit lost and unsure. Perhaps you were being too ambitious when you first started setting goals. Or maybe your life has changed in a way that you didn’t expect, like losing your job or having a breakup.

Sometimes we just have to yell pivot like we’re in a 90s sitcom and start in a new direction.

via GIPHY

Whatever the case, the first step in considering whether or not to change your goals requires a bit of thought.

Consider your goals

Consider the personal goals that you have set for yourself in previous years.

Did you achieve them?

Did you adjust them?

Or did you find out that you were overly ambitious about what you could achieve?

Perhaps you find some hidden gems in an old list of goals. Something that sparks inside you, giving you something new and exciting to strive towards.

Maybe you thought you’d work your way up to the top of a corporate job but you discover you’ve got a kick for sales. You love talking to people and you love competing against yourself to gain more commissions. It’s okay to remove the goal of becoming a corporate CEO.

Is it ok to change your goals?

The good news is that it’s okay to change your goals. Likely, you haven’t carved your goals into a stone tablet, making them much easier to modify or just not continue working towards.

And if you haven’t changed your goals in a long time, the most important thing is to ask yourself: is this what I want?

Maybe you’re ready to let a few go to make room for new ones that better suit your needs.

This is your permission to change your goals.

Ask for feedback about your goals

Talking with friends, family or a coach can help you develop and set goals. Close friends and family want to support you in your endeavours and can be a key ingredient in accomplishing your goals in life.

Ask them for feedback on your current goals, and rate your success on previous goals. While this can be daunting and a bit embarrassing, they can provide you with some first-hand feedback on what they’ve noticed.

And who knows, they might even have a few new tips for you.

Brainstorm new goals

Even if you’re not sure what your next goal should be, writing out a list of things you want from your life could be helpful.

  • where do you live?
  • what kind of job do you have?
  • do you even want a job?
  • what kind of hobbies do you have?
  • what do you do in your spare time?
  • who do you spend most of your time with?
  • where do you go for vacations?
  • what kinds of food do you eat or choose not to eat?
  • what kind of fitness activities do you do?
  • what are your core values?

Now you have a clear idea of the things you want, you can create a specific goal for each of them. If they seem too big to be a goal, break it down into actionable and smaller steps.

When you have some realistic goals, ask yourself these questions to help you decide what positive changes you need to make:

  • what kind of lifestyle changes can you make to achieve this?
  • what old habits or bad habits do you need to let go of?
  • will a new skill or new behavior help you achieve your main goal?
  • are there different ways you can get better results?
  • do you need to wait until the new year or should you start now?
  • will this require significant change or only a small change to your current life?

I know I have more motivation and success when I can see that I am achieving my goals.

Change your goals into smaller steps

Take it further by infusing elements of those goals into your everyday life. When you use small daily efforts to work towards your dream life, your goals are front and centre in almost everything you do.

All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow.

James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

And if you’re on the fence about pursuing a new goal, creating a mini-goal is the best way to start exploring it and create an action plan. By starting with small steps, you’ll be able to test the waters and see if this is something that you want to focus on. It will also help you get started on a clear path in the right direction if you decide to keep moving forward.

And while you’re making small goals, it’s also a great idea to choose easy goals. Because easy goals can lay the groundwork for the big goals. Not all effective goals need to take months or years to reach. Some can be achieved in a short time frame, like a matter of days. And those easy goals will help you gain momentum to start tackling that life-changing goal.

Set less goals

I used to set myself an exorbitant number of goals from all different areas of my life. And sadly it took me a few years to realise that doing things that way wasn’t working for me. I had to change my goals and take different approaches to the way I chose my goals.

I thought to myself, why am I setting all of these goals when I’d probably have more success with a few well-thought-out goals? 

This led me to choose a word of the year instead. It is a simpler way to work on an overarching theme or ultimate goal for a set period.

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
– Bill Gates

Change your goals

And if you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s ok to change goals. You change over time, so it’s only fair that your goal changes over time too.

Your goal setting technique might change too. And I’m sure you’ve made a ton of goal-setting mistakes.

Things change.

And life happens.

Alter the goals and plans you’ve set for yourself as you see fit.

Take some of these strategies you’ve learned about when it’s time to remove or adjust an old goal and add a new one.

Or don’t.

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