by Joe Schohl
I am setting new goals for the future. Not just new versions of old goals, but rather new types of goals. Ones reflecting who I want to be, not just what I want to achieve.
Imagine a world where everyone is kind to one another. That’s the world I want to live in and a world I want my kids to grow up in. We need this more than ever. And kindness is contagious so simply by being kind we have an opportunity to be a positive influence on the world. My goal is to live up to this quote attributed to the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
How do I segue from the Dalai Lama to Arnold Schwarzenegger? Reading his new book, Be Useful, had a profound effect on me. He defines being useful as “going out and using your energy and your time for something good, which means for yourself but also and always to think about other people.” I love that and my goal is to find more ways to be useful. To my family, my clients, my friends, the other people I encounter in my life, and ultimately, to God.
This goal means many things to me. It means maintaining extra margin in my schedule, my finances, and my commitments so that I can be ready for whatever is most important in the moment. It means being healthy and fit so that I maintain high levels of energy. It means avoiding procrastination and having a “do it now” mindset. It also means being consistently organized, prepared, and showing up on time.
I believe that everything we have comes as a gift from God, including life itself. When I am aware of that, I am filled with joy and appreciation. When I forget, I tend to complain or criticize others. By setting my mind on gratitude, I leave no space for being resentful, envious, or self-centered. My goal is to follow the instruction that St. Paul gave in his first letter to the Ephesians: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
These new goals don’t lend themselves to the traditional SMART (or SMARTER) goal model. But I (and those closest to me) will know whether I’m on the right track.
I still have some things I want to achieve as well. I am not giving up in my long-standing pursuit of a Boston Marathon qualifying time. I’m making slow but steady progress towards a master’s degree in theology. And I intend to continue to continue providing legal support for health care companies while continuing to grow my coaching business.
But these “doing” goals now seem rather trivial compared to the larger “being” goals.
How about you? I invite you to share in the comments a goal of who you want to be over the next twelve months, or twelve years, or a lifetime…