The END Game of Goals

Written by Machen MacDonald

When it comes to setting goals, most people have it wrong and wonder why what they really desire never comes about. Even if you are great at setting goals and achieving them, odds are you feel like you are missing out on something.

By setting specific, smart, actionable, realistic & timebound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals, many of my clients have achieved the financial goals they’ve set for themselves. They’re in a good, even great relationship. They’re in exceptional health. They’ve achieved status both at work and in their community and yet after acknowledging their achievements, the ask, "Is this all there is?"

So what gives?

The issue is we have been taught to set means goals instead of an end goal for ourselves. Tell me if this sounds familiar - Get good grades so you can get into a good school; get a degree so you can get a good job; get a good job so you can make good money; make money so you can buy a home, get married and support a family. If you achieve these things, then you will be happy.  Those are all great things, don’t get me wrong. The challenge is most people fantasize that if they achieve those things then they will feel happy and fulfilled.  It’s likely they’ll feel good upon achieving the milestone for a few hours or days only to have the feeling evaporate as they ramp up for the next goal.

Most of the time those milestones come with stress that wipes out any prospects of happiness. The remedy is to set END goals along with the means goals.

So what are END goals? These are the three primary areas that lead to a fulfilling and truly successful life. In addition, they provide the energy to hit the means goals and keep on keepin’ on.

E – Experience.  What do you want to experience in life? This year? This month? Today?  If you ask any parent what they want for their kids, they will answer, “I just want them to be happy.”   That’s the ultimate END goal. It’s the reason we do anything.  Somewhere along the line most people bought into the idea that happiness is out there somewhere. It’s in a paycheck, a raise, a promotion, a new home, a relationship, etc.  Consider flipping this statement, “When I achieve “X” then I’ll be happy” to “I’ll be happy while endeavoring to achieve “X.” Happiness is an inside job and it is a choice.

So next time  you think making a certain amount of money or getting a promotion is your goal, ask yourself why? What will having more money allow you to experience? What will a relationship allow you to experience that you’re not experiencing now? Do you want to travel? Why? What’s the experience you are seeking?

Make a list of the experiences you want to have during your lifetime, this year, this month, week and even today.

N- Nurture.  In what ways  do you want to grow and expand? What parts of you need to be nurtured?   What new skills do you want to develop?  What areas of your life do you desire to have more capacity?  What do you want to learn? Are there designations in your profession you seek to acquire?  What do you wish you were better at doing? Is that something worth taking the time to become better? How are your relationships? Can your communication improve? Can you become better at listening, being compassionate, or supportive? How’s your communication with yourself?  How’s your focus and discipline? What’s your plan for becoming the best version of you possible? Can you become a better parent, spouse, colleague, or friend? What’s one thing you can do to improve? Are you becoming healthier as you age or are you declining? What’s in  your control to improve?  Need more money? What do you need to learn,  start doing, or stop doing to have what you desire?

Answer the questions above to form your list for nurturing your full potential.

D - Deliver.  What do you want to deliver to the world? How will you contribute to the greater good? What’s your legacy?  How is the world better with you in it? How will it be better because you were here? Imagine sitting in your rocking chair the day before you pass on. Look back on to today and ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I’m most grateful for having delivered to the world, my community, and my family? It’s never too late. Be the exemplar of what you want to be remembered as.

Being clear on what you want to experience, nurturing your full potential, and delivering your gifts to the world is the trifecta for fulfillment.  Set your means goals as commitments and milestones for becoming a better you. Set your END goals to create the vacuum that pulls you through the achievement of your means goals.

You can have it all.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

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