Goal Setting: Doing vs. Being

I wasn’t always a goal setter.  It started my first day of my Freshman year in college.  I had just moved into the dorms and everything was brand new; most significantly, my environment.

Before that, I hadn’t really considered what my future would look like, what kinds of things I wanted to accomplish.

I  hadn’t envisioned anything for myself beyond a very limited possibility of what my future self might be.

But there I was first day of class, in a Psychology class, of all things.

I realized that this was my moment (as it is for every single Freshman) and I needed to get this right as this was a very important moment that would happen only once.

So I set about setting some goals for myself.  The first one was that I would study and get As and Bs.  In high school I did not do this, but I did now.

I studied all the time, and I took everything to heart because I really wanted to be able to make something of myself.

Once I started setting goals, and reaching them, I kept going.

That moment was 27 years ago, and now I am in a place I never envisioned for myself back then.

But in my mid-30s my goals started to shift from Doing to Being.

What do I mean by that?

That they are different types of goals:

Doing Goals are those that are externally focused. Think ‘Bucket List’.  These are things that are activity focused and have an element of outside engagement, whether it’s with other people or things or places. They represent our External Selves.

Being Goals are those that are internally focused.  Think ‘Who do you want to become’? These can be tougher, but perhaps are more significant.  They are also the goals we tend to focus on as we mature.    They can be as tactical as course corrective on a behavior or as profound as fundamentally shifting how we engage with our spiritual life.

We need both in our lives to keep us focused on where we are going, but it’s important to recognize how they are different in how we approach them and how we meet them.

While it may seem esoteric to include Being Goals in a Financial Plan, it is crucial to recognize them when they do impact those habits and behaviors we have that allow us or limit us from implementing the changes needed to execute on a Financial Plan.

(Disclosure: I am a Fee-Only Financial Planner. My website is here.)