The Three Levels of Setting Goals

Surveys have revealed that only 3% of the population set goals for themselves. It is no coincidence that 3% of the population control around 95% of all the wealth in the world. When it comes to setting goals, I have found that there are three levels that people set goals, as shown in the image below.

Image courtesy of Neel Raman.


Level 1 – Setting goals based on what you KNOW you can do!
Most people start at this level! They set new intentions based on something they know they can do or achieve. This is based on their past experiences and their present results. They’re almost guaranteed of success because it is something they have done before or they’ve done something similar. The problem with this is there is no inspiration and growth. The goal does not cause them to stretch or grow in any way.

Level 2 – Setting goals based on what you THINK you can do!
At this level, a few brave people set goals based on what they think or believe they can do. They’re a little more adventurous and they create a plan based on what they think they can do. Unfortunately, the challenge at this level is very similar to Level 1 – what they think they can do is also based on what they’ve done in the past. The only difference is they now have a plan and have given some thought to it. Just like in Level 1, there is no inspiration in going after what you think you think you can achieve and there is very little growth.

Level 3 – Setting goals based on what you Dream about and what you Really Want!
This is the level for big thinkers and dreamers. These are the people who go after what they really want. They don’t know how they will achieve their goal but they know they will. To go after what you really want takes courage and faith in the unknown. You must be prepared to begin with a dream and trust that the way will be shown to you, one step at a time.

Finally, it all comes back to what is the purpose of setting goals. If a goal you have set is not causing you to stretch and grow, then that does not constitute a goal. The purpose of setting a goal is not to achieve or get something. It is to draw more out of yourself and cause you to grow as a person in the process of achieving the goal. You will not be the same person when you achieve your goal. You will have increase your awareness of what you are capable of doing.

Action Steps:

  1. Review your goals and determine if your goals are causing you to challenge yourself and grow. If they are not, decide if those goals are still important to you.
  2. Set your goals based on Level 3 – what you really want and love to do. One question you can use to set goals that are important to you is: If time and money was not an issue, what would I choose to do, create or achieve?

Question: What goal setting methods are working for you? What level have you been setting goals and what will you do differently now?

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