A System or A Compass - It's Your Decision

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What dictates the goals you set? Who sets your goals?  What drives them?

There are a lot of great books and information available on goal setting.  Some simple, some complicated and others really complicated.  You can get as sophisticated as you want.  You can get as complicated as you want.  You can even attend conferences and seminars that will teach you how to set and reach goals.

That’s not what I’m talking about today.

There’s a system out there if you search hard enough.  The question is, what drives your goal setting?  Do you set your goals with a system or a compass?

Only you can answer the question.

A System or a Compass

Who are you?  What do you want to be? What dictates the choices you will make every day?  These internal questions may be worth answering first, before you set goals.

What’s on the inside matters.  Author and pastor Andy Stanley calls these “be goals” (who am I) vs. “do goals” (what I want to accomplish).   Both are important.

You need to determine who you want to be first.  Then you can determine what you want to accomplish.   They need to align.

For example, let’s say you want to be a dependable person.  Why is being dependable important to you?  What’s the impact on others if you are not dependable?

The answers to questions like this help you set goals that align with “who” you are.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Can you answer this question?  Honestly?  What words describe who you are and who you want to be?  Best-selling author Stephen R. Covey has a great exercise for this.  Think of your funeral.  How would you want others to describe you?  How did you make a difference?

This ultimately becomes your personal definition of success.

Some Examples

  • A person of character
  • A person with integrity
  • Dependable person
  • Honest person
  • Nice person
  • Great communicator
  • Unselfish
  • Willing to lead others
  • Relationship oriented
  • Great husband and father

These may or may not describe who or what you want to be.   However, once your write out your words and thoughts to describe you, you have a foundation for setting some awesome personal goals.

Inside Out Approach

Once you know these core things, you won’t (shouldn’t) sacrifice them for a material goal or possession.  If it goes against being honest, dependable or whatever you want to be, you don’t do it. This helps you create alignment between “who” you are and “what” you want to accomplish.

If you make the decision to not incur any debt, you don’t do it.  It doesn’t align with “who” you are and “what” you want to accomplish.  It’s an easier decision, not easy.


The key is to write it down. Who and what do you want to become? If you don’t know the answer, you can’t align (set) your goals. Take the time and think it through.

Succeed internally and set goals that align with who you are and who you want to be.  Life decisions become a lot easier.  You have a foundation to guide you.

You will be tempted.  You will fail.  You will learn.  You will grow.  Then you will do it all over again.

But you will have a solid foundation to set goals that align with “who” you are.  Don’t let others dictate and set goals for you.

Find your compass and lead!

What else can you do to make sure you succeed internally and align your goals with who you are and who you want to be?

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