chapter  2
14 Pages

Goals and Goal-Setting

Nowhere in this book do we try to tell you what your goals in life should be. In a free society, goals and life-styles are as diverse as the population. An article that appeared in U. S. News and World Report in 1985, "Happiness: How Americans Pursue It," explored a wide variety of life-styles; the dominant motifs ranged from status, wealth, career success, and knowledge to family, religion, health, service to others, bucking the system, harmony with nature, and varying combinations of these. 1

Psychologists do not understand very well just how personality is formed, or why people differ in their values and preferences. Children from the same family often go off in different directions, not only in choice of careers but in the degree to which they accept their family's values. Childhood experiences, books, TV, teachers, and peers all influence your values and patterns ofliving. "Much depends on what is happening in society at the time when an individual jells, " says psychiatrist Glenn Swagger of the Menninger Foundation. 2

Whatever your values and tastes, you will benefit from spelling out

your major and minor goals in life, including the nature and quality of your work and other activities. This exercise can enhance your effectiveness and satisfaction tremendously. True, any list of goals will have to be periodically revised. Learning continues throughout life, and values and desires change as you grow older and, hopefully, wiser. Dr. Swagger notes that there are times when people are' 'more malleable, more prone to changing their aspirations, such as in the adolescent and college years or during the reassessment that often takes place at middle life."3