Goals versus aspirations

A distinction I’ve been making in recent years:

A goal is something specific. It will be clear when the goal is achieved. For me, goals should always be the classic specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time dependent, sort of SMART goals.

An aspiration is something directional. It will be clear when progress is made in the direction dictated by the aspiration.

The more goals I set, the worse my life becomes. I set great goals… big challenging, self-stretching goals. They pile on like dead weight and drag me down. Lose 10 pounds. Read an hour a day. …and so on.

Aspirations, being open-ended, don’t feel so daunting. Provided the aspirations lead to actual action, then I don’t need to worry about tomorrow. I can simply do the things—today, now—which are guided by my aspirations. Be someone who moves. Be exposed to lots of fresh ideas. Be someone who helps others. Be someone who creates value. Be someone whose mind works well.

What aspirations do you have?