A lot of my goals I missed or didn’t achieve!
Did that make me a loser?
I think not! Because today I can look back on a fulfilled life.
So what about goals that make their non-achievement agree with a good record, at least for me? I suspect that behind the word #goal hides a plurality of different facts. There are travel goals, work goals, project goals, learning goals, revenue goals, research goals, and life goals.
The first thing that stands out is that the time horizon of their implementation ranges from very short periods to the lifetimes of several generations, such as in research and social policy.
What they have in common is that they fill a need they aim to satisfy. Moreover, they are subject to a value system that guides and controls them. It is the value system of the respective actors.
The actual realisation of a target projection is then further shaped by the current reality of life. So, for example, how I exactly turn over my goal to drink a bottle of beer also depends on whether a beer is available in the house and where it is stored.
The influence of the three determinants I mentioned (there are certainly more) is very different for different targets. Thus, the value of the share in realising my goal to drink a bottle of beer is negligible, and the field of action will hardly have changed during the time of goal realisation.
The situation is quite different for construction projects where years pass between the decision to set a goal (we are building Stuttgart 21) and its completion, during which time both the needs and the values and the overall political, economic and social situation may have changed.
Suppose I arrange goals on a time axis according to the period between goal decision and goal achievement. In that case, there will also be very different requirements for the necessary and reasonable planning effort.
In the case of my beer bottle, it is negligible.
Introducing a new IT system in a company requires a very high effort for goal definition and project planning.
In basic research, goals can often only be formulated as questions. In addition, the achieved goal often deviates from the initially formulated goal. (Columbus failed to achieve its planning goal and no one is talking about a failure here).
Life goals also cannot be treated similarly to project goals. The time horizon associated with their realisation is broad and indeterminate. Life goals are rather concrete utopias in which the current value attitude of a person is concretised. Life is successful or fulfilled if it was possible to shape life within one’s own value horizon. Individual projects may have failed and no longer play a role in the end.