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Effective Goal Setting for Your Enneagram Type

20151029_144017“Out with the old, and in with the new!” The beginning of a new year is widely recognized as a time for goal setting. We may vow to clean our houses, get in shape, be kinder. But often, the promises we make are forgotten by February.

As with many aspects of life, our personality patterns bring both strengths and challenges for goal setting. Each type tends to run into certain snags that make it more difficult to meet our goals. With this in mind, here are some type-specific shortcuts for setting goals that are achievable and rewarding.

Type One: It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to fulfill a goal to the letter, which can lead to the “paralyzed perfectionist” syndrome. This year, build some flexibility and leeway into your plans. Pursuing your goals can be imperfect and messy, while still being productive…and even a little fun!

Type Two: Have you ever found yourself making resolutions on behalf of others, rather than for yourself? Take some time for self-reflection in your goal setting this year, and prioritize self-care. What goals can you set that will nurture you and meet your needs? Consider setting yourself breaks from helping others.

Type Three: As with Type Two, take time for self-reflection and set some goals that are for yourself only. It may be tempting to promote your goal and your efforts toward it. However, you’ll find value in setting goals that are personally meaningful but private – accountable just to yourself.  

Type Four: It’s easy to dream of ambitious results. This year, set goals with built-in structure, making them easier to achieve. For example, you could work toward a specific goal every day, with measurable steps. Rather than aspiring to fix a perceived flaw, set goals that are positive and results-oriented.

Type Five: Rather than thinking about your goals and generating endless possibilities, focus on one or two solid objectives. Get grounded and implement them in your daily life. Bringing in help and support from others is helpful. If your goal is to get in shape, for example, find a gym buddy to work out with.

Type Six: Don’t let fear get in the way of committing to the goals that are important to you. There’s no need to ask your “committee,” or turn to that self-help book, for input in choosing a goal. Listen to your inner guidance and select a goal and way of meeting it that resonates with you.  

Type Seven: You have lots of great ideas. Go ahead and brainstorm; then take time to look through your list, reflect, and select one or two important things to focus on. Start by prioritizing something small and measurable. Big plans take time, and are completed step by committed step.

Type Eight: It’s easy to put a lot of zest and energy into your goals. Don’t overdo your plans this year; your goal setting doesn’t need to be ambitious or tiring. Be gentle with yourself and your efforts. Choose goals that will nurture your heart, and tap into your protective, magnanimous side.

Type Nine: Let your affinity for routine work for you, rather than against you. It takes time to change or create a habit. However, once you’ve put the effort into establishing a regular behavior, it will stick. Setting goals that you can work into routines will build new, meaningful habits into your life.

If you’d like to learn more about the Enneagram and goal setting, including a framework for setting more effective goals that benefits all types, join us on January 8 for our first Leadership Lunch Talk in San Francisco, or contact us to schedule a talk or workshop with your organization or group.