In a recent survey I conducted, people described a goal as the following:
- A purpose. A Mission.
- Something achievable, something concrete, it’s about getting results.
- It’s something you aim for in a set standard of time and it’s broken down into manageable chunks.
- It’s a destination, it’s somewhere I want to be and it’s not where I am right now.
- It’s something you really want. It’s something you want to work towards to achieve.
- Something that you dream about and have a plan for and something that you’re able to move towards.
- It’s the ultimate achievement of accomplishing something.
- It’s a target. It’s a lifestyle that you’re aiming for. A condition that you’re trying to achieve.
- It’s balance in life. It’s a future state that you are aiming for.
- It’s something I wish to achieve, something to put my finger on.
- It’s something that will feel good at the end, something that you’ve set yourself to achieve.
- It’s some way of measuring if you’ll be successful.
- It’s an ambition, a hope, something I’m striving for.
- It’s the ultimate place you want to reach. And it’s a whole bunch of tasks to get there. It’s reminding myself, what do I need to do to get to that point and I keep trying.
- It’s an outcome I’ve set for myself. It’s an ambition that you work towards.
What I love about the above is the energy behind these definitions. Of people changing their circumstances. Of imagining what they want in this life and going for it.
What I also pick up is the need to be careful that goals don’t become an obsession. That someone doesn’t stop living right now because of what they anticipate coming.
Working with people to achieve their goals, I have to find that balance of motivating my clients to live well in the now as well as striving for the goals that they want to see come to fruition.
This is where the cliche of breaking things down into smaller steps comes in handy. Breaking things down, not only helps with overwhelm but ensures that we focus on the importance of now. Because now determines the baseline of the goal. It’s the seed of the big picture if you will.
Baseline of happiness
Let’s take finances as an example.
Someone’s big-picture goal may be to build wealth.
So their specific activities that support this are to: Pop away 15% of each paycheck. Research stock trading. Pay bills on time.
Their baseline of committing to the goal is to live within their means, establish a budget to live with that supports the goal. Once the budget has been established, tweaked and has proven to be doable, then they’re able to work on the activities towards reaching the big picture goal.
The importance of this is that it highlights the importance of current happiness and health levels. Once these are established if the goal never ‘got done’, the journey is more likely to be enjoyable. It’s a bit of a catch 22 but we’re aiming to live well while going for our dream. We don’t just do the work to get there, but for the souvenirs along the way. It is the journey that we are doing this for.
Enjoy the journey
And trust me, I know how hard this can be. Starting a business really brought this home for me. I’ve had to learn this again and again. The times where I have been so determined to get to ‘successful business’ standing are the times that I’ve felt most tired and most uninspired. The times where I find myself in the flow, slowly working towards the same place but enjoying the work and the learnings that come with it are when I’m most content and satisfied with my life. Of course, I trip up now and again and have to learn the lesson again. But I’ve got tools now that help. Songs that get me back in the now, remind me to not take it all so seriously.
Lenka: The Show
John Farnham: Pressure Down
Frou Frou: Let Go
The Beatles: Let It Be
By establishing our current happiness and health levels, we’re able to take care of ourselves so we can keep going towards the expansion of a goal without burnout. And that’s a far better journey than the alternative.