If you can’t communicate your own goals to yourself so clearly, that you will even understand them when you are overworked, tired and unmotivated, then you can never reach them. This is about putting some effort into explaining, to yourself, who you already are. Do not fall into the timeless trap of waiting for things to happen as a by-product of whatever you’re doing already. Goal setting is there to correct your path and not to rationalise it.
Goal setting is one of those things that is done quickly, is always insightful to the author and has an invaluable effect on our lives – but in reality, very few people actually sit down to do it. I mean why do you need it anyway? You pursue the career you like, your social circle is OK and you still have lots of time left in your life. True, everything might be OK but imagine this: Beethoven didn’t pursue his passion for the piano after all. He started, yes, but after a few years he got a great job opportunity as the apprentice of a famous lawyer. His father had taught him so much, but Ludwig couldn’t stand these intense lessons any longer and was eager to leave home. In the beginning he thought the work was dull but he grew to liking it after a few months. His new friends all had similar jobs, so it didn’t seem that unusual for him. It looked like he had everything he needs and is pursuing his goals. He is even planning to buy his own house in five years! Now, how do you think he feels every time he passes a piano?
That could’ve happened. In fact, it has happened, millions of times to all these geniuses
we have never heard of because they just never pursued it. We’re all like that, when we were small we had some thing that just fascinated us. It was a language that we couldn’t understand but that we seemed to know deeply. It was something that made us come alive. So, step 1:
1. If you would have to give no further explanation, what is the one thing in life that you feel the most anxiety for and that at the same time feels the most familiar to you? That’s it. If you can pursue that, you’ll grow to tremendous heights.
Step 1 is to realise what your Nr 1 goal is, the thing that should never be procrastinated even if all others are. The one thing that you can’t bear to go a day without. But don’t be thinking that you will always pursue some childish dreams! Your goals will grow with you. The more you’ll battle the anxiety, the more it will take shape and the deeper your familiarity will become. But never forget: What you see in the beginning is a small seed that will start to die if unnurtured. If you never leave it, it will grow a large tree and this is basically who you were meant to be. To bring this point home there are a few more questions to consider:
2. What would you do if money was no issue? What would you do if you could not fail? What would you do if trying to earn money and having a regular job was spat upon in your culture?
Now, there are more things to consider. You will have more areas of your life except for your key goal as Brian Tracy calls it. You will have friendships, intimate relationships, health, a body, someway of getting food and potentially many other things. Sex, a job, a house, diet, family and so on. The next step is to:
3. Write down all your goals including your key goal on a sheet of paper. You do this by first identifying the areas of your life the goals fall into and then writing them down next to it. Use bulletpoints. Be clear and to the point. If you don’t have that many, don’t worry about it, they will come. If you have a lot, that’s also fine. You can use the following printout (PDF) if you like.
You fill it out and then put it somewhere you will see it every day. It must be easy to skip through it every morning and therefore it shouldn’t have too much text. If you like you can also write them down as a full text which is very valuable by itself and highly recommended, but if you are like me you’ll probably never reread it. This exercise is designed to be easy and fast to read every day and you’ll find that the decisions you make in your life change, just by doing that. So:
4. Read your goal sheet every morning. It will change the decisions you make to align with your goals.
The next post will be on stopping to bang your head against a wall and doing a personal SWOT analysis first, then pursue a goal. Until then.