Lately we’ve been talking a lot about goals and resolutions (looking back on our previous blog posts, it’s seems to be more often than not). And I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I do think, however, that there is one final point that needs to be made when it comes to keeping and achieving our goals and resolutions. This point has been eluded to man times, but has not been expounded upon specifically.
But, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s get a basic understanding of our basis for thinking when it comes to our goals and resolutions.
When we’re coming up with resolutions for the New Year or simply identifying goals that we would like to achieve, essentially we’re choosing the biggest pain points in our personal or professional lives that we would like to change/make better (become a better communicator) OR identifying a project or endpoint that we are striving to reach (finish the project by Friday).
We’ve talked in-depth about the most efficient ways to make goals stick, so I won’t go into much detail about that here. What is important for our purposes, though, is understanding how we think about our goals, or, maybe more accurately, how we think of our goals.
A major reason why many people get stuck when it comes to accomplishing their goal is because of their thinking. What I mean by this is, when it comes to our goals or project or problems, we tend to spend more time thinking OF them than we do thinking ABOUT them. What’s the difference? Simple. When you think OF your goals, they’re simply in your mind, wondering around aimlessly with no path or purpose. When you think ABOUT your goals, you start to conceptualize what you really want and make it more concrete. In other words, it starts to become laid out and planned as opposed to wishing and hoping that it’ll get done.
So, it’s important to understand that you have to think about your “stuff” more than you realize. It can’t just be in your head, bouncing around with no direction. You have to think ABOUT what you want, but you don’t have to think about it as much as you’re afraid you might, which brings us to our next stalemate…
Many philosophers have said that there are truly 2 emotions that drive human action: fear and love. If you want to make it less intense, you can call it like and dislike. Most of us dislike the thought of thinking ABOUT our goals or problems. We dislike it because of the jumbled mess that the goal is in our head.
In other words, when we initially think of our goal or problem, it is simply this big ball of mess, no steps, no directions, no clear path from point A to point B. So, we dislike the idea of thinking about it because it seems like it will take a ton of time to actually figure it out. And in this context, it should be scary because, currently, there is no clear path.
But what we don’t realize is our fear of clarity to the answer to our problem. It is what we fear (lack of clarity) that will get us moving efficiently forward toward our goal or towards resolving our problem.
So now that we understand that we should think ABOUT or goals instead of thinking OF our goals, and we need to make things clear, how do we put these 2 ideas to together and start to move forward? The answer to this question is simple, but complex. I’ll make it as simple as possible. As a matter of fact, I can break it down to one word…ACTION!
When you take the time to think about your goals, you begin to come up with steps or actions that you need to take in order to move towards it. Without these action steps, you don’t know where to go, therefore there is no clarity. This is why it is important to manage your actions toward the goal instead of the goal itself.
It is extremely difficult (near impossible, actually) to manage action steps you haven’t identified. If all you have is a goal in mind, then you have no path to get there. But when you’ve identified the steps you need to take in order to move forward, you can start taking action towards your goal.
So instead of simply thinking about your goal or problem or project, come up with the action steps you can take to get yourself moving towards it. Happiness, afterall, is progress. And in order to make progress, we need actionable steps to take.
Now that I’ve officially drilled the process and idea of goal setting into your head, I vow to not write about it again (at least for a month or so). Take these ideas and put them into place. Don’t let your life be taken by chance. Always remember that the progress you make today will form the success you have tomorrow.