You wake up and think, “Oh my, here’s another day! What am I going to do?” As your brain begins to fire up, the magnanimity of the tasks ahead slam your head back on the pillow.
This was my exact daily morning ritual a couple of years back. I hated my work environment. I would drag myself out of bed, take a long shower and fix a strong coffee.
Routine filled my life. Rather influence my environment, it felt like the routine was sucking the life out of me. For years, what I did drove a major part of my identity, rather than who I am. I was frustrated, angry, tired and confused.
After I quit my job, I did a deep-dive into why I felt and acted the way I did. My discovery was amazing as it was simple. Never at any time had I written down my personal goals. As much as I knew what my vision was, I sabotaged my life by not articulating my goals.
This year, I kicked off my life with clear goals. The thinking started two months before New Year’s Day. I knew exactly where I needed to be at the end of the new year with my business, personal life, family and community. It was like a revival! I looked forward to living a full life again.
I gave up on New Year Resolutions eons ago. My guess it is because they are never clearly defined. Goals, on the other hand, provide a fail-safe opportunity. And that is accountability.
And that has been my game-changer. Going into the last quarter of the year, I can feel and see the difference goal-setting (and execution) has made for me. Relationships have been restored. My mindset has changed as I can progressively fail forwards and avoid perfectionism. I feel happier and more ready to serve others.
It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1. Sense of urgency
Without clear goals, my life revolved around excuses. There was always a good reason not to do something or act on a need. Well established goals provided me with a sense of urgency. For example, one family goal was to Restore broken relationship with my dad. Under this goal were two other sub-goals: Plan first meeting and Schedule regular visits with dad and mum.
Once set, goals keep on nagging at you until they are accomplished. This was the case with my goal above. Finally, I made good of this goal on Fathers Day (June 21). My dad and I were physically reconciled as we shared lunch and an afternoon tea.
Six weeks later, my dad was gone! He passed away from cancer on 2nd August 2015. What if I hadn’t set a goal that I could follow though with? Could I live with that thought for the rest of my life?
2. Clear targets
Goals give us something to look forward to. It could be growth of business. A more enriching and engaged connection with your community may be it. In essence, goals provide me with clear expectations of everything I do and anyone I choose to interact with. Goals are like my pot of gold at the base of a rainbow.
With clear goals, I have been able to implement an action plan. Previously, I was sold out to activity. My calendar was crammed with things to do. However, I had no way of tracking those activities to an outcome. At the end of the year, I was tired and dejected.
That’s when I decided to set clear targets for myself. Goals have enabled me to aim for the targets. With that in focus, I have seen a marked improvement int the quality my life. I worry less, let go of what I can’t control and do more giving.
3. Delineated boundaries
This is the scariest part of goal-setting. Perhaps it is because it is where you set limits of what needs doing and what has to stop. It governs your relationships and how to utilize our time, money and possessions.
With clear goals, I was able to identify areas that needed attention. One key area was my penchant for perfectionism. This was affecting my rate of work, quality of my relationships and opened up a highway for excuses.
Goals have enhanced my ability to make decisions carefully but quickly. I am still struggling with procrastination. But I now have a handle on it because my goals have a timeline. I am now more accountable and willing to share areas that I struggle.
4. Community growth
Community engagement is an ideal I pursued all my life. But hardly would I achieve my desired results. And it was because I had no structure for my intended engagement. Without structure, the prospect of community service overwhelmed me.
The transformation this year was to set a clear goal. I identified three communities that I focused on. The results have amazed me! Not only am I engaged, there is evident transformation in other people. My goals help me to systematically work towards an expected outcome.
In the long-run, these goals provide me with a hope.
5. Focused legacy
“The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain,” said Kahlil Gibran. I strongly believe that my life should matter beyond myself. But how do I arrive at this? It is by looking far into the future. It is in asking myself, ”What will my legacy be?”
This question enabled me to have very deliberate, future-oriented goals. To me, legacy is what I do today with eternity in mind. For example, I have assessed my friendships and determined those that need to be nurtured, some that require resolution and others that I must pursue.
I now keenly listen to elderly people. Mostly, I try to pick up cues on what they treasure in their old age. One common theme I am picking up is the power of memories. Not of riches acquired, but the richness of memories in relationships and lives that they have impacted for the better.
In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” ~Author Unknown
In a nutshell, goals have left me with a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. This keeps me going event through the turbulence of life.
Q: What do you have in your life survival kit? Have your say by clicking here.