Just Keep Moving
When you clearly identify an objective goal (perhaps your Ideal Day!), you automatically begin to make things better, and you can continue moving in a positive direction. When you think about where you are going, talk about your dreams, write goals, and reflect on your efforts, you make significant progress. Focusing on a specific direction is important for two reasons: (1) You’ll notice more opportunities, while (2) you narrow your focus. The more you can see the direction in which you are heading, the easier it will be to collect ideas and information to get you closer to achieving the results you’re after. Remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
But how do you pick, manage, and celebrate the “right” goals, whether they are personal or professional, short term or long term? Surely you have heard that one way to be effective is to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Meaningful, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. However, that doesn’t work for everyone. It’s too easy to make excuses for, to “explain away,” not reaching goals and objectives. Here are the “goal-stoppers” heard all too often:
But, what if goal-setting doesn’t work? Do you know someone who has said this? Generally, it happens when people set the bar too high, taking on goals that are too big to begin with. They take something on, work on it, stress about it, think about it, work on it some more, only to realize that for some reason (and they usually have several to share with you!), they won’t be able to “just do it.” They won’t be able to finish what they started.
Won’t setting a goal limit my opportunities? Other times, people claim they prefer the serendipity of achievement; that is, by not picking anything too specific to work toward, they keep themselves open to living life in the moment and taking advantage of what shows up, as it shows up. “Sure I’d like to know about that next promotion, if it’s ever offered. If not, it’s okay; something else will show up.” That was a comment I heard from a participant in an open seminar I presented at a not-for-profit organization.
There is a middle ground, fortunately. For those of you who have set goals in the past and not achieved them, it’s time to start anew. And for those of you who enjoy the surprises life has to offer, I encourage you to keep on working and living that way. Just realize that to make your best better there will be some things you’ll want to do starting now.