No new years resolutions
1 December 2017
As we approach a new year many of us will be making resolutions for what we want to achieve in life, and in 2018.
For most of us, the path to those things starts by setting specific & actionable goals. At least, this is how I approached much of my life until probably the last few years running my own business. I would set goals for study I took, for miles on the bike at gym, & for clients I wanted in my business.
What I began to realize however, is when it comes to actually getting things done & making progress in the areas which are important to you, there is a much better way to do things. It all comes down to how you respond to setting goals.
Let me explain. If you completely ignored your own goals, would you still get results? For example, if you were a soccer coach & you ignored your goal to win a championship & focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results? I think you would.
Let us talk about reasons why you should not focus goals as a prerequisite. Firstly, goals reduce your current happiness. When you are working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I am not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.” What if you do not reach it? Are you forever no good?
The problem with this mind-set is you are teaching yourself to always put happiness & success off until the next milestone is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I will be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I will be successful.” Consequently, choosing a goal puts a huge burden on your shoulders, we place unnecessary stress on ourselves.
Instead, you can keep things simple & reduce stress by focusing on the daily process & sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment & improve at the same time.
You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but this is not always true. Consider someone training for a half-marathon. Many people will work hard for months, but as soon as they finish the race, they stop training. Their goal was to finish the half-marathon & now they have completed it, the goal is no longer there to motivate them. When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it?
We cannot predict the future, but every time we set a goal, we try to plan out where we will be & when we will make it there. We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way.
So for 2018, forget about predicting the future & build a system which will signal when you need to make adjustments. None of this is to say goals are useless. However, I have found goals are good for planning your progress & can provide direction & even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually committing to the process is what makes the difference.