There is a lot of information out there about how to set good goals. And for unknown reasons a lot of that information sets my teeth completely on edge. Yes, I know they should be ‘Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely’ (aka SMART), but who wants to be smart when setting goals? Where is the fun in that?
Instead, imagine if the process of setting and achieving goals was an exciting adventure in itself? What if they were an Indiana Jones movie, instead of a workplace professional development video?
Not sure how this would work? Read on!
(Helps if you have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, or at least a take off of it. If you haven’t, just YouTube ‘Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark Famous Scene’.)
Your goal is like the golden idol in the cave. The scene starts with you first beholding the idol on its pedestal and trying to work out how to bring it back home. Can you see it? Gleaming on its little pedestal asking to be reached? Awesome.
Next, Indie pulls out the bag of sand that he has been carrying, because you can’t just walk off with the idol, you always have to trade it for something. In goal setting, the bag of sand is the everyday resources you will have to give up for your goal, such as time or money. Do you have enough sand to trade for your goal?
You tense as you slowly place the sand for the goal and rejoice when you pull it free – you have just agreed to a goal you think you can achieve.
But wait! That’s not the end. You still need to escape from the cave together with your goal to achieve it. You’re not safe and sound until you get it back home. And once you have decided on a goal, that’s when life makes it hard to achieve it.
You start running. Then comes your first pit with stakes or snakes (not snacks as I originally wrote, unless tempting snacks are likely to distract you from your goal… hmmm, snacks).
Someone will suggest throwing them the idol and they will give you the help you need to cross the pit. Maybe it is in exchange for a sensible job, just for a little bit so you can pay the bills.
Do you throw them the idol? Well, if you do, you still have to get out of the cave alive, and you no longer achieve anything at the end!
Maybe you are brave and you keep hold of it, working out some way through yourself. But then life might throw a giant, rolling boulder at you. Just remember, as long as you are running towards the entrance, it is all good.
Obviously, when you break free of the cave with your goal, there will always be people who want to cut you down and criticize you. Therefore, think like Indie, have an escape plan set up to enjoy the results of having fully achieved your goal.
That is the way I think goals should be handled. So much more exciting and adventurous than being SMART.
Also, in case you create a goal that isn’t worth the sand you are trading for it, or risking your life to cross the pit for, or perhaps dealing with all the tribesmen attempting to kill you, then you definitely haven’t really got a good enough goal. Stick with your sand and your day job.