Question without notice: What and why are you trying to accomplish in your life? Just think about it for a moment. What and why. This is a really key question for all of us. The first step in achieving an ambition is establishing what the ambition is and also understanding why you want to achieve it. Often we know what we want to achieve (like get better grades – especially in Math – or lose some weight) but we don’t have the right reason to back it up. So, what is your goal and why do you want to achieve it?
At the next stage of goal setting we must ask ourselves not how are we going to achieve the goal but who do we need to become in order to achieve it? What specifically are the actions and mindset required to make the goal a reality? How does someone who has already achieved what we want to achieve act and behave? What values do they have? Are you being realistic in how you are going to achieve the goal you have set or will you just fumble through life hoping that by some happy accident all your dreams will come true?
In other words, do you improve yourself each day in order to become the person you need to be in order to achieve the goal you want to achieve – or do you change nothing and do nothing and just hope everything will somehow work out for the best? Remember, be honest!
Achieving a goal is a process not an event. The problem is that people don’t like processes – we like events! You see, we like to get an A+ on our Maths test, but we don’t want to do the study and homework required (i.e. the process) to get the A+, we just want the event – the great score! We like the idea of looking fit and healthy but we don’t like part where we have to eat well and exercise constantly. Do we? It all makes sense when you understand that we don’t like the process – we just like the events.
Getting good grades is hard work. Being fit and healthy is hard work. Being a great musician is hard work. The process of achievement always weeds out the weak – and unfortunately it doesn’t always reward the strong.
However, for those of us who make a choice to go through the process, the events are extra sweet. A top grade, getting into College, winning the Super Bowl, or running a four minute mile are all events that happened because the person made a decision and went through the process.
So what does this mean to us in terms of goal setting and goal achievement? Given that we now know that we don’t like processes and we do like events, it makes a lot of sense that we may enjoy setting goals such as “I want an A average in all of my subjects” but we don’t like doing the hard work to make sure that the goals actually happen. The process is hard and can be boring and tedious. We want the event (A average for every subject) not the hard work!
So, if you are going to set a goal, you really need to understand what process you are going to have to go through to achieve it and make sure you are committed to it. The event is secondary; the process is what you are really committing yourself to. You must ask yourself, “What actions will I have to take every day to go through the process? Who will I need to be to go through the process?” If you can’t answer that, you won’t be able to achieve the goal you have set.
Goals don’t just happen. They are clearly defined and then deliberately worked towards. You create an event (an A+ in Maths) and then you have to go through the process to get there. Focus on the process and the event will happen. Focus on the event (like everyone wants to) and nothing will happen. The choice is yours!
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