We talk about setting goals a LOT. It’s a good thing – it gives us something to aim for, a target for our efforts, motivation to achieve it.
The danger is that that is all we do. Talk about it. The vital thing with goal setting is that we need to work towards them. They should take work and effort and drive and all that. It’s what makes them worth achieving. That sounds like I am just thinking of the big goals in life, which I am, but I also talking about the smaller daily goals, like getting dressed. Depending on where you’re at on the scale of awesome today, getting up and having a coffee may feel like a gigantic goal.
Whatever the goal, it needs to be sufficiently motivating to enable you to do the work to achieve it. There needs to be some kind of benefit or impact of achieving said goal so it has value in working to complete it. When we understand that benefit and the associated value, we can unlock our superpowers (use our strengths) to co-ordinate the relevant elements to achieve it. In essence, we undertake an intuitive cost-benefit analysis to assess the value of the investment of our time and effort in the work to achieve the goal.
Our goals may take all kinds of forms but there are two main types (in my view) – Everyday Goals and Extraordinary Goals. The Everyday Goals are those related to fulfilling or exceeding your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) demands of your life. They take a bit of planning and they often interact e.g. I have to get dressed in order to take my son to school and he needs to have a packed lunch today…. The value in these goals is about getting on with things, getting stuff done. We often just get on with them and fail to recognise the value they bring us. In this example, the value of my getting dressed is that my son gets his education and is fed, that he is happy and connects with his friends, that I am free of distractions whilst I am working from home. All significant and valuable impacts from me putting in the effort to get dressed, even though I’d quite like to go back to bed.
The Extraordinary Goals are just that – they go beyond the everyday. They are often big and challenging and more than a bit overwhelming. These are the goals that make you go “can I really? Truly?”. These goals require long term planning and effort and are the metaphorical equivalent of climbing Everest. There will be many more challenges than getting dressed and working towards those goals may make you doubt yourself, question things, wish to give up. It is at those points that we need our support network, our cheering squad, our little black book of useful people to help us navigate those challenging periods and focus on the value and impact of achieving those extraordinary goals. Achieving those big goals is a team effort in enabling you to succeed – who’s on your team?
Once we have focused on value and impact again, we can crack on and do our best work; all of which helps us to achieve that goal and just imagine how it will feel when you do! The joy, fulfilment, sense of achievement, the congratulations, future opportunities and the surge of confidence and positivity that you’ll feel. Sometimes I feel that way about vacuuming the house but really my big goal is to get my PhD. It scares me more than a bit but I also want to have those letters by my name.
By setting goals of any kind, we are also able to focus on using our effort and capacity to its greatest effect. That is, does action x help me to achieve any of my goals? If so, then crack on; if not, then why are you doing it? We all have limited capacity and the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce…. Let’s not waste our time on things that hinder our awesome and achieve our goals!
So what are your Goals?