My Love Letter To Goal Setting

Let’s get one thing clear…

Human beings are not designed to set goals and accomplish them. I swear it.

It’s not in our DNA to decide for something and then consistently work towards solving it. We have emotions. We have fears. We change our priorities.

One day or one week or one year passes and we’re nowhere closer to getting what we’ve decided for ourselves.

And to be honest… it’s our fault.

Because goal accomplishment requires discipline… and we lack that, a lot.

I’m talking from experience here. Too many times I’ve found myself in some kind of flow and three months later, I’ve spent a fortune, all my energy and time and accomplished almost nothing at all.

I’ve jumped from one thing to another, in search of excitement, in search of joy… and I’ve just moved in a circle.

And that’s when I’ve learned, the hard way, that if you don’t know exactly what you want and have some general idea at least what to do next, you’ll fail. 

So I believe you need goals.

You need monthly… and weekly… and daily goals.

Why not yearly?

Because at least in my case, I have no idea what I want to accomplish in a year. My life tends to be very agile and a lot of things change. 

But that’s not all… maybe I have a problem lacking a long term vision. It is that long term goals don’t inspire. Something you want to accomplish long term is too big. Where do you even start? How do you even conceive of something which will take 365 days of effort to accomplish?

So I don’t really set yearly goals anymore… because I know I don’t take them seriously.

But I can focus on something which is within my reach… this month, this week, this day.

And I set five goals each. 

And I change them a lot.

And here’s another thing nobody is talking about. You’re supposed to know what goals to set but truth be told, know how?

Like you have a little genie in a bottle telling you where you should focus?

Nope.

That’s why I change my goals from time to time because I realise that I need a different path and that what I’m doing is not really serving me that well. Or because circumstances changed.

Once you set a goal, this doesn’t mean that you need to stick with it until the end of the time. Many times I write goals out of a desire to fulfil my five goals… but then I realise they are just placeholders, that there is no rational reason to do that over something more important.

So I change them.

After years of setting goals – I know that good goals don’t come automatically and the question “what do you want from your day, week, month, year, life…” is very hard to answer.

So consider goal setting a process, a work in progress… and be ready to delete your goals and start anew if you’re feeling a bit smarter today than yesterday. 

Most of my long term goals that I set at the start of the year are obsolete now. Not all, but most. Why? Because I found a far better way to accomplish the same vision than to follow those goals.

I’ve realised that what I want can be done differently – and I should do it differently. For example, I had goals about running a certain number of sessions and following a certain number of sessions in the gym.

I’ve decided to just get a personal trainer. The vision stays the same – getting fit but the means are differently so the goals change.

But maybe the most important thing about goal setting I can tell you is that if you don’t set goals… you’ll drift through life. And maybe you’ll get something important done. Maybe done.

Luck becomes your strategy.

And I don’t believe in luck but it can work for some people. 

I believe that we create our own lives and the best way to do this, is to define what we want to create… and get to work. So I decide five things I want to accomplish this month. Then I decide on five things for this week, relevant to the monthly goals. Then I set five things I need to do today, both the needs of the moment and my longer term vision.

The basic truth is that unless you create your life intentionally… by deliberately putting your time, money, effort, energy into a few specific things, not just once a year but day by day… you’ll end up at the mercy of randomness and very few people ever get that lucky.

Razvan

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