Do goals have a place in a period of cataclysmic changes?

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As the ancient Greeks would say of today – “God forbid we live in interesting times”. The world is trying to get used to the “new normal”[1]  of different social rules and attitudes. So, it’s okay to ask the question, “Why should I bother to set any objectives now when everything is so fluid and unpredictable?”

Well, today, more than any other moment in our lives, it’s vital that we follow our dreams.

“I don’t know if I will have bread to put on the table, and you want to discuss goals!”

The truth is that a lot has changed and it’s about to go much further. In the months and years to come, we will see the full scale of the socio-economic impact of what’s going right now.

We’ve all got caught up by surprise and it turned out we weren’t quite prepared.

Some have lost their jobs or their businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy. Others, on the contrary, are overwhelmed with work.

We are all affected and, therefore, we have to face another and seemingly more pressing question. Are we going to be able to provide for the basics of normal life in abnormal circumstances? At first glance, the idea for goal-setting might seem strange at best.

But only at first glance.

In the time of uncertainty…

Mastering goal-setting gives you the sense that you are in control as well as the confidence you can keep going. And this is especially important now in the time of uncertainty.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a long-term vision for the basic aspects of our lives and then move towards them little by little with the help of 90-day goals.

Even in normal times, people are still skeptical of the idea. They find it quite tricky to make long-term plans.

Well, you don’t have to!

Not a plan, but a vision instead

While a good plan and a strategy are a must the vision is the compass needle pointing to what we want from life.

Here is the key:

If we can’t know what will happen tomorrow then we’d better focus on the big picture.

And what is the one thing that will not (or do not expect) to change? It is the vision, the distant ideal of everything that we value most such as health, relationships, etc.

Time to act

Many years ago, Niki read Vadim Zeland’s book “The space of variations” and one idea stuck in his mind:

When you are at a crossroads without knowing how to proceed and feel scared and at a loss then the only thing to do is to act. That’s the only way to generate and then channel the needed energy into something constructive.

Acting will not only move us forward but it will be the rudder to use and steer clear from fear and confusion in the fast-changing world around us. Right now is the time to set our next 90-day goals and then just move on to the dreams.

Crisis = opportunity

No turmoil is helpful, right?

But it may as well be an opening for you – to take a break, look back and rethink your direction. And don’t be surprised if it turns out that it was about the right time to do so and re-focus radically your top priorities.

A crisis is also a chance to learn how to approach life in a new way. This might be the time when the old saying “Necessity is the mother of invention” will finally make sense to you.

At the two ends of the spectrum

In the period of “stay home” order we witness two extremes:

  • Some people have nothing to do (after watching all the seasons of “Friends” and then arranging everything in the kitchen, or the garage). And now they are just sitting on their hands wondering what to do with all the time they have;
  • Others are locked up but still working from home while taking care of the kids, who on their part, are giving the distance learning their first try.

It’s hard for everybody.

How to proceed

It doesn’t matter if these days you have all the time in the world or you are being overworked – your day is quite different from before. And that means there is a serious challenge to our persistence.

Let’s look at some ideas on how you can continue to act on some of the most common types of visions.

# 1 Personal and professional growth

There is no such thing in nature as stagnation. Things either thrive or die out.

It’s a good thing to use the time to further improve ourselves in one of our areas of interest. And many people do exactly that. Online training and distance learning are on the rise across the world.

For example, a 90-day goal would be to take one small step each week towards honing our skills or learning something new that will serve us all our lives.

Why it matters

It may be that you have lost your job or you may just rethink your career in general. In both cases, it is wise to focus on your general knowledge and professional skills. Those will pay off in the future.

There is no argument here that this is much better than trying to figure out if whiskey vs coronavirus will do you any good.

# 2 Health

It’s been quite difficult for anyone like us who had the gym as an integral part of their daily routine. The swimming pools are closed, parks too.

But that’s just an excuse not to exercise. A lot of personal trainers offer a variety of options for video training from a distance.

The idea here is to re-arm yourself with a new type of habit. Review what new ones you can build up regarding physical exercise, hydration, sleep, etc. Think of new ways of exercising at home so that you can stay in good shape.

“A healthy mind in a healthy body”

It wasn’t on a whim that Niki formulated his vision by borrowing from this old saying.

In a situation like the current one, it is paramount that we regularly exercise since our physical state affects directly the mental one.

Being physically active right now will not only make you healthier but will also boost up your ability to withstand psychologically the current stressful environment.

# 3 Personal development

It is easy to point out all that is bad in everything that happens right now.

Of course, it is normal to be tempted to suspend everyday norms like gratitude, forgiveness, or even give up meditation for that matter.

For us, however, it’s imperative to set up an objective for the quarter aimed at maintaining our habits in this aspect. First of all, we have plenty of time for this. Plus, it’s always better and wiser to stick with the positive attitude and a long-term perspective on things.

# 4 Relationships

Being away from our friends and relatives is painfully difficult to adapt to.

Therefore it will do you much good if you start taking extra care of those closest to you and thus relieve any strain on all the relationships you are in.

There is one goal that will never get old – “every week I call a friend I haven’t heard from a while”.

We have already had the chance to appreciate the many apps thanks to which we can celebrate an online birthday or have a Skype cafe/bar.

Why it matters

There is this social instinct in our nature that brings us to get together so that we communicate and share experiences.

It is, in fact, the basis of the “GoalBuddy” system. The amount of support it gives is so important because it is the primary drive to excel and improve.

# 5 Financial security

This is one big topic for everyone at the moment regardless of whether if you are laid off or buried with work.

If you are of the former then today’s uncertainty is a very good wake up call to start thinking about some reasonable objectives in that respect.

You have to ask yourself right now what are those things that are under my control. What is it I can do so that I can take advantage of the current situation?

You may have to revise the way you strategize for financial independence. A good starting point would be some books on the subject or the free materials we have on our website.

# 6 Goals about contributing

When, if not now, is the right time to show solidarity, unite as people and give a little of ourselves for the benefit of everybody else.

A crisis opens up countless opportunities to be of help, i.e. assisting an elderly neighbor with the groceries, supporting a charitable cause, or being a true friend by encouraging and comforting anyone from our social circle.

Key questions

So, there are several things to ask ourselves:

  • What will always be important and will hardly change?
  • Am I in control? What can I personally do?
  • What will make me feel at peace and contribute to my well-being?
  • Who can give me a helping hand so that I don’t give up on my dreams?

The answer to the last question is clear – this is the Goal Buddy. As for the rest, it’s entirely up to you how you will figure them out.

The crux of the matter here is that in times like today when our immediate future is very much unclear we don’t drop the ball when it comes to our dreams. Being focused and active is what allows us to stay fully in control of our lives. And that’s exactly what we need most right now, don’t you think?


[1] The article was posted in the spring of 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting state of emergencies in many countries (including Bulgaria) as well as the new rules on social distancing and many other quarantine rules.

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