You may have to suspend your disbelief for a moment and hear out the following statement of ours. The manner in which you think determines the odds of success or failure. Let’s have a look together at the following four basic levels reflecting different states of mind. And we sincerely wish that afterward you will have a better understanding of how you can move up to the next level.
A question of existential proportions
We were impressed by the story which Viktor Frankl told in his book “The Man’s Search For Meaning”. As a prisoner at a concentration camp during WW2, he was able to guess who would make it throughout the day. The criterion was quite simple – how willing someone would be to get out of the bunk in the morning.
We are barely crawling out of bed for there is little to strive for and no hope at all that the day will be a good one. All of that shows one thing only – our urge to go on with life has lost its momentum.
Although the world is quite a different place now, human nature hasn’t changed much in that respect. We still badly need a very sound justification to make sense of our lives.
Goals and their purpose
But not those like making more money or buying a new car.
What we have in mind, of course, are those that are related to your personal development and improvement in areas you deem crucial.
They become the force that gives you energy and rational to make it throughout the day. In fact, they set the key plotline of your life.
Every single day…
Our goals are indispensable precisely because of the everyday journey towards them.
To fulfill an aspiration isn’t as vital as to be able to run the course. Success will make you more confident so that you can keep going. And if you fail it should be a valuable lesson on how to get better in what you do.
The best thing about our system is not that you will sooner or later achieve your goals. Rather it is that every day you get closer and closer to them. Your very first thought in the morning should be “I do actually make progress and will do better today than yesterday!”
It is also a matter of perception
Different people can be at different states of mind in terms of understanding and practicing goal setting. Here we will get deeper into some of these and their nuanced distinctions.
There are several milestones on the road. We have to admit that we are very curious which of these you passed and which are still ahead of you.
Level # 1: Victimhood
This is when you might view your life as happening regardless of what you do. Thoughts like this will be indicative of this state.
“I don’t think I need any of that. I see it as a pointless endeavor since things seem very much predetermined. It’s some extra work for me and I already have too much on my plate. Plus, I think it’s very likely that I will end up messing it up anyway.”
You don’t have to agree with every single word but you must have got the overarching sentiment of one very passive attitude.
No goals = no responsibility
It is especially tempting in the short term to take the role of a bystander of your own life. Sure, you take no responsibility at all in that case. How comforting is the thought that nothing depends on you!
In the long run, however, you will be entering into a world of pain. You will be going through life empty of duties as well as no meaning whatsoever.
“This always happens to me”
It is easy to believe in the good intentions of the universe when life goes well for you.
In reality, things never unfold as we wish. During hard times (the truly tragic ones, not minor things like when you dent your new car) you will need faith in your own self. Without it, you might soon find yourself stuck at a psychological dead end.
A danger zone
Placing your hopes in some predestined and yet unknown plan that fate drew up for you will inevitably lead to a prolonged period of inaction and depression.
The worst part is that victimhood tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is why it is so dangerous not to believe in your own capability to deal with hardships.
For the fear of failure…
As a rule of thumb, people who routinely perform poorly in regards to their objectives are most likely to be afraid of something.
A possible defeat, a setback, ridicule, and any other negatives are only some of these insecurities. They are actually denying you all that you might expect in life.
A new perspective is needed
It’s best to find a system that would not only provide a clear mechanism for success but also give support. That is why in “GoalBuddy” we talk about lessons learned, challenge and opportunity instead of words like “disaster” or “fiasco”.
The excuse “I have no time for it.”
You bet we are more than “experts” of the pitfalls here.
Our everyday life can easily take over pretty much everything else and put us in a chronic shortage of time. Isn’t that a perfectly valid excuse!
Still, it is liberating to realize the following. You will have time only for things that you put in the effort to… make time for them!
Focus and priorities
There is a basic rule in our system. Concentrate your efforts on a few but the really important targets! As soon as you learn to say “No” to everything else the feelings of stress and anxiety will fade away. And then you will have all the time in the world.
Let’s move now to the second level.
Level # 2: Overconfidence
With too much of it people tend to reason along the following lines:
“If I have an idea I simply go forit. I don’t have to write it down because I know very well what I want. I am more than certain it will all work out for me.”
The “know-it-all” attitude
This oversized self-esteem is commonly observed with those with less experience. We were no exception, especially in our early 20s.
There is nothing wrong per se to be of positive spirits and disposition. It may very well be a suitable starting point of getting into setting goals.
But it would be a serious issue if you don’t see the need for careful and detailed parsing of your objectives. Here is why it is a must.
You can’t really know for sure what you want until you see it black on white
You don’t have much if all your thoughts and notions are as fleeting as they often tend to be. We’ve witnessed that on countless occasions. Ask anyone if they have dreams and they all will say “Yeah”. But follow up with the question if they have these written down and very few will give you another affirmative answer.
If you don‘t give your aspirations the written form, then you didn’t think hard about them. It is a particularly tricky but highly rewarding thing to do.
You should give it a try. Only then you will see the benefit of it.
It’s Okay to skip the written definition if you can kick off your project right away and be done with it in just a couple of weeks. But if you aim months and years ahead then the original plan will inevitably undergo some transformation of sorts. You will be surprised how quickly plans can change course and nature.
For good or bad, people’s experience and worldview evolve with time. You can hardly expect that in a year or so you will think or act in exactly the same manner as now.
If you want to cross the finish line of a long-term goal, then it is best to keep track of how well you are doing. That’s where the detailed record comes in handy.
Level # 3: Being a winner
“I have a pretty good idea of my goals in life and I have also written those down. They excite me every single day. I go through them once or twice a year to make sure all is good and well.”
This is almost the Bull’s-eye. But not quite – many of the successful people we know feel exactly that way.
Being clearly aware of what’s important will keep you on track. Otherwise, you might feel like Alice being wisely advised by the Cheshire Cat… “If you don’t know where you are going, then every road will take you there.”
Well, it helps to have the confidence as well as keeping your eyes on the ball.
Still, there is plenty left for deeper understanding at this stage.
Reflection and corrective actions only once a year is not enough
Reviewing and measuring results and then making the necessary corrective actions is an ongoing process. The advantage lies in the boost to your motivation and energy. Don’t leave it for the end of the year. Twelve months is too long of a period and things can take a dramatic turn. It will become increasingly harder if you are out of sync with the new circumstances. You can easily get tempted to quit when the going gets harder.
Take a break and have a look around
Do yourself a favor and dedicate the time for this on a regular basis. The optimal time-frame is every quarter. This is when the inevitable drop in enthusiasm is likely to occur.
Don’t put all the eggs in one basket!
Another typical problem for many professionals is that they focus only on their career. There is little balance with the other major things such as family and health.
If you are making the same mistake then try to come up with a more balanced plan for the coming decades. It can include things like relationships, your mission, etc.
Level # 4: Being inspired
“I know what I value most and how to take care of it. I have written down my goals and I review them several times a year. They drive me and help me make sense of life. I realize that in order to improve I have to pursue my objectives relentlessly.”
This is the top level. And that’s exactly where we were able to get with the help of our system.
Like a well-oiled machine
Having a 25-year vision coupled with a specific implementation puts you on the right track. The winning strategy is in the form of 90-day action goals made of the weekly steps. A small but regular everyday move forward will grow in you the feeling of satisfaction and real achievement.
Our goals as our savior
It was a recent personal tragedy that made us convinced how much inner strength we get in the process of realizing our dreams. What happened to Ivan and his family could have become an irreparable and long-lasting experience for anybody else.
What saved the day was the sense of purpose and meaning his goals have instilled in him. He managed to register remarkable progress towards his objectives during this very difficult period. For us, it became an irrefutable proof of how belief in our own self makes us strong enough to deal with any misfortune.
It only seems that life goes on regardless of us. The goals become an expression of our free will that can put us on a quite surprising trajectory. While working on our objectives we actually take on a new journey with a completely unexpected destination.
A different life
When driven by inspiration you will have enough of the will power to go on no matter what life might throw at you. Sure, there will be tough and sad moments when you feel down and defeated. But these will be considerably fewer and shorter because you already have built up a strong and unwavering resolve while pursuing your dreams. Isn’t that the one goal worth striving for throughout our days in this world!