Most of the people I work with think that Setting Goals is about as bad a public Speaking or Taking Poison.
They hate the concept because it reminds them of Targets and KPA’s and Work and Performance Assessments and most importantly Failure. This is a common issue and they would rather not set the goal than set it and fail and go through yet another negative – I can’t do it etc type self fulfilling prophesy. So they rather stay away and just ignore that they need to set some kind of goal and plan to get what they want and ultimately remain miserable because they can never achieve their dreams and get the things they want. And so the song continues over and over again.
The first stumbling block to remove, I find, is to re-educate them on the fact that mistakes and failures are not negative at all. They are the only means by which we can in fact gain experience in life and improve. Experience is after all the lessons learnt from making mistakes and failing at something and learning how not to do it wrong again. Once they start accepting that to fail is OK then one can get into the process of identifying where they are , what they want and where they want to go and developing the action plans that go with that new belief.
The Second stumbling block with goals is to overcome is the mindset that they are there to regiment ones life and take the fun out of living. A lot of people believe that goals are meaningless as once you achieve one there is no reward other that the Achievement High. What then follows is yet another goal and then another and so the roller coaster continues.
The way to overcome this is to look at goals as the Desires rather than just good old SMART Goals. Desires are either Positive things we want that we don’t have already and that will give Pleasure and / or Negative ones that will remove Pain. Once we understand the Pain and Pleasure elements to the goals we set ourselves we start making progress to achieving those two states of enjoyment. The next trick is to take the stress out of what goals mean to you. – Goals need not always be BIG they can be small things you want to complete or achieve – like how to cook pasta. Beware of goals that others set for you – they should be things you want to and agree to achieve.
So what should ones goals be?
In my Go APE (Achieve Personal Excellence) workshop we follow the following guidelines:-
Firstly – The Pleasure – things you like and enjoy – like your natural talents, interests and skills. Things that interest you and not necessarily others – remember they are yours to achieve and enjoy.
Secondly – The Pain – things that you don’t like or want – like being overweight or having a bad relationship. This can then set up the goal to get rid of the pains.
Thirdly – The 12 Elements of your Life – Consider how you would score your life currently in the 12 key elements of your life – give each a score out of 10 where 1 is not worth living and 10 is ecstasy. Draw a PLP Map (Personal Life Plan Map and review it every 6 months). The 12 areas of your life to consider are (in no particular order). Your Mental Attitude; Your Physical being; Your Spiritual Life; Your Finances; Your Blood Family; Your Social Life; Your Community Life; Your Career; Your Talents; Your Fun Life; Your Love Life and Your Education;
Fourthly – Work Goals – Also known as Targets, KPA’s, KRA’s etc. These are necessary for the fulfilment of your work ambitions and also assist you in creating your Personal Development Plans w.r.t work based skills etc.
Fifthly – Your Eulogy – Sit down and write you own eulogy that you would LIKE to be read out at your own funeral one day – Write down all the Nice things you would want people to say you achieved in your life even if they are only Ideas or Dreams right now. These can then focus your mind on some of the goals you need to set yourself now so that someone can actually say them one day.
Remember your purpose on this earth is to enjoy yourself and the journey – and the achievement of goals makes the journey a truly enjoyable ride. Without goals we tend to wonder around from pillar to post and eventually we die and leave no or little legacy.
Enjoy the process and the ride – it’s a wonderful experience.
Adolph P Kaestner