Is it possible for your goals to become your prison? How quickly a Goal can be a Gaol*.
Goals are the thing achievement is made of, aren’t they? Surely they would never hold us back. Without goals, we flounder. Without goals, we lose direction. Without goals, we have no purpose. Except, of course, when our goals hold us back.
The Busy Work Of Goals
The idea of goals can get in the way of goals. We talk about goals, plan around goals, plan for goals, but sometimes forget to do anything to get there. We confuse the busy-ness around the goal with progression towards the goal. We focus on goals so far in the distance that we forget that the first step towards them is a small one that is repeated many times.
Step One is concentrating on habit creation. And the biggest part of Step One is not to get better at doing, it’s to start doing. -- Dan ShipperClick To Tweet
The Two Questions You Must Prepare For
Goals, by their very nature, have two questions attached to them:
- What happens if you don’t reach your goals?
- What happens if you do?
Are we ready for either outcome? Either of these questions can paralyze us and stop us in our tracks.
All those earlier statements about goals? They’re true. They help us stay on the path and function. We need to have goals. But, without an answer to those two questions, our goals will quickly imprison us.
Keep Your Goals And Keep Going
Be ready for dealing with failure by not constantly measuring ourself against what we think success looks like. Don’t measure our action all the time every inch of the way. Our progress will fluctuate and constant measurement is discouraging; it removes our ability to see our efforts as part of the larger picture. Periodic failures are part of success.
Be ready for success by shifting your eyes to a point further past your current goal as you get closer. Get ready to continue on, or take some new direction.
But most importantly, just start doing. Leave room for our goals to naturally evolve and to not always be specific, so we feel a taste of success just from the fact that we started. Create momentum. Create a habit. Just start. The goals we have at the beginning may not be the same we have at the end. What got us interested in the path may have been necessary to get us to start, but it might not be what keeps us going.
Our measure of success isn’t whether or not we stumble on the path. It’s whether we get up and keep going.
*That’s the Old English way of spelling “jail”. It’s legit.