After 2020 abounding in unexpected events and changes, I often hear that it is not worth planning, it is not worth setting goals, it is not worth dreaming, because you do not know what will happen anyway. True, you don’t know what will happen, but you never knew. Last year showed us this very painfully. Nevertheless, it is still, or even – even more so – worth living, dreaming about, planning and implementing our goals. And the beginning of the year is a really good time for this type of activity.
Could you please tell me which way I should go? – Alice asked.
- It depends a lot on where you want to go, said the Weird Cat.
- Actually I don’t care.
- Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
- I just want to get somewhere, added Alice in an explanation.
- Ah, you will surely get there if you only walk long enough.
– form Alice in Wonderland
So where do you want to go?
This is perhaps one of the more difficult questions we can ask ourselves. However, only by answering them you can choose the direction in which you will go. Only then can you take action to get you exactly where you want to go.
Just do you know where you want to go?
Where do you want to go in 2021?
Who do you want to be this time next year?
What will your life be like?
Where do you want to work?
Where do you want to live?
Who do you want to create your life with?
What do you want to learn?
How do you want to feel?
What do you want to look like?
Have you ever asked yourself such questions?
Or maybe you do not believe that you can change anything in the above-mentioned areas?
I hear too often that it doesn’t matter, that it is useless to wonder. Too often we rush through life, tossed by its blasts. For too long we have been told that we have no influence on how we live, that everything is above and beyond us. And yes, sometimes unexpected things happen and totally change the course of our lives. Sometimes it is very difficult, sometimes we lose sight of our goal. Sometimes we have to get up many times, brush off and redirect ourselves. However, despite this, I believe very much (and not only me) that we create our lives. I also believe that there are forces greater than us and that they support us in our actions, give them direction and the appropriate pace for them. However, it is we who give life and color to it. We make decisions every day – what I choose for myself, what I will do today. That is why it is worth setting goals, dreaming and planning. With all gratitude for being here and now. With full awareness and respect that there may not be tomorrow, that tomorrow may totally change the path I follow today.
To the goal?
Personally, a few years ago I abandoned the standard and rigid goal setting. This “classic” approach works great in sports or in business, where precision and good execution in time are important – I write about it, for example, in the text about championship goals. In my daily life, I am more relaxed about my goals. Every year I prepare a dream map where I put all my goals and dreams. They concern each area of my life, some of them are more specific, the other less specific. I will write about the dream map another time, because I think it is a great thing and a good option for determining the direction in which we are going.
In the next step, from the dream map, I select topics that deserve a deeper analysis and specific planning in time. And here I turn on the “classic” approach to planning goals. Usually, areas related to work, personal development or sports come here. Actually, there are topics that I want to devote more of my time and attention to. The ones on which the work is multi-threaded and takes a long time. Usually there are 4, maybe 5.
Well-set goals help us understand where we are now and where we would like to be. They show not only the place we want to go to, but also the path that will lead us there. Research shows that athletes with specific and ambitious goals perform better than those who do not. Okay, but we often let go, leave the topic behind, and our goals and desires end up in the bin.
Why do we let go of our goals?
I remember many years ago I wrote 34 points on my New Year’s Resolutions list. It was more like a self-fulfilling wish list than a conscious goal I wanted to achieve. I looked at this list for weeks and each sentence seemed impossible to move, too big, too expensive, unreal. I didn’t know where to start and I didn’t do anything that way. Increasingly, we have too many expectations of ourselves and our lives. We want to become someone else overnight. We want to get up from the couch and finish the marathon next weekend, go to fitness 3 times and lose 15 kilos, change jobs and earn five times more. However, we are forgetting one very important thing – each change requires time and effort, which we must put in its implementation.
- too much, too fast, too ambitious
Sometimes it is because there are too many of them, we lack the time and energy to implement them, we have no feedback on progress, conflicts arise between our goals and work or private life. Lack of self-confidence, stress or anxiety related to action, fatigue or too high expectations of ourselves may also stand in the way. We live fast, in times of enormous productivity, where everything is best if it is already done. And preferably the same. Working with goals is a specific daily job to be done, often lasting many months or years. Therefore, to stay motivated, we break this path down into smaller stages and “reward ourselves” after achieving each of them.
- “Wrong” goals
Also, “wrong” goals are often a source of anger and frustration. We are talking about sentences such as: “I will run faster”, “I will lose weight”, “I will earn more”, “I will change something in my life”, “I will meet new people”, “I will win” – these are goals that theoretically sound good, but are we able to say what they mean exactly? What actions should we take to implement them? Can it be measured or controlled in any way? As a consequence, we often let go, and our goals and desires end up in the basket.
- shaping the habit
Research shows that about 45% of our everyday behavior is due to habits, also known as habits. These are behaviors that we repeat many times on a regular basis, e.g. taking a shower after getting out of bed, always drinking coffee before breakfast, brushing our teeth after each meal, going to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday, always eating muesli with yoghurt for breakfast. Why? Because it is easier this way, we do not have to think, analyze and verify, our brain chooses the most energetically optimal variant. These types of habits are shaped by repeating them many times, they cannot be created in one day, and thus cannot be removed in one day. Our brain takes time and it takes multiple repetitions to implement the new behavior.
- excessive stress
Research has shown that the more stress is present in our lives, the more difficult it is to make changes to it. Professor Wendy Wood noted that “people under stress experience difficulty making decisions, are weak-willed, or feel overwhelmed. When a man is too tired to make a choice, he simply does what he used to do in similar situations. ”* We can plan the most wonderful activities and goals, but if we encounter a difficult or faster time, we will automatically start acting habitually, we will return to our old habits. We will not have the space and power for new behavior that is just taking shape. You can bravely stick to a new vegan diet, but at the very beginning its implementation requires a lot of attention and time (shopping, planning meals and preparing them for work). If you have the space for it, you will slowly implement your resolutions, but if you find yourself in a fast time at work and your attention becomes narrowed to the performance of tasks, you will automatically start reaching for food that you got used to a long time ago. Likewise, it will happen with each new behavior that comes into our lives, until it becomes our habit.
Well-set goals help us understand where we are now and where we would like to be. They show not only the place we want to go to, but also the path that will lead us there.
How to plan your goals?
As one of the definitions says: “A goal is a planned desire for a result, supported by a conscious striving to achieve it, achieved at the right time.” So in order to achieve a given goal, we need a detailed plan. Thanks to it, we will implement a new habit and maintain it despite initial difficulties or a decrease in motivation. Setting goals is the first step that opens the way to achieving them. Properly set goals increase internal motivation, self-confidence, concentration, persistence in action, have an impact on efficiency, support the achievement of the assumed result, indicate the direction in which we are moving, provide feedback. It is not enough for us to say to ourselves: next year I will run a marathon, lose weight, be more athletic, go on a healthy diet, be happier. To maximize your chances of achieving your New Year’s goals, you need to remember a few basic rules.
Planning and preparation of goals
- This is the time when we let our imagination run wild and write down everything that we would like to achieve in a given period, everything that we would like to change. I use the Dream Map for this stage, but about it next time.
- Divide your life into areas such as me, family, work, development, travel, friends, and sports. Take a look at each area and collect all the ideas, ideas, and assumptions that come to your mind.
- Be sure to write down all your goals – saved things gain more power. 🙂
- Concrete plans, target selection, setting priorities
- This is the stage where we once again look at our list.
- This time, look very realistically. Which of the goals are realistic for you (set a little higher than your abilities), limited in time, measurable, positively recorded (without the word “no”).
- Which of them are the most important and which can wait in line?
- This is a very important stage in which you prioritize your decisions. The success of the entire plan often depends on it.
- Remember to set your goals on yourself (what will I do, not how I will be better than others).
- Implementation, monitoring, evaluation
- Time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business.
- Set specific tasks and deadlines.
- Take small steps to reach your goal – large steps may turn out to be too tiring and, consequently, you will let go of the task due to lack of energy, time, opportunities or motivation.
- Focus on the most important decisions and follow them consistently.
- Monitor your progress, see where you are and whether you are going in the right direction.
- If you notice that something is not going your way, verify your path and move on.
- Reward yourself for your progress.
Remember! Working with goals is a very specific task that must be given time and energy resources. Act calmly and freely. First choose one thing you want to look at, schedule tasks and act. If you feel that at the moment it is too much for you, that it is too complicated – take it easy. You can still plan, dream, and set your course of action. But I will tell you about it in the next post.