One of the most undervalued things that a human can do is setting goals, both for professional and personal life. I will present you in this article why you need one and how to set it.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.Viktor E. Frankl, 'Man's Search for Meaning'

Hundreds of athletes from the entire world are now preparing for the next Olympic games. None of them, women or men, are going to drop the training under the pretext: “It will be ok when the time comes. There are still a few months/years till the Olympics, so I will take it slow”.

What makes these athletes pass through all these difficult training, day after day, year after year ? The answer is simple: They have a goal! They have a well defined objective that deserves any effort that is made!

As Viktor Frankl beautifully put it, any suffering stops being suffering the moment it finds a purpose!

I have to admit, there are people that know what they want, but there are people that do not know, truly, what they want. In other words:

  1. There are people that have setup  goals in life and do any effort that is needed to to achieve it.
  2. There are people that have so little imagination, that they are not able of dreaming of a goal that deserve the effort.

To have a goal, to know what you want, is not a problem of will, but a problem on imagination.

Who will have more success in life ? People that want to reach their goals, from the bottom of their heart, because they think it is well worth it, or people that do not find anything, in this entire world, that can get them excited ?

An objectives is like the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps you like a guiding system to which we decide the way to go. A decision that we took, with our on will.

To have an objectives is an essential condition to solve all “You” problems. The ones that know this are in a situation to influence their own destiny.

I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest. Venus Williams

Problems, difficulties, obstacles

Some of you might be thinking already, “everything is good and nice”

  • to do what you have to do;
  • take action instead of being passive;
  • to have a goal that deserves all the attention

But in reality things look different!

The world around us is not that perfect. We must always take into consideration what type of attitude to adopt when we have problems, difficulties and obstacles. These are there for the people who do not believe truly in their goals and do not think it is worth their sacrifice (time, money)

So how do we deal with all the problems that might appear ?

To deal with them, we try to divide any complex problem into smaller, more manageable issues and deal with them one by one.

As an example, all great doctors are known after their ability to put a correct diagnostic. Normally, they do not invent the medicine to treat the patient, neither the way to administer it; they just put the diagnostic. What is the reason of prescribing a flue medicine if the fever is caused by an infection ?

The same thing applies to our problems.

Let’s use this example and try to find the correct diagnostic. What is the nature of our problems ?

The will of a person is like the fuel of a rocket. Towards the target, it must pass 3 “shields”, the 3 shields are made of:

  1. I” obstacles (“I cannot do it”)
    • Eg.: Lack of determination, lack the power of concentration, fear, lack of patience
  2. You” obstacles (“You do not want/can”)
    • Eg: The employee that is not interested, the “impossible” customer, the bad boss, selfishness, fear, lack of decision from the people we work with
  3. Interpersonal” obstacles (“It won’t work”)
    • Eg: For the chemist: the combinations of materials is not possible

Of course, “I” and “You” are basically the same, and the only difference is from where you are standing. The employee that is not interested is a problem of “You” for the boss; for him it is a problem of “I”.

If you, like most people, are in a bit of a stall, what should you do? Here is the formula:

1. Create a goal – not just a goal, but a goal that makes the hairs on the back of your neck tingle when you tell people about it. A goal that is compelling enough to make you uncomfortable.
2. Share your goal (or not)– if you are like most people, you need peer pressure to always keep an eye on the goal, so get out there and talk, talk, talk. Share your goal in a way that expressed what it is, why it is important to you and the difference it will make when you get there. This is not needed if the goal is personal or you have enough personal drive to go get it (i recommend developing this skills)
3. Align your context. Change something – or many somethings – to rearrange your reality to nudge you on the path toward your new goal. Change something!
4. Take small daily actions that are aligned with your goal. Tiny actions every day create momentum and is much better than being a weekend warrior.
5. Review each day the actions you took towards your goal! – this is the most part of setting goals (after setting your goal). If you do not review daily the actions you took towards reaching that goal, then all is pointless. You will just have a pice of paper with a goal, that you already forgot about it (not to mention, the view that people who know about the goal will have about it)

All of 5 steps need some planning so always make sure that you have a good plan on reaching your goals.

So what do you think? What is standing between you and reaching your goals ?

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