As we usher in the New Year, new goals, new resolutions, new beginnings… all the order of the day, at the start of a brand new year. In recent times though, there have been rumblings against the purpose of having goals. A couple of months ago Dilbert’s Scott Adams’ wrote in the Wall Street Journal – about the pointlessness of goals and how a ‘process’ is more helpful than a goal. (Hard to believe, but in the same article he also mentions how being passionate is over-rated).
The Purpose of A Goal
And yet, goals, purpose, a final end point in sight, has led many to achieving great results. It is difficult to believe that the light bulb or telephone would have been invented, or the Wright brothers flown, if they did not have a fixed goal in mind.
Perhaps it may be true that a goal often seems, unwavering, fixed (perhaps even unhelpful) and yet simply having a system or a process without a goal, seems akin to travelling down a river, not knowing where it leads. If a baker could simply shove butter, eggs, flour and sugar together without having a cake in mind to make – it’s very unlikely that a cake will result.
So a goal, simply provides us a destination to ‘head for’. It may be that there may be a better off-shoot along the way, or a diversion that we take, nonetheless, a goal helps us decide which direction it is that we need to take.
Goals Need a System or Process
And yet, we cannot function on goals alone. Simply setting a goal without breaking down the tasks (or steps) of reaching that goal, will simply make the goal – overwhelming. However, if a series of daily tasks could be planned to work towards the goal.
The journey towards the end point gets broken down in to much smaller, more easily achievable and manageable steps. These are still the tasks that need to be done or taken care of in order to move a little closer to the goal.
Breathe and Let Go
The never talked about, little known secret fact about achieving your heart’s goals, is this. Every now and then, we need to let go of the goal for a little while.
The best description of the process in practise was something I read in an article on Competitive Edge. Nowhere is having a goal to focus on more important than for the athlete, and yet, the really enlightening advice for the Athlete was “Goals (and expectations) are for practice NOT competition!” Read the full article here.
The idea is that Goals are set to function as a guided missile system, to keep you on course as you work towards it, but there will come a time (for an athlete, this is during the competition, for the entrepreneur – it may be that big moment of working towards sealing the deal) to let go of the goal and simply ride the wave, knowing that everything that can be done has been done.
Perhaps if we return to the metaphor of the baker and his cake, with the recipe in hand, ingredients mixed perfectly, once the cake is in the oven, he needs to let go and trust that the oven will deliver the cake perfectly – there’s nothing left for the baker to do, except the washing up.
So Set Goals or Not To Set Goals?
Our take on it is this: Goals, by all means, give us something to aim for, move towards, look forward to, and yet remember that they are not cast in stone, it’s simply a destination to reach on the course of a journey, but does not necessarily denote the end of the journey.
The sights along the way, are just as important, and every now and then, remember to stop and smell the roses and admire the rainbows.
Have an amazing 2014!
Over to you:
Do you believe in goals or New years resolutions? If you do, what are yours for the coming year? If not, tell us how you’re looking forward to enjoying the ride! Do share your experience, thoughts and opinions in the comments below and if you would like to get in touch, contact us directly here.
Please do share this article on the social networks below and feel free to forward it to someone you think may benefit from it. Click To Tweet.